Saturday, 29 August 2009

One More Sleep...

Only one more sleep till race day - Ironman Canada 2009 - and I have never felt so calm and at peace in my life. Hmmm....


The 'old' Susi used to have a lot of anxiety. My stomach would be in knots for days before. All the meditation, Buddhist teachings and lessons from my other 'teachers' is being put to very good use I must say. I am giving many thanks for that!

I have had a great time out here so far. First we get purple wristbands - how cool is that? Then yesterday I went out with the parental unit to do a little vineyard touring. Granted, I didn't drink any wine, want to keep this bod in fine form for Sunday, but I loved all the scenery. There are some gorgeous places out here.

After that I chillaxed a bit then a few of us met up for sushi. As Dad jinxed me with the sushi - he uttered the words 'You aren't going to eat sushi 2 days before the race are you? We aren't anywhere near the ocean here, I wouldn't trust it' - I couldn't eat the sushi because even though I'd been to this sushi restaurant several times before I knew that if I went against my fathers warning that I would get sick soooo I stuck with one avocado roll, miso soup and some edamame. For those who know my sushi habits I know you are going to fall off your chairs with that news. After dinner I headed off to the race meeting with Jen.

We met up with Chuck there, who was brave enough to eat their food. <>. The meeting was it's usual self...I missed a couple of things due to texting and when I went to ask Jen what they said she'd missed it because she was texting too. Ah yes, modern toys. Yikes!

We left there and headed for the street party. I had to find the parental unit somewhere in the chaos...okay, here's when mobile phones really do come in handy! On the way to finding them before they 'walked back to the hotel' I found a prayer bead braclet at a kiosk, just like the one I was trying to find. Another good omen!! I didn't stay to look at the wee Buddha statue but I know the smiling one was calling me! Too bad the fellow wouldn't be at the market this morning so I could get my Buddha.

After another good nights rest, I met up with my buddy and Iron-bro Chuck at the lake. We had a little swim/bike/run to do today. I was very grateful to have him to hang out with and do some training with. Even though this is his FIRST Ironman and even though he couldn't swim a stroke last year, he is SUPER calm. This is the type of person I need to hang with the day before the race!

I didn't feel great in the swim, or on the bike, and was breathing hard on the run. All good signs. A crap pre race workout means a good race the next day. Or at least that's what I'd like to believe! After that good stuff we walked to the transition area to drop our goodies off and to do a dry run of transition.

On the way we spotted what looked to be an old style skeleton key on the ground. Chuck picked it up and I was like 'How cool!' so he gave it to me. As I looked at it I saw it wasn't old, and had wee hearts on it. Then I turned it over and it had written on it 'Key to my heart'. Of course I had to bug Chuck about him giving me the key to his heart! I then said 'This is SO going in the blog' which we laughed about for quite a time.

We walked through transition, took some photos, saw gorgeous Julie there and the ever encouraging and wonderful Linda and Earl, which was great. One of the great things about this race is how many wonderful and encouraging people you see here. I love it! The photo below of Chuck and Julie is just brilliant! You guys rock!

Then I headed home to hibernate till the race. I've had a long nap now and am going to just chillax for the rest of the afternoon.

It's hot out here today, and race day is supposed to be hotter (32 C with sun), but I'm ok with that. Tomorrow is going to be what it is going to be. No sense fretting about it. I have bought some salt tabs so likely will break the cardinal rule and will test out something new on race day.
I don't have a time goal for tomorrow instead I have process goals. Some of my process goals are to stay strong in the swim, to keep sighting every 6 strokes, to stay present, to sit up on the bike till get halfway up main street, stay steady and strong on the bike, stay on top of my nutrition, stay present, lose richter, stay down in aeros even if the winds are hard towards Keremeos, savour Yellow Lake, run strong, stay on top of nutrition, stay cool as I can, be thankful, enjoy the moments, and smile.
Smile because I am here and have the health and ability to take on the event called Ironman. Smile because I'm blessed to have amazing friends and family. Smile because I love seeing all the athletes and how wonderful they are. And smile because Tigger smiled all the time in IMC 2007.
To all the athletes I wish you nothing but the best here in Penticton and down south in Louisville! Stay present out there and you will be just fine!
Peace out my glorious friends!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Hello From Penticton!!!

Greetings from Penticton British Columbia, home of Ironman Canada. I left Alberta at 5 am this morning. It was a loooong drive as I didn't sleep much last night due to the excitement of my trip.

Finally, I arrived around lunchtime, at the same time as the parental unit who were driving here from Vancouver. We unloaded the cars and then Dad and I changed into our swim gear then headed down to the Registration area where I got all registered and met up with Chuck, Allan and Dwayne.

I just know this is going to be a good race. Know why? Because the athlete wristbands are PURPLE!! How can I go wrong when they are handing out my favourite colour?! Too bad the clothes weren't purple, but I guess I can't be too greedy eh? The gorgeous wristband is displayed below along with my many friendship bracelets from my dear friend Sk8rboi.

The other reason I know this race is going to be good is because I got the same hotel room my best bud Leslie had when she raced Ironman in 2007. I had told her before I left home that if I got scared or worried I was going to channel her as she is brilliant at staying present and mindful. Then I got her room. How cool is that??

After getting registered and mosying around the Ironman retail tent - I only bought one tri top as the rest of the stuff was just 'meh' quality - Dad, the boys and I went to the lake for a swim. Only Chuck and I are in the race so we were the suckers that had to put on wetsuits in the heat. We found some shade so it wasn't too bad.

The water temperature was perfect. A little choppy, but I was glad for this. It gave me a taste, literally, of what race day will be like. At one point I got a major brain enema as water shot up my nose. I swear it was like gnawing on a tablespoon full of wasabi. I forced myself to keep swimming though and practiced my sighting. I'm really happy with my swim as I know even last year I was nervous when the water was choppy. This one I attacked the waves like a bulldog to a bone.

I was super stoked for Chuck. I think it's safe to say he didn't swim last year when he signed up. Now he's in the water and kicking butt. There were a couple of nervous moments for him I think, but I was majorly proud of how he took a moment then got back in the swim. That takes major kahunas!

Tomorrow I will do a few tasks but otherwise just get my gear ready to check in on Saturday. It's supposed to be 34 C on race day. I don't know how that will play out for me, but that's all part of the adventure.

I'm still feeling really good about the race. I am happy to be here with my friends and family in this gorgeous little town!

Peace out my friends!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Feelin' Good...

Well, it's almost 'GO' time. Only a few more sleeps and it will be time for Ironman Canada 2009.

Although I had some apprehension earlier in the month about whether or not I'd done enough etc etc, I feel really good now in all areas - mentally, physically and emotionally.

Sure there are some nigglies hanging out. The hip is acting up again and my ITB are tight - holy hannah I sound like I'm 80! - neither of those things are worrying me.

I am so at peace with race day. I know that whatever is going to happen, will happen, and I will handle it with calmness and a smile on my face. The day will be what it is. An adventure.

Thank you to everyone for their ongoing support throughout this journey. If it weren't for my friends and family I would never get to the start line!

I have my race number now, it's #2415. So those at home can keep track of me if they wish. You just have to go to and type that in under 'Track an Athlete'.

For those who will be in Penticton below is the top I will be wearing - hopefully it's bright enough for the parental unit to spot! Don't worry guys, I promise not to put on a jacket even if it's freezing out so that you end up missing me when I go by even though I'm yellin' at you! Considering the forecast is saying 28C I don't think I'll need a jacket.

Oh, you may notice a certain little Tigger sticking out of the back of my top. Well, he's going to be along for the ride this year. His bigger brother will also be with me for the last portion of the run and we'll cross the finish line together.

This is to honour my dear friend 'Tigger' who passed away this year after one heck of a battle with cancer. Her and I crossed the finish line of Ironman Canada hand in hand in 2007. It was our first Ironman and I could not have made it without her.

Recently I read her race report from 2007. She said that after the race she swore she'd never do another, but by Tuesday she figured that 2009 would be a good year to give it a go again. So this race is for you Tigger. You will be racing it again with me, in spirit and in my heart. I promise you, we'll have a blast!

Next stop...Penticton!

Peace out my gloriferous friends.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Peace, Peace, Love, Love...

"If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.' ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Last night I went went to my Buddhist sangha. For those don't know, as I didn't, a sangha is a group or community. This particular sangha meditates and discusses Zen teachings of Buddha and Thich Nhat Hanh, who is a Vietnamese monk/peace activist whom I find amazing!

I started attending meditation sessions here at the beginning of the year because the philosophies rang true for me, and were what I've believed all my life, without realizing they were also deemed 'Buddhist'. I had taken some time off of going lately due to all the training committments, but then went back last week. I love going there as it keeps me grounded and I always learn something. Not to mention the people in the group are wonderful.

Yesterday was one of those anxious days. I had some thoughts about work mulling about my brain and some excitement/anxiety about the race. Totally normal stuff as we get closer to 'THE DAY'.

In the past, I would have let this butterfly stomach go on and on much to the detriment of my health. Now when it happens I know the key to getting rid of it - stay in the present. One of the tricks I use to do that is sitting meditation.

I find it very difficult to sit on my own (meditating, much less just sitting still in one spot!), so I attend sangha on Monday nights where I meditate with other members of our group. The energy that floats around us is amazing and it always helps me to sit still and keep my mind clear and calm.

After our 25 minutes of sitting I felt amazing - no more butterfly's in my belly. As we normally do after meditating, we started into our dharma talk. We talk about the dharma teachings and how we use them in daily life as well as sharing our experiences.

After our chatour group leader , Tracey, brought up a really great dharma topic for next week: how meditate and be mindful in our activities. She knows I apply all I learn to my triathlon, and their are others who practice tai chi, rock climbing, trekking etc. We agreed this would be a fun thing to do. Then she told a story that I loved so much I wanted to share it with you...

The story goes to tell of a Buddhist nun who used to be very active before she became a nun. One day she went up to Thich Nhat Hanh and said she wanted to run again. He said that would be fine, but asked that she do the following in order to stay mindful during her run. With her footfalls she would repeat 'Peace, peace, love, love, peace, peace, love, love.' That way she'd not only be running and be mindful, but she'd also cultivate peace and love.

So off she went running from one hamlet at the bottom of the hill, to the other hamlet at the top. As she ran she'd chant 'peace, peace, love, love'. When she'd finish her run she was full of peace and love and exuded this energy to others. Everyone around her and in both the hamlets benefited from this.

As the story finished I realized I had another mantra to add to my list! As I ran the marathon I would chant (in my head of course cause otherwise I might drive those running near me bonkers...) 'peace, peace, love, love'. And just in case I forget that mantra I will stick a note in my special needs bag on the run!

My thoughts are if I do this not only will I remain mindful and calm, but perhaps others will feel that energy from me and also benefit from it in their race. It's a nice thought I think.

Peace out my beautiful bodhisattvas!

Sunday, 16 August 2009


"The meaning of things lies not in the things themselves, but in our attitude towards them." ~ Antoine de Saint Exupery

Ever have a feeling that the Universe is testing you? I swear, there are times when I think that's all it ever does to me. 'Are you SURE this is what you believe?' 'Are you SURE these are your values?' 'Really, really sure???'

But before I get all deep, a brief recap of the week. I had my chi running class on Wednesday night and loved it. I learned how to run up a very step hill rather effortlessly. Granted, you do a bit of a side step and perhaps you look a little bit different from the rest of the runners going up the same steep hill in the traditional way, but it really works. Therefore I will employ this practice, and did so today on my run.

I also learned something - I really enjoy training with a group of people. Typically I train alone - just for scheduling convenience sake - but I have noticed that this year I don't always have the motivation to get out there for my evening workouts. I realized that what I need is a buddy or two to help me get out for my evening run workouts.

Therefore, I recruited my buddy Esther to come out with me and run up and down stairs on Thursday afternoon. We had an absolute blast out there even though we were sucking wind big time. We did 4 sets of stairs (each set being running up and down the stairs 6 times). After a set of stairs we ran fast for 5 minutes. I loved the stairs, but the running fast didn't go as well as my hip was really feeling it.

Then my shins got in on the action, reminding me it was time for new sneakers! Which I picked up on Saturday. I had one new sneaker on and one old sneaker on and that's how I realized I had absolutely no cushion left in the old sneaker. Whoops! Well now, that would explain my hip and shin complaints!

Saturday turned out to be a very interesting day for me. I was in a bit of a grumpy mood. I don't know about you, but with the approach of a race that means a lot, one such as Ironman, I start to think more. Granted, I am a thinker and tend to ponder thoughts on a fairly regular basis. Lately though, the thoughts have really been gnawing at me and they started to make me grumpy.

Of course, when one is grumpy they start to shoot off little sparks of negative energy. And you know what happens when that is going attract people with negative energy. Eek! I was totally aware of this when I went into the first shoe store looking for my trusty sneakers. That's when this youngin' came up to me and asked if I needed assistance.

I said I needed this shoe and showed him the shoe. Then I picked up this purple set of Brooks that I spotted. He commented that was a neutral shoe and the shoe I was wearing was a stabilizer. I mentioned that I was interested in barefoot running and perhaps going to a neutral shoe might be a good start. (Just a note here - I realize that buying a neutral shoe right before an Ironman race is not a smart move, hence I wasn't going to do it, I was just was tempting though as the shoe was purple.)

So Mr. Smartypants Shoe Youngin says to me in a sarcastic tone 'Oh, has someone told you that thats good for you or something?' (Another note, the salespeople in this store are all foot specialists in training from the University; therefore I'm sure they want to keep the world in expensive stabilzer, highly cushioned shoes rather than having people run barefoot and strengthen their feet thereby reducing the need for said shoes. That's just my theory of course.) See what I mean about attracting what you are exuding. I was all snotty and grumpy and got that in return.

I turn to Mr. Smartypants Shoe Youngin and very coldly state 'I LIKE barefoot running, that's why I am trying to transitition to it.' End of conversation, get me my shoe.

I didn't end up buying shoes from there. They didn't have my size. I also tried to adjust my attitude before I went into the next shoe store because I really didn't want to attract more of the same stuff. (I did end up getting the shoe I needed at the next store, with less drama...but not much less.)

So I'm driving home and my stomach starts to churn. This is the Susi Early Warning Signal that I have something going round and round in my subconscious that I need to snap awake and start paying attention to. So I did.

Here's what I came up with. This year has been a very trying year of training. Pretty normal in the course of doing an Ironman I think. Some years are a breeze, some years test you more. I firmly believe that the years that test you more are where you learn and grow as both an athlete and a human being. So even though it's been a bit rough, I've welcomed it.

I've been questioning my 'readiness' for this race lately because of the consistency of my training. There has been more fatigue and injuries this year, not to mention two great losses in my life, therefore the lack of consistency. That questioning has been treading into my belief system. To go into this would need several paragraphs, of which I don't feel I need to spell out right now. Suffice it to say, I think I go about endurance racing in a different manner from 98% of the racing population.

This of course can be daunting at times. We are bombarded with articles on how to race, and coaches thoughts on how to race and even other athletes ideas on how to race. And if you don't share those philosophies you can sometimes end up questioning yourself - especially as you get nearer to race day. Not entirely a bad thing, but after doing it over and over, it gets rather annoying. So does having the Universe question you on it.

I'm sure this is all rather confusing to you the reader at this point - hang in there. Anyways, I'm driving home and I am thinking to myself, 'You are going to be fine in this race. If you are concerned about how you are going to do based on the training you've done, then you are getting wrapped up in other peoples expectations again.' Which is when I got ticked off at myself. I do not want to be caught up in what other peoples idea of a good race is, yet sometimes you ever so slowly fall into that thought pattern.

Once again, I felt as if I was being challenged on my beliefs. In my gut, I know how I want to race Ironman. I will acknowledge that I'm a little worried, but in a very healthy way. Ironman is to be respected.

So with all this going through my head, I get back into town and head to the florist. I wanted to get some flowers for my friend Leslie who cracked her ankle bone the day before, thereby tossing out her marathon race goal. A major bummer, but one she is handling with the most positive of attitudes. This is why she is one of my life mentors!

I'd never been in this florist before, but had received flowers from there so I knew they had nice stuff. I now think of it as the mystical florist. As I walked in I was greeted by what can best be described as an angelic burst of energy in the disguise of a tiny 66 year old woman named Jane. I told her what I was there for and why and she said 'When things like this happen you have to just go with it and let your spirit dance, cause things like this do happen.'

Intersting theory. Then she started talking about some other things and about energy and spirit. She started telling me her story, which was fascinating. And I started telling her my story. Some of the topics were about Ironman and Tigger, fears I had about the race as well as thoughts I had recently.

I must admit, when I first got in there I just wanted to get my stuff and go. The more Jane talked though, the more I knew I needed to listen. Someone had brought me to her because what she was saying was exactly what I needed to hear at that exact moment.

We talked about SO many things. The more we talked, the more I gained clarity and strength in my beliefs. It was amazing. I had gone into the flower shop having a grumpy day and questioning myself. An hour later I left with a handful of gorgeous flowers and a renewed brightness in my spirit.

Jane gave me a big hug as I left and asked me to come back after the race to let her know how it went. I can't wait to go back in there and share all my stories!

Training for an Ironman, or any endurance event, can be more than just swimming, biking, and running. If you are open to it, it can be a growth process. One that gives you more than just a medal at the finish line. Even though that medal is really freakin awesome!

I am ever thankful for all the things I've learned along the way, even if it sometimes can be a very trying task.

Peace out my beautiful friends. Here's to taper time!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Nude Girl...

"I cannot discover that anyone knows enough to say definitely what is and what is not possible." ~ Henry Ford

I'm betting the title of todays little post is going to likely grab some attention...

Let me start from the beginning. At about 5:35 am this morning I rose up like a zombie out of my bed. Did what needed to be done, got into my car and somehow managed to function well enough to drive the five minutes to the pool.

Once there I got my gear ready, slipped off my outer clothes, slipped on my flip flops (these feet will never touch a changeroom floor or pool deck, gack), did a dance in the shower under the cold water and then did the zombie walk out to the pool.

Oh, and before you start thinking it, I had my swimsuit on under the outer clothes so no, there was no scene in the pool. I got into the pool and started my warm up. It was then I noticed that it felt as if my bathing suit was not quite covering all my bits.

I looked down whilst swimming, but my goggles blocked a view, so I did what any sane triathlete would - I kept swimming. I figured I'd check it out when I finished my warm up, which was about 600m. Meh,I don't look around when I'm swimming to see if peoples bits were out, so why would anyone be looking for mine, right?

Then I started part of my main set. I now had paddles on. After the first few lengths of swimming my mind came back to the fact that something just didn't feel right with my suit. Seriously, was one of my funbags hanging out? That would be tata, booby, or breast for those with a little class.

This time I stopped, took my paddles off, then lifted my goggles. Hmmm, we are getting precariously close to showing a little something something here. So I adjusted things, then went back to my workout.

Here's the thing, I could care less if it was hanging out. It's just a boob. We all have them. Some more than others. Women have the same as men, just with a bit more jiggly squished inside. No biggie. Of course, I did hope that if anything did happen to show, that no one else would be offended cause I had to be able to use the pool. Luckily no incidents. I was respectful enough that I attempted to adjust my suit every once in a while. A none to easy task when wearing paddles I may add!

I was swimming for about 1.5 hours this morning so got to see the 'early morning' crew, then the 'little later than the early morning' crew. I got to share the lane with this mega fast dude. Holy hannah could he swim! Luckily he was cool with sharing a lane with me. Even when I was swimming my 'all out' sets I was no where near this guy! It was motivating when I was to swim fast though.

When I got into the changeroom and took off my flasher swimsuit I got a glimpse of something. Hmmm. Seems to me the inside liner is a little worn out in areas, as can be seen in Exhibit A below. Wonder how long that's been like that?

Apparantly I don't pay attention to these things. However, my friends who were getting ready to go for a swim did. So if you hear of a fundraiser to buy a new suit for me, please chip in. Honestly, I don't know what the fuss is about. The outer part of the suit (polyester which never dies) looks just fine. In my defense I refer you to Exhibit B.

Just ignore the little tuft of liner peeking out of the top, okay?

So perhaps I will go check out some new suits this weekend. I was shown a delightful purple one at Tri-it the other day by Richelle...

As I was driving home I took note of the sky and said a thank you to the Universe for not having a bike ride today. It was none to inviting...

Hopefully the weather turns a little nicer for the weekend as that will be my last longish ride until race day. Yes, my favourite part of the race season is about to begin - taper! Phew.

I have been feeling better this week and do have more energy, but unfortunately am still lacking a bit of enthusiasm in my workouts. So it goes when you are a solo triathlete 99% of the time.

Guess it's almost time to start counting down till race day...

Peace out my lovely friends!

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Body Over Mind...

"It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Body over mind eh? Shouldn't it be mind over body?? Apparantly my 'dare to be different' attitude has taken over all aspects of my life.

The past week my body took over and my mind wasn't going to win any ground no matter the argument. A sample if you will...

Body: No. No you aren't going to complete your stair workout run today.

Mind: Why not?! I finished my swim this morning. I felt good. Strong even compared to what I was like earlier. Come on I WANT to run stairs!!

Body: No, I'm not going to change my mind. You weren't feeling shite hot yesterday or on the weekend and you need to ease into things.

Mind: This is so not fair. I am just over three weeks away from Ironman Canada for crack and ice!

Body: Tough. I warned you with the neck, and you took heed but then tried to jump right back in. Now I'm going to stop you this way.

It all started with my pretty much collapsing from exhaustion on Monday. I'd somehow forgot that it isn't just training that can leave you fatigued, but also our personal lives and stress related to people or your profession. For me, it was my profession that caught up to me as I tried to do everything while I was in BC.

After resting on Monday I felt good enough to jump back into things for my Tuesday workouts. I had a great 3100 m swim. Sure, it was supposed to be 3500 m and I ditched my cooldown because I was famished (mental note drink a smoothie before a long swim workout), but I still swam a lot and strong. Then even though I felt a bit tired I completed my run workout in good form.

Wednesday was good too - at least it was in the morning. I completed my bike workout and it was a good one. By the afternoon though I wasn't feeling that great. Very tired and my stomach was giving me the gears. I went to lie down for a 20 minute nap (I do this often and don't even need an alarm), and ended up being asleep for 2 hours. Whoops.

I still went to my chi running class that night. It was the first one in a series of three and even though I didn't have a lot of energy I wanted to be there. It was a great first class I might add. Tons to remember, but it does feel more efficient to run that way!

On Thursday I was groggy getting up, but I didn't let that stop me. I drank a small smoothie, then had a decent 4000 m swim. Things got worse after that, but I pressed on. I decided I'd do my stair workout even though the cheeks of my arse were bouncing off my heels. At the very least I'd get to practice my chi running right?

Well, the first 12 minutes went well. I was chi running and had a good pace. Then I felt a jab of pain in my guts. What the... I got to the stairs I was going to do repeats on and felt another jab. Ow. I ran the stairs two by two. Okay, this isn't bad. Maybe it was a one off.

The stairs I might add were brilliant. They are wooden steps leading up to one fo the main roads, but with all the trees you can't tell you are near a main road. Plus there is this little creek that runs beside it so I had the background music of water gurgling by. It was bliss.

The third set of stairs my guts kicked in again. To the point I stopped as I walked down because I wasn't sure if things were going to just drop right out of there. Steady now... Things calmed down. I then proceeded to run up and down three more times. This time my guts spoke even louder.


For fear of an 'incident' I decided to call it a day. It was very disappointing. I started to run back to the car, but only made it a few steps before things started feeling like crud again. The walk back was a meditiation walk where I focussed on my footsteps and breathing.

The next day I woke up bright and early for my run. My mind was eager, but again, my body put the kabosh on everything. I sat up and immediatly broke into a sweat. Whoa. Then I felt a sharp cramp in my stomach again. Now I was getting ticked off.

Mind: What now?? I have a swim to do. It's not even a long swim. Why aren't you letting me go swim? I should be working out.

Body: I told you. You need to listen to me and get more rest. You are tired all the time. I'm not letting you go. Oh, and stop 'shoulding' all over yourself. You should do this, you should do that. Bah. Exactly who is the should for?

Mind: You are such a....

(This is when my spirit interrupted.)

Spirit: Sisters! Why are you fighting? We are a team. Body, mind, spirit. There is no 'I' in team!

Mind: Body is not letting me train. We are only a few short weeks out of the race and I don't feel prepared. I had to take time off because of my neck, and now this. It's not fair.

Body: I keep telling her, she pushed herself too much and now she has to do as I say and select the workouts she needs to do.

Spirit: Mind, how about you listen to Body for this week. Afterall, you've done all the hard work, now is the icing on the cake. Just do what you can and look after yourself so Body doesn't shut you down totally.

Mind: This so sucks. Oh and tell Body if she keeps standing behind you and sticking her tongue out I will come over there and give her a hurtin'!

And so the battle raged. I'm not sure why things are happening this way this season, but they are. I will just have to listen and honour what's going on and follow the principle of 'doing the best I can with what I have'.

That said, my acceptance of the entire situation was tested very soon after...

Someone very close to me, whom I care what they have to say, uttered the following words to me, "You don't try to improve your Ironman racing." It's a good thing I had my seatbelt on or we may have had a vehicular incident. I then went into shock.

When the shock wore off I found myself seated across from the person. I said in the calmest manner I could muster, 'That really upset me when you said I don't try to improve at Ironman. Why would you think that?'

The reply, 'Because you don't try to improve.'

I gotta tell ya, it was at this point that the cartoon version of me leapt off her seat and with her mane of blond hair flying she screamed the war cry 'AIYEEEEEEEEE!'. As her body hurled through the air her arms were outstretched with hands in a claw like position ready to grab and remove the jugular from the perpetrator of such blasphemy. As I did so I'd be saying in a rather commanding voice 'I am trying to improve Mr. Know Nothing Man! I am five-foot-freakin-two-of-fury-mighty-darned-triathlete-ninja-I'm-gonna-knock-you-out-princess for the love of the Universe!!! How dare you question my training?!'

The human version of me calmly and cautiously sat on her hands and said, 'I'm not sure how you could think that.' Then, before he could speak a thought popped into her head, 'He is not an endurance athlete and knows nothing of the sport. Don't get upset, just teach.' The man has no idea how lucky he is that I'm a peace, love and granola girl...

So I listened, with hands still firmly and safely tucked under tush. He then said something to the effect that I don't have a time goal. That I say I just want to finish and this is why he didn't think I was trying to improve.

Ah. What we have here is a failure to communicate. Okay. Breathe Suse. And try to explain.

So I did. I explained that I do train with the thought I of improving. That although I don't have a time goal, I have process goals. They are just as tricky to achieve, but less disappointing than having just a time goal. Not to mention, one would assume that if I achieve all my process goals, that I will also invariably have a faster time than last year.

I also explained that a time goal is a tricky beast. What goal would I set? To be 5 minutes faster? 25? An hour? What if I set an hour, but only made it 5 minutes faster? Would that mean I failed? Nope, I like my process goals thank you very much. Still challenging, but more achieveable and less disappointment in the end.

Apparantly I had never uttered the phrase 'process goals' before so hence the confusion surrounding the fact that I actually do train to improve.

Of course all this came about at a time when I was struggling with the fact that I felt as if my missing workouts (for very good reasons I believe) may jeopordize my process goals.

Later on in the day, after the conversationm, I went out for my bike ride. On the advice of my coach I shortened the ride. I decided I'd do my beloved Horse Creek/Grand Valley loop. I set the intention that I would go by feel, but that I wouldn't take it easy. I would try to maintain a steady, strong pace.

The end result? I had a great ride. I ended up completing the 57 km route in 2:02 hours. Ten minutes faster than my previous best time.

Body: See, I told you if you listened to me I wouldn't let you down.

Mind: Hmpfff.

This morning I went for my scheduled two hour run and managed the negative split I was trying to achieve. I also came to the conclusion that my stomach issues were warning me that I was starting to tread into the future. I knew the feeling in my stomach was trying to get me to listen. That's my built in warning signal. Stomach upset = perk up and listen to what you are thinking. Are you staying in the present and being mindful, or are you going into the future where we don't know what is going to happen?

I was starting to leap into the future and worry about the race because of the missed workouts due to my neck. Then when I couldn't jump back into training full force things got even worse. So there you have it.

I'm feeling much better now and will continue to listen to my body as well as continue to improve my training.

Let's face it. I am Ironman girl - hear me ROOOOAAAARRR!!! Oh, and I don't apologize for how I choose to train for Ironman.

Peace out my beautiful friends.

Monday, 3 August 2009

The Catcher...

In the spirit of Dirt Diva, whose blog I love to read, I've decided to start adding some quotes to the beginning of my posts.

"If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded." ~ Maya Angelou

So. Do you wanna know how to have a blast at a triathlon, without actually participating??? Be a finish line catcher!

I have to say, the last few days have been exhausting. First was the long drive home from the gorgeous West Coast. I literally collapsed after the drive. Well, not right away I guess. I did stop in to see my 'nesan' Esther and have a wee snippet of good ol' Jack Daniels. Then I slept for a good ten hours. Not what I normally do.

When I woke up on Saturday I continued to feel the exhaustion pulsing through my veins. I guess I did too much while I was back home - working, training and seeing family and friends. I don't regret a moment of it, but boy was I paying for it now.

I tried to go for a 4.5 hour ride on Saturday, but only managed 2.5 hours. I got home, feeling rather defeted, and went to sleep again. When Julie arrived later on (she was staying with me and competing in the race) she took one look at me and said she could see it in my eyes how tired I was.

I replied that I just needed to make it through Sunday and I would then take a day of total rest.

Sunday arrived very early...4 am to be exact. I had a 2.5 hour run to get in that day and I knew myself well enough that there was no way in heck that I'd be doing it after volunteering at the race! So I chose to get up at 4 am and head out for part of the run. Which I did in the quiet peacefulness that can only happen at 4 am on the Sunday of a holiday weekend. Or another other day at 4 am I suppose...

Anyways, after that, I drove Julie to the start line of the inaugural Ironman Calgary 70.3, bid her adieu, drove home, and got in another hour of running.

Okay, so I didn't quite make the 2.5 hour mark, but I was running out of time. I had to shower, eat, then drive into the city for my duty as 'catcher' at the race finish line that would run from 9 am to about 3 pm. Phew!

I left an hour before my shift, because I knew it would take me a while to get into town and I wasn't sure how the drive would be as part of it was on the race course. I managed to get to my spot with five minutes to spare.

After I arrived, I was happy to see Leana was volunteering. It's always nice when you know one person there who might have an inkling as to what was going to transpire! Shortly after I also saw my friend Mo, whom I hadn't seen in forever. We were all excited to be there and that we'd get to see some pros and our friends in this great event.

I'm not sure how long we were there when the lead male came running by. The cool part about where the finish line was located was that we could see the runners go by 3 times. Well, we could before they started entering our area, then it was busy busy!

I was pretty excited to see who would win, although I didn't recognize most of the names. My apologies to the pros - I'm just a simple girl though who knows only a few of the big name players. Did I mention I got my picture with Faris Al-Sultan?? Sigh...

Oh, right, back to the present. Okay, so we saw the first few male pros go by. All I can say is WOW. It truly is a gift to see such talented athletes. Then the first gal, Mirinda Carfrae zoomed by. And I'm not exaggerating when I say 'zoom'. Holy hannah that girl can run!

Soon enough the first pro was coming into the chute. I did run over to see the fellow, Tim O'Donnell run to his victory. Not long after the other pros were starting to file in. Now I should state here that it was really cool that I was in the presence of professional athletes. The thing is though...they are just like any other human. Well. Sort of. I mean, they are really gifted athletes, but the rest of them is like us. So although they were really near by, what I was more interested in was my friends and how they were doing!

Not long after the first pros came in I spotted my friend Serge going past the fence. Then Greg N went by, then Greg B, and Jaimie and so on. I really wanted to scream and hoot and holler for them rather than be part of the masses around the pro's so that's what I did! From within my little fenced area I kept my eyes peeled for everyone I knew until the age groupers started to file into the chute.

It was a little slow to start, of course, but soon enough more and more people were filing in. I was doing double duty of catching and watching the runners go by and cheering for friends I knew. At one point Dan, whom I'd just met but who is also a fellow blogger and who spotted me by my braids, said with a smile, 'Do you know everyone in this race??'

Well now, not everyone, but I knew 20 competitors from Cochrane and a whole slew of others from Calgary, not to mention Crowsnest Pass and 'Toon town! So you could say I knew a heck of a lot of people!

I loved being there in the action of the day. I loved helping people that needed to be helped and guiding the others to where they could get their water and medals. It was truly a gift to be sharing the moment with all the amazing athletes that day!

Eventually more and more of my friends were crossing the finish line. I was so honoured to be there catching them! Some needed a bit more support than others, some needed a shoulder to cry on (which meant I was crying because what good Piscean girl wouldn't be crying with her friends) and some were just happy to be across that line. It turned out to be a super hot day and the run course was not an easy one to be sure!

It would take quite a bit to name everyone who finished that I knew...and I would be mortified if I missed someone's name. So instead I will just say Congratulations to all the athletes on finishing a tough course on a hot hot day. You were all inspiring to me and I thank you for sharing your finish with me!

Like I said above, if you aren't racing then the next best place to be is volunteering, especially at the finish line!

Peace out my friends.