Monday, 30 March 2009

The Troll...

Urgh. That about sums up how I'm feeling these days. There is some seriously sad stuff going on in my life and I think it is now affecting my body. Funny how the mind/body/spirit all connects eh?!

I decided not to workout this weekend and instead concentrate on my hip/glutes and the strength exercises. I thought that perhaps it would be good to give it time to heal. My payment for this non activity? My low back seized up on me. Sigh. Urgh. Mumble grumble.

It happened on Sunday. Not sure how, it just did. I stood up and went 'OW! What the ...' I've had this before, but not for quite some time. Likely it's residual from car accident many moons ago. Perhaps it was aggravated by all the compensation for glutes going on. Or perhaps it's just my body's way of saying, 'I understand you are under some emotional stress right now so I am going to remind you how it's all connected to your body'. Who knows.

I was going to swim this morning, but tried to get up and went 'Urgh'. Or maybe that was a 'Ugh'. Either way I didn't think I could swim. For some reason I still held the delusion that I would run this afternoon though. My mind works in very strange ways...

Good thing I had an appointment to see my trusted physiotherapist, Janice, first thing this morning. At this point I was walking like a troll. Or a very very very elderly gentleman. I had my pelvic tilt going, but it was rather pronounced. I was also bent over a bit at a rather unnatural angle. I just needed some really big pants pulled up over my belly or lederhosen and a hat with a feather in it to top off the look.

After much manipulation and cobras things finally loosened up a bit. I have to keep doing, what is essentially, cobra pose every couple of hours. Also, no running till it eases up. I do have some fun homework though!!! I was told walking would be great and if I could find something to hang off, in order to stretch my spine out, that would be even better.

Anyone got a chandelier I could borrow??

So this afternoon I'm going to meet up with my buddy Esther and we are going to walk around looking for the monkey bars in the local parks. I love the monkey bars!! I wish all homework could be this fun!! Hmm, maybe I'll attempt a chin up. Just one. Just to see if I can...

Oh, I should be good to go on the bike because of the way my bike lies, so I hope to get in a bike workout tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Peace out my friends!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Exactly How Long IS That Thing...

Thankfully this week has been a recovery week - I don't feel so bad about slacking on my workouts. I really want to give my hip/glutes some healing time and I just wanted to focus on the strength exercises.

I did manage to get out for a short run with my nesan, Esther, yesterday. We had received some very sad news and felt that a trip along the river would be the best place to run and chat and enjoy the beauty of nature.

The run itself wasn't too great, my hip was bugging me and really started to hurt at about the 50 minute mark. However, just being out there with my friend and stopping to pet all the puppies in the dog park made the pain worthwhile and lifted my spirits.

Today I had an appointment to see my AMAZING accupuncturist and TCM gal today, Val. I updated her on Janice's findings about me arse being broken. Although concerned, she had a good chuckle. I also said, I think you are going to have to stick some needles in my bandokadonk. Eep.

So there I lay, buttocks slightly exposed as she slowly inserted the needles. Note that needles is in the plural...there were many. Holy hannah - there were some spots that actually recreated the pain I felt in my hip. Gulp. Many deep meditating breathes were taken as she inserted the needles.

At one point she commented that my muscles felt as if they had atrophied. WHAT?! Exactly how does this happen when all I've done for the last 3 years is run and bike?? Well, swim too, but you get the picture. She wasn't sure how either but said my hamstrings were taking the brunt of it when it came to compensation. She asked me if I could do lunges and squats. I mentioned that I pull my hamstrings within the first two lunges, for which she was not surprised.

As she was sticking the needles in my chubby butt matter, an image popped into my mind...

I told Val and we had a good giggle over that one. She mentioned her mom used to have a pin cushion that had wee little chinese figures around it and that as kids, her and her siblings would stick pins in the figures heads. I said that was just forshadowing for her becoming an accpuncturist!

I got up the nerve to ask just how long the needles were that she was sticking in cause it seemed like she was twisting them in there for quite some time. Turns out they were 3 inches long. Yup, this baby got back. It's just broken at the moment...

I've been told I need to come back next week. She also mentioned my booty may feel a bit heavy today... Hmmmm...

The good news is that I was able to do that exercise of lifting my leg up! I got the left leg up about an inch and the right one about a millimeter. Which is WAY better than on Monday. Yay! Things are working!

Peace out my lovely friends!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Me Arse Is Broken!!!

I'm not sure how it happened...or why...but it appears I have a broken arse. In other words, it's not working. Let it be known, though, that I can still shake it like Shakira only wishes she could!

As has been written before, I was experiencing hip pain, again. This has been an ongoing issue with me and in the last, oh I don't know, FOUR or more years and no one has been able to help me. It just seems to fade away, then appear again.

The pain is weird. It feels like it's tucked up under my right buttock and in the vicinity of my hip joint. I've even had x-rays taken because there was talk that it may be degeneration - gasp. Thankfully, there was no evidence of that.

I've been in many triathlons and by the time the season arrives the pain seems to subside. However, almost every year that I've run the Policeman's Half Marathon, which is usually the first race of the season held in late April, I've either just gotten over the pain or this race flairs it up. It's been frustrating to say the least.

This year has been no exception. I've been battling the pain for the last couple of months, trying to acknowledge it by doing more biking and less running in addition to stretching, strenghening etc. It's not letting go though. With the race a month away I was starting to get antsy.

On Sunday I had had it! We got yet another snowstorm, sigh, and I had this nagging pain in my right butt cheek. Something new, but I figured it was all tied into the hip issue. I decided I could not bring myself to sit inside on the trainer for 2.5 hours. I'll admit it, I was in a grumpy mood. No, scratch that, I was in a grumpy pouty mood. I decided fine, if my hip/butt was going to be all bitchy then I wouldn't ride (which I figured wouldn't help) but instead I would do a ton of strength exercises in the hopes that that would fix things up because in the past weight lifting has helped. Riiiight...

I got out the P90X 'legs and back' DVD and turned it on. I made sure I selected 'no music and cues' then cranked the radio. Time to rock.

Who knew that this workout consisted of a million lunges and many minutes of holding oneself in the squat position along the wall??? Side lunges, angle lunges, frong lunges, back lunges, and toe lunges. Jayzus! My legs were shaking by the end of it and begging for no more. After that hour of fun I flipped in the chest, sholders and triceps DVD and inflicted more pain. Exactly how many different types of pushups are there?!

By the end of it I had a bit of a hard time lifting my arms and my legs were like jello. Emotionally I felt better. Physically I felt tired but good...for the meantime anyways. Take that hip!

The next day I woke up and the first thought that went through my mind as I tried to get out of bed was 'Oh, shite, what did I do??' I should likely mention that I've been weight training since I was sixteen...which is many many many moons ago. Therefore, I should know what happens when you haven't been weight lifting for several months and you do almost two hours of it...

The really exciting thing was that I had an appointment with my physio that morning! I was desperate to get help with my arse/hip not to mention the muscle knot in my shoulder that was preventing me from looking to the right. Boy was I ever feeling very old that morning...

After explaining what was going on, Janice, my physio, started doing an assessment of my hip area and asked a million questions. Then she started doing some strength tests...and that's when it happened...

She'd asked me to lie on my stomach and bend my right knee 90 degrees so that the flat of my foot was parallel to the ceiling. I did as asked. She then instructed me to raise my foot to the ceiling. Grunt. Heave. Ooomph. Nothing. For the life of me I could not do this task. I tried again. Janice had a shocked look on her face. Then I tried the left side. Again. Nothing. What the hell? Was I supposed to be able to do this or was this a trick?? (I can only imagine how many of you are now lying on the floor trying this test now...)

That's when she admitted her shock. "Huh. Your glutes aren't firing. They aren't working for some reason" What??? I have a broken arse?? How can that be? I run. A lot. I bike. A lot! How the heck have I propelled myself through countless races and exactly which muscles were compensating?! How do we fix this and more to the point, can we fix this so I can run the race at the end of next month??? PLEASE HELP ME!!!

The next hour was spent with Janice trying to get rid of the muscle knots in both my butt and back. I really could have used a leather strap to bite on...instead I tried desperately to keep breathing. Boy was I glad I killed all my muscles the day before!!! Not.

I was also given several exercises that I was to complete 3 times per day for the next week...I'd get more when I see her next week. Gulp. Oh, and stretches. Lots and lots of stretches. She wanted me to start the exercises that day but my body was in shock. I actually had a headache and later on the urge to chunder was faintly present. Likely this was from all the toxins that had been released.

As for today, three words...'Second Day Pain'. I really wish I had a walker. Seriously. I could use it to get in and out of my chair. And why don't I have those cushiony toilet seats?? Do you know how hard the plastic ones are on a tender toosh?!! YEOW! If I had cable I'd search for the infomercial about the chair that glides you up the stairs so you don't have to walk up them and order one!

All that aside, I sucked it up and did the exercises and stretches Janice gave me. I think they are actually helping ease the pain. Or perhaps that was the Tylenol that I took...something I rarely do for this kind of pain.

On the plus side we have a possible cause for the hip pain and if I keep working on strengthening the muscles perhaps I will be able to run faster and jump tall buildings this race season! YaY!

Yup, this baby still got back. Shake it, you won't break it!!!

Peace out my friends!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Running Meditation...

Every hear of walking meditation? Well I decided my last run would be running meditation. In other words, a run where I was very mindful about each foot fall in addition to all the sounds around me.

Of course this run took place before we got the mega inches of snow...don't even get me started on that. I've had enough - and I'm a xcountry skier!

I decided to run down to the river and check out the pathway there. Up to that point we'd had a lot of sun so I was hoping the paths wouldn't be icy. It turned out the path was a mix of slush, ice and mud, which made for a lot of fun and a lot of stabilizer work!

It was a truly gorgeous day out. I loved hearing the crunch of the snow under my feet (only because it was melting!)

In the moments I managed to tune out the random needless thoughts in my brain I was blessed with an orchestra of nature. There was the crispy dried leaf blowing across the paved section that made a dragging noise, or the birds chirping back and forth to each other. As I ran along the riverbank I could hear the roar of the river as it rushed past all the ice and snow along the river's edge. It was this sound that made me stop running and just stand and listen to the water go by. There is something so peaceful about that sound...unfortunately it's also a sound that makes one have to go pee!

As I left the riverbank I was serenaded by four Canadian Geese who wanted to make sure I knew they were there! No wee goslings yet...but I have a feeling the geese were checking out the perfect nesting area.

Being mindful about my run was made easier with the snow and ice. I had to watch every step I took to make sure I didn't slip or twist my ankle. It sounds like work, but actually it made the run more fun. I had to cross a couple of creeks and hop over ice patchs and gloosh through the mud. It's times like these that make me feel very kid like. Who doesn't love that?!

The run wasn't a long one, just over an hour, but I had a great time and was glad to be outdoors.

Here's to hoping this latest dump of snow melts so I can get back out there and repeat the last run!

Peace out my friends!

Thursday, 19 March 2009


I bet, based on the above title, that you think this is going to be an icky story regarding globs of hair and snot strings in the pool. But you'd be wrong! Although you may still be gagging at what I wrote, as I know I am. Geez.
No...this may be worse. Big sigh...
It would appear that the nail of one of my wee toes is going to fall off. I was drying off my foot yesterday and felt that something just wasn't right with one of my tootsies. I touched my toenail and noticed that it lifted up. GASP! This was the toe that was all black after skiing a few weeks ago. I am completely distraught over this because until now my tender tootsies were cute, cute, cute! At least in my opinion. Please see Exhibit A below for proof.

I mean, at least they aren't hairy, or have weird gnarly nails, and they are in perfect alignment. But now! Now I may have one nail that isn't there, which is going to totally screw up wearing toenail polish, which I do at all times! Not to mention who knows how long it is going to take to grow the new nail in. THIS IS TRAGIC!!! As a triathlete I am constantly showing my toes! Heck, in the summer I am hard pressed to wear anything more than flip flops and prefer wandering in barefeet!

My only hope is to try and keep the nail attached in with the dream that the new nail will follow the pattern of the old nail and grow in nice and normal and cute.

I'm so disappointed. How many half Ironman and Ironman races have I been in, not to mention the many half marathons and nothing more than a wee blister to contend with. I have managed to preserve my toes until now. Heavier sigh.

Oh well, life WILL go on and I shall survive.

In other news, training has been going well, even with a sore arse and knot the size of a walnut partially lodged under my shoulder blade.

I actually took the day off of training on Tuesday because the pain in my hip had travelled and now my arse, or rather the muscles in my right arse cheek, were nagging me big time non stop. Instead of riding as planned, I rolled and stretched and stretched and rolled as much as I could. Things seemed a triffle better on Wednesday, but today it's twigging again after my trainer session.

I find it mildly amusing that I can't sit up in my saddle because my arse hurts, but then when I go in aero position I'm fidgety there because of the knot in my back. Oh will it ever end?! Too funny.

For my back I've been laying on a tennis ball that I situate where the knot is. I stay that way until I can no longer take the pain that radiates up my neck. I was looking forward to my physio appointment today so she could inflict more pain and hopefully release the hounds that are lodged in my back and arse. Alas, my physio called me to tell me she was ill and we had to reschedule. I am glad she honoured her health and just took the day off though. Too many people don't do that.

So I will go on self treating with rollers, tennis balls, stretching mats and all sorts of other wonderful tricks of the trade.

I'm sure my body is telling me something...perhaps I will start listening a little more closely??

All that said, LIFE IS GOOD!!

Peace out my wonderful friends!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


Now just because I haven't posted, does not mean that I haven't been training! I had half of the parental unit (my Moeder) visiting here along with her sister, my Auntie Joan. They were here to check out the Briar - men's curling for those who don't live in the Great White North. To be honest, I just learned what the Brier was when I found out they were visiting...

Anyways, I've been busy with the old swim/bike/run program these past few days and have made some fun or interesting observations...

  • I kind of missed swimming with the Side Stroker last Wednesday...she keeps things interesting even though it may result in cracked ribs and her near drowing...
  • Some days you just need to swim laps and not worry about drills or intervals etc.
  • The Lifeguard Nazi has it in for me. I am leary of her now that she has quizzed me about what type of pass I bought and did I use the puncher to punch the pass etc. etc. The good thing is if she's watching me like a hawk, the odds of my drowning have been reduced!
  • My heart rate on the bike is coming down when I do my Lance intervals (so cool!), but my legs don't seem to be able to pedal any faster, hmmmm. I'm still getting stronger though and feel that calls for a HOOYAH!
  • Apparantly a 3 minute recovery is not enough when doing a 12 minute steady interval. I actually figured this out when it took everything in me to finish my sets...however it's always good to be told that so that you don't do something silly like that again.
  • I have a half marathon coming up and yet I can't run for more than 45 minutes without some hip pain...this could be an interesting race. The extra time I'm spending on the bike to make up for not being able to run long though is totally going to pay off for Ironman. Money in the bank baby!
  • My mom is an excellent person to ask to watch my posture. She made sure that my arms and back were in a good position while I was on the trainer..perhaps a little too much. 'You aren't back enough. Your shoulders need to be forward more. Either move back or forward because you don't have good position.' This all while I was gasping for air...I loved it.
  • To the dude at Talisman...the shaved head and partial sleeve tattoo were tres cool...the high cut speedo was completely uncalled for and a major tragedy. It's been two days and I'm still disappointed. Please, don't ever wear that again in public. We beg you. And if you are German or French that's still not a good enough excuse.
  • Greg didn't believe me that if he wore a high cut speedo that he'd swim faster. This is actually a good thing.
  • Darryl and Greg make tsunami waves when they swim in line with each other. Swimming beside the tsunami is good practice for races!
  • There is far too much hair not attached to the human body in the Talisman showers. Seriously's called a hose. Turn it on and flush those hairballs down the drain at least once a day! Gag. Hack. Spew.
  • Although there is a vast quanitity of hair, gack, in the showers, thankfully it's not in the pool. However, there was a tissue that was dangerously close to being washed into the pool. Seriously people, a tissue? WTF.
  • I think I provide entertainment for my neighbors when running especially with ponytail braids swinging, skull and crossbone buff with my flourescent neon yellow jacket on, all while singing 'You've Lost That Loving Feeling' at a fairly loud decible level. Yes, I kept on singing even though I knew people could hear me. They had the option of covering their ears if they had to...
  • There are some days I hate the wind around here...and the number of hills in my neighborhood. That said, come race day I love the wind around here and the number of hills in my's all part of being a five-foot-two-of-fury-ninja-princess-she-ra-mighty-triathlete.

I love this sport.

Peace out my friends.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

The Walking T&A Drool Package...

The 'spring forward' we took definitely is hard to get used to and it doesn't help when you go to bed later than normal with a belly mega full of sushi. I woke up this morning with a sushi hangover and a sluggish feel...

Still, I managed to blindly put on some sort of biking attire and got down the stairs without being tripped by something furry.

I yawned as I sleepily put my bike shoes on and heaved myself up onto the saddle...time to go for a ride.

I decided to stick with my program of building endurance...or the Lance program as I affectionately call it. I did 1:15 hours of 10/5s. I was really happy to see my heart rate stayed below my maximum for the zone I was in as I pedaled the cadence and gear that was my goal. Definitely some progress being made. I was also impressed that I managed such a strong ride considering I'd felt so groggy when I got on the bike. Very cool.

Of course, as I pedaled like a madwoman I continued the focus on my is seeming to make a difference. Speaking of my posture....

I was sitting at my desk, working away as I do, when I noticed it. My teeth were clenched. Oh no... My physio had asked if I was a clencher or a grinder because it affects your neck muscles which are connected to your back muscles which then has an affect on posture. I hadn't been sure. Then I thought, noooo, I'm neither. I'm a mouthbreather 98% of the time because my allergies keeps my nose plugged! But I just caught myself clenching. Oh no, I'm a clencher!!

Great, just great. So now in addition to thrusting my hips forward, sticking out the tata's and pulling my shoulder blades back and down, I now have to keep my tongue on the top of my palate of my mouth so my jaw stays relaxed!! Sigh. What will I have to endure next...

I thought, "I bet I drool like this. My nose is kinda plugged therefore I can't really close my mouth". Sure enough, not a few minutes later I caught a small amount of spittle gathering up around the corner of my mouth. Oh for crying out loud!

Nice. Very nice. I am now a walking T&A drool package. If that's not attractive I don't know what is.

I'm going to be practicing yoga tonight. It should be interesting to see if a big globule of drool starts hanging from my mouth. Perhaps I can get it to hang so it almost touches the mat then just before contact, suck it back up! Would that be considered a meditational state???

Peace out my friends!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Oh No....GACK!!!

I may have done a bad, bad thing...I wished that the Side Stroker wouldn't be at the pool. Guess what...when I got there - SHE WASN'T! I am now praying that the Universe knew I only meant 'not there' as in didn't feel like going, or was going later and not 'not there' as in didn't make it because she was going down the stairs to leave for the pool, then tripped over the cat and broker her leg just because the Universe was doing what I bid... Eep.
On the positive side, I got to swim without being nearly side swiped! Yay!!! Of course, the Universe likes to keep my pool experiences interesting...
I was swimming intervals today and felt pretty good. I'm still trying to keep my shoulders pulled down and back, and was trying to do that in the pool. I actually think I swam a little more smoothly and quickly in doing so. That said, I now have a knot in behind my shoulder blade due to some rebellious muscles that are screaming 'HELL NO, WE WON'T GO!'. Hopefully they will work every thing out and realize that being down and mellow is waaay better for them.

I had almost finished my last set of intervals when the unthinkable happened...I went to take a breath and could feel a hair across my lips...oh no...gack...gag. The B horror movie scream that was ready to bellow out my mouth managed to stay internalized in my mind. However, I almost didn't catch the chunder that was ready to explode out of my sat there, at the back of my throat while I tried to regain some form of composure as I peeled the long, black, definitely not my hair off my lips and face...I could feel my stomach convulsing as I tried in vain to flick the clinging hair off my fingertips and onto the deck. Waaaaah! Of course I couldn't put it back in the pool for I knew it would seek me out...
I dove back under the water as soon as I could and continued to swim. For the next hundred meters I concentrated on not hurling in the pool. Even now my stomach flips when I think of it....

Finally, I finished my swim and could run to the showers. Ick. Double Ick. Gag. Gack. Spew.

Thankfully my run in the afternoon was less exciting. Well, if you consider running in minus a gillion temperatures not exciting. The evidence:

Notice the red circle around the statement, 'Feels Like - 33C'. You may be asking, what the heck does FEELS LIKE mean??? At least I did for the first 7 years I lived here till I finally looked it up. Bascially it has to do with the wind chill and how fast the wind removes moisture from your skin. So even though it's -23 C out, your skin is going to feel -33 C cause of that darned wind we have...

I really wanted to go for a run, so even with the subhuman temperatures I decided to bundle up and go out. I think I now know why some people think triathletes are crazy. Ah well, c'est la vie! As it turns out, I had a great time! I only had a half hour to do and knew I could suck up the cold for that long. It was sunny out too, which was a bonus. At least it was when I started. I had on my winter leggings, long sleeve tech shirt, short sleeve tech shirt, fleece shirt, windbreaker, buff and ponytail toque to keep me warm. Oh, and let us not forgot, mitties!

It didn't feel too cold when I got out there. I had the buff up over my mouth and nose and was breathing mostly through my nose so the air would be warm. My physio also mentioned positioning my tongue at the top of my mouth (as if I was about to make a clicking sound) as this a) rests your jaw and 2) allows you to breath through the side of your mouth and nose thus allowing the air to warm somewhat. This worked fairly well, until my buff was soaked and I was breathing the material into my mouth. It was somewhat distressing, but I knew if I had to I could pull it down to get a big mouthful of air in.

The pathways were snow covered but not slippery. As I ran through the new construction area a dude in his truck almost drove off the road as he did a double take when he noticed I was out running. You could see the expression of 'WTF are you doing out here??' as I ran past. Oh if he could have only seen the smile that was happening under the buff. I was really enjoying my run even with the cold!! My hip felt pretty good too. I could tell there was a niggly there, but things were holding up. YAY!

My total run was 36:10 minutes. I had a great time and although my eyelashes froze together at one point (I had to pry them apart...) I really wasn't cold. A fun pic from after the can still kind of see my frozen eyelashes. They melted a bit when I ran inside to get my camera...

Apparantly not all of us wanted to test out the cold...some preferred to hide under the covers...such as my furry buddy Mr. Cringely...

So despite being attacked by a stray hair at the pool and the minus-why-the-heck-do-I-live-here temperatures, I got in two good workouts today. Suhweet!
Peace out my friends!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

I Screwed Up...

You'd think I would know better by now considering this will be my third Ironman training season. I know that in order to keep up the workouts one must fuel ones body properly. Lots of whole foods and often.

Yesterday and once last week I did not do this and hence I did not have the stellar workout I had hoped for the following day.

I guess you can already tell that today's bike workout didn't go as planned. I'm mega bummed about it, but I guess that I needed to be mega bummed so I would smarten up and not be so stupid again.

I spent most of yesterday toodling around Canmore and Banff. I did have a great lunch at at skookum little cafe in Canmore - all yummy stuff like tofu, veggies, and brown rice. But then in the evening I was a bit rushed and didn't eat anything else of value. I braved a sudden snowstorm to go to a friends who was having people over. My plan was to have dinner before I arrived, but cause of all the driving from the mountains etc etc, all I did was stop at a store and pick up some Doritos.

Needless to say my meal that night consisted of Chili Doritos, a couple pieces of Almond Roca and some strawberries. At least the strawberries were good. I think my stomach is still churning over the Doritos I might add. Ugh.

I paid for it. I felt sick most of the night cause of the Doritos. Even though I had a good meal today before hopping on the bike, I wasn't able to maintain any energy after about the hour mark. I stayed on and tried to push it until the 1:30 mark. I was 45 minutes short of my workout time and thoroughly disappointed.

I did get a few good Lance intervals, but it was definitely not my finest moment.

Oh well. This is how we get better. We make mistake, we learn a bit, hopefully we don't have to make mistake too many more times, then we really learn, then we improve.

Onward and upward!!

Peace out my friends.

Friday, 6 March 2009

I Need More Cowbell...

Okay, the title has nothing to do with biking, but when I thought of my last two bike workouts I thought, "I need more cowbell". I don't know why...

So I've managed 3 hours of biking in 2 days. 1:45 hr on Thursday and 1:15 hr this morning. Not really a huge deal in the big scheme of things, but for me there was some neat stuff to be learned during these sessions.

I was up at 5am yesterday morning to get my workout in. I was up and ready to Lance it on the bike. I had gone to bed at 8pm the night before - I was experiencing a total energy drain Wednesday night so instead of working out had a Susi Self Care night - this involved going to bed early.

I felt great when I woke up and planned to do as many 10/5 sets as I could in 1:45 hours. I did an easy 10 minute warm up, then got right at it. As always, the first set was a breeze. My heart rate was in the target zone, my cadence was great and I was pedaling about 27.5/28 km/h. (Oh to hold this in a race!!)

As I went along my sets, and shed several pounds of water via sweat, I focused on my legs and applying equal pressure on the pedals. I also kept watched of my heart rate and cadence. About the one hour mark my stomach started growling. I didn't have dinner the night before, and no brekkie before getting on the bike. So I stopped to get a banana and hopped on again.

The sets were getting harder. It was great mental training to keep things going and not to give up (not that I would, I was feeling good although tired). Just after the hour mark my heart rate started climbing. I couldn't keep it in the zone. By the last set my heart rate was 5 beats higher than the top of my zone. This was 10 beats higher than when I started out. I decided it was more important to me to maintain my speed/cadence then to slow down and let my heart rate drop. I have no idea if this was a good thing or not.

This morning I woke up and got back on the bike. This was going to be in place of a run session. I decided to do what I did yesterday but for 1:15 hours instead. This way I'd keep my heart rate in the zone it would have been had I been running. I assume I was fatigued from yesterday because my heart rate started out higher right from the get go.

I had gone to physio yesterday and learned a few things. One, I'm a sloucher and my posture sucks. This is affecting me in my sports, which means I am going to fix it! Physio's really have to love working with obsessive triathletes...tell us what to do and we will do it if it will make us swim/bike/run stronger and faster!!

I always have pain running down my arm when I'm in aeros, so she said pulling my shoulder blades back and down, at all times not just on the bike, would likely help. So this is what I focussed on when I was on the bike.

Actually, I didn't right away, until the shooting pain started up. Then I remembered the trick (I had been remembering it when I was sitting and standing yesterday - my back is now super tired and pissed that I'm trying to fight the slouch!) Sure enough, the pain went away as soon as I pulled the shoulder blades back. Nuts. This meant I had to keep doing it and it was tiring.

So for all of the sets I did the following checks: pull back shoulders, pull down shoulder blades, check arm for pain, engage core, check cadence, check heart rate, check time, check pedal pressure and repeat. It got a little tiring, but I knew I had to keep doing it because I was correcting things every once in a while.

Seriously, who needs tv or music when riding?? Just keep checking your posture and technique until you go insane. It's way more entertaining!

The very last set was a struggle. I was pooped and down several pints of sweat. It took everything in me to keep my cadence up, but I did. I felt great after the workout was done. I think Lance would be proud of the effort both days.

I'm happy with my biking this year and think it will be interesting to see how things are when I am able to get back out on the road!! Hopefully I won't have to wait too much longer for that...

Peace out my friends!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Karate Chop Swim...

As is usual early on Wednesday mornings I was to be found at our local pool merrily swimming away in a state of bliss...

Okay, not every swim is like that but I like to think I put some sort of intention out there that that is how my swim is going to be.

Today kinda wasn't quite like that. First off I had no more punches in my punch card. Rats. Oh well, I'd buy a pass later and put the punch in there. I am not one to rip off my local pool - bad karma. Unfortunately though they don't seem to have anyone at the front to do this in the mornings - they go by the honour system. Ah yes, the sweetness of living in a small town.

As I walked by the front counter I turned to see one of the lifeguards, who was in the pool area, watching me. Hmmm...

I got my gear going and walked out onto the deck. The lifeguard who had watched me walked in came up to me to make a little bit of small talk. Then she got to the point - 'Did you punch your card when you walked in?' I was totally honest and said no because it ran out, but if someone will be there when I leave, I will purchase a new one. Smiling. Showing all teeth now. I SWEAR I DON'T STEAL LANE SWIM TIME! I'M A GOOD GIRL! I don't think she believed me.

She said no problem and to let her know when I left...let me just say I wouldn't have to let her know because she never took her eyes off me the entire swim. It was a tad bit unnerving! On the positive side, had I suffered a cramp and was slowly sinking to the bottom of the pool, I know someone would have been watching and could have saved me!

So do I even need to say who I shared a lane with today? All together now "THE SIDE STROKER!"

I think she hates me because I'm friends with Andrew and Andrew tried to run her over. I so had nothing to do with that either. Well, I did ask if he'd ask her if she'd swim counterclockwise but apparantly he heard me say 'go run her over and see if she moves'. Every time I see her I smile and say hello but she ignores me. Or perhaps she's deaf? Ya, maybe that's it. She isn't ignoring me, she's just deaf and doesn't realize I know rudimentry sign language...maybe next time I'll sign 'hi!'.

I was going to attempt some timed 50's and 100's today. I started off with an easy 400 m swim, then 100 m of kicking. Then I did 4 x 50 m at a 1:05 send off. I hadn't done these in a while, so wasn't quite sure what to expect. I finished off the first one and thought, 'Hey, that wasn't too bad'. Obviously I haven't done these in a while if I was thinking that after the first one. Duh, of course it's not bad - it's the first one!

Anyways I got through the four sets with minimal issues. Then it was on to the 100's. I was going to do 10 sets of them. As I'm still fighting a bit of an energy thing I decided to give myself a break and go on 2:15. I am pleased to say that I finished all of them under 2 minutes so had a pretty good break after. I also now know that the next time I do these I'm going to have to bump up the time or I'm not going to get any faster.

Again, no real issues...but one. I was doing my thing when the Side Stroker switched to freestyle. Let me just say it was very free. She almost decked me in the water as we passed. I'll admit I got a little teeny weeny bit pissy at that. I mean come on, how many times do we have to swim together before you realize your side of the lane is your side (cause you refuse to swim counterclockwise like it states you are supposed to on at least TWO signs in the pool) and my side is my side.

I started thinking that if she hit me I would have no choice but to hiya karate chop her in the pool. Let's see who's hogging the lane then shall we! Then I remembered I was being watched by the lifeguard...Rats. Well, there's that and there is the small fact that I'm a peace, love and granola girl who would rather wish someone peace then hiya karate chop them. However, that doesn't mean I can't daydream it while swimming...

I've come to realize her routine now and was ever so thankful to see her flip onto her back and start kicking. That means she's done. Yay! Aurevoir! Sayonara! Ciao! Good morning, good afternoon and if I don't see ya later, good night!

I finished of my set of 100s and felt pretty good. All of them were under 2 minutes, but that could be partly due to the fact I had long rests. It'll give me something to work on in future.

Oh, and I did pay to get my new punch card and I made sure to punch a hole in it for that swim! Let the good karma rain down on me.

Peace out my friends.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The Lance Wannabe...

Before anyone says anything, I am fully aware that I am as far off of being like Lance as the Octuplet mom is to being Angelina Jolie. Or something like that. However, that doesn't mean I can't try and learn from the man and attempt to channel his abilities when I'm riding my bike, outside or on the trainer.

That disclosure done with, I tried to be Lance this morning...

I had recently read an article that stated that Lance trains 365/7/24. Wow. The interesting part was that he spends the majority of that time in an aerobic zone, pedaling over 90 rpm in a big gear. At least I thought that was interesting, others may not. Next thing you know, I set about trying to figure out my heart rate zones.

I've had two VO2 max tests done and neither worked. Boo. So I used a couple methods that my buddy Shannon recommended and I think I have a good idea of where I should be.

This morning I headed down to the dungeon to do my bike workout. I didn't really have anything planned, so I decided I'd try to do some sets where I'd hold my heart rate in zone two, keep my cadence between 80-90 rpm and be in a big gear ala Lance style.

I had a short warm up and then started in. The first set was 10 minutes. By the end of it there was a rather large pool of sweat. I'm so thankful the dungeon is cool or else I'd likely evaporate completely! There would just be my shorts, tri top and shoes left. Eep.

I pedaled steady for five minutes as a rest then started the next 10 minute set. I looked at the time and knew I wanted to do a 45 minute workout (short one today) so then thought maybe I should extend this to a 15 minute set so the timing would work? I was working pretty hard at that point, yet keeping my heart rate in the zone, and thought, no, I don't think I can.

Then a funny thing happened...I got to the 10 minute mark and thought, yes I can do 15 minutes!! At one point I checked my heart rate and noticed it was higher. I looked down and noticed my speed had increased too. Well would ya look at that! Here I didn't think I could do 15 minutes and I'm having to dial it back a bit to get back in my zone cause I am rocking this work out!

Hello Lance!

I gave a little hooyah! at the end of the workout. Granted it wasn't a long workout, but hey, we have to celebrate the baby steps just as much as the big kahuna achievements. As I am going to do a bike workout in place of running tomorrow, I think I will continue with my quest for Lanceness and do more intervals like this. I may need a wet vac to clean up the sweat!

Peace out my wonderful fellow Lance-like friends!

Monday, 2 March 2009

Cross-eyed Swim...

I'm pretty sure I drove to the pool cross-eyed this morning. That's how tired I was. I am just not getting a good nights sleep, many nights in a row. Sigh... At least my pal Andrew didn't notice my state as we drove to the pool. I mean, he wasn't gripping white knuckled onto the dash or anything, so I'm sure I was driving properly?

As I walked onto the pool deck I took note of the lanes and how many people were in each. Four of the lanes had two people in them The far lane had only one person...the Side Stroker. Sigh. As I walked to the far lane Andrew, who was standing in the pool, gave me that knowing look. The one that says, 'Heh, Suckaaa! You gotta swim in THAT lane.' That's ok, I could handle the Side Stroker. I just know to squeeze my ribs in as she goes by so I don't get schwacked by a foot when she switches over to breast stroke.

My cross-eyed state stayed with me for my entire swim warm up. I was slower than a sloth fish, should such a fish exist. I was really wondering how I was going to get through my workout.

Funny thing the very end of my warm up I was slow, but then when I got to the main set and I needed to pick up the pace, I did. I have no idea how I did it, but I somehow managed to get into a groove when I needed to. It was pretty cool to be honest.

So even though it was slow going I ended up having a good swim and as a bonus I didn't get a kick to the ribs from my lane mate - seeing as how she likes to swim right down the middle of the lane and doesn't understand the concept of going counterclockwise....but I digress. She is out of there by 6:30 anyways so it's a short lived minor annoyance that I had to endure.

There was another fellow, somewhat elderly, that joined my lane a little later on. He was quite a bit slower than I was, but was kind enough to follow the counterclockwise rule AND he'd let me go by and the pool end. I thought that was super sweet.

I also managed to get in a much needed run in the evening. I was visiting a friend in the hospital so decided to bring my gear and run down by the river in town. It was a short run, just a half hour, but it was really nice out so I enjoyed myself. My hip started to pain me at about 20 minutes. Kind of a bummer, but at least it doesn't hurt when I'm not running, like it was last week. This is a good thing. I think I'll forgo my long run on Wednesday evening and just insert another bike ride instead. It's all good.

Peace out my friends!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Goat Creek...

What a glorious day for a xcountry ski day!! I headed out to Canmore to meet up with Trudy and her two buddies, Ken and Lori. Today's adventure was to ski Goat Creek Trail which is approximately 19 km long. It takes you from Canmore to Banff. I've always wanted to ski or mountain bike this trail so I was super stoked to go.
The ski itself was amazing. I felt really strong for a good portion of it and finally got a groove going. My heart rate was good the whole time - yes I took my heart rate monitor. Even if this is fun, it's still part of my training!

Trudy had mentioned the trail is all downhill. Here's the thing with that statement. I live in the foothills and was going to be skiing in the Rocky Mountains. There is no ALL DOWNHILL in xcountry skiing in the mountains people!! So now when I am told that I take it with a grain of salt.

Granted about 90% of this trail is either flat or on the downgrade, but there are some good climbs to 'run' up and get the heart rate flying. I had some issues when the sun was shining on some of the hills. My skis became as slick as snot and would slip rapidly and violently behind me. This made for two very stretched hip flexors. I'm sure that will be a good thing in the long run though.

On one of the downhills I had to bail. I had some good speed but then noticed a bridge that I had to go over...that was on a corner. Shite! I dug in but couldn't slow down enough to feel comfortable maneuvering my way onto the 45 degree corner bridge, so went into a snow pile. This is a trick my mom taught me as a wee one and I'm happy to report it still works. It was a controlled fall...
I got up and was slow enough to manage the bridge. After we had gone over Trudy mentioned that she usually has to walk down that section as it's tricky, especially if there is ice. I see... Okay, I don't feel so bad about the controlled fall then!

The trip took us about 2:40 hours, which included stopping for pictures and gathering the group together. It didn't feel that long though. I was having an amazing time out there. One of the highlights was coming along the path, having the trees open up and seeing the Banff Springs Hotel. I LOVE this hotel. It instantly reminds me of another time, the 1920s. I love walking around inside looking at all the antiques. It's breathtaking. I have even been blessed enough to have stayed in it once! There is just so much history to this hotel and it is so beautiful! Sigh....
So that was the end of our ski, into the parking lot of the golf course that backed onto the hotel.
I think the statement that summed up today's activities....'My heart now sings'.

Peace out my brilliant friends - oh and enjoy the photos below that capture the day!

The group from left to right, Lori, Ken and Trudy.

Tucked in the bottom right corner is the Banff Springs Hotel in the distance.

Now the black & whites as I am and always will be an Ansel Adams wannabe...

The beautiful Banff Springs Hotel.