Thursday, 25 February 2010

The Big 4-0!!!

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather, to skid in broadside thoroughly used-up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: WOW WHAT A RIDE!" ~ Author Unknown

The past year was very much an eye opener for me. I realized that life is short and it's really best not to put off till tomorrow, or next year, to do what you want. Because you never know what's around the corner.

Death has a way of doing that to a person. Well, not their death obviously, but the death of someone near and dear who was far too young. No wonder people go through mid life crises! As you get older you start losing people who shouldn't be dying and you think, holy shite, if it can happen to them, it can happen to me!! WHAT HAVE I DONE WITH MY LIFE SO FAR???

I had some business to finish last year, in other words two Ironman races that I committed myself to, before I could really start to embark on a new path. A new journey, if you will. I just hoped nothing happened to me in the meantime so I could start to make some changes!

One of the changes I was determined to make was to not put things off that I wanted to do. To stop making excuses about why I couldn't do something - money, time, having to do it on my own...

A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to do something for my 40th birthday that wasn't the ordinary. I just wasn't sure what it was. Then Trudy and I drove past some dog sledders when we were coming back from skiing at Mount Shark.

I looked over and said, THAT is going on the bucket list! I would love to do that!!! She looked at me and said, 'So why don't you do that for your birthday? You were looking for something different.'

Of course! What better way to keep the new path of adventure going?! Dog sledding. That's what I'm going to do.... so yesterday for my 40th birthday, I did it.

The first fun part of the adventure was calling the parental unit and letting them know what they would be doing for my birthday. They were going to fly out to help me celebrate, so I wanted them to go dog sledding with me. I just want to say right now how awesome it is that I have parents with a sense of adventure! Hmmm, maybe that's where I got this from?!

They were a little nervous when they heard that I was going to be the driver, but as I mentioned, they were up for it.

Yesterday morning we headed off to the Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours in Canmore. (If ever you want to try this adventure, I highly recommend them! Here's the link for their site:

A bunch of us clamoured into the waiting van where our driver was waiting. The first thing I noticed was how enthusiastic he was about the whole dog sled thing - and he was our driver! The rest of the crew at Snowy Owl are just as happy to be doing what they are doing. A good sign.

We got to Spary Lakes and saw the sleds and dogs. Then we were treated to a 1/2 hour talk about what we need to know and the commands. There weren't many commands....but I was still wondering how the heck I was going to remember it all. I'm sure the parental unit were wondering too as they were going to be bundled in the sled.

We got to pet the dogs and say hello - oh they were adorable. Then we were assigned to sled number 2, which was going to head out behind our guide, Bill. (I like to think of him as Grizzly Bill because of his wonderful beard!) This was a good thing because I knew I could just follow what he was doing!

Getting the parental unit into the sled was enough to have me doubled over in laughter. They were squished into the wee sled, then bundled up with blankets and sealed in. We were all laughing hard.

I'm sure my hands were a bit shaking as I stood on the back of the sled, with my feet on the brake waiting for the lead sled to go. We were unhooked from the post and HIKE! off we went.

Some sledding trivia here:

  • Much to my disappointment, one does not say "MUSH!" to get the dogs to go. You say 'HIKE or HIKE UP!' in a happy and positive tone, I should add, or else the dogs will ignore you. Really though....they don't need any encouragement to get going, they just want to run.
  • EASY PUPPIES, means what it sounds like, go slow. This is good for the downhills; however as noted above, they want to run so they don't really ease up. Therefore you have one foot, or both, on the brake and you continue to hang on for dear life.
  • WHOA, means stop....kind off. Again, referring back to point number one, the dogs like to run. So you say that then you practically jump on the brake and let them drag you for a bit while saying in a happy and positive tone 'WHOA PUPPIES, WHOA!' several times.
  • They don't use the big siberian huskies for the sleds. Well, they may use a few in the really cold, but here it's not cold enough and the dogs would melt. Also, they are muscle, so you only have a couple of them to help pull. The bigger stronger dogs are put right in front of the sled, not in the lead.
  • The other dogs are fairly slight in build, but strong!
  • The lead dogs, 9 times out of 10, are female. Why? Becasue they are smarter, of course. Not to mention they have a better sense of direction and when lost will not be afraid to ask for directions....
When we first took off I wasn't quite sure about the steering. This was evident when we had to go over a wee bridge and I could hear the parental unit squeaking or mumbling something as we almost went into the creek. Hmmm, okay so I have to actually do some work here...

That's another bit of trivia actually, you do have to do some work. Not only steering, but also pushing. You see, when you get to a bit of an incline, you have to hop off the sled, run beside it and push a bit. If you don't, the dogs will look back around at you so you feel shame of having to make them work hard, and if they see you are not doing your fair share, they will stop.

Good thing I'm fit because on the first hill, which was a bit long, I hopped off and started running, hanging on for dear life, and trying to push. This, apparantly, was not enough effort for a couple of the dogs as they turned around to look at me. 'WHAT??? I'm pushing for the love of Pete!' They must have been ok with that, and heard my huffing and puffing breath, because they kept going. Phew. I was sucking wind at the top of the incline and happy to jump back on.

That's when I asked my folks if they wanted to try driving - they both said no, they were happy where they were. Go figure!

There was one really sharp corner that I was pretty nervous about. Bill, our guide, stopped every now and then to check on us as well as to give extra instruction. There was his sled, ours, and a couple of gals from Boston behind us. The rest of the group was slower.

As we got into the corner I leaned to the far right standing on one side of the sled yelling, in a happy and positive voice, 'GEE PUPPIES! GEE!!' (That means go to the right.) Honestly, there was one point where I wasn't sure we wouldn't go on our side...the folks were thinking that too. But we didn't, thanks to my brilliant driving! (Yes, I told the parental unit that too...I'm such a modest child with no need for acknowledgement..)

The gals behind us weren't so lucky and went over on their side. Well, the sled did, with one of the girls. She said she now knows how a bobsledder feels when they go sliding down the track on their side! Bill had us stop and ran to the rescue. Everyone was okay and there were still lots of smiles.

Soon enough we were all set and ready to go again. It was at this point that I realized I wasn't actually in command of the dogs. We had been 'standing' for a while as the other sled was being righted and my dogs got bored. So they started to go. I was on the brake and yelling 'WHOA' in a happy and positive voice, but they could care less. So Bill got his sled going and I yelled, HIKE, in a quiet, yet still positive and happy voice as if it was really me in control.

I said to my parents, 'Uh, I'm in command. Really.' They both laughed at that one and made comments about sure you are, and no, no, the dogs aren't doing whatever they please... Hmpfff.

After an hour of sledding we were back to the start point. I didn't want to stop. It was invigorating being out in the mountains on a dogsled! I was finally getting a grip on the steering - mainly because I was mimicking what Bill was doing on the lead sled. It worked though! I joked about the next step being the Iditarod. Because after one hour of sledding I'm sure I could totally handle it!

The fun didn't stop with the sledding. The dogs were tied up again and it was now time to unleash the parental unit from their sled coccoon. Easier said than done... I was extending an arm to help pull Mum up and she put her other hand down to get leverage. The sleds are fairly deep. Unfortunately for my Pops she almost put all her weight on his nads. I'm happy to report he's no longer singing sorprano.

All of us were laughing so hard at that that I couldn't pull Mum out and she couldn't push herself out, once she found a more appropriate place to put her hand. Thankfully Dad was laughing too....

Once that little drama was done, we went to join the group to share hot apple cider, cookies and stories of our adventures.

What an amazing way to start off the next decade of my life. MUSH PUPPIES MUSH!!! (I just had to say that once!) Oh, and yes, I'm totally ready to quit my day job and become a sled dog guide!!

Here are some photos from our adventure...

Figure 1: Yours truly at Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours with one of the big dogs...

Figure 2: Me giving scritches to one of the puppies - next thing I new he had his paws on my lap and his face in mine!

Figure 3: The sled.

Figure 4: The parental unit getting bundled up in the sled.

Figure 5: Ready to go - HIKE UP PUPPIES!

Figure 6: The view for the parental unit - puppy arse! Not to mention they flick snow...

Figure 7: My view...

Figure 8: Out on the lake...can you tell the puppies are just waiting to get back to running??

Figure 9: What a view!

Figure 10: Back to the start with our lead dogs, Apache (L), and Excaliber (R).

Figure 11: Our fearless guide Bill, who did an amazing job and made this trip a blast.

Peace out my beautiful friends and go have yourself some adventure!!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Climb On!!!

"Don't be pushed by your problems; be led by your dreams." -Unknown

It would seem to be that every Friday morning that I wake up, after a Thursday climbing night, I wake up giddy. Make that giddy, exhilirated, happy and high on life.

I have a new love - indoor climbing.

Hmm, maybe I need to change the title of my blog? Indoor climbing isn't an outdoor adventure. Of course it could lead to that. My friend Lisa mentioned she could take me climbing outdoors when I get back to BC. The thought of that made me quiver in me boots when she mentioned it at Christmas. But now that I'm getting a bit more confidence in the gym - I think I just might be open to trying a very very low wall outside...

Back to being inside though. I was back at the Crux last night with the usual merry band of climbers, plus one. My friend Dave joined us as well and showed why it is a good thing to be 6'2" tall when climbing! Once again, it was a brilliant night - despite the dizzying heights, dripping sweat, swiftly beating heart, and slight nausea. Who am I kidding - that was all part of the fun!

Last night as I waited for my turn to climb I chatted with another fellow that was there. He suggested I climb the corner, because I had mentioned climbing on the side, last week, where it was open was a bit too scary for me. Turns out he climbed that side, slipped and was swinging into the stairway! Yikes. I'm sure I would have a heart attack if that were me.

I love the corner climb because I can wedge myself in nicely as I propel myself up. The corner route happens to be the neon green route. Really, one day I will have to record what the name of it is, because the names are hysterical. Anyways, I've tried this route a few times, but only manage a short way up before I just start grabbing onto whatever hold is there.

With the boost of knowing I climbed a route last week though, I decided I would not be beat by some little neon green tape! I should note here that this climb would be much easier if I had another foot of height on me. Heck, even a couple inches of height would be better. Whoever designs the routes must be a 6 footer!!

I will spare all the gory details of the climb, suffice it to say that with the exception of one hold, I made the climb following only the neon green path. To do so was a bit tricky - at one point I heard Jim yell up to me 'Well that's an interesting pose!' I had one leg bent and on a hold in front of me, the other was bent back and upwards on another hold behind me and my arms where twisted and above and behind me. You know, a photo would be worth a thousand words right now rather than trying to describe this!

I was quite happy with my climb and wanted to try the route I did last week with Stephan. Here is one thing I noticed though...when you aren't just climbing willy nilly, it's actually harder! After one climb I was already sweating and my arms could feel it. I really must work on that!

I waited my turn then Jim belayed as I started my climb on the blue route. It was ever so slightly better than last week, but I still struggled at the same point near the ledge. I managed to get onto the ledge and proceeded to do my usual of just standing there looking at the wall, rather than down at the floor to where I could plunge. I could only imagine what I must look like up a kid who's gotten in trouble at school and has to stand in the corner.

As I was just about to get back to climbing, I heard Stephan yell from the other side of the gym 'Do not lower her down till she's done!!' to Jim. It was hilarious. Makes it hard to climb when you are giggling.

I was almost at the top - and stuck. Again. I had tried the move to get to the last hold, but slipped. So now I was just hanging in my harness thinking of what to try. It was then that I heard a voice from behind me asking 'Would you like a hint?' It was one of the guys I had gotten to know since I started coming here with Jim - unfortunately I don't know his name! He was taking a break from his route and literally hanging around watching my progress. He also knows I'm new at this and trying to deal with the height thing.

I said I wanted to try one more time, and then yes, I would like his help. On the next try I heaved myself upward and managed to take hold. It was a far from graceful move however! As I hung on I asked what I should have done. That's when he pointed out where my feet were and how if I had stayed more to the right I'd have better leverage and balance. I am always so grateful for the help I get here!

When we were both on terra firma, I mentioned something about my standing on the ledge staring at the wall. He said he was going to chat with me at that point, but wasn't sure if it was a good idea just in case I was freaking out! Too funny. And here I thought I looked normal?? I explained my inability to look down when I'm climbing and said next time he was welcome to talk to me - but don't expect me to turn around and look for where he is! Once again, I have reinforced the notion that I am a spazz.

I tried one more climb after that, but didn't make it very far. I have come to realize that I have to have an empty stomach when doing this. Completely the opposite to when I was training for triathlon. Funny how that works. I ate a little too late I think so during the last climb, and the one before, I felt sick to my stomach. It kind of ticked me off because I wanted to climb another route, but such is the way of life. Dave was teasing me about being all about the routes now. Oh no, they are creating a mini monster!

So for the last bit of the evening I had fun watching the dudes do their thing and being belay, then it was off to the pub for some more social time.

I have only been with this group for less than two months...but already I know how much I'm going to miss them when I move. It's a wonderful feeling to be in such a fun, encouraging environment again. Something I have missed for a while now. Hmm, maybe I can convince them all to come out to Squamish this summer for a climbing trip!! Not that I will be climbing out there, I don't think, but I would make one heck of a cheerleader!

Peace out, and climb on, my friends!

Friday, 12 February 2010


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." ~ Charles Swindoll

Last night I ventured out with my climbing teacher/buddy Jim to our Thursday night haunt, The Crux.

Jim and his buds have been climbing here for quite some time - I'm the newbie of the group. Allegedly there are others in the group, but it is usually just Jim, Gunter, Stephan and I. There are a cast of other characters at the gym that I'm beginning to know and say hi to as well. It's a great place to spend a Thrusday night!

Jim and I were the first ones to arrive. I let him climb first because it gives me a chance to relax and get into the climbing mode. In other words, to try and shake off any fear I have about having to climb up the 72 foot wall and possibly plunging to my death!

I noticed last week that I had less fear while I was climbing. My heart rate was fast, but not too fast. My palms were ever so slightly less sweaty - always a good thing when trying to cling for ones life on a fake rock. As well, I wasn't shaking as much. In fact, last week I made it to the top twice! A first for me.

Jim has been fantastic about sharing climbing knowledge with me in little bits so I can digest and apply them. Last week I decided to work on climbing up an actual route, rather than just climbing willy nilly up any old path. My attempt to climb a 5.8 was not successful, but I made it halfway and decided I'd try again this week.

Stephan showed up after us so when it was my time to climb he offered to be my belay. I decided I'd attempt the green 5.8 route that beat me last week. I made it halfway again when my arms just wouldn't work and I couldn't figure out how to go further. I got Stephan to lower me down.

I was then his belay as I watched him climb an amazing 5.12 or 5.13 route. As I belay I try and watch what the guys are doing, not just because I have to in order to make sure I've got the rope tight, but also to try and learn something.

Last week there were a couple of guys that were friggin Spiderman! The way they moved was so graceful, it was hard to look away. They were climbing the 5.13's as well. Both of them were actually sideways at one point, then they'd do a little shift of the shoulders and up they went to the next hold. It was wild.

I continued to attack the green route with my next climb, but again was not sucessful. Double urgh. I decided for my next climb to try another part of the wall which is in the corner. I like being here because I use the corner to help me up. Plus I feel less exposed. The green route had been on the edge of the wall so when I would let go to rest I would swing out into an open area. This got my heart a thump thump thumping again!

Finally. I made it to the top. Granted, I didn't follow a path.

Next stop, a blue route that I think was also a 5.8 or perhaps a 5.9 level. I'd been up this bit of wall several times, but I normally can't follow the blue route the whole way. Again, Stephan was my belay.

At this point my forearms were pumped and my hands were cranky. In other words, I was getting pooped. I haven't yet built a fitness for this!

I started my climb. Stephen helped point out a couple of holds that I could take so I could stay on the blue route. Part way I up I could feel I was getting tired. I kept climbing. I was starting to struggle to keep a grip on the holds, my hands were sweaty from the work. It felt like there was dough in my chalk bag even!

I was happy that I was taking some chances this time. There were a few spots where I wasn't tall enough or agile enough to reach my foot to the next hold. At one point I gingerly placed my foot on a hold that wasn't on the blue route. That's when I heard 'Ah ah!' from below. Crap. No cheating on this one. So I reached up and got a good hold with both hands, pulled myself up while running up the wall until I hit the next blue hold. This put a very big smile on my face. I was making some improvements!

I got part way up and took a break on a ledge there. It was a struggle just to get to the ledge, then when I was on there I realized I was more afraid being on it then hanging on the holds! I also realized I wasn't sure how I'd get back to the rocks. For anyone that is not afraid of heights this may seem odd. Even though I knew I couldn't 'fall' I was scared to reach over, step off the ledge and start climbing again.

I made it just a wee bit further when I asked Stephan to lower me down. I was beat. My arms were killing me, I was sweating like a beast so couldn't get a grip and I was just pooped. His response? 'No.'

So there I am, hanging around 30 feet in the air and thinking 'Seriously???' 'No????' Crap!

Had I been on the solid ground, I could have pulled a little girl hissy fit. As it were I was dangling on a wee rope refusing to look down because it freaks me out. Stephan must have known this.

His next words were, 'Come on, you can do it. Keep going.'

I had no choice. The man was not going to lower me, so there was only one way to go. Up.

I could have taken the easy way out and just climbed. I knew that I couldn't do that though. I'd already gotten heck for trying to step off the route before. He wasn't letting me down because he knew I really wanted to climb a route and stay on the route. Somehow I was going to do this. Of course I'd be mumbling curses the entire rest of the way while doing it. That was a given.

It was brutal. I'd get past a couple of holds and then get stuck. Either I couldn't figure out which way to go, or I couldn't see the hold, or my hands would slip off. My arms were killing me and I had no idea how I was going to pull this off.

I just kept going inch by inch, hold by hold. My heart was racing like I was running a 10k even though I was moving at a snail's pace. I could feel the sweat dripping off my face. Not to mention I could have really used a sip of water at that point. I think I'd breathed in too much chalk and was quite pasty mouthed. Ick.

At long last, I was only one hold away from the top. I tried to get stable footing, but couldn't. I could hold onto the second to last hold, but it was big and offered no where to grasp so I could pull myself up to the last one. I stretched and gave it a go. I slipped. I swung. I swore. I think I let out a bit of a squeak too, as I'm apt to do rather than a full out scream when I fall.

I took a deep breath. Got my footing back. Chalked my hands. Tried again.

Again I slipped off and swung back and forth. Mumble, mumble, mumble.

Stephan called from below 'You can do it! You just need to get it and hold on.' Which meant that the fact that I TOUCHED the last hold didn't count. I had to actually be hanging on to it and stable before he'd lower me. Mumble, mumble, mumble.

One more time. REACH!

I got it. I got the friggin hold! I pulled up and was stable. I let out a 'whoop!'. It was such an amazing feeling!! I couldn't believe that I had climbed a route!!! When I got back to terra firma I high fived Stephan and thanked him for not lowering me. I didn't tell him I had taken his name in vain a few times while dangling from above.

I am still on a bit of a high from that wee triumph. What a great way to spend a Thursday night! I'm sure I'll give that route another go next week and perhaps it won't take me as long?? Or maybe I won't slip as much?? Either way it will be a hoot!

Peace out my fabulous friends!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Too Hot For the HOT TUB!!!

Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing. ~ Redd Foxx

Last night my buddy Gareny and I decided to check out the 'new' yoga studio and it's hot hatha yoga class.

I'd been to hot yoga only once before. It was a place located in the city and it had carpeted floors. I made sure that no part of my flesh ever touched the carpet and held my breath whenever my face came near the floor. Gack.

I'm happy to report this studio was very clean and did not have a carpeted floor. (Seriously, who does that?!)

The hatha yoga is a class where you hold a series of poses, rather than do a flow like movement of them. I think I like the flow style better, but the poses in this class were definitely a good challenge.

Of course the first thing you notice when you enter the room is the heat and humidity. For some reason I think she said the room was heated to logical brain now thinks that is an incorrect number and 150C was just how it felt in there! It took me a bit to not feel like I was suffocating.

Garn and I were in the front of the class literally looking right at the wall. There were three rows of people with only about 6 inches between our mats. Think can of sardines. Nothing like a lot of people breathing and sweating to make a classroom all cozy!

As we were discovered to be new to the class we were sent to the middle row. Not a biggie, but this meant Garn and I could be not beside each other and really, when you are taking a new class you want your friend right there with you so you can roll your eyes, make squeaky 'I'm dying' noises and whatnot. So that part did suck.

The positions we were holding were pretty challenging. Most of them I think I've done at one time or another, some I hadn't. Within about five minutes of the class sweat was dripping into my eyes, nose, mouth and on the mat. Nothing like holding some sort of inverted pose and feeling sweat slowly trickle into your nose. Ick. I bet the inventors of water torture took a hot yoga class first and thought 'AHA! I know a new torture technique we can use!'

The hardest part of the hot yoga, other than the smuthering heat, is trying to keep a grip on yourself. How the heck is one supposed to stand on one foot, bend the other knee and grab the foot or ankle then extend that leg straight out in front of you with sweaty hands and sweaty ankles?? I NEED the friction of skin gripping skin in order to do moves like that! Wait, maybe that's cheating? Still - I NEED the help!

After all the standing poses we got into the mat or seated/lying down stuff. This is where our instructor became the shivasna tease. After all the standing poses she said to lie in shivasna. My mind thought 'Ah yes, I did it. I survived hot yoga...' Unfortunately, within 30 seconds of shivasna we were to do a sit up, roll over and 'strike a pose'. Dang. More to go.

In between all of the mat poses we held shivasna. And every time she called that my mind was tricked into thinking we were done, only to find out I had another contortion to do. I was ready to yell out 'TEASE!' to her, but figured perhaps that wouldn't be the best thing in a mindful yoga class.

The worst pose, although not the hardest, was the camel. This is where you are on your bent knees but sitting straight up. Then you lean your body backwards. Apparantly this opens up the heart shakra and if you have any issues going on you will feel dizzy, or nauseaus, or like crying..

Within a second of holding this of pose I thought I was going to hurl. Wave after wave of nausea hit me. My only thought, CHILD POSE AND DO NOT CHUNDER! There is just not enough space in the class for chucking cookies!

I tried the pose again as instructed, but again, huge vomitus feelings arose, so I just stuck with child pose and repeating the mantra, 'do not puke, do not puke' oh and 'never drink chai before the class, never drink chai before the class'.

After 1.5 hours of heat, stretching, sweating, contorting and nausea we were done. I was soaked, my hair looked like a rats nest (mental note, next time put it in braids and clip braids together - pigtails are not sufficient), and I was still feeling queasy.

I sat outside the class and waited for Garn. I think my face said it all - or perhaps it was the colour of it?! Garn laughed at the sight of me. The class kicked my butt. Was I to be defeated? Heck no! I've done Ironman dang it! In the famous words of Ahnold 'I'll be back!'. Only next time I'll skip the pre-class chai tea....

A footnote to my hot yoga saga...I must have a TON of toxins in my bod because I was feeling queasy most of the night and into the morning till I ate. I also could really 'feel' the workout I got, which is a good thing. I'm hoping this will help heal the ol' glute/back issue as well.

Until next time I shall consume vast quantities of water in preparation for the challenge that is hot yoga.

Namaste my beautiful friends!

Monday, 8 February 2010

Yoga In The Pass???

"Friendship isn't a big thing. It's a million little things." ~ Unknown

This weekend I made the trip down to the Pass. Crowsnest Pass that is. It's a wee little area made up of wee little towns. One of which my friend Julie, whom I adore, lives in.

I love heading down there. Julie and I have this unspoken comfortableness between us. Considering we've only gotten to see each other a handful of times since we met, you'd think we'd known each other forever!

This visit was no different. Well, except for one thing - she is training for her two Ironman's this year, and for once, I am not training for anything. Oh the bliss that is non training...but I digress.

I had sent a note beforehand asking what her schedule was so that I could perhaps plan around it. Then I had a thought - does the Pass have a yoga studio?

This may not seem like a strange question, but you have to understand where Julie lives. Her little town has a smattering of houses, a rock slide, and a gas station. Oh, and a liquor store. Of course there is a liquore store. In Alberta, even in a town with a population of 5 there will be a liquor store!

However, the next town over, which is only a kilometer or so and only slightly bigger than Julies town, does have a yoga studio. A fact that Julie was unaware of until I questioned. So on Saturday, while Julie was busy biking, running, then biking again, I decided to take in a yoga class in the Pass.

I liked the vibe as soon as I got there. Yup, us peace, love and granola folk can be found no matter where you are - just look for the nearest health food store or yoga studio! The teacher was very welcoming. At least I knew I wasn't crashing a class!

This class was different then when I've been to before, rather than being a flow class it was one where we held several different poses. My low back/arse is STILL causing me grief so I was all for holding some poses in the hopes that it might help things back there.

Most of them I did fairly well in. There was one that was quite cool. Basically, you are on your hands (think handstand) a certain distance from the wall, but you are bent at the waist so your feet are resting on the wall. To look at the profiel of someone in this pose they would be a right angle! It was a tough one to do, but very fun. I was thankful too that my hands didn't slip so I didn't crush my noggin.

The class was an hour and a half long and I felt wonderfully zen at the end of it. When I got home Julie still had quite a bit of a workout to go so I made myself comfortable on the couch with my book. Ahhhh. Bliss. While she sweated millions of calories, I lounged in my zen state on the couch, reading and napping intermittently. It was great!

The next day I joined Julie for a swim at the pool several wee towns over. Julie had mentioned a temperature issue at this pool. Not only with the water but also with the air in the building. I was shocked when I slipped in the was like being in a bath or hot spring. Gack.

Julie was already into her laps so I had no chance to look at her and say 'what the heck??' I started on my laps. Within the first 100 m I felt claustrophobic from the heat of the water. It was weird. I stopped and stood up just to cool down a bit. Then I started up again.

As soon as I tried to take the pace up a notch it felt like my insides were going to boil, so I slowed down. At one point I met Julie at the end of the pool. That's when I said 'what the heck??' Apparantly the pool water that day was 29.5C! Our pool is a cool 21C. I couldn't believe it. Julie said it was like that a lot. I swear, this is what makes her such a touch competitor in Ironman!!! Swimming in bath water, and running/biking in gall force winds! Yikes.

I only stayed in for 45 minutes - that was enough for me. I was afraid to stay in longer for fear of my skin being boiled and falling off!

It was an amazing weekend in the Pass. Friday evening I got to meet Julie's buds - Cath and Jase in Fernie, who are brilliant and have an incredible B&B, which I'm going to shamelessly plug:, and of course there was seeing the 'kids' agian, Peanut (my furry namesake), Mandalay and Toby - Julies furry companions. Not the least of which was getting to hang with Julie for a while in between her workouts.

Because I will be moving from this fair province in a couple of months , I knew as I was saying goodbye to Julie that I may not see her for a long time. At least not till her race at the end of August in Penticton. Needless to say it took everything in me not to burst into tears as I walked out the door. I will admit though that there were a few tears as I drove away, and as I was driving home.

Oh the joy of making changes in ones life....but that's a story for another time!

Peace out my lovely friends!

Monday, 1 February 2010


'Before you try to keep up with the Joneses, be sure they're not trying to keep up with you.' ~ Erma Bombeck

Okay, so the other night I agreed to attend a yoga class with my friend, and merman, Garney. My back and right glute have not been pleased with me of late, so I figured a yoga class would be just the trick to try and coax my muscles out of being in a constant butt clench so I may actually be able to bend forward without letting out a cry of pain.

The class was being held here in town, a bonus, and by a friend and massage therapist, Pat. I'd heard Pat's classes were a bit challenging, but I was up for the challenge. And if not, I could always just blend into the background...

We arrived early to make sure we got parking. As we walked in Garney says to Pat 'I found this blond gal so brought her in.' I thought Pat would of course welcome the sight of me because he knows me - alas he had a rather unsure look on his face.

So he says, 'This class is full, so you may not be able to stay.' Oooooh. Well now, don't I feel like a knob. Of course I shoot a look at Garney. 'Duuuude!' So I don't lay my mat out, but rather go to the back of the class (my favourite place) and sit with Garney and another lady to see if it fills up. They both reassure me that last week it wasn't full and this week will likely be the same.

I watch as the spots dwindle...except for one. Then Pat starts talking, so I grab my mat and snatch up the last remaining spot and give thanks for not having to put head down and quietly slink out of the class embarassed.

I gave thanks too soon. The last and final particpant of the class hurried in. Which meant I had to get up and out of her spot. Again, I shot Garney a look. Or rather 'the look'. Which really meant, 'Okay, now you are in trouble buster and by the way I was the one who drove here so have fun getting home.'

Pat then says, 'Susi, why don't you come up here' and points to where I can put my mat. My thoughts, 'Oh holy hannah please no. Please do not put me in the MIDDLE of the class. I'm the BACK OF THE CLASS girl! I'm the 'make sure my butt has nothing and no one behind it but a wall' girl. I'm the 'do not want to be the centre-of-attention' girl!

So there I was, adjusting my mat in the middle of the class trying to think of how I could escape this fate. I faced east-west. On my left (north) side I had eight people facing me directly. On my right (south) side I had another eight people facing me directly. At this point I just wanted to be sucked into a vortex in the floor until the class was over.

That's when I is about letting go of ego. Deep breath. Gulp. Letting go of ego now....except for the fact that I'm going to make darned sure my downward dog is the best! Heh.

We started in on the sun salutations. It didn't take long for me to forget there was anyone else in the room because the salutations were so fast my heart was beating faster and I was breathing quicker than my normal yoga breathes. Wow, this was athletic!

We went through a few iterations of that, then added on. I was actually quite pleased with my ability. I haven't done a lot of yoga lately. My back wasn't too bad at first, but towards the end it was complaining that I wasn't letting go of my ego enough and perhaps pushing myself a little too much.

I defintely let go of ego when we got into the binding poses. I just have too much flesh and muscle to wrap my arms around my legs and to the back! I did try. At least for the first few poses. Then I gave into my back aching and just did modified poses.

The class lasted about 1.5 hours. At the end of it I gathered my gear, shot Garney another look for good measure, then went to pay Pat for the torture. I mean class. It was then he said to me 'Uhm, Susi, there is a waiting list for this class. If you'd like to sign up for the next one that may work out.'

A waiting list?! Holy pete I just crashed a friggin yoga class! Ha! Boy did I feel like a nerd. Of course, I feel that way on a regular basis so really it wasn't any skin off my nose. Granted as soon as Pat said that to me I immediately blamed Garney. What are friends for, right?

So there will be no more Tuesday night classes. Likely just as well as I think those classes are a little more than what I'm looking for. I did check out the schedule for the other yoga studio we have in town (go figure - a cowboy town of 14,000 people has TWO yoga studios!) and they have a bunch of classes that I can check out. Including a hot yoga one. So that's what I'll do.

Hopefully this will heal my back/butt issues. Speaking of which, I better go stretch that area out a bit. Aummmm....

Peace out my lovely friends!