Thursday, 26 February 2009

Nooo Kitty!!!

I was going to do a lower body strength workout today to try and do something with this rather bothersome hip. Then my friend Keith said the magic word 'yoga'. Right! I have a yoga DVD with the ever so handy P90X set that I got!

So after work I got all set up. I put the DVD in and while the boring warnings and threats of pain if I should want to copy the DVDs scrolled across the screen, I moved my coffee table and set my mat up.

I thought I heard a wee bell sound off in the distance...I chose to ignore it. Finally we started. Ah yes, mountain pose. Standing straight and tall. Hands in prayer position. Eyes closed. Deeeep breath.

Wait, what's that...

Ah, the source of the bell was now positioned at my feet. I opened my eyes and looked down to find my furry feline Mr. Cringely. He was stretched out lengthwise on the mat with part of his body on my toes. Hmmm, this certianly would not do. I picked him up and put him on the couch, then continued my breathing.

Deep breath in...folding over...straight back....hands to kitty!!! He was on the mat again, this time drooling and rubbing his face on my hands. Ick. So I picked him up and put him on the couch, again.

Closing eyes, touching ground, step or hop back into plank position, chattaranga, upward dog, breathing in, downward dog.... NO KITTY! He was back. This time headbutting me as I was positioned in downward dog.

Somehow I was not finding the peace one would find during a yoga session. Of course, I was laughing through all this because I couldn't believe his persistance. Why I couldn't believe it is unknown as he's always been a persistant kitty! I mean, that's all part of being a cat right??

Finally I got him to lie on a blanket I put down beside the mat. I figured he may have just wanted to join in all the bendy fun.

Things went well for a while, until I was positioned in a triangle pose and he walked underneath my side. I pushed him through and back on his mat and that's when kitty almost lost one of his nine lives. You see, I started to fall over.

Ohh. Wooohhh. Noooooo. MOVE KITTY! Kerplunk! Umpff.

I managed to fall and move him out of the way of my falling body at the same time. I assume he took this as a sign that perhaps this was not a safe area to be in as he left soon thereafter.

The rest of the workout was just as challenging. There were many many many running poses, then warrior ones, warrior twos etc. My hip was starting to feel it and I was losing strength. I persisted though - hmmm, maybe I learned something from Mr. Cringely afterall - until all the moving poses were complete. My hip was pretty sore after, but I think it stretched it out quite nicely. I was also pretty happy with the fact that I could still do the poses reasonably well considering it had been quite some time since I atteneded a yoga class.

Oh! The brilliant part of the workout is that I actually did a bind! We were in kind of a triangle running pose so I was all bent and folded over and on the one side I reached one arm behind my back and then the other arm twisted underneath my leg and I reached and reached and pretty much all I could feel was arse cheek. Oh so close. But then I did the other side and I reeeeeaaaacccched as much as I could and finally I felt finger tips!!! Okay, perhaps it wasn't a bind cause my hands weren't clasping but the fact that finger tips touched friggin rocked my world. I even let out a yelp! Then again, the yelp may have been from the strain of trying to actually make finger tip contact. Whatever, it was still brilliant!

So even though hip still isn't cooperating, all is good. I got a good workout in, I did a bind, and I didn't kill my kitty cat. Gotta be happy about that!

Namaste and peace out my beautiful friends!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009


First off many warm thank you's for all of the birthday wishes. I am happy to report that I had a BRILLIANT day and evening! I am truly blessed and grateful for all that I have.

I guess the only bummer of yesterday was my run didn't happen. My hip is bugging me, and in more than a physical sense. You see, I believe that physical maladies are present because of our emotions. I believe in the mind/body/spirit connection. So the fact that this hip thing seems to come along every year has me a bit flustered because now I need to figure out the connection.

What is it I'm supposed to be learning that apparantly I'm not? How come it can all of a sudden go away - did I do something to change it? This problem has been nagging me off and on for about 12 years now. In fact when I took up running that long ago it started to hurt and the physiotherapist I saw said the dramatic words 'You may never run again...'

At the time I had just started running and I loved my early morning runs. For some reason I decided to take up running when I went back to school (college when I was 26). I would get up around 5:30 or so and head out. My dad didn't think I should run alone so suggested my mom ride her bike beside me. I love that he got her to do the riding - still makes me giggle!
Actually, our times together in the drizzly pre dawn Port Moody morning were awesome!

I hadn't been running that long and didn't have any goals with my running for that matter, so I wasn't super disappointed when they said I couldn't run. Many moons later I took up running again. My hip seemed to stay in place (yes, when it hurts like this it tends to want to pop out kind of...). I thought it had to do with all the strength training I was also doing and that's what kept it in place.

Soon enough though the trouble started again. I've been to chiropractors, doctors, physiotherapists, the works. Even had x-rays. Still no answers. Well, I did get one answer that I thought was valid and that was that my stabilizer muscles weren't strong. So I tried to strengthen them. It kind of worked I guess...but the problem came back again. I keep trying to do squats etc but still, no go.

So now I find myself with a sore hip and am unsure of what to do. I consulted my Louise Hay book 'You Can Heal Your Life' to see what she had to say. The verdict: Hip Problems: Fear of going forward in major decisions. Nothing to move forward to.

Now this I find very interesting. See, there have been some niggly thoughts in my head about some directions forward that I want to take. They'd be major steps in my life though and I am a wee bit hesitant...even though part of me wants to go for it, as I do with most things. The other interesting thing is that the major decisions have nothing to do with my beloved sport of triathlon and yet it is my hip, which I need to use a lot in triathlon, that is bugging me.

So, what to do, what to do. Obviously I have some thinking to do about these major decisions. Perhaps if I take some baby steps my hip will feel better and I will have addressed some issues. I won't know until I try!

In the meantime, I will look after my hip. I'll try and run on the weekend and see how it goes. It wasn't too bad on the bike this morning - I could feel it but it's not the same pain as when I run.

I will also continue to acknowledge how blessed and grateful I am, even for things like a sore hip because if I wasn't grateful, it wouldn't happen and then I may miss out on a wicked-awesome life lesson! And who wants to miss out on that?!

Peace out my wonderful friends!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Attack Of The Killer Noodles...

Last we heard, our heroine was in Beautiful British Columbia soaking up the rays and loving the family time...

Forgive me readers, it's been six days since my last post...a fair amount has happened too! Better grab a java cause this is going to be a long one.

Let's start off with my noodle attack. Okay, it wasn't an attack per se, but it could have been! I went to the pool with Dad last Wednesday. This time I made sure to figure out my workout so I'd get the correct distance in. Not that doing 2600 m isn't a good idea, but I had a 1.5 hour run in the afternoon so wanted to maintain some energy.

There was a young gal in the 'lane' (remember there are no lane markers) next to me. She had a noodle and was doing various swimming and running exercises. I was doing my thing when I spotted another noodle enter the pool. The fellow went in the 'lane' next to me. Then another noodle came in. Holy hannah it was a noodle fest in the pool!!!!

I had to dodge the noodle dude beside me a couple of times. I was trying not to think of the mess that would ensue should my limbs become intangled in his noodle.

At one point I turned at the pool edge and saw three noodles coming my way. I couldn't hold in the laughter, so I dunked my head under water and laughed there as the noodles wriggled their way past me.

The swim was great, even with the noodles and I got in 2100 m.

I went back to the house and worked for the day, then got ready for my 1.5 hour run. I decided I needed to get my long runs done on Wednesdays so that I wouldn't be doing back to back long run/long bike on the weekend.

The day was stunning! It was 12 C and sunny. The air was crisp and clean. The birds were chirping. The dogs were out in full force on the pathways too!

I felt great for the first part of the run, but them my hip started niggling. I tend to get this at the beginning of the season. It's hard to explain but it's like my hip wants to pop out so my muscles try to hold everything together and thats when all heck can break loose.

Sometimes I can get it to hold steady with lots of strength training. This time though I think the issue is my IT band. It's been very tight the last while so I think it's pulling things out of wack.

I did my best not to focus on my hip but rather all the puppies there were to pet, the gorgeous weather, and the amazing scenery.

It was funny, because although the air was crisp when I started out, it got a bit stinky after a while. In all honesty, I thought I stepped in some dog poop and that's what I was smelling. I later clued in to the fact that I was running on the dike that is protecting a bunch of farms...farms that use poo to fertilize things! Sooo glad it wasn't on my shoe...

By the time I got home I was nice and sweaty and covered in dog fur. All was well, until I went in the house....

I walked in and my Dad was sitting in the livingroom and said 'I have some bad news.' I gotta tell ya, I hate when people start out a sentance like that!! I had a second of panic before he revealed the bad news - Mom had slipped at the curling rink and broken her wrist. We had to go to the hospital. Admittedly I was releaved by that news. A broken wrist totally sucks, but it could have been far worse news!

As we drove to the hospital I noticed my cell phone vibrating. There was a message on there from my Mom telling me what had happened and not to worry Dad. She had called when I was out running, but I didn't have my phone with me. I could imagine the sprint I would have done at the end of my run to get home with that call!

I did the fastest shower possible and we headed out. Two of mom's curling buddies were sweet enough to stay with her till we arrived. We spent the next four hours in the hospital waiting for mom to be x-rayed and to get a cast etc. I learned that when Mom fell on the ice the f-bomb that she dropped could be heard throughout the rink. Yup, that's my Ma! So funny.

I was going to drive back the next day but stayed to make sure all was well. Mom was in quite a bit of pain because the cast was constricting the swelling.

I managed to get my bike workout in before anyone was up. We'd had quite the late night before so Mom and Dad were trying to get their zzzzz's. The workout was great as it was an easy spin. I had planned to go out for a run that night, and even started it, but my hip hurt too much, so I called it a night.

I'm happy to report that Mom is doing much better now that they split open the cast and taped it until she can get into see the wrist specialist. At one point her fingers were turning blue! Crazy stuff.

I'm home now and I've gotten in a long bike ride and a good swim. I must say, I think I miss the noodle people in the pool. Nothing to giggle at!

I'm on recovery week so my workouts will be pretty tame.

As today is my birthday I'm not working. When I started my company I made the rule that no one has to work on their birthday. Instead I will head out for a run in the 2 inches of fresh snow and hope my hip holds up. Holy hannah I'm sounding old!! Then I get to be a spoiled princess as I am being taken out for lunch and dinner!

Oh so many things to be grateful for!

Peace out my glorious friends!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Beautiful British Columbia!!!

I love being home - I am a true BC girl through and through. It's been a whirlwind last few days - hence no blog posts- with lots of work, training and visiting family, but I'm loving every minute of it.

On Saturday I managed to get out for a looooong run. I needed to work off Mom's birthday dinner and the yummy wine we had the night before! The run was my longest of the year so far - of course I know there will be even longer runs in my future... I ran along the river through the trees and along the dike.

Things were going quite well until about the 1:20 hour mark. That's when I started feeling it. I managed to hang in there though and at about 1:35 got a bounce back in my step. It was likely because I stopped to pet a few dogs along the way - one of my favourite things to do when running. I met two great danes, a few heinz 57 mixes, a glorious little bulldog and a couple of Japanese dogs! Or maybe it was because I heard footsteps behind me and decided the two gals running behind me weren't going to pass me! Ha! I was in heaven - again. My total run time was 1:48 hours. When I walked in the door my loving father said 'Oh, you're home already??' Of course he had a devilish smile while saying that.

On Sunday I was on the the bike/trainer for a solid two hours. Admittedly around the 1:10 hour mark I started to fade. I guess I didn't eat enough the day before to have some energy that early in the morning?? Likely it was the effects of the run too, I really have to move my long run to Wednesdays!! I was folded over my aerobars at one point and for a nanosecond thought of getting off the bike. Then I realized how much of a mental game this is and challenged myself to push through it.

I needed one thing and one thing only to get through this - Buddha Mind! With no tv or radio to distract me I set about clearing my mind and focussing on my pedaling. I finished my LCS sets and started my 6/4 steady sets. I only had to get through two of them. The first one was tough, but I put my Buddha Mind to work. Then came the last set...I got to about the 5 minute mark and said to myself, 'I could give up now...or I could hold on and do a full 10 minutes.' Because I can be a sick little puppy, even though I was tired and wanted to quite, I held strong for 10 minutes. It was awesome!! I felt great after the ride!

Monday was gym day with my Dad. We were going to work out then meet the Dudes (my Dads' gym buddies who give him heck if he comes to the gym without me when I'm visiting) for tea.

Dad found out that the pool at the gym was 20 yards. My first question, uh, how far is that in meters?? My workout was 2200 m and dad calculated that to be 121 laps. If I had been smart I would have figured out how many laps my workout was in meters. But I didn't...

So I started off on my swim. The warmup was 600 m. The main part was sets of 200 m at alternating pace. I knew that 5 sets along with the warmup and cooldown was 2200 m, but that was in a 25 m pool.

I finished about 4 sets when I decided I should try and figure out how many lengths I'd done. Not an easy task for an engineer who is dependent on calculators and spreadsheets! I had thought I had it figured out. I would do 10 sets of '200', or four laps, and that should cover it.

I had started in the far lane, but an LOD (little ol' dear) asked if I could move over so she could be at the pool edge - she was a bit nervous in the water. I had no problem with this so moved over and continued on. Surprisingly I didn't lose track of my laps at this point.

Then came Noodle Man...

I was swimming along my merry way when I almost swam straight into a fellow with a noodle between his legs. Now, now...keep those dirty minds in check! He had a pool noodle and was running through the water. However, he didn't seem to realize that this was my lane - that or he didn't care. There are no lane ropes in this pool so people just kind of go willy nilly everywhere.

I moved over another lane and kept swimming. And that's when I realized I had lost track of how many sets of 200/4 laps I had done. Rats. Okay, I want to get in 2200 m of swimming...I need to do at least 10 sets...I have either done 6 or 8 sets.... sigh...I'm going to have to keep swimming and do another four sets, just to make sure.

When my dad got to the pool I was almost done either my 10th or 12th set. He asked how many laps I'd done and when I told him the range he just said 'holy shite!'.

When I finally finished my swim I looked at the clock...I'd been in the pool for 1:20 hour. At the mall while we had tea I set about trying to calculate laps and distances etc. After careful calculation and reasonable deduction based on swim times I realized I had swum 2600 m! Holy hannah!! The swim itself felt great and I wasn't super tired, which was good.

Today was an easier day - I had a high cadence spin on the bike then Mom and I were off for a mother-daughter spa day!! One word sums up our time 'aaaaaaaaaahhh'. It was a great afternoon with giggles, tears from giggling so much, relaxation and wonderful girl time.

Tomorrow will be a long training day so I'm going to kick back and continue my path of relaxation for the day.

I'd rub it in how beautiful it has been out here, but I'm not that mean. Suffice it to say it's sunny, warm and I saw a gorgeous sunset at the beach the other day. I love it here!!

Peace out my glorious friends!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Happy Friday The 13th!!!

I would love to say I'm vacationing in BC, but I'm here for a special occasion...more on that later. So today I was up early and on the trainer. Got a solid 1:20 hour in and felt it! My legs are going to love me for that workout!

Okay, now that I have all that triathlon news out of the way - the reason I am in BC is because it's my Moeder's 65th birthday!


I'm so excited I could come here to be a part of the celebrations. My mom means a lot to me - a rather obvious statement I guess. She's absolutely brilliant! Here are some of the reasons I think she is the best mom on the planet...

  • When I was around 8 or 9 years old she called me into the house for dinner. However, I was talking to Rob Gonzales and Phil Calvin, so replied in a rather snotty tone 'no'. Next thing I knew mom came outside and applied one of the stealth like judo flips she'd learned in her twenties on me, then grabbed me by my coveralls and brought me inside. For learning judo when girls didn't do that kind of thing, and for kicking my butt, which you could totally still do today, I say YOU ARE THE BEST MOM EVER!
  • When I was in my twenties I was enrolled in taekwondo. One night my mom and Grannybear came to watch me fight. Unfortunately, the dude I was fighting didn't tuck his thumb in and when he threw a punch I caught the thumb in the eye. I squealed. Then turned to look at my mom and Grannybear who I knew would be ready to pounce like the mama lions they are. Sure enough, they were. For always watching my back and being ready to take someone out for me, I say YOU ARE THE BEST MOM EVER!
  • When I was in college I was always scared I couldn't pass. In fact I thought that when I did pass it was a fluke and was sure someone would find out I was an imposter. No matter how many times I came home crying because I was scared I failed an exam or something, my mom was always there ready to encourage me and tell me I could do it. For always reminding me to be strong, and for being the reason I have the confidence I do today, I say, YOU ARE THE BEST MOM EVER!
  • When I participated in my first half Ironman, my mom, dad, Auntie Joan and Uncle Lorne came out to cheer me on - all the way from BC I might add! As I ran to the finish line, completely exhausted and feeling rather icky, my mom started running beside me. Then she scooted a bit ahead of me and started dangling this wee bottle of Jack Daniels in front of me saying 'Come get the Jack!' or something like that. It was hilarious and I'll never forget that moment. For always getting me to the finish line and for appreciating the sacred abilities of Jack Daniels I say, YOU ARE THE BEST MOM EVER!
  • Last but not least, when I have an important race, my mom and dad are always there. It doesn't matter that I'm almost mumbldy-mumbldy years old, they still travel far and wide so they can watch me race and they deal with the many long hours I'm out there. For being one half of the best support crew anyone could ever have I say, YOU ARE THE BEST MOM EVER!

Thank you for always being there for me, and for being an amazing example of an intelligent, strong and independent woman. Words will likely never express fully how much I love you, but I do. You rock my world. I hope you have a great day and I can't wait till our Mother-Daughter day birthday prezzie!

Peace out my wonderful friends - go give your Mom's a hug!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Wagons West!!!

'Wagons West' you ask? Where west?? Well British Columbia west that is!! Yup, I woke up at 4:45 am, got cleaned up, got in the car and headed west to visit the parental unit for a week. I decided to drive out this time so spent a good 10.5 hours in the car. Luckily the roads were in great condition as I had to go through a couple of mountain passes. I do love this drive though. It's so pretty in the Rocky Mountains, and the Coast Mountains are a close second!

Believe it or not, after spending that much time in the car I wanted to go for a run. Why? I don't really know.

Come to think of it, I do know.... a) I wanted to get some blood flowing in my legs and arse again, 2) I had a, er, uhm, small bag of M&M chocolate covered almonds (shhh!) to keep me awake and amused for part of the drive and c) the parental unit were taking me out for sushi - which means one thing in my world....pig out! So really, a run was in order!

Here's the awesome thing about my run this was 8 friggin degrees celsius out here!!!! Talk about bliss! No ice to dodge, no snowbanks to sidestep, no windchill to freeze my stickyouty bits!! I was in heaven. I felt light and airy as I ran. I haven't felt like that in forever. I savoured all the green grass, green trees and, are you sitting down for this, DAFFODILS!!! Yes people, the daffodils are actually up and open out here!

Why oh why do I live in the Antarctic again?! Not to mention, what a change from Christmas here when I was running in thigh deep snow! Oh, and there are people out EVERYWHERE! Kids playing ball, riding bikes, families walking and birds a chirping. I swear to Pete it's the middle of February and yet it's spring here already!

I think I'll check the weather in Alberta before I have to go back home, if there is a minus anywhere in the forecast I may just bunk out here longer. Afterall, I have my bike, running, and swim gear here! Not to mention I'm testing out the whole 'work from anywhere there is an internet' theory.

Heaven, I'm in heaven....

Peace out my bundled up friends!!!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


Never compromise a dream.

Sure, take a step back, regroup, go bowling, but never compromise a dream.

Love ya,
The Universe.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Good Morning To Ya!!!

Well, there was almost an incident at the pool this morning...

Okay, so here's the story. I walked out onto the deck this morning only to find that all the lanes had two people in them. All but the far lane, which had one gal. Cool! I've swum with this gal before and we usually just each take a side of the lane and stay on it. No least until Andrew the Trouble Maker showed up...

Okay, I lie, he's not a trouble maker. He's actually a relatively reserved fellow. Which is why I didn't think he'd do what he did...

So as mentioned above all lanes had two people in them - now that I had hopped in. I saw Andrew and mentioned that the fellow in the lane beside me usually is out by 6:30. So Andrew figured he'd swim in my lane until the dude left. Again, should be no problem. Except there was.

For some reason, even though the gal in my lane, we shall name her 'The Side Stroker' saw that there were now three people in the lane, she still maintained her protocol of staying on the one side. Hmmm... Now this was just not going to work.

Thing was I didn't figure this out until I went to start swimming my next lap. I just about made the move to swim and noticed that BOTH Andrew and the Side Stroker were coming for me. Okay, this isn't working. Again I give her the benefit of the doubt thinking okay now she really has to get that she needs to do the old clockwise trick, but alas, she doesn't. I said to Andrew, 'Maybe you could inform her of the rules??' (Cause I want to be the nice swimmer and not have her 'accidently' kick me as she does her breast stroke.)

What does Andrew do?? He waits until she's swimming towards us and he swims right for her!! I admit, I covered my eyes with my hands and peaked through. He, of course, didn't swim over her but did startle her. She just gave him a look and carried on. This I found rather hilarious to be honest. It didn't help our problem though.

What did was buddy in the next lane was finished so Andrew moved over and the Side Stroker continued on our merry single side of the lane way.

I learned after that Andrew was swimming behind her at one point and thought she was going to do the clockwise thingy but she turned right around and swam towards him. So that was TWICE there was a near collision and she didn't get it. Go figure.

Other than that I had a great swim and managed a solid 2100 m. I figure I'll keep my swims around this distance for a while, then bump up the mileage.

Later on in the day I had planned a lunchtime run. Just before lunch I started to get some sharp pains in my abdomen. Hmmm, must have eaten that banana too quickly. I decided I would run anyways so got all my gear on and was at the front door when I had a heck of a stabbing pain. Ow. Folding over now...

I decided it must be gas and the best way to get that out is to jump up and down. You know, kinda like when you were a baby and your parental unit would bump you on their knee to make you burp? I swear it works. This time however, I had even more severe pains so instead of going out for a run I ended up in the fetal position on the couch. Urgh. So sad. Taken out by gas pains.

The jumping must have helped somewhat because later on the effects too place that were required to make me feel better. No need for details here I'm sure...

I managed to get out for a run after work and had a great time. I was surprised I felt lighter on my feet than I had the last month, even with legs completely fatigued, in a good way, from the weekend. It was a short half hour run, but highly enjoyable. I'm glad I finally got out there!

Next time I will watch the speed with which I eat my food in order to prevent a recurrence...

Peace out my friends!

Sunday, 8 February 2009


When I woke up this morning I could feel all the muscles I used in yesterday's ski adventure. I had two choices. I could take it easy on the bike this morning, or I could push my boundaries. One guess at which option I chose...

I had a 1:45 hour bike and I was going to rock it. I had a 23 minute warmup, then got right into the gist of things. 5 x 5 minutes in a gear hard enough that the max rpm I could sustain was 60. After each set I'd do 2 minutes of squats, holding the squat for 2 seconds each rep. After that session I went into 6 and 4s. 6 minutes holding in high zone 2, low zone three heart rate, then easy for 4 minutes.

The 5x5's, surprisingly, weren't too bad. Although strength is, well, my strength. What I need to improve upon is holding that strength for long periods of time, which is what the 6 and 4s were about.

During my first set I realized I wasn't pushing it enough. I was tired but knew that this is the time when I had to dig deep and work harder. I had nothing to distract me, it was just me, the four walls and my dream of being a better cyclist in the dungeon. So I pushed harder. During the four minute set I didn't let up either. I wouldn't allow myself to drop it into a spinning gear. By the last set I was sweating so much that my bandana was saturated and I had a steady flow of sweat dripping onto my bike tire. I felt that was a pretty good indication that I worked hard!!

Pushing myself physically is all tied into pushing myself mentally. Breaking down the barriers of 'I can only go this fast' or 'I'm not strong enough'. Not always an easy task to do when you train solo, but I'm up for the challenge.

When I got off the bike, ever sooo slowly, all I could think was 'Bike. Ow'. I was smiling though. All of this is money in the bank.

I may not be the fastest or physically strongest competitor in Ironman, but I plan on having a bomb proof mental attitude that is going rock the race course.


Peace out my friends!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Ski Day!!!

After a lot of warm weather, for which I'm thankful for in this deep freeze, the snow conditions in the mountains have not been ideal for xcountry skiing. (The only bummer part about warm weather!) I'd planned to go to the mountains with a friend of Trudy's, Candace, so we could meet up with Trudy and go for a ski.

Originally we were going to do the Goat Creek Trail, but Trudy checked it out on Friday and it wasn't in good shape. Ice is sooo not good. So we decided we'd stick to the Nordic Centre up there.

As luck would have it Canmore got snow on Friday night! Not a lot, but just enough that the Nordic Centre would be in even better shape than it had been.

There were five of us heading out that day - Trudy was great in getting a small group together. So there was Trudy, Candace, Wade and Young Jordan. We were of varying backgrounds and experience, yet we were a good group together.

I, of course, ended up in the back for the most part, but I'm cool with that. I wanted to work on my technique a bit more. Jordan had only been out on skis three times, but already he was zipping along quickly. I'll chalk that one up to youth, haha. Wade's skis, and the skis he lent to Jordan were the super old school style. The ones with the 3 pegs that you put your shoes in. What was funny was he totally rocked them! Although he did comment that the bindings were wider than the tracks because the tracks were for the new fandangled skis. Candace was on skate skis, which I was hoping to try out later on in the day.

We headed out along Bow Trail, which would meet up with Meadowview Trail. The route was about 13 km. After having done the 29 km Cascade Valley Trail with Trudy I figured this would be relatively easy...

The day was stunning - clear blue skies, sunshine, fresh snow and mountain views. Can it get any better??? Well, perhaps clear blue skies, sunshine and an ocean view...but that will be a story for another time.

The first half of the route wasn't too technical. A bit of rolling hills, but other than that it wasn't bad. I didn't seem to be getting much glide going on with my skis. It can be tricky in warmer weather getting the right wax though. In my typical style I just kept plodding along trying to get a groove on.

I was really working my back and shoulders today. My left should has been bugging me, even in swimming, so I was hoping that by doing this I would start working on getting some more strength happening.

Heading back along Meadowview was another story. Can you say 'Climb Every Mountain'?? Trudy did mention something about a big climb.... This was the never ending climb! Trudy was keeping watch behind me now so I asked her what's the best way to climb in xcountry skis. She said I could keep walking up like I was, or do a little hop slide. As I didn't feel I was getting enough workout with the walk, I did the hop slide. I don't regret doing the hop slide, but holy hannah I'm feeling it now!

Hop. Slide. Pole. Pole. Hop. Slide. Pole. Pole. Every muscle in my body was getting a workout. In addition, my heart was pounding out of my chest and my lungs were starting to wheeze. I went as long as I could then did a bit of a walk slide till I could recover a bit, then kept going with the hop slide. I was happy that I was finally keeping up with the rest of the gang.

I have to say, I was totally impressed with Candace. She was on skate skis doing this. Let's put it this way, she was skating up a friggin mountain! Skating on flat is hard enough, but a friggin mountain!! She was a total rock star.

The reward for getting to the top of this climb was well worth the effort. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera, so don't have any pictures. But if you use your imagination a bit you can picture a snow covered mountain range with a back drop of blue sky. The Rocky Mountains are truly magestic!

There was still another climb after this little view, then it was windy path down to the lodge. All in all it took us about 1:50 hours. I'm pretty sure I spent about 3/4 of that time with a heart rate over 150 bpm. During the climbs it held at almost 170 bpm.

After a wee bite to eat it was time to try out the skate skis. It was at this point that I gained an appreciation for Candaces ability to go uphill in them! Within about 2 minutes of having them on and skating, I could feel my butt and abductor muscles working. If I could figure how to go uphill in these things it would be a killer workout!

I was fine on the flats as I zipped past the biathlon athletes practicing their target shooting. I tried the wee hill that was there, but alas could not get the skate action to work going up. So back on the flats I went again. Everything was hunky dory until I tried to use the poles in conjunction with the skis. Why are the poles so long for skate skis??? I swear, they were taller than me! I was using Trudy's gear too and we are the same height.

Finally I got the poles going too. Skate, skate, pole. Skate, skate, pole. That's when Candace said I had to try the hill. I got there in good enough time, then did skate, skate, WHOA! and nearly fell over. Urgh. Then there was a bit of clomping with the skis, sticking the poles in to try and push me up, then a forced effort to ski. I sort of got it, but it will take more practice I'm sure.

I was thoroughly exhausted by the end of the day. A good exhausted though. I can't wait to get back out there to try skate skiing again, not to mention to better my xcountry ski skills.

What a great way to spend a Saturday!

Peace out my friends.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

It's Too Early To Think!!!

As always during the week I was up before the sun. On Tuesdays and Thursdays it's pretty easygoing though as I don't have to get into a vehicle and drive while half awake to the pool. Nope, this morning I just had to make sure I could get my legs and brain awake enough so I could navigate the two flights of stairs into the dungeon. Then I groggily got on my bike and slowly woke up through the warm up.

This morning; however, I would be asked to use my brain before it was fully functioning. This could be dangerous. I was happily spinning along while perusing my workout plan. Five minutes easy spin. Check. Single leg drills. Check. Gear Pyramid. Whoa! What the....

Gear Pyramid?? The next bit said 90-100 rpm at 39/21: 2min, 39/19: 2min, 39/17: 2min, 39/16: 2min, 39/17: 1min, 39/19: 1min, 39/21: 1min. Oh for pete's sake. For one thing there are far too many numbers on this page. Secondly, which gear is 39??? Not to mention which of my back cogs is 21, 19, 17 and 16?!

Sigh. I should know this. I should know what is on my bike. I do know that I think I have a compact crank. At least I'm sure I heard that term thrown about regarding my bike. Well, there is nothing left to do but get off my bike and attempt to count the little nobby thingys on the cogs. Now how to remember where I started... 1, 2, 3...

For starters I learned that my cranks are 50/34. (At least that part was stamped on the cranks!) I guess I'll just stick with the 34 then? Next the tricky part. Counting the back cogs. Needless to say I counted wrong, as I know now after having done some research on what the heck they are. So I started one cog higher up than I should of. C'est la vie, non?

Once that little business was done and I was fully alert it was time for the fun stuff. Low cadence (50-60 rpm) for two sets of 4x4. After each four minute rep I was to do a minute of squats, no easy spinning after either!

If you must know I was in the 50/13 and 50/12 gears for the workout. Yes, it was hard. I am sure I could have filled a bucket with all the sweat coming off of me. All that said, it felt really good! Apparantly I am a sucker for punishment.

I have an inkling that I'll be feeling this workout tomorrow. I did feel it a bit when I had to walk up the stairs later on...

I managed to squeeeeeze some core work in as well. Nothing too much, but I'm hoping by doing this I can get rid of this niggly in my low back. I hate nigglies...

Peace out my friends!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The Itch Factor...

It was a rousing swim this morning I must say. Okay, perhaps not rousing, but hey, it was a good swim. The drills were minimal and the sprints were plenty so my heart was definitely pounding and my lungs wheezing.

Interestingly, the pool was rather empty today. At least the snorkel lady, whom I now know is Fran, and my bud Leslie were there. It's always good swimming in Leslie's lane because if I have a lap where I'm behind her I try and keep up in the hopes I will one day get faster.

If she is swimming behind me, well that's another story. Usually she reaches out and tickles my feet, which invariably results in my squeaking and then laughing under water. This of course leads to my snorting vast amounts of water into my sinuses. It's pretty hilarious actually.

On one of my later laps I had just passed by Les at the end of the pool. I was sure she still had a lap to go and was about to start swimming behind me so the anticipation of having my feet tickled was heightened. I felt like Nemo swimming away from the shark as I tried to swim faster and faster just waiting for that moment when I'd feel 'tickle, tickle'.

The really funny part is when I got to the other end of the pool and turned around and saw Les was still at the far end. She'd finished her swim so was just getting her stuff together. Maybe she should swim behind me in races because then I'll go faster?! I don't think she'd agree to that though as she's out really quickly in the swim!

The rest of the day I spent feeling itchy. I hate pool itch. You think you've scrubbed off all of the chlorine, but undoubtadly you have left a miniscule amount on you which leads to a day long itchfest.

It's not bad enough that I live in the Great White North where every winter I shed a layer of skin due to the dry air. Now I also have to deal with the dry skin that comes with swimming. I do my best to lather on the body lotion after, but alas, there are spots I just can't reach. Oh! I just thought of something....surely they must sell those wee back scratchers still? You know the ones - those little mini hands on a long stick that you could use?? Just thinking about it is making me drool...

Oh well, in the meantime I'll just have to be like a bear and use the door jam to rub up and down.

This evening I went for my run. I really haven't been getting into the groove of my runs, which is a tad bothersome. I just feel rather leaden and afterwards my hips are creeky. Not to worry, I will of course hang in there and just like Stella, I too shall get my groove back.

I managed an hour even in the headwinds from hell. This time there was no sprinting up my bonus hill, but I did keep a steady pace.

Too bad I'm still itchy even after shower number two...sigh. Darned itch factor! Scratch, scratch, scratch.

Peace out my friends.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Is This A Test???

I think the Universe was testing me this morning. Testing to see if I was still grumpy that is. I am doing okay though. Nothing that running up a hill till you want to hurl and talking/having a wee cry on the phone to a friend can't cure!!

I got up bright and early somewhat ready to tackle my bike workout. Granted, it probably took me about five minutes to actually wake up even though I was making the motions of doing my morning routine and then hoofing it to the dungeon.

I got on my bike and started pedaling while I read what the workout plan was for the day. It would appear that instead of the low cadence workouts I had been doing last month, I would be doing high cadence work. Intervals of 100, 105 and 110 rpm.

I was just getting into my warmup, yawning the whole time, when I realized I would have to adjust my bike computer so I could read the cadence and the time, rather than the speed and time. That's when I made the fatal move of touching one of the buttons on my bike computer...

With one push of the button the display read, 'Language'. Shite. Okay, don't panic. Panic never solves anything. I pushed another button. 'ODO 1'. The next time I tried pushing a combination of buttons. I never knew I had a light on this thing!! I admit, I almost got frustrated, but stopped myself.

'Good Morning Universe. Is this a test to see if I am still grumpy and if I lose it? Cause I'm not going to you know. I'll just do something else instead of the high cadence workout now that my computer is reading everything but the normal display and I can't get it back to how it was. So there. Nah. You can't trick this gal! Nope.'

So I cranked the gears up a bit and settled in for an hour of steady state riding. Of course the engineer in me couldn't let go of the fact that I couldn't work this we computer, so the odd time I would continually hit random combinations of buttons. Nothing worked. I did manage to get it so that whenever I hit one button the light would come on and stay on as the display would change! Not that I know how I did that so it will likely never happen again.

At about the 45 minute mark I looked down at the display and was just about to make another vain attempt to figure things out when I noticed that it had flipped back to the normal time/speed display. Huh. Interesting... I stopped pressing the buttons then.

At least it was still in English. One time I somehow changed the language to Italian. That was least I know bike terms in Italian now! I wonder how I ever got it back into English???

Time to look for the manual - I know I saw it around here somewhere....

Peace out my friends!

Monday, 2 February 2009

Grumpy Gus...

Yup, today was not the best day. Little Miss Sunshine turned into Grumpy Gus. It started out when I woke up. I tried to shake it off in the pool, but did nothing but spray water everywhere.

The swim started out fine enough. I did a 300 m swim warmup, then started in on the drills. 600 m of sets of sculling. Not really the best thing to do when one gets up on the wrong side of the bed. I skipped the last 200 m of drills and added that to a swim set. Then I tried to get into my speed intervals.

I used my grumpiness to fuel the drills, and it worked for a while. Unfortunately I couldn't dig deep enough to finish the sets. At least I managed to get in an hour of swimming, that had to count for something right?

The grumpiness followed me home. It was there that I realized I was more sad then grumpy. Or rather I was grumpy because I was sad. Seriously, I have nothing to be sad about, or grumpy about for that matter. I love my life. I am grateful everyday for everything I have: my work, my friends and family who love and care about me, a nice home to live in, my furry feline Mr. Cringely, I am in good health and I'm surrounded by beauty. Could you ask for more??

Today though, I got caught up in the future. You see, I have a friend who has cancer. It's one of those cancers where they give you an end date. She's been valiant about fighting it and continues to do so. The thing is, things aren't looking as bright as they may have a few months ago. Which really really sucks - to put it very mildly.

I let that thought get to me and thats when I made the slip of not staying in the present moment, but rather projecting into the future with a bunch of 'what if's'. This made me very sad. When I realized what I was doing I got really ticked off. Afterall, I am the one continually reminding myself and my friends to 'stay in the present' or 'be in the now'.

One of the things I like to do when I'm ticked is to hit and kick the snot out of a punching bag. Problem was, I don't have one at home and I no longer belong to the gym that had one. So I did the next best thing...

I ran.

It was a gorgeous day out but for the wind that was blowing at mach 10. I started my run at a normal pace. Then the wind started to tick me off. So I ran a bit harder. It likely helped that I had the punk tunes blasting on my mp3 player. As the negative future thoughts infultrated my mind I started running even harder. At points I was having troubles breathing as I was also fighting off some tears. That just made me run even harder. I kept thinking to myself, 'Come on Suse, it's time to HTFU!'

I only had the second half of the bonus hill to run up to finish my run as I had deeked into neighborhood at the halfway mark. As I started to run up the hill I could feel the wind pushing me back. This is when I let it all go. To me the wind symbolized my grumpiness, sadness, cancer and everything that was icky in the world. So I pushed back.

I looked up towards the top of the hill and I ran as hard as I could. I kept thinking to myself 'be strong!'. My lungs were burning, as was the the hot curry soup I had for lunch that was apparantly still in my stomach. I started telling the wind where it could go...along with my friends cancer.

By the time I reached the top of the hill I was gasping for air and was positive the curry was going to make an appearance. Thankfully it stayed down. I felt a bit better though. I was also thankful I didn't have a long run today because there was no way I could keep up the 'angry pace'.

I just thought of another thing I'm grateful for - the ability to run. Without it I'd have to figure out another way to blow off some steam and work through some thoughts. This one is easy though, I just put on my sneakers, run down to the bottom of the hill and sprint back up it till I feel like I'm going to chunder. Easy.

Peace out my friends and don't forget to stay in the now!