Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Bring Me Your Body!!!

Finally!!! I received the official Ironman Canada volunteer email indicating where I will be stationed. When I applied to be a volunteer I selected my choice in the following order...

Bodymarking - a dangerous position to be in. There is the possibility that a lot of hot tri dudes would end up walking around with my phone number on their arm in place of their race number. Giggle, giggle. KIDDING!

Transition - I want to be there if you are excited, scared, or over the moon. Jenna was in transition last year and it was her kind words that snapped me back into reality of what needed to be done. I would be blessed if I could 'pay it forward'.

Sunscreen Application - all would be fun and games until the first hairy back came along. EEEEEK! You get to wear gloves with this job right?!

So what did I get?? The fools! They gave me BODYMARKING!!! Muahahahaaaaa!!

Actually I'm totally stoked. And no, it's not because I get to touch hot triathlete bodies!! (That'll just be a bonus.) It's because I get to be one of the first people the athletes get to see in what will be a most exciting day for them. If they are nervous, I will share my inner calm. If they are still sleepy, I will share my energy. If they are first timers, I will share my joy at their accomplishment of getting to the start line.

And if they are one of my first timer buddies, I promise I will do my best not to cry because of how proud I am of you. Actually, tears are forming in my eyes right now as I write this because I am so excited for you! (Let us remember, I am a pisces! We are sentimental people.) I will also send you off to the start line with all my love and blessings. Don't worry, I have a ton to share equally with each and everyone of you.

Of course, that will also be the case for my coach and great friend, Gregory, who will be attempting to secure a spot in the World Championships. Not to forget Julie, Darryl and David and all the others I will know who are Ironman veterans. Like I said, tons of love and blessings to go around! Oh, and let's not forget the hugs. Bear hugs all around!

So when you go to line up for bodymarking, make sure you look for the blond with braids wearing a cowboy hat on race morning. That'll be me ready, waiting, and happy to mark your bod!

Oh, the other exciting news around here is that the city will be host to Ironman Calgary 70.3 in 2009. Now if you are resident of this fine city, you no doubt have already heard this news via a gillion emails sent out the morning it was announced!

If you are not a resident of this area, I invite you to come out and participate! As it turns out the race starts in my neck of the woods so I am quite familiar with the course without having even done the race. The start is ten minutes west of me actually, which isn't exactly in the city. The race does end up in the city though!

The swim will be in Ghost Lake, which I should mention is glacier fed. You may want to double up your swim caps! I've also been told by a Fireman that there have been many a Fireman who has been spooked in the lake when practicing water rescues. Apparantly there is a good reason it's named 'Ghost' Lake. Hmmm.

The bike route starts out on one of my favourite routes, Grand Valley Road to Horse Creek Road! I swear I could do this course with my eyes closed!! The run will go partially around the Glenmore Resevoir. The section it goes through is absolutely beautiful. You will follow the pathway through the trees and along the Weaslehead. There is a killer hill to get out of the resevoir too, but nothing that anyone who has run in the Policeman's half couldn't handle!

Knowing the area/course as I do, I think they chose a really great route. It certainly will be challenging and flat would not be a word used to describe either the bike or run.

If any of my friends decide to participate in the inaugural race, my home is open to you if you want to stay somewhere close to the start. I would love to participate, but will be signing up for Ironman Canada 2009, which is just around the corner from Ironman Calgary 70.3. Too bad they are scheduled so close together. You can bet your bippy though that I will be volunteering and cheering instead though!

Peace out my friends and let your heart shine!

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

And Gently Rotate Your Raised Leg...

So the yogi wannabe, also known as 'Five-foot-two-of-fury-ninja-princess-mighty-triathlete' was at it again this week. I think it's safe to say I'm a yoga convert. No, I'm not giving up my passion, triathlon, but I am truly enjoying the classes. It's been a nice change from my usual life that consists of swim, bike, run, and repeat. However, I must confess, I have been noticing something of late...

The yoga centre I attend offers two classes at lunchtime. One at high noon, the other a mere ten minutes later. Both are fifty minutes in length. Every morning I ponder the schedule to see what is being offered and what my body might like to attempt. I think it's safe to say that in the last eight classes I have attended all the offered classes.

The classes all come with differing titles. Some have the word 'flow', some 'strength' or 'soul' and even 'core'. There is no accompanying description of the course, so I have been winging it and if I felt I wanted a strength workout I'd hit the class with the word strength in the title. Same if my soul needed a little lift.

Okay, now here's the secret I've noticed...

It's yoga. There are a certain number of poses one can do in your Regular Joe/Jane class. So we do pretty much the same poses in every class no matter what it's called! Shifty, shifty I say.

Now don't get me wrong, this isn't a complaint! Far from it. It's comforting to know I can work on these poses in all the classes as some of them are most definitely challenging. Also, the instructor, depending on the class will have us hold a pose longer or offer a more challenging move to add on. So perhaps that's how they justify the titles? I know not.

The core class was the funniest for me. It felt like more of the soul class in that it was full of wonderfully slow movement and poses. In some of the poses I could feel my core engage somewhat, but it wasn't until the last five minutes that she let the core flow, so to speak.

We were laying on our backs with our feet raised about 30 degrees off the ground while criss-crossing our feet, then we'd raise it another 30 degrees, repeat, then lower 30 degrees and finally go to the ground.

It was during the second set where I decided maybe it wasn't a good idea that I had done 300 crunches on Saturday and 300 on Sunday. Ooof! Now I was feeling the core!

Today was a great class as well, and indeed challenging. The yogi had us holding our poses for counts of 7 - 10 breaths. (If you've never experienced yoga, the breaths are not your typical short shallow ones, but rather the loooong deep ones.) So it wasn't always the easiest thing when the only body part touching the ground is one foot and the rest of your limbs are splayed hither and tither. The ninja princess was certainly being tested today! As was her ability to grasp the mat with her toes while her body went into a bit of a wobble. Good think I have superhuman dexterity in my toes!

During one pose, I realized my muscles were still dealing with my little leg workout on Saturday. Picture this if you shall... Our budding yogi, yours truly, is bent in half like an upside down 'V', also known as downward dog. She takes a deep Darth Vader inhalation. She shifts her left foot so it is more towards the centre of the mat. As she exhales, she ever so gracefully lifts her right quadzilla leg so her foot is pointing to the back of the room.

Still breathing, she now bends her right knee of leg still aloft, and then twists her core so her bent right airborne leg is now draped over the left leg that is stabilizing this magnificant pose. Full of peace and letting her heart shine she proceeds to hold for the count of seven breaths...

One breath. Two breath. Three breath. ASS CRAAAAMP!!! Nuts! Four breath. Aiyeeeee!!! Glutius Maxi-Maximus contracting! Do not lose the pose! Do not panic! Five breath. Shite, Shite. THINK INNER PEACE DAMMIT!!! Six breath. Grimacing now. Seven breath. Slowly release so no one knows the pain you are in!

Holy hannah what the hell was that?! Stupid three sets of squats, lunges and step ups is what that was! For pete's sake. Oh, great, the other side is next. Okay. Think loose. Think happy place. Feel the inner energy in the body flowing. All is peaceful. Heart is still shining. Breathe in. Strike the pose. Ready - auuum and....

ASS CRAMP!! Bugger! Bugger! Bugger! Okay, you got through this before - You Can Do It. Do not grimace, it's bad for the Qi. Think Darth Vader. AAAAAAGGGGGHHHH. Breathe, breathe!

I'm pretty sure had anyone the chance to notice my tushy they would have seen a rather large ball of cramped muscle sticking out of my arse at that moment. Wait, maybe I should check and see if it's still balled up.....nope. It's a bit tender though.

As challenging, and as I learned today, somewhat painful, some of the poses are I just know this is going to help me become a mightier triathlete. If not by becoming more flexible, then at least I will increase my pain tolerance! Always a handy thing to have.

Oh, and just because I, apparantly, am a glutten for punishment, I went to the gym after work. One guess as to what I did. Yup. Squats. Lunges. Step Ups. True, I am a nutbar. With any luck though, I'll be a bendy, flexible, strong nutbar by the end of summer!

Peace out my ever wonderful friends.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Recovery or Re-Active???

So I decided that this was going to be the weekend to attempt an hour run. Boy, does that sound funny...'attempt' an hour run. Used to be that that was a short run!

I'd run a couple of times on the dreaded treadmill for a half hour before doing some weights, but that had been about it since IMCDA. My heart rate stayed nice and low for those tests, so I thought it was time I got outside and ran for an hour.

My legs were a bit tired from my gym workout on Saturday. In typical Susi fashion I went from doing one set of squats the week before (and feeling it I might add) to jumping right in and doing three sets of 15 reps of squats, lunges, AND step ups. And yes, the old arse cheeks and quads were quivering for quite some time after that...why do they insist on locating gyms on the second floor of buildings?! Thank Pete for handrails!

The morning weather was looking a bit dodgy, and I had some puttering around to do so I opted to go for my run later in the afternoon. Turns out I picked a great time to go.

I put on my IMCDA duds - yes, I'm still basking in the glory that was my race - got out my trusty sneakers and out the door I went. I was very happy to be outside and running, even if my legs weren't quite sure that this activity was such a good idea. Second day pain was not going to be fun I don't think.

I assumed my legs did not want to deal with running down the beast, so I did a wee detour and ran down past the new home construction near my place, then headed to one of the pathways in the lower neighborhood.

I figured I'd better watch my heartrate as I am still trying to gauge my recovery status. I feel quite good these days, but I don't want to mess with the body, so I have been paying much attention to the little things that might indicate what percentage recovered I am.

As I started up the first incline I looked down and noticed my heart rate jumped to 160 bpm. Huh. Well now, that's a little excessive is it not?! It's just a minor hill. A blip even. Perhaps it was because I hadn't yet warmed up?

I had a wonderful time once I got on the path. Aside from the wiff of dog doo every once in a while, it smelled wonderful there. The rains sure do bring out the scent of the trees and flowers. There were a ton of tiny birds flitting about too, taking advantage of the generous amounts of seeds in the feeders.

One hilarious sight were these two young girls in their backyard. They were jumping around on their trampoline. (You know, the new kind with the net around it. What's with the net anyways?? I mean hey, if a kid falls off cause there is no net, do you think they are going to attempt that manoeuver again?! I think not. How else do you learn not to do dumb arse things?! But I digress.)

So they were jumping around like normal, but the funny thing was they put a sprinkler underneath it so there was water spraying up at them. Well I have to say their laughter was absolutely infectious. I couldn't help but smile and laugh with them. There were having an absolute blast. Had it been a bit hotter out I might have asked to join in all the fun too!

Eventually I was back on the road again and headed down to the lower pathway that follows the river. The pathway is still blocked from the damage that happened when the creek rose up early this summer. I hadn't been down there to check it all out, so decided today was a good day to do some exploring.

As I got down to where the creek has a little run off, I was in awe of the damage. The power of Mother Nature never ceases to amaze me. Rather large trees had been pushed along here and the pathway was completely washed away. You could see where the water had rushed by and formed new tributaries. Wow. All that was left were mounds of dirt and rocks, rather than the smooth red shale pathway that normally resides there.

I did a little hop, skip and jump to get around all the rocks, tree branches and mud. My mind started wandering to off road running... One of these days I'm going to run out to Ribbon Falls and back darn it. That was my goal this summer - to do more trail running!

I didn't have to go too far through there to hit my 30 minute mark. The legs were feeling great, although still a bit sore from the day before. I was just happy to be running outside so it really didn't matter.

Oh, I almost forgot! I was 'told off' by the cutest chipmunk ever! I heard this somewhat angry chirping as I was about to go onto the blocked pathway. I looked up and there he was. Likely telling me I wasn't supposed to go down there. Every time he chirped his little fluffy tail would twitch. I could help but laugh and told him he was adorable. I think that pissed him off even more as the chirping got louder and more frequent. I decided to leave before he flew out of the tree and went for my jugular. I didn't see him on my way back so I assume he went to find someone else to tell off. Grumpy little chipmunk.

Once I turned around I had the 'bonus' hill to climb. Again, my heart rate skyrocketed. Granted I could have walked up the hill to bring it down, but my stubborn streak got the best of me. I did slow my pace a smidge so my heart rate came down a little bit, but I kept running. It was then I started thinking...was my high heart rate due to the last remnants of fatigue from the race or was it just because I hadn't run for a month? This would be a question to ask Coach Greg.

It has been a month though, and I do feel recovered, so my bets are just that I haven't been running and the heart needs a few more runs to get used to things. It was really awesome being outside running again though. I totally lucked out with the weatehr too because after I'd gotten home and showered a rather nasty storm literally blew through! Tons of lightening, chunks of hail and house rocking thunder! Good thing I was inside!

Peace out my friends.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Like Pulling Taffy...

Okay, so I have survived two weeks of yoga classes. That translates into six classes of my body being stretched, contorted, and squeezed like salt water taffy. Today my hips felt loose when I walked. I'm not quite sure that's a good thing??

Here's the thing. I have two loose hips and a loose shoulder. What's that mean you ask? Well, let's put it this way - I can sort of pop them out. I don't think it's a dislocate though.

In fact, when I was a wee bairn, I asked my Uncle Lorne, who was an industrial first aid dude who'd seen icky gory things, to put his hand on my hip. I then proceeded to 'pop' my femur out from my hip and asked innocently 'Uncle Lorne, why does it do that?' It took him a while to answer as he was trying not to chunder. He also looked rather pale, if I recall correctly. So much for being Mr. Seen-It-All!

My first attempt at running was in my twenties. Ohhhh so long ago. Things went ok for a while, then my right hip started hurting a lot and would just involuntarily pop out. Not a good thing. I went to a physiotherapist at one point because I couldn't walk any longer. (These are the times you realize just how much you need your hips!) He pulled things back into alignment, then told me the dreadful news. 'You may never be able to run again.' Oh the drama!

Actually, at that time I was like, 'Oh. Uh. Ok. Guess I'll just hit the gym again!' I would; however, miss the bonding time with my Moeder. I happened to be living back at home again and going to college. I used to run very early in the morning, in the dark. The parental unit were worried about me doing that, so Mum would ride her bike beside me. It was very cool.

Anyways, it wasn't until three years ago that I decided to give running a try again. I had been in the gym quite a bit again, after a 4 year hiatus, and for some reason I just thought things would stay in place this time. The neat thing is my hip didn't bother me! Of course those first few steps were just a preview of what was to come in the form of the wonderful world of triathlon.

There were times when my hips would give me heck over the last three years - that's when I'd get me arse back into the gym and 'tighten' things up a bit. It would appear my hips like to stay tight. As do my hamstrings, calves and glutes. They are quite persnickety about this. Of course, physiologically speaking, this is not necessarily good for the body when doing Ironman distance triathlons. Hence the reason I thought it would be good to join a yoga studio and see if I could stretch things out.

I wanted to do this during the training season, but it's hard enough fitting in all the swim, bike and run training without squeezing in yoga classes. I even dropped my beloved weight training. (I really need to find a very rich person to support me so I can pretend I'm a pro and train all day!! But that's another story.)

One of my Dad's favourite sayings 'tighter than a cow's arse in fly season' would be an appropriate description of just how tight my muscles are. There are several moves where this point is emphasized.

The first is when we put our arms out in front of us and place one bent arm underneath the other, then are asked to 'wind' our hands. Hmmm. I like to think my biceps are too huge for this move so I can just barely touch my hands. However, I can feel my rhomboid and traps straining and pulling. So much so that my spine cracks because the muscles are being stretched so much. Huh. I just had the image of a torture chamber stretching machine enter my head...

Oh, then there's this really good move where we are in the plank position. You then lift one leg straight out behind you, then proceed to twist somewhat at the core so you can drop that leg, with bent knee, over the other leg. Holy hannah does that stretch out the old hip flexor. I'm sure, had there not been the sound of my Darth Vader breathing, you would hear my muscles and tendons creak and squeak under the strain. I'm sure this is one reason things are moving about now.

Last class we did something the instructor termed 'the rock star pose'. I have seen many a rock star and I gotta say, I don't think any of them do this! I can't even explain the moves, all I know is part of me was facing downwards and the other part upwards with one leg stretched out, arms everyhwere and a bent leg. All muscles quivered simultaneously as I tried to hold this.

My body is seriously wondering what in hell is going on. Part of it feels great, the other part is saying 'Hey, what are you doing?? We like being inflexible!!'
Ah well, I have 10 more weeks to see how things go. All in all I truly love the peaceful state one can get into in yoga. At least when I remember to breath and unclench my teeth that is...

Peace out and aum my friends!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

The Wetsuit Goddesses...

I was told by Richelle that I HAD to post this pic. As I thought Jenna looks adorable in it, I decided I would. Not to mention it's proof that I really did find a skull and crossbone swim cap!

I also sent it to our fearless leader, Gregory, and informed him he should put it on his laptop as his wallpaper. Mostly because it would look like Jenna giving him a raspberry every time he looked at it. Heh heh.

Oh, the picture was taken at Hubble Lake before the GWN triathlon that Jenna was in. It's amazing how crisp and refreshing the water looks, but really there are parts of it that smell like rotten eggs and it has floaty bits, origins of which I need not know. Ew.

Peace out my friends!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Where To Today?!?

We were a bit slow getting going this morning. The night before was 'Thunder in the Valley', which was a fireworks show. It didn't start till 11 pm, so before that we took the kids to the fair and pigged out on cotton candy. Mmmm.... I had had a craving for it since yesterday when I biked into town and saw the fair! It didn't take long for that craving to subside and I'm sure I won't need any for about a year with how much I ate! Needless to say it was rather late when we got back and I was hopped up on sugar!

The next morning, once we got the sleep out of our eyes and got some grub, it was time to head out. Julie was going out for a run with her buddy Stewart. Oh how I longed to run too, but they were going to run for two hours and I knew my legs weren't quite up to that yet. As I didn't want to miss out on any fun I borrowed Julie's, ever so skookum, mountain bike and went along for the ride!

The first bit of the ride/run was through a gravel road (what else would be expected really) that took you right through the Frank Slide. I hadn't been on a mountain bike in a while and so went up along some craggy bits just to test out the old skills...

The one thing that was new for me, on a mountain bike that is, was that I was clipped in. I'm super comfy on my tri bike with clips, but wasn't quite as cocky on the mountain bike when I was off the beaten path. That didn't stop me though! I tore through sections and pushed myself a bit. It was great fun swooshing through all the loose rock and bouncing along! Weeeee! I managed to stay upright through it all, which was a nice confidence booster.

Once we got through that bit it was all roadside riding through Hillhurst. At this point I wanted my tri bike! I must add that some of the houses in this wee town are so cute. Actually, all through the Pass there are cute old time homes. Julie's being one of them!

Julie and Stewart were doing awesome climbing the hills and such. IMC will be nothing for Julie! Me, I just pedalled alongside and put on my best Rocky coach voice every once in a while to yell at them to go faster. Heh heh. I also would zoom off and try to remember how to hop things. I managed to remember, but only got an inch off the ground. Boo.

This little ride has prompted me to do some work on my mountain bike so I can take it down there and do some real mountain biking! Charmaine and Julie have promised to take me into the mountains. Aaaaiyyyyeeeeee! I can't wait!

Once they'd finished their run, Julie showed us her favourite cooldown spot - a wee creek just before the walk home. It wasn't super hot out for me as I was riding; however it was hot for the runners. Julie got in and splashed some cold water on herself, then Stewart got right in, found a deep section and the middle and Fwoop! he was under! Julie and I both couldn't believe it.

I had daintly stepped in a bit, but the rocks were hurting my feet so I got out fairly quickly. That's when the gauntlet was dropped. Stewart basically triple dog dared me that I wouldn't go right in. Well now, I'm not one to back down on a triple dog dare!! Tender tootsies or no I was going in. Julie guided me over the slippery rocks (she had her shoes on) and it was 1-2-3 FWOOSH! I was under. Then I was very quickly up as the water was definately mountain spring fed. Brrrr!

Later on, after lunch, we went for a swim. I am so totally jealous of how many swimmable, clean lakes they have nearby! One forgets how enjoyable it is not to swim in a former slough where you find you have algae clinging to the sides of your mouth and funny smells hovering over the water. Ew.

Julies comment that there aren't many triathletes in the area was confirmed by the looks we got from the beach goers as we waded into the water wearing wetsuits. Too funny.

Our plan was to swim the width of the lake a few times.

Silly me didn't take enough time to make sure her wetsuit was on properly so by about mid lake I thought I was going to pass out due to the neck of my suit pressing against my jugular. I managed to get to the other side and put some water inside my suit to try and shimmy it up, but it didn't seem to want to cooperate. The next 3 laps were just as uncomfortable - good thing it wasn't a race day.

That said it was a gorgeous lake. Charmaine even got in for a swim sans wetsuit! Granted it was warm out and people were swimming in the lake with bathingsuits, but they weren't swimming across the middle where it was much deeper and therefore colder! By the time Charmaine got to the other side she looked like she had chicken skin she had so many goosepimples! Awesome job though!

Next time I go down there I will pester her for some tips on swimming. I have no idea how well Julie swam before, but I can say she's one heck of a swimmer now!

It was truly a glorious weekend and I had a blast. If you get the chance I highly recommend going down there, even if it's just to camp. There are many gorgeous places in the Pass to ride, hike and swim. I look forward to more adventures down there in the future!

Peace out my friends.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

A Princess To Her Castle...

Today was a special day - I was in the Crowsnest Pass visiting my fellow Ironman muchacha, Julie! We were happy to wake up to a fabulous day considering the storm that blew, quite literally, through town last night!

Julie had to work today, but was able to start out for a short while on the bike adventure she had planned out for me. The mission? To cycle to Castle Mountain! Quite fitting for someone who jokingly refers to herself as a Princess. Well, Ninja Princess to be exact! Hmm, wonder if I'd come across any Knights in Shining Armour, or even more exciting - a dragon!

To get there we headed east on Highway 3. The highway wasn't too bad to ride on, there was a decent shoulder and surprisingly not too much traffic. The only area that is a bit dodgy is when you are cycling past the Frank Slide. To say there are lots of rocks in this area would be a HUGE understatement. WOW.

Not long after we passed the slide, we turned onto the secondary highway that leads to Castle Mountain. Julie rode with me for a wee bit up the first hill, then had to head home. Not before giving me instructions though, "Just follow this road until it turns to gravel". Alrighty then, just what I like, straightforward instructions!

Off I went on my merry way.

As I toodled off I couldn't help but think how wild it was that I'd was cycling off into an unknown area and road all on my own. I think the wild part was that I was really looking forward to this adventure! I had no idea how far the ride was, although I had mentioned I'd only planned a three hour journey, and I had no idea what the route would be like, although Julie mentioned she sent me on a hilly route to please the mountain goat in me! How cool is that?

The first thing I noticed was how wonderfully peaceful it was. Very little traffic and, for the most part, no residences. I had a gorgeous view of the mountains, lots of farmland, the odd creek or lake smattered in, and let's not forget the azure blue sky. There was nary a cloud in the sky that day, just sunshine! I made sure to give my thanks for that!

The route itself was rolling and curvy. The hills weren't too steep, but some were long. The song 'Love Rollercoaster' by Stevie Wonder (also sung by the Chili Peppers of course) popped into my head and stuck there for most of the ride.

At one point I rolled into a wee town named 'Beaver Mine'. I made a mental note that there was a general store there, just in case I'd need more water. Thankfully it wasn't too hot out so I figured I'd be ok. In fact it was the perfect temperature. The cycling gods were being mucho kind to this gal.

Once I got past Beaver Mine, the hills became a bit longer. Was it wind or was it me, because with each hill it got progressively harder to get any speed! I seriously couldn't tell. It seemed I wasn't going up the hills as quickly as I originally had! I'm still trying to figure out what stage of recovery I'm in from Coeur d'Alene, so was trying my best not to get down about not having a ton of strength. The inner mountain goat in me wanted to crush the hills though!

At one point I looked at my watch and noticed an hour thirty had gone by. Hmmm....I really did want to ride to the end of the road and explore. The farmlands had turned into a pine forest alongside the road and I really didn't want to leave the area.

You see, I'm a B.C. girl and there are times when I really miss living there. Actually, I don't so much miss living in the Lower Mainland, as much as I miss the Island where my Pop's family lives. I love the Island. I was born on the Island so it's in my blood. It has this distinct smell to it - apart from the pulp mill smell, of course. The air there is crisp and has the scent of pine and cedar in it. Oh, and let's not forget salt when you are near the ocean. But I digress.

As I rode in amongst the trees I could smell that familiar smell of pine and cedar. If I could close my eyes, which I wouldn't do as I was riding....I could almost pretend I was home. Aaaah. I was taking deep breathes with every pedal stroke. Not because I was climbing a hill either - Cheeky Monkeys! I was savouring that wonderful smell....

I decided I had to stay on this path and follow it no matter how long I was out there. I had, yet again, found another happy place.

It actually didn't take me too long to find where the dirt road began at the entrance to the Castle Mountain Resort. To get there it took me just under one and three quarter hours. There were a ton of little Provincial campgrounds in the area. As well, there was a fabulous creek where I decided to stop. I sat there for a little while and just listened to the water rush over the rocks. Siiiiigh.

Eventually I decided I should head back lest Julie start worrying about me. I told her I'd bike to the store afterwards.

Oh. So you recall how I wasn't sure if it was me or some wind force that was slowing me down on the hills? I can confirm now that it was wind. I started pedaling back and was flying! I made it back to Beaver Mine in, what felt like, a blink of an eye! Oh, how I love pedalling fast and really MOVING! It's brilliant! One day I shall be able to do that in a headwind!

I must ask now though, what is it with wind?? How come sometimes you can feel there is a strong headwind and other times not? I mean, I felt the crosswinds when I was crossing through a valley as they damn near knocked me off my bike, but I really didn't feel a super strong wind when I was heading out to Castle Mountain. There had to be though as I still had hills to climb on the way back and yet you'd swear this time I was friggin Lance Armstrong! Things that make you go hmmm...

As I rode back I had an entirely different view. I could still see the mountains, of course, but I also saw wind turbines in the east, which stretched far out into the horizon. Now I know that some think these an eye sore, but I think they are quite graceful with their three long angelic white arms reaching up to the heavens with every turn. Very nice. (Truth be known, I'd rather see these than oil rigs!! Yes, I wrote that and I live in Alberta - remember I'm a tree hugger though!)

Along the way I decided I should really look up how this road winds because I was almost back at Highway 3 when I started to slow down again. There was a flag along the way and I noticed it was a easterly wind. Nuts. I had to head back west. Would I feel the wind this time?!

I won't keep you in suspense with that question, the answer is yes. Well. Sort of. It's not like I had this great wind blowing at my braids. Then again my braids were tied in the back. Hmmm. Anyways, I couldn't feel the wind per se, but it had to have been there! Why, you ask? Because at one point I was pedaling with all my might, DOWNHILL, and I was only going a mere 16 km/h!!

Now I realize that I just came off an Ironman, but seriously. It's been over three weeks now and I would normally blast down a hill like this at about 60 km/h - certainly not 16 km/h! Urgh. There was wind dammit!

Here I thought I was used to wind as we get it quite good in my town. It's strong enough to blow over my barbeque with gas tank! However, the winds down here are used to power wind turbines, so I'm thinking it has a wee bit more power than 'our' winds...

The wind definitely made it a tad bit long getting home. It wouldn't have been so bad had I been in the happy place, but I was on a major highway, so it wasn't as scenic. The Frank Slide is quite amazing, however.

Finally I made it to Julies store. Her and her mom were happy to see me as she had started to wonder what I was up to. She had ridden back in the wind too though so figured it might take me a bit. All in all I ended up riding 96 km today. I ended up taking a nap in the afternoon (something I don't have to do nomally), which tells me that there is still a wee bit of fatigue there, but at least I felt great while I was actually riding. So I am progressing!

Despite the winds I had an amazing day! I am very thankful to Julie for sharing such a beautiful bike route with me. Thank you!!! I hope to get down there again so we can go for a ride together and perhaps she can share another fabulous route with me.

Peace out my friends!

Thursday, 17 July 2008


The last couple of days I continued on my quest to be a bendy, flexible triathlete. I am LOVING this yoga place!

On Wednesday I did the yoga flow class, which was wonderfully relaxing. The teacher was so peaceful and calm, one couldn't help but feel the peace in the room. There were some challenging moves, but most of it was more for stretching out the old bod. Man, can I ever feel how darned tight my shoulders, back, hips and hammies are! No wonder I can't interlock body parts!

One thing I loved that the teacher would say was 'let your heart shine' when we were to turn our chest towards the wall or something. What a beautiful thought! I was very relaxed in this class, even with a Darth Vader breathing behind me.

Yes, I realize this is the proper technique of breathing...but I find it a wee bit distracting in class. However, I also believe that part of learning yoga is learning to meditate and block out all other distractions going on. So carry on Darth!

Today's class was the opposite of relaxing. Holy hannah banana, talk about tough! The class was called 'Strength and Soul'. As my body participated in the strength part, my soul was screaming for mercy. That said, I LOVED this class! Okay, I so far I have loved every class...but they are just so good. And yes, I'm a sucker for pain.

This one was all about strength. Example - holding a plank position straight armed (good thing we had our wee challenge a while ago) then bending the arms halfway, holding, then going further down till we were one inch off the floor, holding, then back to normal plank, then repeating this session three times. My entire body was shaking. I am so going to have triceps like Desiree Ficker at the end of all this!!

We also did a lot of warrior poses where we were using our core strength to lift our upper bodies off our bent knees. The biggest things I noticed here were that my hip flexors are big time locked up and when they are compressed in that position they complain. A lot. Needless to say I became a Darth Vader as I tried desperately to focus on something other than the pain and shaking. BREATHE SUSE, BREATHE!!! The other thing I noticed was my plantar fascia was tightening as my toes and foot desperately tried to cling to the pose and my little yoga mat.

Oh, then we got into a tree pose where we held that, then brought our leg behind us, then out in front - without putting our foot down. Did I mention our arms were moving around throughout all this?! The foot planted on the mat was once again gripping at the floor. She would mention something about keeping the glutes relaxed. Riiiiight. My arse cheeks felt like they had two hands grabbing at them they were clenched so tight!

My soul started to whimper about now.

Some may think, 'Why the heck are you continuing on with this??' I happen to think, rather, I instinctively know that this is going to help me immensly with my progression in triathlon. These classes are showing me just how tight things are. If I keep them that way, problems are going to start cropping up. So I'm going to stick with it. I will become bendy and flexible dammit! Even if it's the last thing I do! (I'm now picturing myself collapsed on a yoga mat breathing my last Darth breath...)

The teacher today was pretty funny too. There was once I was thinking 'Holy Pete I don't think I can hold this pose any longer...I then went into a whole body shake' That's when she started talking about challenges in life and if you don't keep holding on and facing those challenges, then you won't get stronger. Dang! Well I can't give up now.

I had to admit though, it wasn't a bad philosophy! I think she did have a touch of sadism in her though...which I can appreciate. We were doing some core, leg lifts and as she walked by one quivering fellow she said in a peaceful calm yogi voice, 'Smile, not grimace.' Heh heh. Sucka!!

Things were still quivering on me after class - mainly my hip flexors, arse and core. I accept the challenge of Mondays and Thursdays classes though! Wish me luck!

Peace out my friends!

Monday, 14 July 2008


There was an amazing deal for twelve weeks of unlimited yoga classes at a place across from my work, so I decided to sign up! Today was the first day and let me tell you, it was well worth the money!

I swear in all the years I have been trying yoga off and on, I have never had such a brilliant workout. It was challenging but mostly doable and let me say my arse cheeks were a quivering when we were done. Wow, what a strength workout!

I went with my buddy from work Anne, who'd been a member there prior. She hadn't been to this particular class, but was game for it. The other class held at lunch was core class, but as I'm still feeling my core from my little medicine ball push up trick I decided a core class was not required. Didn't matter, my core got a heck of a workout in this class.

First off I'm happy to report that this class had wooden floors. YAY! No stinky sweaty disease ridden yoga carpet for this gal! Well, there was some carpet along the back, but I managed to literally squeeze in between a couple of gals so I didn't have to go near the carpet. This isn't a 'hot' yoga class, but nonetheless I was not taking chances.

It was obvious by the number of students that the instructor was good. I was to find out just how good...

We got to lay about for a bit, then it was straight into a sun salutation. As this is a basic yoga vinyasa, I was familiar with it. However, I had never done it where you go into plank, then upward dog without touching your lower bod to the ground. Oooh, feeling that!

There was also jumping! Jumping into downward dog, jumping into the plank, jumping to the front of your mat. It was brilliant!

At one point I got a wee bit lost as he was using terms like, surya-namaskar (sun salutation), vriksha-asana (tree pose), and trikona-asana (triangle posture), rather than the english terms. He'd call them out and I'd have to quickly look up to see what the others around me were doing. I wasn't sure I was getting my footing correct every time, but he was walking around checking so I figured I was ok to go.

There weren't any Darth Vaders in this class, but there were a ton of snorers! For some reason, whenever we went into downward dog, they'd start doing their heavy breathing that sounded like snoring. I kid you not!

The two girls I squeezed inbetween were both doing their 'snoring' in this pose. Thing was, they'd do it offset of each other. One would snore, the other would snore, one would snore, the other would snore. I swear, I had a flashback of the time I shared a hotel room with the parental unit and had to stuff socks into my winter cap to try to block out the dreaded noise!! (That didn't work I should add...) In other poses they didn't make the sound, thankfully. Lest I start to giggle and burst into laughter.

Some of the poses we did were just insane. There was one where, now I have to think a moment here to recall the exact contortion as I was unable to do it.... Okay, right, so you are sitting with your legs straight out in front of you. You bend one knee up so your right foot is near your bits, then you put your right arm underneath your knee so your elbow is bent under your bent knee. Still following me?? Then you slide your arm under more so basically the back of your knee is resting on your friggin shoulder! Wait, it gets even better. Then you straighten that arm, and with both arms you lift your body off the bloody mat!! THERE WERE PEOPLE THAT COULD DO THIS!!! To them I bow and say 'We're not worthy!!'.

I have no idea if I will ever be able to perform this move, as I am short and stalky girl. I have big legs and a good set of pipes. I just don't know how I can slide all this together. However, my instructor isn't long and lean like the majority of the class, who could do this pose, and he did it. So there must be hope for me. Whether or not I can accomplish this in twelve weeks is another story. I am so up for the challenge though!

The one thing I am quite proud of is that I have ninja princess balance. I like doing all the balancing poses for that very reason. I may not be able to contort myself and lift my body off the ground, but I can stand on one leg, stretch my other leg way out in back of me while stretching forward and not wobble in the slightest. So there! Take that all your contortionists who were wobbling!

Oh, I should note that this triathletes 'tighter than a cow's arse in fly season' body has absolutely no flexibility in her hamstrings or low back. This whole grab your big toe and stick your leg out in front of you thing?? Uh no. I promise to work on that though.

I think the only complaint about this class I have, which is very minor and will be overlooked, was when I was trying to 'be in the moment' at the beginning. Our instructor, Michael, kept talking about how we were to be in the now, quiet our minds, and leave our Monday's behind. This was what I was trying to do; however, his incessent talking made it darn near impossible for me to quiet my mind! Oh well, it was a very short moment, and the rest of the class my mind was clear of thought other than, 'Holy hannah how am I going to get into or out of this pose?! I wonder if they have medics on standby??'

For not being a 'hot' yoga class, I worked up quite the sweat. I had to call Anne a liar afterwards because she said she didn't sweat in it. She also had never taken Michaels class and was quite astounded by the workout!

As I mentioned at the beginning though, this was my type of yoga class. I loved the strength components, the jumping, the challenges that I face, and of course the sweat. It will be interesting indeed to see how I progress through the twelve weeks.

It looks like I've found another 'happy place' to add to my list!

Peace out my friends!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Just One Of Those Days...

So the entire week I was looking forward to today. I figured I'm recovered so I'm going to go do my beloved Lochend loop! It's going to be a nice day out and I can take my time if I need to and just enjoy being out there. I had planned on getting up reasonably early to get going.

However, I wake up this morning and I'm completely stuffed up. Not from a cold, but my dreaded allergies. My head is stuffed, my nose is stuffed, my ears are itchy - on the inside!, and my eyes look like two piss holes in the snow. Urgh. I didn't feel like getting up, so I lingered a while in bed.

When I finally did get up I really didn't have much energy. I hate when my allergies suck the life out of me. I thought, I need to get my gear together for my bike ride, but the motivation was severely lacking. I started to procrastinate as if I had to study for chemistry, my most loathed course! So instead of getting bike things done I tidied up, made my lunches for the week, read etc.

By 11:30 I still hadn't made the move to go outside. Now I was getting upset. Why, I have no idea, likely it was an allergy thing too. They sometimes really mess me up. The whole situation really seems silly now. It's not like I HAD to go out for a bike ride. For some reason though I felt disappointed that I wasn't gung ho about it and I really didn't think I wanted to do 110km today. Oh, did I mention I'm not training for anything?!

I went online to see if any of my tri buddies were there to chat with. Lo and behold Darryl was there. I was almost in tears telling him I had wanted to go out all week and now I couldn't get motivated and I really wanted to continue building on my fitness and I should be ready for a long ride and what was wrong with me?! Yes, I'm a dork. Thankfully, Darryl is totally aware of this fact and, in addition, he has a fiance so I think understands weird girl moments. I think. If he doesn't, he did a good job of helping me anyways!

He reassured me that I didn't have to go if I didn't want to, but that I could also consider a shorter ride. Or just pass. Either way was cool.

Well okay then! I guess that's what I needed to hear. I bid him adieu, then promptly went and got my gear on and headed out. Is it just me, or is it weird that we sometimes feel we need 'permission' not to do something?!

I decided to do the Horse Creek/Grand Valley loop with an optional Bottrell trip if I felt like it. There were some nasty looking clouds around the mountains so at one point I was wondering if I'd meet some rain or, yipes, hail. I tried to figure out which way the wind was blowing but it was a weird wind today and sometimes it was from the east, sometimes from the south. At the very least, I figured that the clouds weren't coming my way!

I did run into some mental challenges at the start of my bike ride. I was feeling sluggish and had to keep reminding myself that although I was likely recovered, I hadn't done a hilly ride for the last three weeks so not to have huge expectations of grandeur! I finally remembered to just work with what I had and from then on in had a much better ride.

The first 'big' climb I decided to go nuts with. I was up out of the saddle and pushing hard. My imagination had me racing in the Swiss Alps. This was a nod to my friend Katie who was racing in Ironman Switzerland today. Not that she was in the Swiss Alps, I don't think. Ah well, it was my fantasy and I was beating everyone in the hill climb! (I might add that Katie came in 5th in her age group!! YAY KATIE!) I was slowing down a bit at the top, but had a good pace going. My heart rate soared to 170 bpm though....whooops.

The rest of the ride went really well. My legs felt good and my heart rate settled into a more normal rythym around the half way point. I was really pleased with my pace and strength as I battled the still weird head/crosswind that was going on. At one point I was nearly knocked off my bike from it because it hit me in a few directions and I couldn't get my balance.

As I was on my way home I rode past a bunch of flags that were on both the north and south sides of the road. The flags on the north side were pointed north, indicating a south wind. However, the flag on the south side of the road was pointed west, indicating an east wind! No wonder I couldn't figure out the winds, Mother Nature couldn't figure out which direction to blow them in either!!

By the time I got home I was in a much better mood. For fun I checked my computer and as it turns out my pace was a training level pace. Well that's a nice surprise! I was so glad I got outside, even if the ride was shorter than originally planned. In fact, I think all that happened before the ride was the Universe's way of saying today was meant to be a short ride day as I was feeling sleepy when I got back. I seem to have forgotten the wise practice of listening to ones body and going with the flow! How soon one forgets after their race!! Todaywas a good reminder however.

Peace out my friends.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

The Gym Rat Is Back!!!

I went to see Michael Franti and Spearhead play in town last night - and I must say they were absolutely BRILLIANT! It was an intimate setting so perfect for their music. 100% peace, love and granola - I was in my element and danced, sang, and shimmied for over two and a half hours. I am counting that as a workoutI should add! The only down side was I didn't get home till way, way, waaaay past my bed time, so it was a little hard to get up this morning.

When I finally did get my booty shaking bod out of bed I decided I'd hit the gym. For two reasons really. One, I want to tone up a bit and I always drop the gym visits when I get into heavy triathlon training, and two, I wanted to test my legs.

I haven't run since Ironman Coeur d'Alene (IMCDA) and I wasn't sure what my legs would think. I was most worried about my knees as I've had some nigglies since the race and I never have problems with my knees. Of course I've also never run a friggin marathon before so it was likely just some residual grumbling from my body.

I decided to run on the treadmill to test and see if all systems were go. Typically I loathe the treadmill, but for today I figured it would be okay because it would be softer than pavement and it would be flat, which is what I wanted. Plus, if things felt like crud I would just hit the weights sooner.

I hit start on the treadmill then started hitting the plus button to get things rolling. I thought it might be best if I walked a bit to warm up and had intended on doing 5 minutes, but was almost instantly bored so the warm up lasted a long, tedius, painful minute.

I started hitting the button more to try to get a decent speed and finally settled in to a good groove. I was on complete alert for any aches, pains, or greivances my legs and hip area might give me. Every few moments I would do a lower body check...

Ankles? Check. Calves? Ok. Knees? Check! Quads and Hammies? Roger! Hips? No problemo. Lower Back? Excellent! Well then, lets see how long this lasts.

As it turns out I felt great for the entire half hour. I didn't want to push things so thought that might be a long enough time to start out with. I'll slowly increase it within the next few weeks. I was smiling through my entire run because I was so pleased my body had recovered this quickly. I was also pleased I actually wanted to run!

A funny thing happened when I was on the treadmill. In between my body checks I started thinking about the marathon portion of the race. I flashed back to the very end and seeing Michaela and Leslie, then my folks and Greg. I admit it, tears came to my eyes. I was just so damn happy to be finishing strong and feeling great. I'm pretty sure a little spring appeared in my step while I was on the treadmill from thinking about that. It also felt really good to still be super stoked about the race even though it was done a few weeks ago! I truly have no regrets about how things played out.

After my run I did some upper body work. I'd seen an exercise on television and wanted to give it a go. I took an 8.8lb medicine ball and put it on the ground. Then got into pushup position with one hand on the floor, and the other on top of the ball. I did a pushup, then while still in pushup position, I rolled the ball across the floor to my other hand, put that one on top of it, then did a pushup.

What a great friggin chest and core workout! I did three sets of 10, 8 and 10. I really had to push the last two reps on the last set. Yeow! I worked on my shoulders, back, biceps after that.

I pondered doing legs, but didn't want to push things so I only did one set of squats with no weights on the bar. Likely a good thing as I am now feeling my gluteous maxi-maximus. Had I done more I might not be able to sit!

It really feels weird doing such a short workout. I think I was only in there for just over an hour. At the same time I know that I need to watch my workouts right now and not dive back in too quickly. I want to continue building on the strength and endurance I gained this year and don't want to mess it up by starting back in too hard or fast. As much as it pains me to do so!! Ah well, I have plenty of time before the next Ironman to build up!

Peace out my friends! Or as Michael Franti would say 'Power to the Peaceful!!'

Wednesday, 9 July 2008


Since I was a wee lass I have had intestinal issues. I can remember at age nine guzzling Dioval. Hmm, something is wrong with that picture.

It would seem that although the parental unit were cool as cucumbers in most situations, their little girl was a worrier and had mastered anxiety. I never really analyzed this issue until the intestinal issues become harder to ignore.

In my twenties (oh how long ago that was!) I was diagnosed with Irritible Bowel Syndrome or IBS. What is that you ask? Well, it's a wonderful catch all phrase used when the doctors can't quite pinpoint what is wrong, but they can tell you it isn't one of the big three, Crohns, Colitis, or Celiac. At that time I was told I would have to figure out what my 'triggers' were for attacks. Gee thanks.

Last year was likely my worst bout with it. At one point I was worried I wouldnt' be able to continue on with my love, triathlon. It was then I went back to the doctors seeking help. My doctor decided to refer me to a gastrointestinal specialist to see if there was anything more they could do.

While waiting for this appointment to take place, I continued on my own search for help in the 'non traditional' variety. My journey led me to a nutritionist, who introduced me to a life coach, who in my opinion, saved me. My big lesson? How to live in the present in order to rid myself of the tendency to worry and be anxious.

Since then I've had some minor bouts, but typically it's because I've slipped into an old pattern. Now when it happens I analyze how my thought patterns have been and I get better.

During all this though, my appointment with the GI specialist occurred. I'm not sure what I did to deserve this but I happened to get the most handsome GI specialist in town. Some would think this a good thing. However, when one has to describe, in detail, their bowel movements to a hottie, it really isn't such a good thing.

Although I mentioned that I believed I now had things under control since my 'awakening', he felt it best to conduct a gastroscopy and colonoscopy because my last bout lasted six months and I couldn't get it under control.

Gulp. A what and, shudder, a colonoscopy??? I know what that is! Something in my nether region tightened at that moment.

I then learned a gastroscopy is where they would insert a probe into my mouth, down my throat and into my esophagus, stomach and duodendum. Cough, gack. For those not familiar with the word colonoscopy, it's where they insert a probe, uhm, er, let's just say where the sun doesn't shine. It then travels through your colon and lower intestine. (Another reason NOT to have a good looking doctor!)

My first question? 'Please assure me you will be using different probes. Yes? Nice.' The next question? 'I won't be awake for this will I?? No? Suhweet! Go for it. Do what you need to!'

Yesterday was the big day for the two procedures. But before I get into that, I'd like to share the preparation experience, because it is such a large part of this procedure.

First off I was not to consume seeds or nuts all weekend. This included things like tomato seeds. Do you know how hard it is to scrap seeds out of grape tomatoes?? Then I spent all of Monday consuming liquids of the non red, purple (boo) or blue variety. I think all I managed to get down was a bottle of Powerade (clear), a bottle of white grape juice, one container of veggie bouillon, and two popsicles. I should mention I don't do well without solid food. Grumble, grumble.

At precisely 5 pm I was to begin 'the cleanse'. Oh how I wish this just meant cleansing the bod so that it was nice for the handsome doctor. Alas, this was not so. No, instead I had to ingest 4 litres of Co-Lyte, or what I like to lovingly refer to as 'Clear Death'. In order to do this I had to drink 1 cup of Clear Death every 15 minutes. Did I mention I had 4 litres to go through??

I was lucky enough to have a friend who, very unfortunately, has to do this on a regular basis because of her Crohn's. She gave me some excellent tips to help me through the ordeal that was to last approximately 3 hours.

The first thing she said was 'grab some books, your laptop or whatever to amuse you, and pretend you are a guy hanging in the bathroom'. Uhm, ok. Next was to keep the Co-lyte cold and to use straws. She also mentioned the best thing is to drink 1.5 cups at a time because it gets really hard to swallow after a while.

At 4:30 pm, I started gathering my goodies. I had my laptop ready, some books, a bowl with ice and the Clear Death, a measured cup, my cute red bendy straws, and my watch to time me.

I started at 5pm on the nose. The first glass wasn't too bad. Kind of fruity actually. I was lucky that Gregory was online so I could chat with him. He knew what was going on but begged me not to divulge any details. Wuss. I did joke about the fact that I would have a permanent red ring around my arse from sitting on the damn toilet for so long!

Within a half hour things started happening. All I can say is that I'm glad all I did was drink during the day, because if I had a bunch of solids in me it would have been nasty.

I shall spare the nitty gritty's. Basically I sat on the porcelin throne for 3 hours. Yes, 3 hours. Thankfully Greg was there for me because towards the end it was really really hard to gulp down the Clear Death. The somewhat fruity taste was gone and replaced by a somewhat salty taste. I kept gagging with the first few sips of the last few batches. I needed someone there to reassure me that I could do this. I also needed someone to distract me from the other stuff going on, the fact that I was now freezing and getting a wicked headache. Clear Death indeed!

As soon as the ordeal was done and the life had been flushed from me, I went promptly to sleep.

The next morning I was at the hospital for 7am. I'd say I was bright eyed and bushy tailed, but that would be a lie. I must have been reasonably calm though because when they hooked me up to the heart rate monitor it read 55 bpm. Cool like cucumba baby!

The fun started when I met my nurse, Shariffa. She was friggin hilariou! First off she quizzed me if I'd eaten any solids the day before. I assured her I did not. Then she stated she would be able to tell if I was lying so I better not be! Not sure how she could tell this and I wasn't about to ask! I just kept promising I didn't. Good thing I did follow the plan too because I heard her give 'what for' to the dude in the next bed because they were going to have to give him an eneama! (I can sense everyones nether regions clenching at this point...)

She had some difficulties in inserting the IV. She tried in an area above my thumb...three times. I typically turn away as they are putting the needle in and then I'm fine. When I turned back she was moving it around and stabbing trying to hit the vein. A wave of nausea flowed through me so I looked away.

She then tried another vein on the top of my hand that seemed to pop up slightly only after she slapped it a few dozen times. Ow. She commented that it was hard to get the needle in as she stabbed this vein a couple of times.

I commented back that had I not been dehydrated from drinking Clear Death and peeing out of my arse for the last 15 hours perhaps she would have had a nice juicy vein to stick the needle in! Not to mention no liquids after midnight! Thankfully she found this amusing and didn't hurt me. She also agreed that I was likely dehydrated. You think?!

I signed my life away, then another nurse came to wheel me into the 'inspection' room. As she wheeled me towards the door of the room I was to go into I almost splayed out like a cat going into the bath in order to stop the bed motion. Whoa now! Uhm, excuse me, but does that sign say BIG Endoscopy room?! Let me remind you I'm a smaller sized gal and am pretty darned sure I don't need a BIG endoscopy. She laughed and said it just meant we were in the bigger examination room. I had my suspicions but was at a loss to stop her.

Once in we made some small chat, as I'm apt to do, until Doctor Hottie arrived. He was kind enough to ask how my race went. I told him, then all conversation was to cease as I was injected with some funky psychodelic sleepy drug. The last thing I remeber was the nurse inserting the bite guard in my mouth that would allow the gastroscopy probe to go down my throat. Then it was 3-2-.... la la land.

I was under what they call conscious sedation. They could ask me stuff but I wouldn't remember what was said or what was going on. I kept thinking, please do not say anything about the skookum doc!! I did wake up at one point when they were doing the colonoscopy. I remember some sharp abdominal pain as they filled my intestines with air so the probe could move through. I also remember looking at a television and seeing my intestines. I asked 'what's that yellow stuff?' Heard the Doctor say 'just bile'. Then I said 'oh' and promptly went unconscious again.

The next thing I knew I was in the recovery room and someone had put some juice and cookies by my bed. Too bad I couldn't have the cookies. I could have used some food. Shariffa came to check on me and mentioned that as they filled me with air for the procedure it was likely I'd be passing gas out both ends. Giggle. She said to let'er rip because everyone would be doing it. I tried so hard not to laugh at this point. Not too hard as I was still groggy. I wanted to mention as a triathlete I'm well practiced at the art of 'passing gas'.

Now here's the one complaint I have. The good Doctor came out to tell me how it went, but I was still mostly in la-la land. (I tend to be sensitive to drugs.) I am sure he said it went well and all looked good, but they did take a couple of biopsies. I wasn't aware enough to ask why. Oh well, I'm sure if anything comes up they will call. Unlike the old Susi, I'm not going to worried about it!

You may be asking yourself, 'Uh, Suse, why are you writing this on a triathlon adventure blog??' Well, personally I think it was an adventure! Yes, I find the strangest things adventures... Also, it's a health issue and there is room for that on this blog. I want to spread the word that really, a colonoscopy isn't that bad. Granted I thought I would be a lot older when I got one, but just in case there are those out there who are putting it off, I say be like Nike and 'Just Do It!'.

Oh, I might also add to get it done after doing an Ironman. You see, sometimes it's not easy to rest up after an IM. I had tons of rest after this procedure though! I don't really remember the ride home. (A major thank you to Esther for getting up early and driving me there and back!!) I just remember walking upstairs, going to bed and sleeping for 4.5 hours. I then woke up, chatted with Gregory online, but don't remember the conversation, and went back to bed. I feel fairly rested now.

Also, if you want to get out of cooking, driving or working it's good because they say you can't do any of those things for 24 hours afterwards because you are legally impaired! A day off work and I don't have to cook!! Niiice.

Peace out my friends.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

GWN...A New Perspective...

I have to say it, I just love the Great White North (GWN) Half Ironman held in Stony Plain, AB. It is one of the most well run events around and comparable, in that sense, to Ironman Canada and Ironman Coeur d'Alene.

For the last two years I was a participant in this race, but this year was to be different. I have just come off of racing at IMCDA, so there was no way I could race here. I still wanted to be a part of the action so I decided to volunteer.

My only stipulation with volunteering was that I be done early so that I could slip into cheerleader mode and cheer on the many friends that were racing. The first email I received indicated I'd be in bodymarking and the swim/bike transisiton. The coveted spot of bodymarking?! YAY!! Alas, they didn't do that this year. Booo! I was working in transition with my friend Sue though.

Just as on race day, I had to get up early and arrive at transistion by 6am. When I got there I saw there was quite the swamp where the bike racks were. We'd had quite the storm the night before. As there were few competitors there yet, the transition director, Mark, got us to move the racks so no one had to change in the swamp. (Just one example of how amazing the organizers are!)

Once that was all taken care of there wasn't much for us to do until after the swim start. Mark suggested that as I'd raced here before that I just make myself available for questions from the athletes. I took this as an opportunity to walk around and check on everyone that I knew, heh heh. I did answer two questions however.

The first one was a bit of a shocker...the question was 'Uhm, where is the coffee?' I did my best not to burst into laughter, admittedly a little squeak of a giggle came out as I said 'I'm sorry, did you just ask where the coffee was??' My answer 'Oh, I'm sorry hun but that would have been something you'd have to bring yourself. There is no coffee here'. I waited till she turned around before shaking my head in amusement. Sue did her best not to die laughing too.

It was great seeing everyone get ready and I was happy to help out wherever I could. I have to say, I really wanted to be racing. That is until the dark clouds appeared again, then I thought, well, maybe this isn't too bad.

Once the athletes were off in the water it was time for us to get into our stations! I had been asked if I would work as a wetsuit stripper, to which I replied 'I don't do pee.' I think they were shocked that I knew that it wasn't just water coming out of those wetsuits as they are ripped off the athlete!! I was more than happy to work the racks though - guiding athletes to their bikes, helping to get going if they needed it, and putting all their wet gear into the transition bag.

The first athlete out of the water was one Byron Unger, whom I happen to know. He's a friend of Sue and her hubby. Needless to say we didn't rush to our stations, instead we were screaming 'go Byron go!!' Things started to get going after that.

The time I was in transition went by quit quickly. The athletes, for the most part, were scattered out so it didn't seem too squishy in their narrow pathways. I was able to help some by handing them their gear, but most were ok on their own, they just wanted to be reassured that their gear would be put in the proper bag and brought to T2, the second transisiton location.

At one point I heard Steve King announce Jenna's name. I was at her bike right away making sure she was ok after the swim and asking if she needed help with anything. I was so excited for her it! I have to say I can't believe how much stuff she shoved in her damn jersey pockets! Soon enough she was off and riding.

I was honoured to be able to help out, not only Jenna, but Maureen, Doug and Alan, who were all first time half Ironman athletes. I also got to help some of my more experienced friends such as Linda. It was so great to be there!

As the athletes were slowly moving out on their bikes, our job was to put all their gear into the yellow transition bags that would be transported to T2. I think there were about 20 volunteers at this area and we had about 850 bags to pack, tie up, gather at the end of the bike rows, then load up onto a van. All this in off/on torrential rains. Funny thing is I didn't really notice the rain. The times I did, I was more worried about the athletes on their bikes.

Once all the bags were stowed, we then had to gather the race numbers from the ground (two people were designated to do this in order to keep the numbers sequential), then it was time to dismantle the bike racks, put them on the truck and transport the whole kit and kaboodle. I am very thankful the racks are made of aluminum!

With everything packed it was off to T2 where everything had to be set up before the first cyclist got there.

As a prior athlete in this race, I don't think I ever knew that they actually dismantled T1, brought it to T2 and set it up there! My stuff was always just there.

It's all done fairly quickly as we were working quickly. First up was to set up the bike racks in rows that were measured to ensure they had 9 ft in between them. As that was being done, someone was laying down the race numbers on the ground in sequential order. As that was being done the first bags, containing the athletes run gear, was being unloaded from the trucks. I actually got a workout in doing all this.

They couldn't all be unloaded at once though, eat one had to be checked off as it being there and being unloaded. The bags were then passed over the fence to a volunteer who then went up and down the rows to find where it went.

Once all this was done the volunteers then waited for the athletes to stream in so they could guide them and their bikes to their designated spot so they could rack their bike and get their run gear on.

Once T2 set up was complete, and before the first athlete came in (this was only a few moments I should add - it's all done that close to the clock), Sue and I were off. It was now time to cheerlead!

See, proof that I really did have purple pom-pom's!! Cheerleading was a hoot. I screamed, jumped up and down, hollered and the whole nine yards. It was so great seeing all my friends out there kicking butt. I was happy the rains seemed to subside from the morning storms!

There were a lot of amazing moments out there - Alan, Jenna, Kelly, Richelle, Doug, Chris, Ken, Dr. Phil and Maureen finishing their first half Ironman's. Darryl had a kick butt race, as did David. I love that Linda found some time to focus on herself on race day and didn't worry about her family. She's a great wife and Mom!

I admit I almost cried when I saw Jenna running up the road. I got to run with her a bit and tried my best not to shed a tear. When Maureen came though, that was a different story.

Maureen (aka Mo) is my swim buddy. A few months ago she fell off her bike in training and broke her saphoid bone (thumb bone that connects to the wrist somehow). She had to do all her training indoors on the bike, and couldn't swim due to her cast. In fact, she had only gotten her cast off TWO weeks before this race - her first half IM! Through it all she kept amazing spirit, so to see her finish was quite an emotional moment. I'm actually tearing up again just writing about this!

Then there was JoZ who lost 40 lbs this year! She raced last year and had the old motorcycle escort in as the last competitor. She decided then and there that that wasn't going to happen again and took the steps needed to make a positive change. She not only lost the weight but took an hour off last years time!

There were so many friends that raced out there and I would love to list them all. Instead I will just say I'm super proud of each and every one of you for facing some challenging weather and yet perservering, and in most cases, achieving personal best times!

I'm honoured that you shared your day with me! I'm also over the moon because I had a few people come up to me and say that I really helped them by telling them some of my mantras and mental tools I use when racing. They used them today and the tools worked for them as well. My heart is full of gratitude that I was able to help in some way.

Peace out my friends, and if you haven't already done so this year - get out and volunteer for a race!!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

How To Eat Crow...

I had a really bad sleep last night. I woke up at approximately 2:49 am. Okay, I looked at the clock, so it wasn't approximate, it just was. As a former insomniac I try not to look at the clock when I wake up in the middle of the night because if I do I'm doomed to not fall back asleep.

I was tossing and turning for a while though and ended up just looking. I flipped back over and let out a heavy sigh. Then I noticed that I was thirsty and my throat hurt. Hmmm.

I got up, got some agua, then went back to bed. My throat still hurt. Hmmm.

I tossed and turned for who knows how much longer then I think I fell asleep and went right into dreamland. When I woke up I was exhausted. Not really how one would like to feel when they wake up.

As I stood up to head to the washing area I realized that not only did my throat hurt, but my nose was stuffed and my head had cotton in it. Then the sneezing started. DANG! Could this be the prelude to a cold?? No, no, no! I'm almost at the point where I could kind of get back into actual training again.

Okay, granted it's not like I'm training for anything, but I really wanted to get back out there and build on my bike strength. Head out for some really long rides with friends just to put some 'money in the bank' for next year.

Bugger, bugger, bugger!!!

This is all Greg's fault! If he hadn't suggested I take it easy so I could recover properly I wouldn't have felt super guilty about pushing somewhat hard on that awesome ride last Sunday and I wouldn't now have a head stuffed with cotton! This is a guilt cold. I'm sure of it.

Well I'm not going down without a fight darn it! So there.

During the day I happened to converse with IronGreg. Needless to say I confessed my symptoms almost immediately. What power does he have over me that I always confess my sins to him?! He said it's common to become ill after doing an Ironman because it taxes the system so much. I mentioned that it was likely because I pushed it last Sunday and now I'm paying for it.

I give him credit. He didn't say 'I TOLD YOU SO!!'. He said, 'Well, I didn't want to say anything, but....'.

Sheesh! Fine, fine, fine. You were right. I was wrong. I am now eating crow. Well. Not really. I mean, who would want to eat a beautiful majestic crow?? I am, however, acknowledging publicly that there are some times when I should just listen to you and not have to test every darned theory you have.

What can I say - I'm a free thinker. Not to mention it's in my blood to test theories. Oh and to be stubborn and determined. It's in my heritage! Still, had I not pushed it early I may have recovered quicker. Rats. Okay, I'm pouting now.

Oh, I should also probably mention that my mother gave me crud for not listening to Greg and therefore feeling ill. My own mother!!! What happened to giving mass quantities of sympathy and suggestions for getting rid of it?! Instead she sides with HIM.

Greg has suggested that the next time I don't listen he's calling my mother. I know he will too. Hmpfff. Fine.

Ah well. Live and learn. Live. And Learn.

Hopefully I will have this beat by tomorrow. I am headed up to Stoney Plain this weekend to cheer on a great number of triathletes, including fellow bloggers Jenna, Kelly, Richelle and Darryl, at the Great White North Triathlon. I think I know about 35 athletes competing so there will be a ton of cheering and shaking my purple pom-pom's. I will also be volunteering in the swim/bike transition. Good luck to all the atheletes!! Good luck as well to Julie who will be kicking arse in Osoyoos in her new tri suit!

Peace out my friends!

Wednesday, 2 July 2008


I finally figured out how to use Flikr again and have organized my photos.

Thanks to Greg, Tina and the parental unit for snapping them throughout my IMCDA journey!!!

To view them click on 'My Photos' on the left hand menu bar under 'Link's. Once in, you can click on 'IMCDA 2008' to see them all.