Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Friskie Pudding...

“What you are is what you have been. What you’ll be is what you do now." -Buddha

I've been 'home' on the West Coast for the past couple of weeks now. I've been doing wee workouts here and there...trying to get back into a routine as well as working off any flab that may be accumulating due to all the chocolate consumption. By the end of the holiday season I may just be sick of chocolate. Uh, yeah. Right.

Anyways, I have been on a couple long walks, one with my friend Doris along the English Bay seawall, and one with the parental unit on Christmas Day. Aside from that I brought my P90X DVDs along so I could get in some strength training.

The first DVD I threw in was the Back and Legs. I managed only 30 minutes of it before I started to feel every muscle in my glutes, hammies and quads start to rip. Hmm, this could mean two things. One I'm not yet recovered from the race or two I am sadly and completely out of shape already.

I think I'll just blindly believe the first, although it's more likely the second is more accurate.

I did manage to do the hour long Arms and Shoulders workout, much to my ego's liking. I then attempted the Legs and Back workout once again. A week had passed so I figured I might be able to handle a few minutes longer.

I was pleasently surprised to find I could do the entire hour workout this time. Even though I couldn't go as low in the squats in the last half hour - as my Mother kindly and jokingly pointed out to me from the sidelines.

That evening I realized that perhaps I shouldn't have challenged myself so much because I was having some difficulty standing, sitting, walking. You know, the usual stuff. Even more daunting was the fact that I was going to go skate skiing the next day with my friends Lance and Don. Hmmm.

I woke up the next day excited about my upcoming skate ski adventure. I had tried it once, for about 15 minutes, with my friends skis, but I'd never gone out with them. The plan was that I'd meet the boys on Cypress Mountain, ski with them for a bit, then take some lessons.

First things first though, I had to convince my legs that they a) wanted to move and 2) could support my weight as I stood or walked. I won't even bother with the gory details of how difficult it was to get into a sitting position when I had to use the loo. Sigh. Now I understand why those bars in the washrooms can be so handy!

I made it to the hill, got my ticket, signed up for an 1.5 hour lesson, got my skis then proceeded to have a yummy hot cocoa as I waited for the boys. They arrived, we got our gear on and started to head out.

Don knows how to skate ski so he was off like a shot. Lance hadn't skate skied before, but because he's annoyingly, I mean admiringly, adept at all things athletic he picked up what to do and was off like a slower shot. Then there was me.

Okay now, this should be like skating right? Which I don't know how to do, but have watched a lot of so I should be able to fake it... AAGGGHHH. Dang these skis are slippery. No problem, I have poles and very strong upper body so I will just put all my force into the poles to heave myself up this tiny incline...

The guys decided to go left at the 'interesection' and head straight up the mountain. I am not kidding when I say up the mountain. This trail was ridiculously straight up. 'Uh, guys....' I hollered as they were quite a bit ahead of me. 'I'm going to go this way - you know following the green EASY path and I'll meet you at 1pm after my lessons.'

As they are very sweet friends, they stopped where they were headed back to me and said they'd come with me on the easy trail. I welcomed the company, but did feel badly that they weren't heading out on a more challenging ski that would be better suited to their ability. Ah well. They didn't complain.

So we made our way up a lesser incline, with Don circling back now and then to see how I was getting along. I refrained from stating I wanted my cross country skis and kept going. I knew my arms were going to hate me the next day, about as much as my legs did from my P90X adventure the day before.

I managed to get going a little bit, with some 'Ah! Whoa! Eeek!' moments thrown in for good measure. I made sure they knew which 'AAAH!' scream meant I had fallen and which meant I had teeter tottered on my skis, but managed to stay upright. Thankfully my ninja princess skills came in handy and I managed to stay upright the entire day!

Here's one reason why I love cross country, and now skate skiing, so much. The people. As I floundered my way along I had mini chats with some very kind and encouraging people. It made the experience a lot of fun. Not to mention the boys were also very helpful to me and kept close by and offered pointers.

I had a ton of fun going down the hills after all the climbing...at least I had that skill. Heck, I even stopped to help a trio of girls figure out how to ski down a hill, even though I was flailing my way up it! They trusted my advice and made their way down the hills, which was very cool.

Although I have fairly good downhill cross country skills I didn't trust my skate skis when it came to the massive downhill section we ended up at. Ironically it was the same big hill that I said I wasn't going to go up at the beginning of our day. I think I was tricked! I started to go down, but then couldn't get an edge and got nervous so I did what any egomaniac wouldn't do, I took off my skis and walked down to a section that wasn't as vertical. Then I skied the rest of the way down. Meh, sometimes you gotta be a wimp!

At 11:30 I bid the boys adieu so they could get going on a more challenging adventure and I met up with my ski instructor. Unfortunately for me he was a rather serious young man. So not much for me cracking jokes. Luckily the other woman in my 'class' did have a sense of humour so we joked while he wasn't within earshot.

It was the usual joking that people do in order to get over the fact they truly suck at whatever thing they are attempting. At least at that moment...cause you know you will likely figure it out sooner or later.

As it turns out the 1.5 hours of skiing I had prior to my lesson did help me out and with a few pointers and trials I was able to ski better. I will not be trying out for the next Olympic skate ski team, but I think I might just have a chance at a good ski the next time I go out. At least I managed to go up the hills more efficiently - for which my arms thank me.

By the end of the class I was in desperate need for food, hot cocoa and to take off my skis. My legs were definitely done. The boys were done for the day as well, so we brought back our rentals and headed for some grub. If you are at Cypress for skiing, or for the Olympics as some events will be there, I highly recommend the Lodge. The food was great and fairly reasonable considering the location.

Oh, I have also decided that my professional skate ski name will be Friskie Pudding. The name came about because my rental skis had a rental number written on them, along with the name 'Friskie'. Lance's skis had 'Bootylicious' on them. Personally, I am thinking that is a more fitting name, but hey, as the Stones said, 'You can't always get what you want'. Oh, the Pudding part came from our ski passes. The word Pudding was on them...no idea why.

Some photos from our fun day (for all those in freezing, icky locations right now you will notice it was all blue sky and sunshine....oh and 5C....I love it here!).

Figure A: There was very low cloud coverage that day, so up on the mountain you couldn't see much of Vancouver. This was just before the boys descended down the hill. (Actually they went down a bit, then I called them back because I'm mean and so I could take a photo as it looked like they were about to ski on the clouds.

Figure B: Me and the boys, that's Don on the left and Lance on the right. Actually, Lance's real name is Andrew, but we call him Lance. Long story, but a good one! They'd already put their gear away as they waited for me to be done my lesson. Note that we are squinting because it was so SUNNY! (and warm!)

Figure C: Lance, striking a pose.

Figure D: Yours truly and Don, also striking a pose!

Figure E: Just call me Friskie Pudding...the next skate ski world champion...I have the look down, now I just need to be able to ski.

Figure F: This is what happens when you leave your camera with your friends, while you ski. Oh, and Don, this is what happens when you leave your photo on the camera of your friend who writes a blog. Tee hee. Who loves ya buddy?!

Peace out my lovely friends!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Back In The Drink...

"Believe nothing, no matter were you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." ~ The Buddha

I was back at the pool this morning for the first time since getting home. Come to think of it, I was back to actually doing something since I got home! This week hasn't been a great one, from dealing with a nasty stomach virus that necessitated staying in close proximity to the ceramic throne, to recieving sad news (honestly, I can take no more sad news) to it being bitterly cold outside compared to what I had been experiencing the last couple of weeks. So venturing out to the pool this morning was a welcome adventure!

It is widely known now that I have decided to move on from IM training, therefore there was some question about my presence at the pool. All in good fun of course. My response, 'I like swimming, why would I stop swimming??' That is a true statement; however more to the point is that I love the local mermaids and mermen that are there. They give me a very wonderful way to start the day.

I had no plans for my swim - a nice change. I brought my padels and pull buoy out to the pool deck, but ended up just doing some laps. Not before chit chatting with Sue until her hubby/coach said, 'You guys can talk at coffee after - get swimming!' Yes Sir! So we swam.

I did a nice easy 1100 m that took me a half an hour. Too funny. In my defense I threw in 100m of kicking, which usually has me going backwards. How it is this happens, I know not.

By the end of it I was chatting with Jaimie, which is when John walked in and said 'Are you going to swim or chat all day?' Sheesh, can a girl not spend a little time playing catch up?? I got out of the pool pretty soon after and headed for coffee with some of the gang. Well, hot cocoa, cause I've never acquired a taste for coffee. Love the smell of it though.

I must admit, it feels a bit weird not to have a game plan for the future. I have no races scheduled, no training plan, nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Huh...

I think I can get used to this...

Peace out my lovely friends.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Ironman Cozumel 2009 Race Report....

“Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

This is a little late in coming, but I didn't have internet access while in Mexico, so couldn't report. After reading the first paragraph though, you may think that a good thing...

Since the race I've thought long and hard about what to write in my race report. I decided that I don't want to write one because I really do not want to relive that race. I'm sorry to report that it was the worst race, mentally and physically, that I've ever done. I was totally disappointed with my performance. I am now dealing with the disappointment and trying hard to let it go because there is no sense in living in the past - the present moment is what counts. Likely not what anyone wants to read, ergo I will not go into the details, which would be negative and that's just not fun.

Instead I will write why I think someone interested in doing the Ironman Cozumel race should do it - because despite my day, I believe it's a wonderful race and one people should try it! Also, I'll include some notes that one may be interested in when contemplating the race.

The Swim
  • It's in salt water. Not a big deal for some, a big deal for others. I loved it.
  • The water is crystal clear. Seriously! As I swam I saw starfish, bright blue fish, a fish with yellow and black stripes, and the best part of all - I swam over a friggin STINGRAY! It was an incredible experience. This is also good for being able to see the other competitors, no chance of accidently running up someones backside.
  • Depending on the day, the current may be rough - we were very lucky as two days before the race the water was so rough they had to cancel the practice swim. During my practice swim I had troubles sighting the buoys as the waves were over my head. I was glad to be out there with my friend Donna! You really do get used to the current and the waves and just roll more etc. It's just a bit daunting when you first start out if you aren't used to it. On race day the water was fantastic - couldn't have asked for a better swim, which is evident by the times. (I PR'd by 12 minutes.)
  • It's a water start, but the water is warm and wonderful, so it's nice to be in there floating about before the gun goes off. Oh, no swim warm up either. Not wetsuits due to the warm water either.
  • Jellyfish - yes there are jellyfish there. In the practice swim I got stung five times, and during the race I got stung a few times - I lost count. That said, most of the stings were small and quick so more a bit of a shock when it first happens, but then you get used to it. Some are a bit more of a shock. Kinda like when you walk around in slippers then touch the light switch and get a ZAP! In other words a minor inconvenience and nothing to waste time worrying about.
  • I never felt like it was overly crowded in the swim and I started on the inside near the front. Perhaps it's because I was swimming in a huge ocean?!
  • I would say to do this race just for the swim. It really was an incredible experience - one that I won't soon forget.
The Bike
  • The bike course was three loops. This can be a good thing or a bad thing for some.
  • There is a 12 mile stretch (they say 9 in the guide) that is open to the beach and the Carribean Ocean. This is good because it's beautiful. This is bad because the crosswinds were INSANE. I come from a very windy place and really, these winds were some of the toughest I've experienced. Oh, and before you get to that part of the race course, you feel them as headwinds for a short stretch. Also note that it's a 12 mile stretch - that you do three times. The winds were getting worse as the day progressed....so it got harder with each lap.
  • The race course is flat. Pancake flat. But not easy as one would assume - see above point.
  • You can break up the bike loop into thirds. One portion is on the main road and you have tropical trees and bushes on either side - that's all you see and the butt of the athletes ahead of you. One portion is along the ocean - again as noted above. Then there is a section that goes through town. This section is THE BEST. Why? Because all the locals are there lining the roads as you ride by. They are clapping, cheering "Animo" (which is a form of encouragement) and "Bravo"! You know how you feel crossing the finish line? Well take that and stretch it out for a few kilometers during the middle of the race. They even take your picture! I had a grin from ear to ear. They were fantastic and I seriously needed their cheering by the third lap. I was so thankful they were there. Even the local biker club was out. I could go on and on about this. I love the people of Cozumel!! Oh, and if you are a woman racing - the local women go nuts for you. They are yelling IRONMUJERE!!! and they cheer even louder as you go by. Even Granny's were on their lawn chairs hooting and hollering. Seriously fantastic.
  • The aid stations are a little short and they don't have bananas - although they say they are going to put them out there. So you have to be on the ball while yelling for what you need. They understand the word water, but always good to yell 'agua'. Almost all of the aid stations were manned by teenagers who were super helpful. I had to stop as they didn't understand my yelling water and I was at the end of the line. I told one boy what I needed and he RACED back to the other table to get me my water. All with a big smile. They really worked hard that day and did a great job.
  • The water bottles are filled with purified ice water - so it's very refreshing and safe. It gets very humid out there so you need to use the water to cool down as well as for drinking. I was thankful the water was so cold. We lucked out and it was overcast for a good portion of the day - the next day it was a like a furnace and everyone was saying how thankful they were it wasn't like that on race day. It was humid and hot enough as is.
  • The road isn't too bad, but there are sections along the water and in town that are tricky. Wave at everyone but be very mindful for potholes. Oh! And there are speedbumps through town but they flattened them out for the race. So don't worry about that when you arrive and think, uh, there is a massive speed bump here! How am I going to get over that??
The Run
  • Like the bike course, the run is three laps. Again, this could be good or bad depending.
  • The aid stations are well stocked of cold water, thankfully. Again, it's purified and in wee bottles so you know it's safe. No fear of Montazuma's revenge - well not from the water at least...
  • They ran out of cola, but got some stocked up fast.
  • There is no toilet paper in the porta potties. Not even a hanger thingy for toilet paper. A lot of them were very very nasty. Kind of par for the course in an Ironman race though. (Exactly how does one poo on the BACK of the seat?? Seriously? Did they press their bum to the very back of the booth or what?! Do not under any circumstances sit on a porta potty seat in the dark during IM....anywhere.) Another note about how incredibly wonderful the volunteers are....I came up to an aid station and a female volunteer said 'Agua?' to me. I replied, "No - bano" and pointed to the porta potty. I walked towards it and she came running after me 'Seniorita!' So I turned and she stood there holding out a little wad of toilet paper for me. I was at such a low point in my race at that point and her kindness was truly overwhelming. I will never forget her and am very grateful. I am all veklmept just writing it. If I hadn't been so disgustingly sweaty and gross I would have hugged her. Instead I thanked her with many many 'Gracias!'.
  • Bug spray - take a very small container with you, you will need it. I had a small (fits in the palm of my hand) container that I kept with me in my jersey pocket. They have spray at the aid stations and use it, which can be hard for those breathing all that in, but it's a necessity. This can not be understated actually. As soon as the sun goes down around 5:30pm it's a feeding frenzy of mosquitos. If you have bug spray you are okay though. Oh, and you have to keep reapplying it because it's so humid you sweat it off rather quickly.
  • They don't have as much food I've seen at the Canada and Coeur d'Alene races, but they do have full Powerbars and gels and lots of them.
  • The race takes you through town 3 times, so lots of cheering. You do have to make like you are about to go to the finish line twice, so that's a bit of a tease. Oh, and running through town is a bit tricky actually. The road is decorative brick so not flat and it feels a bit slippery when wet, which is the situation at every aid station.
  • Again, the spectators through here are fantastic. They are pretty much along the entire run route, but concentrated near downtown, which is to be expected.
  • The banging of pots and pans and the blowing of whistles gets to be a bit much by the third lap - although the enthusiasm is of course welcome.
  • The ambulancia was working overtime grabbing people and taking them to the med tent. Not sure if it was more or less than normal in an IM? Seemed like I kept seeing it go by. Make sure you hydrate, it may be night but it's still pretty warm and very humid.
The Finish
  • The finish line needs work. Not the actual finish line - that's very cool as you are at city hall and the little park is very nice there.
  • The catchers don't really understand the concept of being catchers. They give you your medal and also a pretty necklace made of shells, which I love, but then they just let you go. Not good for those in need of medical attention. Although you could walk straight into the med tent, which is run by the red cross, as it's a few feet from the finish arch!
  • The shirts were kind of hidden so not everyone got them, including me. I did get it the next day - I figured I went through enough pain I deserved that darn shirt! Hopefully the organizers will hand them out with the medals and such like the other races.
  • Everything else is the same with the food and massage though.
So for the inaugural event of Ironman Cozumel, I would give it 4.5 stars out of 5. Yes, there were a few gliches, but I truly don't think those glitches would have hampered even the most competitive athlete. I thought it was well organized and the volunteers were fantastic. I can not gush enough about the locals and their enthusiasm either. Seriously, I've never seen anything like it - not even in Penticton and that's saying a lot. It didn't matter that they didn't know you - they cheered and clapped as loud as my own parental unit did!

Speaking of the parental unit, I am as always, eternally grateful for their presence at the race. It can't be easy watching your only kid slowly crumble and not be able to do anything about it. They were so encouraging when they saw me getting down. Dad walking with me asking how I was doing and Mom walking with me for a while to keep my spirits up. Dad asked me if I wanted to quit and said it would be ok. I said I did, but I wouldn't. I couldn't.

They gathered my gear at the race finish, then carried my bike and stuff into the hotel and cleaned up the bit of hurl that ended up on the car seat. (I really would have cleaned that myself had I known.) Apparantly I didn't hang far enough out the door when we had to make an 'emergency' stop on the way back to the hotel. My dad even slept on the couch, which was my bed in the condo, so I could sleep in the bed with my mom just in case I needed help during the night.

For the record I vote them the best dang parental unit anyone could ever have. I also promise them that I won't put them through anymore races like this. This is my last Ironman for a very long time, if not forever. Time to move on to other adventures that perhaps don't suck the life out of me. After my swim there I thought it might be fun to try some open water long distance races.... And there is always adventure racing!

Thanks to everyone who was cheering. I wish I could have written a glowing race report for you.

Peace out my wonderful friends.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

And Off I Go....

"You can't ever get everything you want. It is impossible and you will never fully succeed. Lucily, there is another option; you can learn to control your mind, to stop outside of this endless cycle of desire and aversion. you can learn not to want what you want, to recognize desires but not be controlled by them." ~ The Buddha

Okay, so as stated in my last post, here's my race plan:

"The only thing I need to do is show up on the morning of the race with the attitude that I'm going to enjoy this race for whatever it will be."

Yes, it's pretty much as simple as that. Okay, I may have a more detailed race plan that covers the likes of nutrition and such, but really, other than that I will stick to the above. Because no matter what I plan, I can't forsee the future and so I'm just going to have to go with whatever occurs.

That said, I'd like to think that I have prepared the best I can and I will do the best I can out there!

Speaking of preparing, I wasn't able to get really prepared for my trip until yesterday. I was busy on a Search and Rescue (SAR) training weekend and that took up most of my thought last week as it was going to be an overnight trip in the mountains. I will add here that I had a fantastic time and that I was very happy that the glowing eyes that I met with my flashlight in the dark of night were owned by a deer and not a cougar. Phew! That gave the old ticker a bit of a start. Good thing there were three other people in my search group.

For the past week I've just been piling stuff up in my room that I didn't want to forget for the trip. Today I actually put everything in organized piles, checked my race checklist to make sure I had everything, then left it while I went out to fake & bake, go to MEC, meet up with Al and Keith and then come home again.

I did the fake & bake thing (that would be indoor tanning for those that don't know) so that I would go up in a puff of smoke when I got to Mexico. I have enough to think about on race day and don't want to think about 3rd degree burns on me because I'm fair skinned. I think I have a pretty good base now so should be good to go. You know, I think being tanned actually makes one look slimmer...hmmm.

Anyhoo, after that session I zipped over to my trusted massage therapist for my last torture session before the race. Torture as in having the bone of her arm being scraped down my IT band several times repeated. OUCH! Hopefully that keeps those suckers in line for the next week though. My knees have been grumbly so the intense IT session was necessary.

As she discreetly manoeuvered the sheets to expose one of my buttocks, so she could inflict some pain along my piriformis, I felt the need to explain my rosy little cheeks. "Uh, I just did a tanning session today....I think my tush might have gone a little red." She laughed, at which point I added, "I'm not sure why I don't just wear bathing suit bottoms. I mean, it's not like anyones going to see my butt so who cares if it's pasty white??" We laughed some more and she said, "Well, I see your butt!". Huh. Indeed she does. Not that that really helps. I really need to get a life if the only person seeing budunkadunk is my RMT! Not that I plan on going around flashing or nothing. Okay, I'm just going to stop there before I really put my foot in it.

Once done there and smelling every so much like Tiger Balm I dashed off to MEC for a couple of last minute items. I saw my Buddha Brother, Al, there and had a quick chat. He's so calming and I will remember everything he's taught me! Then I met up with Keith who brought me some of his wife Linda's amazing cookies.

I was joking with him yesterday that I was concerned about my post race recovery. You see, Linda makes me special gluten free cookies that I discovered during the Chinook Half cure me from the need to vomit, pass out, and generally feel like death is looming over. The secret is the ginger and high quality chocolate chips she puts in there.

I must say, I did not expect such a treat. But Keith told Linda that I was going to miss her cookies (she baked them for me for Ironman Canada too) and so she whipped up a batch last night. I'm pretty sure I could never in words express how grateful I am!!! I did promise that if Keith ever divorced Linda (not that he ever would) that I would marry her (even though I don't play for that team) and failing that I would leave her money in my will. I'd name the first born after her, but I'm not doing the kid thing so I kinda had to think of something else. This is how much I love these cookies and how much I love Linda for baking them and Keith for delivering them.

After my awesome MEC trip, I came home to pack up the gear that has gone from being piled sky high in my room to being carefully placed in organized piles on my bed. Looking at the amount of stuff laying there I started to get nervous. Okay, I could get rid of half my Infinit then put that in the bike box. Oh, and my shoes can go in the bike box. Geez, how heavy can a bike box be before I get charged mucho dinero?

I decided to remove a couple of items then packed my pack. Then the doorbell rang. It was my best bud Les. She looked on in awe of the bike box. (Neither of us has ever used one before.) Then I showed her my pack. She ever so subtley rolled her eyes.

"I know, I know!! I have TOO MUCH stuff. But I'm sure I'm going to need it all." She didn't buy it. This is the woman who spent most of the last 30 years travelling this beautiful earth. Six of it spent in Mexico and South America. She knows how to travel light.

So I started pulling stuff out. She then helped me trim down everything and told me the trick of putting your clothes in the shower with you and letting the soap wash through it so as to clean it. Ergo I wouldn't have to take 13 tops for a 10 day trip. Not a bad idea! I decided to leave my beloved camoflage shorts behind...because the material is a bit thick and it's Mexico and there's no need to wear military stuff in Mexico. Also I left behind was my awesome purple tie-dye dress that I got in Australia. It's rather long and takes up space. Sigh.... As Les pointed out, I could wear it for the next three months when I got back if I wanted to!

Seriously, if it weren't for all the dang triathlon stuff I'd barely be brining anything. And yet my pack is still super full. Ah well. That's what airport carts are for right? Then I will just dump everything in the hotel.

So now it would seem I am ready to go. I have to get up tomorrow at 3am and be at the airport at 5am. I'm not super excited about the trip yet, but I know as soon as I'm at the airport the excitement level will increase.

I'm super stoked that my parental unit will be coming out for the race and there will be friends racing and supporting as well. Very cool! Oh, and it's the inaugural Ironman Cozumel so that right there is pretty exciting.

I received the athlete guide and it would appear the swim has changed a bit. Yes, it's still 3.8 km, but they have us go out from the pier, then left and we swim aouth parallel to the shore, then back up north parallel to the shore. There is no swim warmup, which is a bit of a bummer, but I will deal with it. Some have mentioned jellyfish - as the water is about 27C there are no wetsuits for protection. My saving grace will be that I am not going to be anywhere near the front so I'll let the fast ones deal with them!

So I guess that's it. I'm ready for the race and all the wonderful moments it will bring. Thank you to my friends and family for the ongoing love and support. Race or no race, I am always grateful that you are in my life and give thanks every night before I go to sleep.

I promise to do my best with what I have, and to smile while doing it.

Peace out my friends! Voy a escribir de nuevo pronto.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


"The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment." -Pema Chodron

On Monday night I went to my Sangha, as per usual. I made it in time for soup, which was great as it also gives me a chance to chat with my friends there. When I saw my Buddha Brother, Al, he smiled, looked at me and said, 'So, are you feeling ready for the race?'. I replied, 'Uhm.....' The hesitation was long enough that he said 'So, have you started placing expectations on yourself yet?'.

We then both burst out laughing. Seriously, am I THAT much of an open book?! I replied that yes, I had started down that slippery slope, but then caught myself. Kind of.

It can be so hard before a race not to place expectations on oneself or how the race should go. The life lessons I go by, though, teach me that expectations lead to suffering. I seem to have a good amount of experience in this area, so really, you'd think I should know better. Alas, we are creatures of habit and I did find myself starting to set some expectations.

The biggest one is probably around time. I know, I know, I say that I don't have time goals. And really, I guess I kind of don't in that I'm not setting out to achieve a particular time. Like I'm not gunning for a placing overall or in my age group. And I'm certainly not trying to qualify for Kona. However, that said, I would SO love it if I were between 14 and 15 hours. The main reason for that is being out there longer than that is just really friggin hard.

The secondary reason is that this will be my fourth IM in three years. I'm realtively new to this sport so perhaps I shouldn't have many expectations (there's that word again) regarding speed, but still I seem to. Two of my races were really challenging, in the sense of things going wrong, and my times were 16:05 (IMC 2007) and 15:47 (IMC 2009). I had a super race and had a time of 15:05 (IMCDA 2008) as well. So in my mind, having the expectation of getting in under 15 hours doesn't really seem like an expectation...right? Yes, I'm totally justifying my thoughts here.

Of course I know setting a time goal even one as loose as that may lead to major disappointment. I don't think I've trained hard enough to get faster. It's not that I didn't want to, well, sometimes I didn't want to, it was more there was other stuff happening that made it so I couldn't. Or wouldn't. So if you don't train harder, then how can one expect to get faster, right?

So what if I don't come in under 15 hours? Is that such a bad thing? Likely no one is going to care anyways except maybe me.

Okay, so I'm letting go of my time expecations. Or at least I am telling myself I am every time I think about it and hopefully by November 29, the expectation will actually be gone!

The other expectations I have revolve around my process goals. I expect that if I follow through with my process goals all will be well. In theory, this would likely be true. Of course, reality is a different beast and who knows if I will be able to achieve all the process goals. So maybe I'll just think to myself I HOPE to achieve my process goals.

Hope. Now there is a word I struggle with. If I say 'I hope' to accomplish something does that mean I'm not really trying, or don't really want something? And if that's the case, will that mean I'm predestined NOT to achieve something. Should I be saying 'I will' accomplish 'fill in the blank'? Hmmm...

You know, the more that I think about what I'm thinking and the more that I write about what I'm thinking, I think that I am thinking WAY too much.

Okay, so bottom line then is this...

No expectations. The day is going to be whatever the day is going to be. I don't need to worry about times or this or that. The only thing I need to do is show up on the morning of the race with the attitude that I'm going to enjoy this race for whatever it will be. Afterall, I will be one of 1500 particpating in the very first Ironman Cozumel!!

Now I just need to repeat that as a mantra for the next 10 days...just to make sure it's firmly embedded in my brain.

Peace out my lovely friends!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Swimming and Smiling...

"Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful." -Thich Nhat Hanh

I've always loved being in or near the water. This is likely for two reasons. One, I was born on an island and spent a lot of time near the ocean. Two, I'm a pisces. Oh boy am I a pisces sometimes....but that's a story for another time.

When I first took up swimming for triathlon I questioned whether I had ever been in the water before. There was a lot of thrashing and gasping and very little forward movement. Flashforward four years later and I think I can say I'm a swimmer and I know I can say I love it!

I've slowly been getting better at swimming, but the new program I started in July has really given me a boost. It has invovled a TON of paddle work. At first I was afraid of the mean green paddles. Afraid I'd hurt my shoulders or not be able to use them. Turns out my body loves anything that takes strength. Hmm, not that mumbly mumbly years of being a gym rat prior to being a tri geek didn't tell me that!

I didn't have much time before Ironman Canada to really get into the groove of swimming with the new lesson plan, but I really think it helped me as I took 2 whole minutes off my swim. Very cool.

I've been hitting the pool religiously since September and today was proof of all the hard work. At least I think so. I'm not sure what Cozumel will be like, but I'm not troubled by that because the only thing that matters is today.

Before I divulge the big YAHOO from today, I must say that there has been much joy and happiness brought my way in the pool since September. The biggest joy was from the people.

During the summer I started going to the pool on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On Tuesday and Thursday I'd get there at 6am. Needless to say, there weren't many people there. In September though, the schedule changed so the munchkin swim club could get their practice in. (A big HOOYAH to the kids that get up in the wee hours of the morning to train - you rock!)

So I started going at 7:30 am, which was the new lane swim time. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made that I didn't really make. Why? Because of the people I was now surrounded by.

First off there are my two fellow mermaids. For some reason, I have no idea what there names are! Too funny. I will find out soon! Anyways, they are almost always there with their kickboards, chatting away while doing their laps. I love them because they are so cheerful and always have a warm smile and 'good morning!' for me. When they learned what I was doing they were also very encouraging. So sweet! They always make me smile and keep me going when I'm tired.

Then there is Garney - one of my fellow tri-geeks. I swear, he's my 'peace brother by another mother'! Again, another person always ready with a smile and a witty comment here or there. Not to mention it doesn't matter what kind of day, or morning, you are having - he always knows the right thing to say to make you feel good. Then there are our mini philosophical chats. I love the fact that we can pack in a deep conversation into a short rest at the pool edge between sets. In those mini moments have really given me some 'AHA' moments! He is a blessing.

Another member of the tri-geek gang is Jaimie. I gotta tell ya, swimming with Jaimie is like getting to swim with a pro. He has been to the World Championships, both Kona and Clearwater and number of times. In fact, last year he raced in BOTH Kona and Clearwater. Basically back to back. One word - WICKEDAWSOMEATHLETE! Oh, and the best part? He's super modest. His whole family is like that - it's really wonderful.

He's been in the pool a fair amount as he was getting ready for Clearwater, which he's racing in this weekend. As the lane rope has been busted the last while, it's been Garney, Jaimie and I sharing what is essentially two lanes. Jaimie gets there later than we do, so he ends up in the middle. We each take our spot and stay there.

Last Thursday he was there swimming a steady pace. I was busy doing sets of 300. Every once in a while if we both pushed off from the wall at the same time I would try to keep pace with him. Not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. I swear his 'warm up' pace is my 'all out' pace. This time though I tried to mimic his techinque and ended up being able to hold pace with him. It was the coolest feeling!

Well, I'd hold pace for a length, then he'd lose me on the flip turn. I kept doing this throughout my 300s and it really helped me to keep focussed, as well as work pretty hard! At one point I actually kept up for 3 lengths! I was feeling like a champ at that point.

With two sets of 300 left, both Jaimie and I ended up at the pool edge after finishing a set. He was about to get out and I said 'NO! You can't leave me! I've been trying to keep up to you during my sets and now what am I going to do to keep me amused?!' He started laughing and asked how much more I had to do. I told him then mentioned I was just teasing and he was 'allowed' to go.

I then pushed off the wall and started my set. I soon noticed that Jaimie was swimming with me. Actually, he swam just a bit ahead of me. I again started to mimic his techinque and to focus on staying strong. We got to the end, he flip turned, but he didn't push off super hard so that he was still just in front of me. He was going to swim the set with me!! So I did what I did for the last lap, and continued to do so for the entire 300 m.

The one thing about swimming beside Jaimie is he can create a bit of a tsunami. In trying to keep pace I managed to swallow four huge mouthfuls of polluted pool water. Needless to say it made for a rather unhappy gurgly belly for the rest of the day. It was totally worth it though!

Who knew one could swim and have a huge smile on their face at the same time?! I sure did that day. It was so kind of Jaimie to swim that set with me. I gained so much from that set and that day. It was not an easy set, but I didn't die doing it, which was a wonderful surprise!

I was so thankful to him for giving me that gift. He is such an amazing athlete and to be able to have that experience truly was one of the highlights of my triathlon career. It was like getting to swim with a pro! Only better because he's a friend too.

So all this wonderful learning and energy was channeled for today's challenge. I was to swim 4800 m. Wow. I've never swum more than 4000 m before. I totally got myself in the headspace before I went to the pool though. I was pumped. So much so that I was actually shaking before I got into the pool!

Thankfully, Garney and the mermaids were there. They shared their enthusiasm and energy with me and I had a fantastic swim. That energy stayed even after they finished their workouts and I went on to swim the entire 4800 m feeling strong. In fact, I felt so strong that after I'd finished the 4800 m, I decided that another 8 lengths wouldn't be much more to add on....

So my final total distance for my swim today was 5000 m! I was on cloud 9 walking out of the pool. I've never done that before and I felt fantastic doing it.

Thank you to all my tri friends and pool buddies who constantly inspire me, give me energy and always make me smile. I am so grateful to have you in my life!

Peace out my glorious friends!

Monday, 2 November 2009

You Are Here...

'Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.' ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

In the past I was really good at living in the future and continually planning, or mulling over the past and dealing with regrets. In the past two years I've learned a lot and have been actively practicing living in the present. I admire those who can do this without thinking about it. I, unfortunately, am still in the category of those who have to be on alert for when the mind slips into the future or past.

I realized that in the past few weeks I've been slipping back into old, bad habits and have been spending a little too much time in the future in both my personal life and in my triathlon training life.

The good news is that I am aware of it and so am being quite vigilant with my thoughts and actions to try and stay wonderfully grounded in the present.

I meditate on a fairly regular basis. It's one way I stay in the present. While I meditate I focus on my breath and either recite a Buddhist discourse in my mind, or I just count the out breath. I always feel quite relaxed when I do this, so sometimes when I find my mind racing about anything and everything other than the training activity I should be focussed on, I stop what I'm doing and focus on my breath. Or I continue what I'm doing and focus on my breath!

I did this with my swim workouts last week and it was the most amazing feeling! While my head was underwater I focused on my technique, then as I turned my head for the breath I just focused on what it sounded like and how peaceful I felt. It really did help especially for the 4000 m swim!

I've really been struggling with my bike trainer workouts lately. I seem to be able to hold the strength and power up to the two hour mark. After that my mind takes over and there is a struggle to keep going and to stay strong. My mind is quite well versed in coming up with excuses as to why one should not stay seated on a stationary bike after the two hour mark!

This Satruday I hooked up with the SweatLab gang for a swim then a trainer session. I had a great swim and as I got ready for the trainer session I started the old pep talk routine. You know, things like 'You can totally handle a four hour ride!'. To which my mind replied, 'Yes, but do I want to do a four hour ride?'

Eventually I was on my bike in the garage with the gang. They have a great set up and play movies so I got to watch Star Wars again. I hadn't watched it since when it was originally in the theatres! Yes, I realize I have just dated myself, but hey, I got carded when buying wine the other week so that's got to say something!

Finally it hit. The two hour mark. Somewhere around this point I decided to focus on my breath. That's when a phrase popped into my head 'You are here'. Yes, yes I was here and the only thing I needed to focus on was staying strong for the current 10 minute interval. Then I would pedal easy for 5 minutes. Then I'd get into the next 10 minute interval and when my mind wanted to wander I repeated the phrase 'You are here'.

Guess what? It worked. I had the best four hour trainer bike ride I've ever had. I stayed strong throughout even when my thighs were starting to burn. It was great. I know my little saying helped me through, but also a big part of it was the energy from the gang in the garage. Colette was beside me and had a strong ride so I did my best to keep my cadence matching hers. It was fantastic. Many thanks to the SweatLab crew!

The next day I was in Canmore. I had gone out the night before with my buddy Trudy to see a movie at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival and stayed at her place so I could run there on Sunday and perhaps take in another show.

I had a 1.5 hour run to do so asked Trudy where would be a good path to take. Canmore has several brilliant paths not to mention mountains and trails and the river...

She suggested the pathway that took me to the Three Sisters development. It had snowed a bit the night before so there was a bit of snow on the ground, and a fair bit of ice. The sun was out though so I figured it would melt eventually, which it did.

The route took me through parks, along the river and trails through the trees. It was a gorgeous sunny day with blue skies and fluffy white clouds. As I ran I stayed focus on where my feet were going, so as not to bail on some ice, but I'd also take a peek at my surroundings.

I could see where I had hiked up Lady MacDonald Mountain. I smiled and thought, 'I was there, but now I'm here!' I felt a lightness of being while I was running through the trees and along the river. I really do feel at home in nature.

There were a couple of times when I wasn't sure what path to take, so I veered off onto a trail. A couple of times it just took me to some sort of pumping station, which were stinky, so then I'd run through the tall grass back onto the actual path. I kind of laughed to myself and though, 'Yup, this is just like your life. Looking for some adventure so going off the path. Sometimes it's a good thing, and sometimes it's stinky and you learn from it'.

Once again I was aware of my mind going here and there. So again I kept saying 'You are here' in order to reign in the thoughts. Happily it worked again! I had an amazing run and was so thankful to be where I was.

It's amazing what you can learn during your training that you can take into your personal life. One of the biggest lessons I've learned is staying present. Afterall, the present moment is the only moment that counts. So take a deep breath, smile and repeat 'You are here'.

Peace out my brilliant friends.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


“Things and conditions can give you pleasure but they cannot give you joy—joy arises from within.” –Eckhart Tolle

I have fallen victim to the quickie. The quick update via Facebook or text. For some, the quickie includes Twitter. How do we fall into the trap of the quick update? How did I fall into the trap of the quick update?

I think one reason for it is that I find my life full. Not necessarily full of the good things that life has to offer or that bring me joy. Rather, things that I feel I should or have to do. Then there are the things that I really want to do, such as writing, that I have to squeeze into all of the other stuff.

The end result, the quickie update. Thing is, there are stories behind those quick updates. Stories that I love to write and share. So today I shall try and expand on some of the quick updates that I have been leaving here and there...

"I swam 10400 m in three days..."

Okay, I'm not one to toot my own horn, but I was super stoked by this. I attempted to become a swimmer in the summer of 2005. At the end of my first 25 m I was gasping for air and hanging limply off the diving board begging not to have to do that again. Last year I noticed that I was more comfortable in the water. Not necessarily faster, but I wasn't gasping as much as before.

Now? Now is a different story. Now I honour my Piscean sign by being a true fish. I love swimming and I have been loving my workouts. This is quite the feat considering I have been wishing the whole Ironman thing done since about May! When my coach asked me to add in a 4000 m swim to help me prepare for the open water, no wetsuit swim, I'll be doing in Cozumel, I wasn't sure I could do it.

I dug deep though and thanks to my pals at the pool, who unknowningly provided support just by being there, I got it done. I swam 3000 m on Thursday, 4000 m on Friday, then 3400 m on Saturday. Yes, my back is still feeling it.

Of course a funny thing happened at the pool during one of those swims. I was deep into one of my sets, head looking down at the bottom of the pool, paddles fastened securely when I got to the pool end. I slapped my paddle down on the pool edge and came up for air, only to find my head was very close to being positioned between a fellow swimmers knees. I assume he just got into the pool and was sitting innocently enough with his feet dangling, but somehow I missed all this! I was thankful for two things....a) my head wasn't lodged between his knees (how would one explain that?) and 2) that when I slapped the paddle down it was on the pool edge and not the fellows...

"Has so much Tiger Balm on her quads to try and ease the agony that her eyes are now weepy...will the pain just please go away?!"

On Thanksgiving Monday a friend and I hiked up Lady MacDonald mountain in Canmore. I've done that hike once before and knew there were two sections that send my heart racing and make my legs turn to jello. And that's when there is no snow.

The first part of the hike was pretty easy, albeit a bit steep in parts. I find it amusing that even though I work out the way I do, I spend the first 1/2 hour gasping for air on a hike. After a while though my lungs get used to what I'm doing and I continue to march on.

It was wonderful hiking through the snow. When we weren't talking I took the time to listen to the squeaking noise our boots made in the snow. As I walked by exposed rocks I'd caress them with my hands and give thanks to their presence. With the pine trees I would pull a section towards me and take a deep breath of their fresh smell.

The reason I love being in nature is because of the wonderful connection or interbeing one can have with it, if one is open to that experience. Of course there is also the feeling of being alive when you have to tap into one of your fears, such as trying to climb up, or down an exposed section in slippery snow, knowing that it will be quite the slide down if you lose your grip. Gulp.

Although during the climb my legs felt fine, I spent the next few days after slathered in Tiger Balm and stretching like the madwoman I am. I swear my quads haven't hurt that bad even after Ironman! I think part of the reason was the steep grade of the hike and coming down in the snow. It was slippery in sections and my muscles were engaged in the hopes that I didn't fall.

I'm happy to report I am once again able to walk up and down the stairs like a normal human, rather than having to heave myself up them or go down on my derriere! Oh, and I didn't slack on my workouts after either. That has got to add some points for the next race?!

"Is going to the climbing wall today! Hopefully I will be able to let go when I get to the top..."

I'm not ashamed to admit it...I've been pretty unmotivated at times during this years training. I've been going at it since January and as I have the personality of one who likes to mix things up a bit...to be swimming, biking and running that long is really pushing it for me.

Therefore, I recently decided to mix things up a bit! One of the things I did was the hike up the mountain. The next was to give climbing a go again. I tried indoor climbing about two years ago. I took the lesson, got all the gear and went exactly twice. It wasn't due to lack of enthusiasm, but just a difficulty in finding time with training and matching friends shedules.

Last night I went to a local climbing wall with a friend. I am hoping that the more climbing I do the less I will be afraid of heights. Plus, climbing makes you feel like a kid again!

I was happy to pass the belay test as it had been a while, and then we started climbing. Well, not at the same time of course. I went first. I made it about two thirds up the wall and asked to be let down. I was shaking pretty badly and my hands were all sweaty. I forgot to open my chalk bag so figured instead of doing it while hanging on desperately for dear life, that I'd just descend and get sorted on terra firma. I then took some deep breaths to try and relax.

I'm not sure what happened after that, but the next attempt at climbing I went straight to the top with no problem! I even managed to let go of the wall almost right away so I could be lowered!! The times before it took my friend Karin about 5 minutes to talk me into letting go of the wall so she could lower me. So that was a big step for me. It likely helped that I had been doing self talk about it all day long in preparation!

I had a blast trying different walls in the climbing gym and I look forward to the next time I go as I will actually try to follow a set path. Last night I just used all the rocks to get to the top. Oh! And I was very happy that when my climbing partner fell I had him totally secure on the line. Needless to say, he was also happy that this rookie was on the ball too!

Who knows, maybe one day I'll actually try climbing outside?! Thing there are any 6' rock walls around? I think I could handle that height...

"Is very pleased with how hard she pushed the pedals on her bike today...now where is my Tiger Balm?! Burning Legs = Blowing the Cobwebs From Mind"

I have a wee gerbil that lives inside my brain. Sometimes he hops onto the treadmill in there and runs like he's on fire. Many of my friends tell me I need to 'kill' the gerbil. I can't do it though. My gerbil is my alarm bell. He lets me know when I'm not being in the present and when I need to chill out.

Sometimes though he's very hard to stop. Lately I've had a lot on my mind and have been a bit frustrated by things. I was chatting with my friend Lance and grumbling about things when he said 'Go ride your bike!' I had a bike workout for today, and was going to get to it later, but realized he was right. Work could wait (one of the perks of being your own boss and working from home).

So I got all my gear on and trudged down to the dungeon. My schedule had a one hour ride, but because Cozumel is coming up, we've extended my Wednesday rides, so I settled in to push for two hours.

Sometimes it's good to be frustrated on the bike. This was one of those times. I was kicking some serious butt during my 'fast' intervals and could feel the burn through my quads, hammies and butt. It felt amazing. I can't believe I was able to hold that pace (in 10 minute intervals) for the full two hours, but I did it.

I was glad I did too because the gerbil got a bit pooped from the whole thing and decided to go back to his corner and take a pull of the old hookah pipe. I still have a lot on the mind, of course. Things don't just go away, but I feel much better able to deal with it now that I've burnt off a little steam.

Oh, and yes, the Tiger Balm was out again. I spent the afternoon/evening working at my desk with eyes that were weeping from the fumes coming off my legs. It was good for keeping me alert though!

So those are some of the background stories from the little texts I send out to friends and my Facebook blurbs.

I really do think that in today's world we've lost something with all the technology we have now. Personally, I love reading other people's stories. I am interested in what is happening in peoples lives, and not just the by-lines. That said, I know tomorrow I'll be back at trying to think of something short and witty to put up on my Facebook. Sigh...

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to write the long version out and for sharing a part of themselves.

Peace out my friends!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The Survey...

My buddy Julie tagged me for this survey...I've been putting it off, but have finally decided to fill it out as it's super short and my posts are super long. As my time has been quite full lately, I figured I'd better get something on my blog so why not do a short survey.

The goal is to answer with only one word...so here it goes!

1. Where is your cell phone? Table
2. Your hair? Blonde
3. Your mother? Awesome
4. Your father? Brilliant
5. Your favourite food? Sushi
6. Your dream last night? Sad
7. Your favourite drink? JD
8. Your dream/goal? Peace
9. What room are you in? Livingroom
10. Your hobby? Life
11. Your fear? Emptiness
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Island
13. Where were you last night? Canmore
14. Something you aren't? Tall
15. Muffins? No
16. Wish list item? Love
17. Where did you grow up? Everywhere
18. Last thing you did? Blink
19. What are you wearing? Fleece
20. Your TV? There
21. Your pets? Dead
22. Your friends? Loving
23. Your life? Fabulous
24. Your mood? Accepting
25. Missing someone? Yes
26. Vehicle? Subaru
27. Something you're not wearing? Socks
28. Your favourite store? MEC
29. Your favourite color? Purple
30. When was the last time you laughed? Yesterday
31. Last time you cried? Yesterday
32. Your best friend? Loved
33. One place that I go over and over? Mountains
34. One person who emails me regularly? Work
35. Favourite place to eat? Anywhere

Exciting stuff eh? I'm supposed to tag 6 other people...but I think I'll just let those that read this decide if they'd like to participate.

Peace out my friends!

Sunday, 4 October 2009


"Friendship is the only cure for hatred, the only guarantee of peace." ~ Buddha

The past two weekends have been all about friendship - making new friends, reconnecting with old friends, and building on existing friendships. I can't help but be grateful for all the friends I have - hopefully they realize how much they mean to me!

Last weekend I spent joining the local search and rescue team, which resulted in meeting a new friend, going for a ride with Esther and Joz, hanging with Karin and having a 'girls night' that included her adorable 18 month old daughter, and then spending a day of mindfulness with my Buddha buddies. This weekend continued with the friendship theme and I spent time with Leslie and Rob celebrating his birthday, going to a 'pre-Thanksgiving dinner' where there was an amazing group of people and wonderful hosts Karin and Tony, and today was spent in the mountains with Leslie and Di.

Now the best part of having friends is getting to share stories with them. Especially silly stories! So here's my silly story of the week...

Perhaps you all recall the issue with my swimsuit - how the liner is looking like Freddie Kruger got to it? Well, I've still been wearing it. I know, I know, I should have gotten a new one, but the shell is just fine so I'm thinking 'really is it necessary?' Well my swim on Thursday made me realize, yes Suse, it is necessary to get a new suit.

It all started early in the morning as I gathered up all my stuff for the pool. I went to step into said swimsuit and 'RIIIIIIPPP', my foot caught in one of the many holes in the liner and the liner tore in half.

Hmmm, I thought as I stared at the limp, lifeless liner. As the only other suit I own is in the laundry, I proceeded to do what any normal person would do, I got the snips out and just cut that ol' liner right out. Afterall, I was pretty sure the material of the suit was thick enough that no one would see any 'stuff'. I did; however, leave a wee bit of material in the undercarriage portion of the suit just in case...

So I get to the pool and jump in eager to swim my set. Not long after my suit got nice and saturated I remembered the other problem that I have with it every time I swim, but seem to forget every time after I swim - the straps appear to have stretched. Either that or I've shrunk. Which is a possibility.

The problem with this is that the 'girls' always seem to feel like they have more room to roam and float about. Not a huge issue when it's just us gals in the pool, but on days like today when there is a young man patrolling the pool side, well, then we have a bit of a problem. I do not want to be responsbile for his anatomy lessons!

Of course I was pretty sure that nothing was floating out into the open, but I'd stop every once in a while to look down and see what was going on. This, of course, was impossible with my goggles on so I'd take them off, do a quick non-chalant peek downward, then adjust to make sure and carry on with my swim. Not to mention it was tricky to try and pull the material over when one is wearing paddles.

Sometimes I'd reef on the straps and pull the material down my back in hopes that it would stay there. Funny how water just readjusts everything right back to the way it was. This issue occupied me for the majority of the swim, until the little old man entered into the scene. You know, I'd been wondering where he's been. I hadn't seen him in a while.

For those that don't know, the little old man is very tiny, very skinny gentleman with a slight hunchback. His claim to fame is that his preferred swimwear choice are very brief swimtrunks that are flesh coloured.

Trust me, the first time I got a glimpse of this I almost ingested all the water in the pool thinking I was looking at old man junk! This time, as I got to the end of my lane, I stopped and smiled at him in welcome. Perhaps I had some flesh showing myself because he never smiled back. Ah well. He still seems adorably sweet.

The last few laps of the workout consisted of me trying to concentrate on my swim, tugging at my suit with my paddles and trying not to swallow water whenever I'd get to the end of the pool and see what looked to be a skinny old man bare botttom looking at me. Seriously - why flesh coloured trunks?? Oh well, at least the flesh trunks and the thought of accidently seeing 'junk' kept my mind off my own swimsuit issues for a while.

Needless to say I made the oh so long trip into the city the next day and picked myself up a very nice looking purple suit that fits perfectly. Even took it out for a test drive on Saturday morning and I'm happy to report there was no incident involving me flashing my tata's. The girls were securely confined the entire 3400 m.

All that said, I still think I can get some mileage out of the old suit. Okay, so there's no liner, but maybe if I just sew the straps so they are tighter, maybe then things would stay put??

Peace out my beloved friends!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Back In The Saddle Again...

Be Yourself. Be Beautiful. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

As Aerosmith used to sing 'I'm BAAAAACK! I'm back in the saddle again...' Okay, I may not have the lips or voice like Steven Tyler, but I can do a wicked dramatic impersonation of him.

Normally it's a year between Ironman races...this year I went for the gusto and have two planned. One down, one to go...and the next (Ironman Cozumel) is just a little over two months away. Gulp. When I decided to sign up for two almost back to back, I did wonder how the old bod would take it.

Well, so far so good! (That doesn't mean we shouldn't keep our toes and fingers crossed that it stays that way.)

After two weeks off, for the most part, I started back into the groove of training slowly last week. I had an amazing hike/walk near Lake Minnewanka in Banff with my buddy Trudie on Thursday. We were going to follow the path along the lake, but decided to veer left and follow the river/creek that poured into the lake.

I asked about one path that went up to Aylmer Pass and Trudie, who's trained as a guide, let me know that that would take me right up into Grizzly area. Yup, that's where they hide out and collect berries for the winter. Hmm, I think I'll pass on going up there. Interestingly enough there were no signs on the Alymer Pass sign that said 'You should probably not go this route right now...'

The path we chose was perfect, which meant it was along the river and in the trees. Just what the doctor ordered. I love being in the trees. I walk by and smile at them, caress them and even hug them. The trees had been calling me for a long while now so I was ecstatic to be back in them!

The best part of the day, aside from the trees and wonderful company, was that I walked for two hours and my hip didn't hurt!! This is a miracle. Lately I haven't been able to walk five minutes without it hurting. All the pain and suffering from the massage treatments is working and my hip is staying in the socket like it's supposed too. This put a little pep in my step that day!

Later on we celebrated my walking ability in this uber cool cafe in Banff. They make all sorts of yummy stuff that I can eat! In other words they cater to the gluten intolerant vegetarian granola cruncher. YUM!

On Saturday I headed out early for a 3 hour bike ride. It was another gorgeous day and being out in the morning was glorious. There wasn't much traffic and the temperature was perfect. I loved being out there. I even rode up Cochrane hill to start things off!

Actually, I decided to ride to the house where I am looking after a kitty cat. It took me about 1:05 hours to get there and when I did the cat was wondering what the heck I was. I guess the helmut kind of through her off her game. I sat on the floor so should could sniff me out and decided if I was cool or not. I guess she didn't like the smell because later on, after getting all her food ready, I went near her again and sat down, and when I reached for one of her toys she smacked me three times very quickly with her wee paw.

Uhm, excuse me little furry feline, but for the next two weeks I am the one who feeds you, so I'm thinking that you don't want to be smacking me too much. Hmpff. Oh, and I will admit my ego was a little crushed. I mean, I'm Dr. Doolittle for crack and ice. Animals LOVE me and I LOVE them. I swerve on my bike to miss grasshoppers and little beetles not to mention the little gophers that like to play chicken with me. How could she not like me??? Sigh.

After that little break and kick to the ego, I went back up the road I came and noticed another road that lead off into, well I wasn't sure where. Hmmm, I had gotten to the house 25 minutes early than I had planned, so I figured why not go on a wee adventure and see where the road went.

Turns out it goes into Bearspaw Village. Very nice homes tucked away on nice parcels of land. Some of these houses have amazing views as the road I was riding along overlooked the Bow River and the mountains. It was great riding through there because there was no traffic, except for the Porche, BMW and Mercedes that passed by, and it was super quiet. In fact a little too quiet. Why is no one outside?? They have these big wonderful yards and I see no one. Oh, and if you want to purchase a lovely parcel of land that is 8 acres, it's only $1.3 million CAD. Yipes.

The roads were a lot of fun to ride on because they went in loops and were rolling so I could get some good speed work happening. At one point I finally did see someone, a fellow running, as I swoooshed down this little hill.

After riding through that area for about a half hour I headed back to Hwy 1A and went back west. I had totally lucked out in that there was no head wind at that point. Later in the day the skies turned dark and the winds kicked up to an insane velocity, so I was really happy I went out early.

Again, no hip pain after the ride. Yeah!

On Monday I started back into a regular program. I biked on Monday, swam yesterday, then went for another bike ride today. The body is feeling really good so far, but I'm paying close attention to it. I've been having a bit of troubles sleeping lately and have been waking up feeling a little stuffed up. I'm sure I'm recovered enough to work out, but want to make sure that I don't get sick or something if I push too hard right off the bat. So far the workouts seem perfect and I've really enjoyed getting back into the routine. This is a good thing because although I am listening to my body, I don't want to slack off, I want to be ready for this race.

It's easy to love biking in September when you can still get outside because you are having freaky global warming weather that puts you at 33 C (91 F) degrees on September 23! I don't know what that's all about but I will take it! Hmm, I wonder how long heat training lasts and if this will help with Cozumel...

I still am not allowed to run right now until we are sure my hip will stay in place, so instead I'm going to do more biking or do some hikes. I can't complain about hiking in the woods again - I love it. Speaking of the woods - I'll leave you with some photos from my trip last Thursday. Enjoy!

Peace out my beautiful friends!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009


Peace in yourself. Peace in the world. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Since 1996 I have had issues with my hip, but never knew why or how it started. Now, I might actually have the reasons behind the why or how!

Just before IMC I went to see an Orthopaedic Massage Therapist. I swear he is a holy being. He didn't ask a ton of information, rather he asked me to march in one spot. So I did. Then he said 'Stop, and don't move.' He then began to assess my body positioning from the feet all the way up.

As he was doing this I was doing an internal check. Hmm, my glutes and hams are engaged and I'm just standing here. Yup, I am leaning forward a bit.

No disc problem?! Oh thank you Universe above. YEOW!!! The yeow happened when he poked exactly where he thought the pain was coming from. How did he do that?! Needless to say, the look on my face told him he was correct, if not the vocal outburst.

From his assessment, it looks like I have an SI joint issue, which has my muscles on my left heaving up my hip, thereby getting my right side muscles to do all the work. This would include my erector spinae, glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, and quads. Not to mention all the teeny weeny little muscles and tendons hidden in there. Phew, that's a lot of work!

No wonder my right side was always in pain. Well, actually not always. The fun actually started in 1996 when I took up running, the first time. I was training for a 10k. Things were going well till one day my hip felt like it dislocated. All together now 'OW!' At the time I was in college so went to see the physio there who uttered the words 'You may never run again.' At the time, I was none to fussed.

Flashfoward almost 10 years. I take up running again. This time though I'm also weight lifting. Every thing is hunky dory! Or is it. Turns out the moment I stop doing strength work my hip does the wobbly, pain, glute spazzing thing.

This has been cyclic for the past 4 years. So now that I know my body is not working very well on the left side and the right side is taking the brunt, I am trying to get the right side to let go, via massage therapy, so the left can start pulling it's share.

I've seen a lot of people about this, but atlhough there seemed to be valid theories, no one every fixed me. This time though, she whispers so as not to jinx it, it seems like things are working. The process is a mighty painful one and a little scary as I have this second Ironman race deadline in a couple of months.

So now I have a gal, J, who is working on me big time to get things to shift. The doc comes in when I get there, assess things, then tells her what to work on. It's at this point she apologizes for the pain she is about to inflict, bless her heart.

And pain she does inflict. I almost dropped an F-bomb the other day but turned it into 'FFFFUUUDDDGGEELLLLAAA' or something similar as I tried to breathe through the agony.

The good part is that even though there is excrutiating pain at times, and I do not embellish here, it feels like my hip is trying to go back to where it should be. This, in turn, should get my glutes to stop being in continual spazz mode and hopefully I will be normal again. Well, not normal perhaps, that would be boring, but my bod might be.

Oh, I have to tell this story, one time J had a patient who used to make farm animals when they were getting worked on. Seriously. Like mooing noises and clucking and what not. This totally cracked me up, till she hit the next 'spot'. I waited for a while then as she was really cranking up the pain factor I exhaled then said 'CLUCK!' Poor girl nearly fell over. You know, for a tiny thing she really is very strong.

This last session was particularly eye opening. We were trading stories and I was saying how long it's been that I've noticed this problem. I even remember in 2000 noticing that my right erector spinae (long muscle along spine) on the right side sticks up when I do straight leg deadlifts, but the left was flat.

Well, we start to talking more and I tell her of a story when I was rollerblading. To try and keep this psuedo short, it was in Stanley Park, I couldn't figure out the brakes on my blades (first time blader) and I was going downhill into an area that was fenced off. Oh ohhhhh...

So I did what any sane person would, I decided I'd do like in skiing and just fall to stop myself. Problem one with this theory, there was only concrete around and I had gathered some speed. Problem two, I went off the curb into the parking lot like a ski jumper, rather than lowering my centre of gravity.

I managed not to kill any tourists that happened to be milling about in a group. I think my very loud 'AIYEEEEEEE' got them to part like the red sea in order to have little ol' me fly into their group then land very loudly on me arse. OOOMPFFFF. Then I laid there as they all hovered over me speaking some sort of language that I didn't know. I laughed in order to make sure I didn't cry in front of them.

Oh the pain. Had I not been wearing wrist guards, my wrists would have both broken. They were the second thing to hit the pavement after my arse. Which, I figure, I managed to crack the tailbone. At the time I was an aerobics instructor and for months I couldn't do crunches or anything where I was resting on my tailbone.

I finished my little 'tale' and J said, when was this? I thought for a moment and said, oh likely 93, 94. That's when she said, I bet that's what started this all. Apparantly if you crack your tailbone it can heal crooked and twist things in that area and can knock you right out of whack eventually, especially over 16 years. Really??!!!

So it appears the mystery as to how this all started may be solved. Which is good and bad. Good because I knew something has been up for a long time, but didn't know why. Bad because it means once I get things in alignment I will have to keep vigalent to ensure things don't shift back. Ah well.

So kids, the moral of this story is always wear a pillow on your bundakadunk if you are going to go roller blading. Better yet, get rollerskates. They are much easier to stop in!

Peace out my lovely friends!

Saturday, 12 September 2009


Oh look at that...I have a blog. One that I like to write in and yet have somehow managed not to write in for far too long. Now...where to start to play catch up??

Let's see...after the race I guess. I promise, I'll keep this as short as Susi'ly possible.

Right after the race I had debated racing Ironman Cozumel as planned. I'd done poorly in the heat in Penticton, so was wondering the sanity of racing in Mexico! Thankfully, I am a smart girl. Crazy, yes, but smart. I decided not to think about Cozumel the day after I've finished an Ironman! Instead, I'd give it some time to wash around in this noggin of mind then decide what to do.

After the rae I took a week to go and visit my family and friends who live away from me. A wee road trip you might say. First up was visiting my family in Princeton. My uncle had promised me MONTHS ago to cook me some delectible BC salmon after I finished Ironman. Poor guy didn't remember this, but I sure did! He makes the BEST bbq salmon ever.

I did actually give my aunt and uncle a shout a few weeks before to, er, remind them. Now here's the really funny part about this... It was nice and sunny when the Parental Unit and I arrived at Uncle Lornes and Auntie Joan's. They and my cousin, whom I affectionately call Lola Jane, were sitting in back.

The sun was beaming. It was hot. Almost too hot to sit in. Lo and behold there were some dark clouds up yonder. When the time came to cook up the two salmons my uncle had prepared the clouds had opened up and we had, what could most likely be called a monsoon, burst onto us.

Well, 'us', is a bit of an exaggeration. It opened up on my uncle who was crouched in the pouring rain checking the bbq that was under a shelter that did nothing to stop rain going sideways from soaking my uncle. He made sure to remind me at dinner that I should never question how much he loves me seeing as he almost drowned making me a bbq salmon that he had forgotten about.

I gotta say, it was the best dang salmon ever and I was most thankful for it and for the company of my family.

From there I headed out to my friends Jeff and Doreens who live in small town Southern BC. They retired there a few years ago and now have a couple of wee donkeys and a gorgeous little Labradoodle. I had a blast telling the tale of my race day and kicking back. We partook in a little bit of wine that I brought them from the interior of BC, where I had raced.

It was wonderful seeing them again and catching up on the latest news. To this point I hadn't done anything but drive and sit. My butt was starting to feel it too. In the sense that my hip/glute was acting up again.

I left them and headed off to Julie's, who'd also raced in Ironman Canada. It was time for serious down time...

First things first we had to hug then chat non stop about our races. Then it was time for some food, and wine for me, the more chit chat. Julie hit the hay and left me with the first episode of True Blood to watch. As I don't have cable I hadn't seen an episode, but heard about it.

I was hooked.

The next morning we ate, talked more, then set of for a little walk/hike to try and get our bodies to move. There was a cute path to follow in the Pass that takes you to a little waterfall. This was no serious hike folks, we were both wearing our flip flops.

As we walked along we chatted more. (Seriously, Julie and I could talk non stop for hours and never get bored. Same goes for Jenna.) At one point Julie said we were walking to fast. This girl raced IMC HARD and took an hour and a half off her time, so I was happy to slow down. Later on I'd learn even though I felt I could walk that pace, I shouldn't have been.

We saw the waterfall, then in our flipflops preceeded to go up this hill. The fun was in getting down the hill where there was nothing for the flops to grab onto! As we walked back along the path we started to meet up with people heading to the falls. All were clothed as if they were going to hike Lady MacDonald in Banff or something.

One little ol' dear had a walking stick with bear bell. She was adorable! She stopped and said 'Oh I'll let you girls go by - it gives me a chance to rest. How much farther to the falls?' It was a good thing Julie and I couldn't see each others faces. We are talking a 20 minute walk here...

I gave thanks at that moment that I have my health and a 20 minute walk felt easy to me. I also gave thanks that my folks would have found the walk easy too!

The last five minutes of the walk I felt my hips. Ow. Ow. Ow. Oh how I couldn't wait to go see the ortho massage gal on Tuesday! I realized Julie was right in slowing us down. Funny how it sneaks up on you.

My legs were shaking by the time we got to the cafe for a tea and treat! SHAKING. I was hanging on to the treats display glass in a rather long line thinking if I don't sit down soon I'm going to fall down. How sad is that?

The rest of my visit was spent sharing some yummy recipes I learned, convincing Julie that it wasn't just pale skinny people with hairy armpits that eat food from the health food store, and devouring episodes of True Blood. We ended up watching the ENTIRE first season in an evening and morning. I swear the best line ever in that show (considering our health store foray) was 'I am an organic vegan who has a minimal carbon footprint' from the girl who was all about draining this vampire of his 'v-juice'.

Since getting home I've been taking it easy. I had my appointment with my orthodpaedic massage therapist to get things worked out with my SI joint. The tales from the table will be shared another day in an effort to not make this a epic tale. Although I suspect it likely already is. Meh, that's my style!

I have been walking a bit to stay active, did some yoga and today went out for a bike ride for the first time. I kept it short and just did an hour and a half, but if felt good, other than some back pain. I was out with my 'nesan' Esther and we had a good giggle about how she kept tucking in behind me to draft. Um, I think I'm the one that deserves to draft here a wee bit sister!!

All in all I'm trying to heal my body from the race and from a long standing injury so I can be ready for (drum roll please...) Ironman Cozumel. Yup, I decided after some thought that I really do want to do this race and I will figure out the heat thing. I've already talked to some people about what might have gone wrong on the IMC course so that I can be better prepared for IMCoz.

My training for that race will commence next week as the race is November 29. Hopefully, with the help of the ortho RMT, I can get things back in alignment in time for the 'hard' training. Fingers and toes are now crossed!

Peace out my lovely friends!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Ironman Canada 2009 Race Report...

"Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Dear Tigger,

Well, I did it. I managed to complete another Ironman Canada. This year it was all about you my friend. I wanted to be able to honour your memory somehow and I thought this would be a great way as we finished it together in 2007. Then I found your race report from 2007 and saw that you were thinking it'd be great to race again this year. That sealed the deal.

We made it exciting in 2007, and let me tell ya, this year was just as exciting. The big difference was I handled things very differently. Let me start at the beginning though...

I had felt great leading up to race day, and that feeling continued with me as I got ready to go. It's funny how 4am doesn't seem super early on race day? Any other day I'd find many excuses not to get up!

After the usual morning ritual, the Parental Unit and I made our way to the start. Gave them both a big hug then, dropped my bag off at the special needs bin (I was very pleased with myself that I dropped it in the right bin) and went to body marking.

I asked the fellow if he could write '4 Tigger' on my calve. It was hard for me to ask as I could feel the emotions rising into my throat. He was hesitant but when I told him why I wanted it he wrote it right away. I was very thankful for that. Then I made my way to transition.

I was there pretty early so had a lot of time to make sure I had everything in place where it needed to be. I saw Richelle and went up to wish her a great day as it was her first Ironman. I'm not sure what started it - I think one of us said your name and that was it. I lost it. Great big sobs. I felt awful as this was Richelles first Ironman and she really didn't need this. I had seen others this morning, but didn't burst into tears. I think it was because we both knew you and both are still grieving the loss. Richelle was someone who could understand. We hugged each other for a bit then I sucked it up as I knew I had to. We wished each other a great race and went to do what we needed to do.

For the next half hour I sat looking out at the water and meditated for a while. I wanted to be still before I had to keep moving for who knows how long. I ran into some of the Team TriLife girls and was happy to share some easy banter before the race. I was bummed that I couldn't find my buddy Chuck, but with over 2600 people starting it was pretty full in transition!

Finally it was go time. I had my swim gear on, everything else was where it should be and was making my way through the swim start arch. So far it was a gorgeous day out there! This time I was going to do something different too. I was going to stand on the right side of the swim start! Bold for me, I know. Remember the last time how we stood WAY back on the left??

A couple ladies asked me if this was a good spot to stand, I told them it was a great spot! Not that I'd ever started a swim from there, but I decided it was going to be whatever I made it to be.

Know what? It WAS a great spot! Well, except for the very shallow bit and the rocks. That made the actual start a bit tricky, but I somehow got through it. Partially by going into the water and literally pulling myself forward by grabbing the rock bottom. I can imagine what a sight that might have been.

Finally I was swimming. Oh what a swim I had! It was BRILLIANT. I have never been so confident and strong in any swim as I was that day. I got right into the thick of it. I got kicked in the ribs, and some fellow (I will assume it was a dude) tried to swim up me backside, until I gave him a gentle kick (filled with love of course) to get off me.

I tried to get on someones feet to draft, and if they were too slow I'd zoom past. There were a few times when I was getting sandwiched in so I would power stroke to get through them. Me! Power stroking in a race and not dying!! It was such an amazing feeling. I kept thinking how proud Leslie would be of me.

I kept to my plan and sighted often, kept up the strong stroke, and kept moving forward. I didn't worry when there were lots of people around me, I didn't worry when I got hit, I just kept going. The only time I had a bit of difficulty was after going around the first sailboat. For one thing I was thrown off because it was a sailboat and not the usual houseboat out there! So when I turned the corner I couldn't see another houseboat and ended up aiming for another sailboat.

Halfway through this portion I caught a glimpse of the houseboat. Rats! I figured something was wrong because I didn't have as many people around me as before. So I adjusted my course and went for the houseboat.

For the first time ever I really enjoyed my swim in a race. It was a joy to hear the announcer as we got closer to shore. At long last I was on terra firma.

Into the transition tent I went. I got on my shirt that had the wee Tigger doll in the back pocket, then all the rest of the stuff, grabbed my bike and was off. I love that first bit riding up Main Street. You feel like a rock star having everyone cheer you on. I felt fantastic.

The biggest thing I noticed on the start of the ride was that I was with a lot of people. Normally I'm closer to the back, so this was a new experience. It was really hard to space out and pass people as there were just so many. Apparantly the race officials realized that too as there was drafting, but only because there were so many of us, if we all spread out we'd be a kilometer or more long.

People did do there best to leave some space though. I felt really strong going up Maclean Creek Road - normally I'm out of breath but this time I wasn't, which was a great thing. Going into OK Falls I didn't use my brakes on that huge downhill. Now that was a rush!

As I was riding I had several people go by and comment on the Tigger in my back pocket. I heard 'Go Tigger Go!', which made me smile. I kept thinking they are cheering on your spirit as you take this journey with me!

I figured I must have had a great swim because I'm sure a good thousand people passed me. It didn't bother me though because I was also doing some passing and I was still with a lot of people.

I felt really strong and kept a good pace going right up to Osooyos. Then it was time to climb Richter. I was starting to feel the heat then. I kept on top of my nutrition like I said I would and started the climb.

You'd never guess what was at the bottom of Richter. Some dude dressed up as Tigger!! I swear girl, I do not know what connection you have with that section of road, but everytime I go there your spirit appears in the form of Tigger. During the May camp it was a little Tigger doll in some guys fanny pack, and this time it was a full sized Tigger! That guy sure must have been hot later on in the day. I had a good laugh and as I rode by said 'You should look at my back pocket.' When they saw it was Tigger I got a huge cheer and "GO TIGGER!". Very cool.

I felt good climbing Richter. I made sure I cheered those people going by me and I smiled a lot as there was some really kind people cheering and encouraging all of us. I saw Wade from Great White North Tri at the top. He was announcing everyones names and numbers and cheering everyone on.

I started taking salt tablets at this point. It was hard to feel the heat as there was a headwind, but I figured I better get going with them. The rollers felt really slow to me, but it could have been the wind. I did my best climbing them, and then really pushed it on the decent and flats. This is what I do best I think. I found that people would pass me on the climb, then I'd pass them on the decent. Sometimes they'd catch me, sometimes they wouldn't.

Just my luck along the way to Keremeos I had more headwind. The wind itself didn't but me, I'm used to it. But I think it slowed me down. I remembered what coach said about staying in aeros at this point and I did my best to do that.

My neck and upper back were starting to hurt a lot so I decided I would stop at the special needs out and back to stretch a bit. There was something else going on with the bod too. I had had a gassy stomach most of the bike. This is really normal for me as both my Infinit and the bananas I take at the aid stations make me burp. I wasn't worried about it at all, just kept burping along the way.

Somewhere along the out and back though the slight discomfort in my belly, which was normal, started to get a little more intense. When I got off my bike at the out and back I actually felt a bit queasy. I had stayed on top of my nutrition to that point and was going to keep at it no matter what.

I felt much better after having a stretch. I even went to the loo. I didn't feel like I had to go, which was unusual for me, but figured as I would there I would see if I had to. I got back on the bike and had a better ride on the way towards Yellow Lake. People were starting to drop at this point I should add. I saw a guy lying on the grass under a fruit tree in one of the orchards. His bike was propped up on the tree.

I was almost at the bottom of Yellow Lake when I saw an elderly gentleman sitting on the roadside with his bike. He didn't look good and I was worried so I stopped and asked if there was anything I could do to help. He came up to me looking like the life was being sucked out of him and asked if I had any salt tabs. I gave him the last one I had. He said he had no energy and couldn't go on. I encouraged him to keep going, but then left even though I was scared for him. I saw a couple specators go towards him so I hope he got help.

The heat was getting oppressive as I climbed Yellow Lake. When the winds changed again and it was a headwind, but I wasn't upset. I needed something to cool me down. My stomach was also getting worse. I saw the Cochrane gang on the hill and stopped to break down a bit. Esther gave me a hug and then ordered me back on my bike. Or perhaps that was Linda. Not sure. I laugh about that now and am thankful for it but at the time I was thinking 'I'm okay guys, I just need to have a little cry as I really hurt right now'. Of course I couldn't spit that out.

I got more water and tried to take in a banana at the top of Yellow Lake. By now I was having troubles taking in nutriton. When I did a wave of nausea would come over me. I stuck to my plan though and no matter what kept taking in drink and food. I was also trying to drink more water thinking that maybe I had too much salt or something? At this point I didn't really know what I should do, but I didn't give up staying in touch with what I was feeling and trying to address it.

I got a bit further and had to stop. When I went into aero I wanted to vomit, when I sat up I had severe stomach pain. Hmm, this was going to be a bit of a challenge. I stopped at a porta potty near Twin Lakes. It was hear that Squeaky Boy stopped too. Honestly Tigger, this guys bike was driving me nuts. Something on it was squeaking and he'd been near me since the end of the out and back.

He'd pass, then slow down, then I'd pass and lose him for a while, then I stopped for that man, so he passed again but was close enough for me to hear his bike. Squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak. This is so not what one wants to hear when they are trying to figure out what's going on with their body and going in between the need to hurl and the sharp pains.

Of course, it was Squeaky Boy though that stopped and as he watched me fold over my bike ask if I was ok and then moved his bike from the shady bit and told me to go in the shade on the other side of the porta potty. In my head I apologized immediately for all the bad names I was calling his bike. I was thankful for his compassion.

So I'm going to admit something here...it was about this point I questioned continuing the race. I know. I slipped. The ENTIRE time I had been out there I stayed in the present. I was really hurting though and wondered if continuing on would be a wise thing or if I was doing some damage to myself. As soon as I thought this though, I thought of you. And I remembered my biggest process goal - to stay in the present throughout the race no matter what was going on.

So I did. I kept pushing on and alternated between the aeros and sitting up and just pedaled the best I could. I knew at this point I wasn't going to have the race I wanted, but I was very accepting of the race I was having. It helped too that people kept commenting on the Tigger in my back pocket. It kept me focussed on what this race was all about.

Finally I made it back in town. I saw my folks and knew they'd be wondering where I was. Dad had the computer and spreadsheet thing going and was tracking everyone by their pace. My pace was great for most of the ride, then dwindled so I figured they'd be worried. I rode by and said I was having some troubles with my belly and I was sorry if I worried them. I learned later that they didn't hear the 'if I worried them part' and though I was going to call it quits.

My transition took some time, something which my Pops mentioned I should work on because everyone else had short transitions. Too funny. As I left the transition tent I took a deep breath and said to myself 'Okay Suse. Here's the game plan. We'll walk a bit and see if we can't get this belly to settle down so we can run and we are going to keep up on the nutrition no matter what'.

I had just turned the corner onto Main Street when I saw Keith and Linda. I think they could tell something wasn't quite right. Perhaps it was the fact that I was walking?! I told them my legs wanted to run, because oh how they did, but my stomach had said no.

There was a lady standing beside Keith and Linda who overheard our brief conversation. Then she saw the Tigger in my back pocket. As I started walking away she called out to me 'What would Tigger do?' What would Tigger do indeed...of course I knew that answer. You would never quit. You would stay positive and keep going and that's what I was going to do! There was no question in my mind.

So, with head held high and quite the defiant little strut, I started walking through the crowds of downtown. I may be walking, but I'm still moving forward! I saw some friends and asked one of them, John for some advice. I was still hoping to figure out what to do about the guts.

I took in some water and a power gel at the first aid station. It didn't go down well, but it didn't come back up so that was a good thing. By the time I saw the third aid station in the distance I'd made the decision I was going to try and run. My stomach still wasn't great, but this was just way to far a distance to walk!

I got into chi running postion and off I went. Hmmm, I think I can do this running thing! I saw the Parental Unit at the motel. They were shocked to see me out there and running. I told them not to worry about me, but it was possible I would be a bit slow as I wasn't sure how much I could run. Just up the road I saw David and Esther. I apologized to Esther because she'd been worried about me. They were really happy to see me running as much as I was happy to be running!

I ran for a bit with a fellow from Calgary, but lost touch with him at one of the aid stations further down. I was still burping up a storm but also there was the back end getting into the action. Needless to say all I could think about was Jen's fear of 'chocolate rain'. Yeesh. I did make a couple of porta potty stops just to make sure this might not happen.

As I ran along the lake I noticed I couldn't see the mountains. I'm not sure if I noticed the smoke before that. I know I could smell it on the bike, but figured it might be from a camp or something. Now I could see if was from nearby forest fires. It was a like a light fog covering the mountains.

I did well with the run and made it almost to the halfway point when my stomach starting giving me the sharp pains again. Rats!

I smiled as I got to the turnaround point and thought about you and I and how I felt the last time we got here. Then I was so low on fuel I couldn't see straight!! At least this time, aside from the belly I was in high spirits and totally coherent. Always a good thing eh?!

I had been power walking up the hills and was going to keep doing that for the hill out of the turnaround. I tried running on the flats a bit but was really struggling. Finally I decided I would just power walk for a while. The sun was going down and the sunset was incredible!

I wish you could have seen it. The sun was a fiery orange and the smoke was in layers and glowing slightly orange over the lake. It was a beautiful scene. At the time I didn't put two and two together...I was having troubles with my breathing. I would take a deep breath and my lungs would hurt. I didn't have my inhaler with me as I took a hit off of it in transition. Afterwards I realized it was likely the smoke getting to me too.

Along the way I finally saw JoZ. You would have been proud of her Tigger. She was finally doing her first Ironman. She told me that she was having major stomach issues and would be able to finish. My heart broke for her, but I was so proud that she wanted to go as far as she could and she was positive about everything.

I was still running and walking and playing leap frog with this gal who was walking. Finally I ended up walking with her for a while. Here name was April from TO. She was a total sweetpea. She's an engineer as well and we got to talking engineering. She's involved with cranial fascial reconstruction for little kids. The equipment they use is totally fascinating and I was picking her brain about it. I swear anyone hearing this conversation would be thinking 'what the heck are you guys talking about??'

I was biding my time at this point. I wanted to run, but I also wanted the pain in my belly to ease up a bit. I started in on the cola at some point and didn't stop. By the time I got up the last hilly bit it was time for me to run. I had been walking a bit with my friend Hope at this point and bid her adieu.

I have no idea what got into me at this point. Perhaps it was your spirit?? But I ran and I ran hard. I was at or faster than a half marathon pace at this point - I'm sure of it. I was gritting my teeth at times because it hurt so bad, but I kept thinking only 8 km to go. PUSH!! I was passing people left right and centre. Spectators were shocked at my pace, not as much as I was shocked at my pace I'm sure! I tried not to think how nice it would have been to run the entire race this strong.

I stopped quickly at the hotel and grabbed my big Tigger doll from Mom. Tigger was going to run this last bit in with me just like we did in '07. I was charging down the last few kilometers. I stopped a couple times for more cola but that was it I wasn't stopping for anything.

Finally, the last stretch. I remembered what it was like to run this stretch with you. I was thinking, 'Well Tigger, here we go again! Savour it my friend, this is all for you!!' I charged forward and held the Tigger doll up high as I made my way across the finish line. I was so happy to see Keith pop out of the crowd to catch me. Then I crumbled. It had been one heck of a day.

After helping me to gather my stuff I went out and met up with the Parental Unit. I'm sure they were glad there was no repeat of a medical tent visit like there was in 2007! I left them to go use the loo, and just as I sat down I thought 'Oh oh, what if I can't get up??' Thankfully I did. We then chatted with friends and then it was time to go back to the hotel. I was a wee hurtin' unit.

I told you I would get us in quicker than the last time, and I managed that. Not by a whole heck of a lot of time, but it was still good. The day wasn't what I had hoped to give you, but really, it was a great day. I accomplished what I set out to do, which was to stay positive and stay in the present NO MATTER WHAT.

I was challenged with the pain that was going on, but I didn't let it get me down. I continued to stay on my nutrition and to try different things to help the situation. I smiled a lot. I thought of you tons! In the rough spots I thought of my friends and family and how blessed I am with this incredible life.

Some would be disappointed with that type of race, I'm sure. Me, well, I think of it a different way. I look at it as this is what being an Ironman is all about. Not only taking on the challenge of a 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike, and 42.2 km run, but also taking on all the challenges that go with the day and staying positive no matter what is handed to you.

Thank you Tigger for having been in my life and showing me how to smile throughout the tough bits. Thank you for giving me the courage and the strength to face the day. And thank you for being my guardian angel - I just know you had a hand in giving me the energy to finish the race strong.

Your spirit will always be in my heart.

Love always,