Friday, 30 January 2009

Bad Week???

Yesterday was a strength workout, so I chose to torture myself with an hour of P90X core. One word captures the workout, 'holymotherofallthingsnastypainful'! Or, to sum it up, OW!

It's a damn good workout. Lots of pushups and planks and holding yourself in some sort of banana like position. I couldn't do all of the repetitions but I pressed on until I grunted, collapsed onto the floor, then curled up in a yoga child's pose until the next set.

If it's the last thing I do I will master this workout! Well, maybe second last. It depends on whether or not I master the plyometrics workout first. At least it's keeping things interesting!

For my fellow athletes who weren't having the best of weeks, I can assure you, you were not alone. The other day I walked into my bedroom and noticed a lump underneath my duvet cover. Hmmm...I'm pretty sure I smoothed out my duvet when I made the bed this morning...and what is Spencer the teddy bear looking at???

This is what I found upon further inspection...

'Hey little buddy, you ok? Life so rough for you that you have to now hid under the covers for hours on end every day??' Poor pumpkin...

Apprantly, my furry feline buddy Mr. Cringely has found it exceptionally stressful to now have me working from home everyday and therefore in his presence at all times. Therefore, he's decided, on a daily basis, to hide under my covers. It's either that or he's trying to tell me the house is too cold and turn up the heat!

Granted this has nothing to do with triathlon. Unless you consider the fact that I am allergic to all things furry. Of course, this doesn't stop me from stopping during my run to pet every dog in the dog park, or owning a cat. Typically, though he doesn't go into my room, however out of the blue he's now taken to burrowing under the covers.

What does this mean for me? This means that when I wake up in the morning I am unable to breath through my nostrils and there is a high pitched wheeze noise in my throat. Always a good way to start out your morning workout. A-a-choooooo!

All that said, I wouldn't kick him out of there for the world - he is just too darned cute!! Yep, you know now who rules the roost in this household...

Peace out my friends and may your weekend be exhilarating!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

The Slug...

What is it about recovery week?? It's been so long since I've had a 3 week build and then a recovery week I've forgotten what an absolute slug I can feel like.

How is it that for three weeks no matter how tired I am I can get into the workout with enthusiasm and then push myself through the workout, yet as soon as recovery week comes it takes everything in me drag my sorry butt to my bike, my sneakers or the pool. Sigh.

This morning I was driving my buddy Andrew to the pool, as his Mrs. takes the car into the city. At 5:47am I called him to say I would be there in about 15 minutes or at least I tried to. My voice was all frog like and I wasn't quite awake yet, but I must have said something relatively coherent cause the frog on the other end of the phone said he'd be waiting.

As I stood in the pool getting my goggles ready I thought to myself 'Holy hannah how am I going to get this workout done??' It didn't help that I grabbed the wrong workout and instead of the 1600 m balance (read a lot of drills and not too challenging, which is good for how I felt) workout, I picked up the 1600 m endurance (read a lot of sprints and somewhat challenging, which might not be so good for how I felt) workout.

I started my warmup. Just a nice easy pace. I did 50 m and noticed that Andrew was still hovering at the pool edge. 'Uh, you going to swim today or just hang out??' Apparantly he had to watch me swim 50 m then he would be able to swim. Go figure.

Luckily he was somewhat paying attention to what I was doing because I had done two laps of kicking when I stopped, looked at him in a quizzical fashion and said, 'Was that 50 or 100 m of kicking I just did??' It was only 50. Sigh. How is it that one can lose track between 50 and 100 m??

Then it was into the sprint intervals. I gotta say, I was gasping for air. I pulled out everything I had mentally, though, and pushed myself through those intervals. Perhaps not so much on the moderate swim least I didn't let the side stroker pass me!

There were a couple of hairy laps in there too. Literally. I was swimming back to the 'start' end when I spotted it...a floating, brown, hairy mass. Okay Suse. You know the drill. Do NOT panic. Do NOT hurl or gack. Just gage how close it will be to your body when you swim over it. Can you float over it? Will it be anywhere near your skin? Or heaven forbid, your mouth?? Do you need to walk like Jesus on the water to get away from it??

Luckily it was deep down so I could swim over it, all the while praying nothing touched me. As I swam back over it I made sure to kick hard in hopes that it would float into Andrews lane. Yes, I'm that nice. Hey, all's fair in love and hair!

Apparantly Andrew is a stronger kicker because when I got back it was floating back in my lane. EEEEEEK. Okay, one more time, kick, kick, kick. Try not to chunder! Eventually it disappeared. My hopes was that it was in a filter and not on the top of my swim cap.

Thankfully the rest of the swim was hair globule free. I don't know how I managed to finish off my swim, but I did. I felt pretty darned good afterwards too, so I was glad I pushed as hard as I could. I mentioned to Leslie, who was also swimming, that I felt so sluggish this week. She reminded me I was supposed to - it was recovery time. Huh. I'm going to have to remember that for next month!

Oh the things we forget after not having trained for six months! Ah well, I'm sure there is more to relearn, but it's all in good fun. Man do I ever love this sport!

Peace out my friends!

Monday, 26 January 2009

Run, Sweet Run...

So it's been over a week since I was able to run. Finally the blister/festering wound has healed enough that I can just cover things with a band-aid and head out. Yay!

Aside from the fact that I was looking forward to the run, just for the sake of running again, it was also sunny out. At least it was when I started getting ready for my the time I was about to go outside the sun had dipped behind the mountains. Ah the joys of living in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains! Thankfully, it was still quite bright out.

I started off slowly trying my best to get into a groove. It's always easy to get in a groove when I run down the bonus hill, the trick is staying in that groove when I get to the hilly bits and the flats. Unfortunately today I just couldn't find my rhythm - so no run, sweet run. Perhaps it was the time off from running, or perhaps it's the nagging pull I have in my hamstring that stopped me from feeling comfortable?

This pulling started yesterday - hmmm, maybe I over did the squats?! Nooooo, not me.... At first I thought it was my IT band, but it's actually further back than that, so I think it's my hamstring. No worries, I had a shorter run than planned, but I was glad I got out there.

Tonight I'll stretch the crap out of my legs and hope that this goes away. At least it's recovery week so it's no biggie if I don't get any long runs in!

Peace out my friends!

Sunday, 25 January 2009

The Clapper...

My first three week build of the season is finito as of this morning. Phew. I felt great through this build, but could use a bit of recovery time. I have to say, I'm totally impressed with how things are going so far and sure do hope that it keeps going this way.

This morning I hopped onto Eleanor who was on the trainer. For those that don't know...and have dirty minds and may think something else...Eleanor is my bike's name. She's named after the sweet Shelby Mustang in 'Gone in 60 Seconds'. Hot car - hot bike.

I had another low cadence workout mixed with squats today. Five minutes of LCS and 2 minutes of squats x 6. After the third set I decided to mix things up a bit. Instead of doing 2 minutes straight of ball squats (where you roll down the wall with a fitness ball into a seated position) I decided for the first 30 seconds I would hold the squat position.

To say that I felt some burning in my quads towards the 30 second mark would be a bit of an understatement. I held it though and practiced some deep meditational breathing! I then did 30 seconds of squats where I'd hold the squat at the bottom for 2 seconds. Then held another 30 second squat. This one was killer compared to the first. Bascially my arse cheeks were quivering so much they were clappin'!

I did this for the last three sets of my workout. Surprisingly the first set where I would hold the squat got easier. This was not the same for the last set. You'd think I was in labour with the amount of deep breathing I was doing!

Look out world, I've got quads and know how to use them!

During the LCS sets I really focused on making sure my legs were balanced in the amount of strength I was using. I don't have a T.V. or radio on when I'm on the bike so I find I can really concentrate on this. It's pretty cool when you can tap into exactly what your body is doing.

The last 40 minutes I did a steady state ride. For part of this bit of the ride I figured I'd give me Moeder (Mom) a call as we hadn't had a chat in a bit. She understands the heavy breathing when I'm on the phone so it's cool. We had a great chat and I had a strong finish to my workout.

Next week is a recovery week and I am looking forward to it. I think my heel has healed enough I can even run on Monday - YAY!

Peace out my friends.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

The P Stands For...

Still no running for me. That's okay though - I have my secret weapon - a smorgasbord of DVDs to choose from as supplemental workouts. Twelve of them in all and can you guess what I chose to do?! That's right! PLYOMETRICS BABY! Again.

Why? Cause I'm not good at it, which means I have to master it! This white girl can jump dammit! Just not jump and squat a million times in a row...

I am happy to report I could do more of the workout in comparison to a week ago. One reason is likely that I didn't have a strength workout on the bike in the morning before I did this. Also, I didn't eat 30 minutes before doing it. This however did not seem to stop the process of expelling any gas created by the chili I ate three hours previous. THAT is how intense this workout is - it brings up anything you ate in the hours prior. At least it was just burping this time...

I have to bring up one thing about these DVDs...I swear the dude who is leading the exercises has a side job for a 1-900 phone job. There are times when he gets this low growly voice going as he says 'Ya baby, that's it. I can feel that.' or 'Oh momma'. Seriously!! Then there is his heavy breathing...

I was telling my friend about that tonight because he wants to get these DVDs as well. I was like 'Dude, I gotta tell ya...the guy on the DVDs sounds like he could be on one of those 1-900 numbers'. He says to me 'What? You watching porn?? So then I start laughing cause he's says maybe that's what the 'P' stands for in P90X. Of course then the fact that there's an X in the title started another round of laughter.

Through it all I had an awesome workout and my quads were screaming through most of it. My heart rate was way higher than it would have been for my run, but that's cool. My hope is that I'll be out running again on Monday. Well. If it's not minus a gagillion out again. Sigh...

Peace out my glorious friends!

Wednesday, 21 January 2009


Okay, okay, so I forgot to blog yesterday. Sheesh. I'm a busy gal. I'm actually amazed it wasn't until 7pm tonight that my mother called to say 'Where is your post?!' I would have expected her to call last night.

In fact, last Friday Mum called asking where my post was...apparantly she felt I didn't need a rest day. Come to think of it, this almost feels like when I was a little kid and I had to take accordian lessons and I was asked if I practiced. By the way, who the hecks idea was it for me to take accordian lessons anyways?!

I must say, I can understand the need for an update as the parental unit live in another province; therefore, this is a way to keep up with the goings on of their only child, or as I refer to myself, their loving daughter.

So here's the update. Yesterday I managed to bandage up the ongoing festering wound that once was a blister in order for me to get my bike workout in. I had a great workout and am continually impressed with how good I feel after each workout! I was still feeling a bit of muscle fatigue from my ski on Sunday, so opted to do a short core workout titled 'Ab Ripper X'. Now if that title doesn't make you want to workout, I don't know what will. Although the workout was short, the title was apt and I felt the burn!

Today I was back in the pool. After reading some other posts I am thankful that I did not have to put up with hairballs, gack, wet tissue, gag, floating bandaids, spew, or anything of the sort. (My bandaid stayed on thank you very much!)

I did however almost get kicked in the face by one of my bestest friends, Leslie. She is a great swimmer, so I often try to keep up. It's good for me - or so I keep telling myself. I was doing intervals of 50 m drill / 50 m sprints today and on one of my sprints was hell bent on catching up to Les.

I got to the far end of the pool, pushed off, sped ahead and EEEEK! had Leslies feet almost kicking under my chin. BRAKE, BRAKE, BRAKE!! Turns out she did a 25 m swim, then went into a drill so had slowed considerably. That'll teach me not to sight!

Again I had an amazing workout. I seriously hope this is how the majority of the season goes. I feel so much stronger than I did at the same time last year - it's tres cool. I think part of the reason is having a couple of seasons under my belt now so I'm pushing myself more. Last year was also a major turning point for me in the mind game so I know I can take it both physically and mentally. For some reason I feel like growling now...well, maybe more of a Tim Taylor growl.

Total distance today was 2300 m, in an hour. Oh, I forgot to mention one of the drills - a personal favourite of mine - the one arm swim. For someone who's butt wants to sink down to the bottom of the pool and therefore must flail all limbs in order to stay afloat, I am always amazed that I do so well at this one. I really hope nothing happens to one of my arms, but if it does at least I know I can swim with one arm! Yay!

A shout out to all the peeps giving me tips on how to keep track of laps in the pool - thank you! I'm almost embarassed to say that it's not the long swims that I'm losing track of....I actually lose track doing 100 m. Yes, I'm hanging my head in shame. It's just that I'll be swimming along my merry way and remembering what lap I'm on, then I'll think about my technique and focus on that, and that's long enough for my sieve of a mind to forget where I was. So really, it's possible that I swim an extra 50-100 m each workout. Sigh...

As mentioned above, the festering wound that once was a blister, is still healing. Slowly. Very slowly. The red part is half the size, and it's itchy. I think that means it's healing?! But I still can't put on a shoe with a back, so there was no way I could run tonight. One guess what I did instead?! Yup! I flipped through the old P90X DVDs, which are really paying off, and chose one that I thought would give me some good cardio - Kenpo X.

What's that mean? It means Law of the Fist baby! (This is where I do my Bruce Lee war cry...WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH)

Have I mentioned I love martial arts?? It all started when I was a wee lass in Japan watching samarai movies. I then graduated to Bruce Lee movies, which are still my favs. Then I moved on to Jackie Chan. My near brush with fame came when I was a martial arts student and was called to do stunts in a martial arts film. Unfortunately they needed five foot nine of fury, rather than my five foot two of fury. Yes, I'm still bitter. I'm sure I could have done the stunts in stilettos!

But I digress. So I put the DVD in and prepared to be slayed as I had with the plyometrics DVD. However, slayed I was not. This dude has nothing on my former master instructor! All was good though, I punched and kicked for about 50 minutes and realized that my core is way stronger than it was when I was actually in martial arts. Translation: I have more stability when punching and kicking - so I can do those things harder. Very cool.

Look out world, the inner ninja princess has surfaced. HIYA KARATE CHOP!

Peace out my friends!

Monday, 19 January 2009

Remember To Kick!!!

I am proud to say I made it to the pool this morning and had a really good workout! Why am I proud? True, I would have gotten to the pool, but my muscles were tired from yesterday so I could have slacked off, but instead I chose not to.

Not only did I not slack off, but I did 2100 m of endurance today. The majority of that was freestyle, with a few drills thrown in here and there. Oh, and let us not forget 200 m of kicking at the end.

I like to say I'm a lazy triathlete who doesn't kick because I can wear a wetsuit. However, that's not really why I don't kick. I don't kick because I actually forget to. I'm so focused on what my head and arms are doing that every once in a while I think 'Oh! Gotta kick!' and do a few flutter kicks, then go back to forgetting.

Because I had so much freestyle to do I decided to spend some of the time focused on my arms and the rest on my kick. I have no idea if I went faster or slower with this, but I did feel a little more balanced. I also managed to get my workout down in under an hour, which is pretty cool.

It is possible I did more than 2100 m. I have a bad habit of losing count in my laps, and if I do I do the extra to make sure I'm not cheating.

I was hoping to do a run this afternoon, but the pool loosened up my blister skin so now all that's left is just a patch of raw, new, exposed skin. I can sum it up in one word - OW! There will be no wearing of shoes with backs on them for a while. My swim buddy, Andrew, got a good giggle at watching me try to walk in sneakers this morning. Hopefully, by tomorrow I can stand having a patch on it and getting on the bike as the last time it didn't seem to rub or press on it when I pedaled. I really hope this heals soon. I promise I won't go skiing again till it does!

Instead of running tonight, I pulled out a P90X DVD and did the stretching routine. I could feel some tight muscles from the ski, and from swimming this morning, so figured this would be a great alternative. I can't believe I pulled off 50 minutes of stretching!

My idea of stretching is spreading my legs, leaning forward, coming back up, grabbing the top of one foot, pulling my foot to butt, then the next leg, stretch the calf, stretch the other calf and that's it. That quickly too.

The stretches they have are great and do hit all areas. Not to mention you actually hold them long enough to get the stretch in. My only issue with this workout was my beloved cat who wanted to join in...

A note to my feline, Mr. Cringely: When I am doing downward dog, please do not head butt my boobs. It's distracting, not to mention a wee bit ticklish. And giggling is not allowed in stretching. Also, I'd prefer if you didn't walk on and then stand on my hands. I need to move them from time to time and having to flick you off them makes me feel bad. Perhaps you could find another place to lie down, and stay there. Rather than every time I'm hovering above the ground, placing yourself under my body. Then again, this is better than the boob head butt. Lastly, if you are going to stand in front of me while my head is near the floor, I'd prefer if you were facing me, rather than facing away from me. No one wants to see your little onion that close up. I promise. Thank you and I love you little buddy.

Peace out my friends!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Cascade Fire Road Ski...

Just got back from an AMAZING ski day! Xcountry ski day that is. Had a brilliant time with my buddy Trudy on the Cascade Fire Road. It starts at the Lake Minnewanka day area, just north of Banff - in case anyone wants to check it out.

Total trip distance was 29 km. After a short descent from the parking lot there is 22 minute of climb (which leads to much fun on the way back). Not a bad climb, just a steady one. I kept up a steady pace and in my head had a toy soldier theme going on as I thought, 'Trudge, trudge trudge, trudge. Trudge, trudge, trudge, trudge.' It actually kept me in good rhythm.

The next part of the trail is relatively flat with a short downhill that takes you to the first bridge. This area is just gorgeous. Well, the whole trail is gorgeous actually becuase you are in the Cascade Valley surrounded by glorious mountains and trees. Can you say Susi happy place?!
After that section there is a bit more flat then more undulating hills and climbing. Actually there is a lot of climbing on the way in. The turnaround point for us was the second bridge, 14.5 km in.
I felt really strong in my skiing - although I'm pretty sure I'm going to be feeling my back and shoulders tomorrow in the swim. The legs...well, the legs are still feeling the P90X a bit, and the two subsequent bike rides, so they will continue to be fatigued. At some point I will rest them I'm sure.
Trudy gave me a few tips, but said overall my technique wasn't bad. I was pretty stoked about this because I'd been watching peoples skiing and trying to imitate them. I do this with most activities as a way to try and learn. Apparantly I was watching the right people skiing! (Most notably Trudy who kicks butt out there!!)
We stopped at the turnaround point for a quick bite. Trudy took a couple pics of my new IMCDA Finisher bike jacket that I was wearing. I JUST got it!! It's awesome as a ski jacket too.
The way back was much quicker with all the downhill, but I was struggling on some of the flat bits because of the sun/shade affect on the snow. In some areas it was a bit of a slog and in others it was quite slippery. I was kicking it on the downhill though - two pole twice then tuck and go! I loved it.
It took us less time to get back, which was a good thing because the only bummer of the trip was that I could feel my blister again - which I had covered with physio tape, and I could feel a toe on my right foot. Well, a nail really. I find it truly hysterical that I have been in three half Ironman races and two Ironman races and have never had as much trouble with my feet as I have on the last two ski trips! It's crazy. When we got home I took a look and found the tape ripped the skin off the remainging blister, and my toenail is black, so there is the possibility I might lose it. I submit Exhibit A and B for your viewing pleasure.

Huh. Third toe on the right is black...oh and look, I see I have another blister. Will it ever end?!
Have no fear though, I took a ton of 'nice' photos to share with you the view that I had for a good portion of the day. The photos are actually from the turnaround point back. We skiied straight out without stops, but on the way back I took photos. Man I love it out here! Oh, and hopefully this clears your noggin' of the previous two photos.
Peace out my wonderful friends and enjoy the photos!!
The view from the second bridge and turnaround point for us. Trail continues on...

Looking back at where we skiied from.
The snow crystals were HUGE and made it look like wee diamonds were everywhere in the snow.
Plants in the shady areas still had frost on them. It was hard to capture how sparkly they were with the photo.

Heading back over the first bridge - that's Trudy out in front.

Looking west from the bridge. Here's where I pretend I'm Ansel Adams (my favourite photogragpher) and start with the black and white photos.

Looking north at the first bridge.

Almost back to the parking lot now. This is Cascade Mountain.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Hold The Elevator Please!!!

I need an elevator. Yes, an elevator for my two storey house. Wait! If there is a basement, does that mean it's three stories?? It would seem that today, stairs are my mortal enemy.

All I can say is I pray that the cat does not get in front of me in a way that necessitates me having to jump or leap or sidestep the wee guy, cause it's SO not going to happen.

As you may be guessing, my legs and butt muscles are a tad sore today. Not that I'm complaining. Honest! I love this kind of pain because it means I'm working hard. I've had this kind of mentality since I was a kid working at Gold's Gym. I firmly believed the t-shirt I wore with the big, muscular green monster that read 'No Pain, No Gain'.

So I made it through the mega jumping squats and lunges workout last night, and was up bright and early this morning to do my bike workout. In hindsight perhaps I should have left a few more hours between workouts?

I had a sneaking suspicion that this mornings bike workout was a low cadence one, which meant pushing the pedals hard and doing more squats. Sure enough it was. I was impressed this morning with the strength I had and got through the workout fine. The legs were screaming a bit on the squats, but nothing unbearable. I did five sets of the LCS/squat sets, then did a steady pace until the one hour mark.

Everything was fine until a short while later - after I'd been sitting on my butt for a while in my office. I went downstairs not to badly to get a wee snack, but when I tried to walk up the stairs boy could I ever feel every muscle in my quads and butt!

So inadvertantly I have dedicated this month a strength building month. Good thing thats one of my, uhm, er, strengths?? All those years in the gym are paying off. Or at least I hope they will and this pain will be short lived.

I had this afternoon off from training and will rest up tomorrow, with the exception of a swim. I will likely take advantage of the pull buoy and not use my legs much so they recover for the weekend.

Looks like the inner quadzilla in me is coming back!

Peace out my brilliant friends.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009


Well it finally arrived...the P90X workout 'system'. The system has a nutrition plan, workout plan and 12 DVDs. I was mostly interested in the 12 DVDs because I wanted something different for my strength workouts, now that I can actually fit them in this year!

I lovingly brought my package home from the post office, laid it on the counter, sliced through the clear packing tape that held down the flap, flipped the flap open and gazed inside...

This is what I saw...

What I did next is what any self respecting triathlete would do...I ignored the big stop sign warning, tossed the stack of 'read this first' books aside and gently picked up the stack of DVDs. Aaaaah...

I promptly pulled out the DVD that I wanted to start with first...plyometrics. I have no idea why I am so obssessed about doing these, but I am. I think it may give me some sort of edge this year in my races. Of course, I have no scientific proof that this is true.

I ran upstairs, got changed, ran back downstairs, grabbed my yoga mat, moved the cat and the coffee table, put the DVD in and waited with anticipation...

So the dude leading this little trip is a tad dorky. Nice bod though - of course. One of the first things he says as we start warming up is DO NOT EAT AT LEAST 60 MINUTES BEFORE THIS WORKOUT. Hmm, I just ate two rice cakes with peanut butter and banana downed with a cup of chocolate almond milk about half an hour ago. Bah! I'll be fine.

One thing I like about this workout is its done in sets of two. So it keeps things interesting - not that all the jumping squats, jumping side steps, jumping leaps and jumpity jumpy jumping activities wouldn't. Note that there is a lot of jumping stuff in here.

It didn't take long before all this jumping started to help me process my wonderful dinner. Before you knew it I was making some interesting sounds. The top end went first. BRRAAAAAAACCKK! Oh my. Excuse me...

The longer the workout went on, and the more the food was jostled through my intestinal system, and then the bottom half of my body decided to get in on the game. VVVVVVEERRRPPPPP!

Good thing the cat is now deaf or he would have been startled out of his wits. Heck, sometimes I was startled by the noises coming out of me! Add to that my knees were cracking with each squat. CRACK. CRACK. CRACK.

I was my own one woman band!

The workouts got more intense and I must admit I could not go that low with some of the moves. But hey, this was my first workout so I know I can only get better!

By the end I was pretty pooped, had sweat dripping off me and my legs were feeling it. I think the photo below sums it all up.

This was a darn good workout, with lots of room for improvement. I look forward to scoping out the other DVDs in there...especially the martial arts one that is just calling the name of the ninja princess!

It will be interesting to see how my legs are tomorrow for the bike workout...

Peace out my friends!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Spin, Spin, Spin!!!

I have to admit, I used to think spinning was easy, but now that I've decided not to be a lazy arse on the trainer I have to say....DAMN THAT'S HARD!

I'm not sure what's harder, the low cadence spinning or high cadence spinning without bouncing! Either way I'm pushing my bike skills this year and am loving every bit of it.

Really not much to write about todays workout. I did a sets of four, then two, then four 0:20 sec spin / 1:40 recovery with some 'easy' recovery sets in between. I made sure I didn't wuss out on the recovery either and by my second set of 0:20 second intervals I was full on sweating. Wait, I'm a girl...I glisten. Profusely.

The workout was to end at 0:44 minutes with a cooldown, but i decided to push it to an hour. I cranked the gearing up a bit and just did a steady ride. My legs were feeling it after, but they were very happy at the work.

Too bad the remnants of my blister aren't happy. Stupid thing is really sore. I think it's the combination of my run last night and my bike this morning wearing only a bandaid on it. There is no liquid in it anymore, it's just doing it's healing thing, but it really friggin hurts. And has a pulse. And is warm. But it's not ooozy yet, so I take that as a good sign and will fix it before it gets there. I promise. In fact, I'm going out right after I type this in order to buy the Moleskin pads that many people, including my beloved parental unit, have insisted I purchase. No need to tell me more than four times! I think I finally get that I need them...

Peace out my lovely friends!

Monday, 12 January 2009


It is almost fitting that the biggest goal of my year is to continue finding balance in life...and my second swim of the year was titled 'Balance 1900 m'.

I managed to zip through my warm up of 100m swim/100 m kick/ 100 m swim/ 100 m kick. Nothing too exciting there. Oh, except for the fact that I managed to whiz past the older gal in the snorkel and fins. Phew!

Next up were 3 sets of balance work and swim. It was broken up into 50 m segments. In other words, 50 m kick / 50 m swim. 50 m 6 count side kick / 50 m swim. 50 m one side kick / 50 m swim. Then the pièce de résistance.... 50 m side kick NO ARMS / 50 m swim.

So lets start off with the 50 m side kick no arms. Seriously??? Once again this is some coaches way of trying to drown a triathlete. I foiled thiee plan though and somehow managed to stay afloat AND avoided drinking copious amounts of water. While on each side my butt and hip wanted to drag along the bottom of the pool, but I kicked harder so I would keep moving. Picture how a dog swims with just a portion of their head above water...but on their side...and you will know how I was swimming this set. Hmmm, can't remember if I passed the snorkel/fin gal whilst doing this or not....

My 50 m swim intervals rocked, if I do say so myself. I am really focussing on my technique now and boy did I feel it! My upper back and shoulders were working hard right from the get go. I felt a lot faster as well. By the end of all the sets (I also had 4 x 50 m at the end, then a 200 m cooldown) I felt as though I was slowing down a bit, but I fought to keep my technique of really catching and pushing the water away. The trick now will be to keep that up for 3.8 kilometers. All in good time though.

After work I got an hour run in. I felt a bit sluggish which may have been due partly because of the skiing and strength bike workout on the weekend. Still, it seemed to go quite quickly and I managed to ignore the slurpie headache I got from the cold. No, I was not wearing a toque...just ear warmers. Yes, I expect a comment from the parental unit on this. Oh, just to score points with the parental unit I DID run with my yellow safety vest. So there.

And so the amazing training continues!!

Peace out my friends.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

The Blister and The Bike...

Last night before bed I carefully removed the band-aid that, earlier during my ski fun, I had placed on what was left of a blister. What I found was somewhat frightening...a blister that had formed with the flesh that had been remaining from the previous blister. Yipe.

I also noticed that the flesh that had been the original blister peeled away with the band-aid. Ew. The new blister must have formed on the ski back to the lodge. It now had some liquid and was the size of a quarter, as illustrated below. (No comments on how rough my heels are please...these are the heels of a mighty triathlete, not a beauty queen!)

The trick now would be to figure out how to cover that up so I could do my bike workout in the morning - especially because I don't wear socks in my bike shoes.

By the time I woke up this morning I had a semi plan for tackeling the blister issue. I just need to search for a band-aid big enough to cover it! Easy schmeasy. The search turned up a sterile pad I could use...but no steri strips to put it on with. Hmmm. Faced with such a dilemma, I requested the gerbil in my brain get off his hookah pillows and hop onto his treadmill in order to start working out option.

After only moments on the treadmill, the gerbil - brilliant that he is, shouted out 'DUCT TAPE!' where did I put the duct tape?? Unfortunately, I couldn't find it, so I used the next best thing - clear packing tape. My handy work is illustrated below.

It was a bit tricky putting my bike shoes on, but everything seemed to work out just fine. Now the big test, was I going to feel the blister with every pedal stroke???

Thankfully the answer to that question was no. All that was left to do now was to start pedaling!

Todays bike plan was another low cadence workout. After a 23 minute warm up I got right into the LC sets - five sets in total. Each set contained four minutes of pedaling at 70 rpm (using a hard gear to make it 70 rpm of course), then two minutes of squats.

The squats were done by placing an exercise ball against the wall, behind my back, and rolling down until I was in a seated position and my thighs were parallel to the ground . Then I'd hold it there for two seconds, then come back up again and with no rest at the top I'd get back down into that seated position.

The first 55 seconds of squats always went well, then the burn would kick in. There was a lot of mumbling and very big exhales as I continued in the sets. I tried to keep things interesting by changing the position of my feet for each set. This would work a different quad muscle each time.

Once my sets were done I continued on with 37 minutes of steady pedaling. The total workout time was 1.5 hours.

The workout itself was great. I felt like I had a lot of strength and because of the sets and switching things up the workout also went by quickly.

As for the blister, my clear tape system worked just fine. I could tell it was coming off my skin the more I would sweat, but my shoe was snug enough that it held the pad in place. The only time it hurt was when I had to walk from my bike to do the squats.

Of course all that sweating made the blister even bigger, so I had to do the dasterdly deed of popping it. Have no fear, only sterile appliances were used for such an operation.

Here's hoping it will heal up quickly because I have a run tomorrow evening. Oh, I just thought of another thing...hopefully the wee puncture hole will heal up before my swim tomorrow too because we all know how clean pools are!! All together now 'EWWWWWWWWW!!!'

Peace out my lovely friends.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

The Ski Lioness...

What a great day to go xcountry skiing! After being in a deep freeze for too long, the chinook finally blew into town. Actually, the winds REALLY blew last night, so driving on the TransCanada was a little dicey in spots because of all the snow that blew onto the roads.

I headed out to Pocaterra ski area in Peter Lougheed Park with my wonderful, amazing friends (and adopted family) Esther and David. David and I are back into training mode so we were substituting a ski for a run today.

After a brief stop at the lodge we put our skis on and headed out. But not before saying hellos and giving hugs to uber triathletes Katie, Shannon, Chris and Jill, who were also out for a ski. There was a pretty good sized group of JackRabbits (young skiers ~6-7 years old) that had just headed out on the trail. I really hoped that I could pass them and they wouldn't out ski me. My fitness ego is rather fragile these days!!

Thankfully, we got past them and made our way to the Pocaterra trail. I've skied part of this trail before but today we were going to go a little bit farther.

Before we really got going with the skiing we had to stop for some photo ops - of course. Here are David and Esther!

Here's yours truly in her new Christmas prezzie from the parental unit. The toque was the HIT of the trails. I had a ton of people ski by saying 'love the toque!'. I knew Mum would be happy with that. The best was this little girl back at the lodge who said 'I like the lion on your head!'. Too cute. I was somewhat surprised to note that I was the only one on the trails with a fun toque - what's up with that?!

The trail itself was in great shape. The first part was mostly flat, but then we started to do more climbing. Every once in a while I'd stop to take a picture or two.

It felt great being out there today. Every once in while we'd be in an area where the wind would rip through the trees and blow all the snow. It was hilarious because there were big soft balls of snow falling off the trees so it felt like the trees were playing with us and throwing snowballs! As all the snow came down I couldn't help but laugh as we tried to ski through it.

I decided that today I would try to work on my ski form. I realized I wasn't extending my arms enough and not going through a full range of motion. I was also working on my weight transfer. I am hoping to see my friend Trudy, who is an amazing skier, in a couple of weeks and will ask her for some hints and tips how to improve things. Sometimes everything feels smooth, and other times it's a bit awkward and choppy.

Part way along our skiing I had felt a 'hot spot' on my heel. I stopped and did my boots up tighter, but by then it was too late. I tried to ignore what felt like skin pulling from my heel for as long as I could. David was in front so I yelled to him asking if he had a bandaid - I figured I'd had a whopper of a blister going.

We pulled over at this one area where the trees broke up. We were met with an unbelievable view - of which I took photos of course!

I took my shoe and sock off to inspect the damage. It was bigger than I thought. A blister the size of half a toonie had ripped open on my heel. Ow. I managed to find some bandaids and put them on. We'd skied about an hour by then and decided to head back. I was bummed about having to turn around, but I was past the 'grin and bear it' stage of the blister. Thankfully, Esther and David said they were ready to go back then anyways. Phew!
Blister or no though we had a great ski back to the lodge. All the uphill we climbed was now downhill and we zipped along. I really worked on extending my arms, digging in and pushing my poles. The bliss of being out there took some of the pain of my foot away.
We all had big smiles on our faces when we got back. The ski may not have been as long as I had hoped it would, but I got to see some new trail and have plans to come back and finish up that ski trail! Not to mention I was out in Mother Nature with two of my closest friends - you can't get much better than that!
Peace out my friends!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Muscles? What Muscles???

I have been reminded that I possess certain muscle groups called triceps and quadriceps. It is quite apparent that they have not been used to the fullest extent in the last little while because I can really feel them today after one swim and two bike workouts. Yeowza!

Thankfully it isn’t an excruciating pain, just a ‘Hello. Thank you for using us again pain. Here’s just a little bit of payback for ignoring us the last few months.’

It took me a bit today to feel my triceps, but I felt my quads as soon as I tried to walk downstairs. My vastus medialis to be exact. (Yes, I did have to look that up!) "Oh hello there Mr. Vastus Medialis. Thank you for stopping in and reminding me that I haven't been working out much. I'd greatly appreciate it if you would get used to what is going on quickly so that I am able to walk up and down the stairs without such discomfort."

This may take a while to happen because although my quads were a wee bit sore, I did a low cadence workout on my bike today. Just to spice the old bike workout up a bit, I threw in some sets of squats.

In all honesty, it was a great workout and I felt strong throughout. I did a 15 minute warmup, then started in on the sets. Three minutes of low cadence work, one minute of ball squats, and one minute easy. All of this four times.

Throwing ball squats in the workout really broke things up and added an extra little challenge. Surprisingly, my legs didn't feel tired at the end...until I tried to walk back up the stairs out of the dungeon and up to the top floor.

At some point during the day I thought, hmmmm, what is that strange feeling in the back of my arms. OH! Triceps! Right. Forgot all about you guys. Guess I really was pushing the water yesterday. Excellent.

I take this little bit of soreness as a good sign. I'm putting effort into my workouts and my body is feeling it. Progress is being made. Soon enough I will be back in fighting form. Nothing can stop me now!!!

Well, except for the rest day that I have tomorrow, which I am going to take and I make no apologies for it!

Peace out my friends!

Wednesday, 7 January 2009


I was up bright and early to hit the local pool today. Oh how thankful I was I could just get up and go and not have to worry about wearing my swim clothes, packing my work clothes - don't forget the undies and bra!, pack my breakfast, pack my lunch etc. Instead I was just able to walk out the door with the essentials. Trust me, I give thanks everyday to be able to live this new lifestyle of mine!

I found an old training plan of mine from a couple of years ago. There were some really great swim workouts on there so I decided to do them in order and chose the first one. Gulp. My eyes grew slightly large as I read 'Endurance Swim, 1600m'. Holy hannah when was the last time I swam 1600 m?!

As the most I had swum in the last bit was 15 minutes worth, I really wasn't sure how I'd feel in this swim. I was more than willing to give it a go though! My last few workouts have really gotten me in the groove of training and I feel great.

I slipped into the water and started my warm up - 100 m swim/100 m kick/100m swim/100 m kick. My swim felt comfortable and my kick felt like crap. Aaaah. Just like old times!

As I was coming back during one kicking set I noticed someone at the end of the pool. Hmmm. Wonder if that's one of my fellow townie tri-geeks? My goggles are a wee bit cloudy and the person had their cap and goggles on already so I couldn't tell. My name is on my pull buoy though so I figured if they knew me they'd see that and say hi.

The next time lap of kicking I saw the person touching my pile of stuff at the pool edge. Hmmm. What this all about? Perhaps they were reading my swim program that was stuck to my water bottle? I should add I was willing to take them out if they tried to make of with my program or pull buoy! As I got to the pool edge I took off my goggles to see who this person was. I was tickled pink when I saw it was my amazing friend Leslie. YAY! What an awesome surprise!

Turns out she is going to be swimming on Monday and Wednesday mornings as well. I love that she will be there because she is one of the most kick butt swimmers I know. Already today she has given me a pointer that I'll be working on. So cool.

After a brief chat with Leslie I started the main workout. This consisted of sets of various lengths at a moderate and fast pace. For the most part I felt pretty strong, but part way through one of the fast 100 m sets I was thinking, ow, I can feel my shoulders. Need air. Not getting enough air in. So not doing flipturns in this set or I'll drown! How did I ever swim 4000 m last year?? Do not panic. Your race is many months away and you will be able to swim the distance by that time! Breath dammit, breath!

There was some gasping at sputtering at the end of the set, but at the same time I was smiling because I was gettin' er done.

I was surprised again when I finished the workout. I swam 1600 m and it felt not too bad! How cool that I swam that far for my first real swim workout?! This is a very good start to the year. My swim goal this year is to better my technique so I can swim faster! Kind of a given for most triathletes I think.

I also got a run in this evening. About the half hour mark I realized I hadn't had enough food today because things started looking a little woozy. Eeep. Rather than endure the first bonk of the season, I stopped in at Esthers, my other amazing friend. I gratefully endured the giggling at my situation in trade for some sustenance to keep me going. Phew.

Another great training day. Here's hoping this year is made up mainly of these types of days!

Peace out my wonderful friends.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Just Call Me Hef...

Ah yes...there is nothing like waking up, strolling downstairs leisurely to sit down for a nice, hot, well balanced breakfast, then strolling back upstairs and starting your days work - all in the comfort of your fuzzy warm flannel pj's.

At the end of my workday I changed into my bike clothes and headed for the dungeon. My workout tonight was a short one, just under an hour and involved spin intervals.

I did a ten minute warmup, then five minutes comprising of 30 seconds standing and 30 seconds recovery. I gotta tell ya, I'm still feeling my quads from this one. As I was standing I tried to make sure that there was no bounce and that my pedal stroke was smooth. This meant using a lot of muscle and control. I'm proud to say that no obsenities passed my lips during this exercise...although there were a couple of fffffffff sounds before I restrained myself and reminded myself how strong this will make me.

The remainder of the bike workout consisted of spin work. I did sets of 20 seconds high spin (no bounce) and 1:40 min of recovery. One would think this would be relatively easy. In comparison to some workouts it was, but I was still sweating at the end of it. My legs were feeling it as well. That may be due in part to the fact that I was working the recovery spins, not just lazily spinning my legs around.

I felt really good about this workout. I love it when I can feel my muscles working - it's such a rush! I'm really stoked about my bike work this year as I want to build on what I developed last year. One day I will be ready for Lanzarote!

After my workout I went upstairs, showered and put on a fresh set of warm fuzzy flannel pj's. Good thing I have many sets!

Yup, you can call me after the pj'd man himself, Hef. Not that we have anything in common other than our love of being in pj's all day. Afterall, there's only one blonde bunny in this mansion!

Peace out my bunny friends!

Monday, 5 January 2009

Layer Up!!!

Let the show begin...I'm back into training and loving it! On Saturday I had a brilliant run with Leslie. The scenery along the river was breathtaking - all the trees were covered in an shining white frost. It was a bit chilly out though and when we ran into an area that was in the shade certain bits that I possess started to freeze...

When it's cold out the three areas on me that freeze first are the three areas that stick out the most - my butt, boobs and nose! Mental note: next run make sure they are covered better!

On Sunday I was on the trainer...not much to say about that. I got on my bike. I spun my legs. I looked at the walls. Truthfully though, it wasn't a bad workout! I did some various intervals to keep things interesting.

My first official day as a working-from-home-entrepeneur was spent downtown at one of my clients office. Slightly ironic, I know. It was all good though as I get to work with some truly great people. However, working downtown meant I had to do my short run in the dark and cold evening, rather than the warmish sunny day. At least I think it was sunny today...I was in the deep dark back boardroom for most of it.

It was a bit chilly when I got home and I wasn't sure how much more the temperature would drop, even though it was warmer today than it has been in a long time. I decided not to risk a reoccurance of Sunday and layer up!

The layers...jog bra, long sleeve shirt, long sleeve fleece sweater, wind breaker and glow in the dark safety vest. (Musn't forget the bright yellow reflective safety vest that Mum gave me! Cause you know the day I do forget to wear it, is the day I get bumped off by a car or truck!! It's just like when I was a kid and she'd say to wear my coat because it was cold, and I didn't cause I was too cool, and then I'd freeze...) But I digress. On the legs were a pair of shorts covered by my double layered winter gortex front leggings, and socks. This ensemble was topped off with ear covers and my purple dragon toque. (That would be a hat for anyone reading this outside of Canada.)

I LOVE my dragon toque - it doubles as a puppet and has googly eyes and everything! As the eyes face back I always say that Monty (the name of my dragon) watches my back. So very cool.

I didn't end up covering my schnoz, although as I was running I did remember that somewhere in my house I have a red clowns nose that may come in handy on the colder days! Can you imagine the sight of that?!

Overall, the run went quite well. As I was running from my house down the bonus hill I was glad for my neon yellow vest as there was a ton of traffic coming towards me. No one seemed to want to move over either, so I started to wonder if my vest really was reflective and whether or not I'd have to dive into a snow pile to avoid being hit! I kept a good eye on all the cars.

Shortly thereafter, I discovered that the vest was visible because when I got to the road crossing two cars that were going to turn, and therefore intersect in front of me as I crossed the road, stopped. Problem was I stopped too because I couldn't make eye contact (it was dark out) so I didn't know if it was ok to go! We finally all worked it out okay.

As I ran in one of the neighborhoods I was met with a dog...that barked at me. BARKED AT ME! I'm the person who adores all creatures great and small dammit! Especially the cute, furry, fourlegged ones! How dare he bark at me?!

I actually sensed that he wasn't a super friendly dog (the kids walking it had let go of the leash so he was wandering in front of them, then approached me barking) so I stopped running. Likely a good move. He didn't stay interested in me for too long though as he caught a scent, went past me and stuck his nose in a snow drift...must have smelt the scent of Eau d'Yellow Snow!

On the way back I had the pleasure of witnessing the sky turn a most stunning, awe-inspiring colour. Or rather, colours. It was a deep dark azure that blended into a midnight blue, then went to black. Not to mention the stars and moon that were dabbled in there. I made sure I made a wish on the first star I saw tonight too! Can't tell you what it is though or that will break the wish...

I focused on the brilliant sky as I huffed and puffed back up the bonus hill. I learned quickly that it is harder to run uphill in the snow rather than downhill! Who knew?! Throw in the headwind that I had and I felt as though someone was trying to push me backwards! It was great resistance training for the end of my run.

It feels oh so good to be back training!

Peace out my glorious friends.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

The New Year...

Rather than set resolutions for the new year, I prefer to reflect on the passing year and see what I've learned. Then I take those learnings and adjust things in life to ensure I'm leading the best possible lifestyle for me.

The biggest lesson of last year was living in the present moment. This one little task changed my life profoundly. It enabled me to have the best race ever, Ironman Coeur d'Alene, and it helped me better cope with some of lifes more difficult times, such as losing my furry friend Milo and my car accident. In general I feel much more calm about life - it's a glorious feeling after spending the former 37 years having a gerbil on a treadmill in my brain! (He's still there by the way, but he's now under control.)

The second biggest lesson I learned was that I need to work more on having a balanced lifestyle. In the first half of 2006 I found that all I did was train, commute, work, eat and sleep. My fitness was at it's peak during this time, but I didn't have balance in that I had no social life and I felt I had no time for other activities.

The latter half of last year was the opposite. I was focussed on courses I was taking, investigating, then grabbing, the opportunity to start my own business, organizing a fundraiser for a friend, and dealing with a car accident. What all this meant was I was too busy and too tired to workout regularly. I also lost control of my eating. The end result, I am 15lbs overweight and I feel as if I've taken a step back in my fitness.

I'm not complaining at all about this though. This is how we learn. When things aren't how you want them to be you take a step back, analyze it, and see what can be done to improve it. So that's what I've done.

The biggest change for me this year is that starting January 1 I became my own company. I can now work from my home the majority of time, which means no commuting and a gain of 12 hours a week! I'm so stoked about that. This will allow me time to work, train, socialize and have some down time. In other words, better balance in life.

So with all this time and a focus on better life balance I have realized there are some lifestyle changes that I hope will occur:
  • Better eating habits - for the most part I eat well, but I just eat too much!
  • Time for meditation - the times that I have meditated I always feel refreshed and stronger mentally after.
  • Swim, bike and run, and other things - I would like to spice up my training more this year and add in more cross country skiing, mountain biking and trail running as well as other workouts using the P90X DVDs.
  • Maintain my fitness in the off season - this one will have to wait as I have 11 months of training ahead of me. I am going to really focus on continuing with my training after my races though.

I am truly excited for this new year. It will be a continuation of the positive changes made last year and it will be full of new learning experiences that will enable me to grow in future. For that I say 'HOOOYAAAAH!!'.

Peace out my lovely friends!