Monday, December 29, 2008

Any dream analysts out there?

I'm starting to get over my cold but I'm still feeling slow and sluggish.

It sucks to be sick but I have to say, the fever dreams are pretty darned interesting. Particulary the one involving the formula one race that was being held in my junior high gym that was delayed because there was a kick boxing exhibition, which was seriously annoying considering how hard we had to outrun the terrorists/hallmonitors who were chasing us to get there on time.

Any idea what it means??

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Random Christmas Reflections

Over Christmas I went crazy carpeting, shoveled snow and watched hockey on Boxing Day - I am still officially Canadian.

Children are wonderful but they are carriers of disease and you should be innoculated before going anywhere near them.

I am highly skilled with the fiddly bits in lego kits - come to me when you want the 5mm by 12mm sticker put on straight, the 1.5mm thick string threaded through the 1mm wide hole, or two miniscule pieces taken apart (unless I'm drinking port after a lot wine which was preceeded by beer, then things may not go so well).

I have no self control when faced with a myriad of dessert options (January training is going to be painful!).

You know they liked your gift when ...

  • They say "Oh wow!" when they open it.
  • They point out to others how cool the gift is.
  • They lift it over their head like a heavyweight champ with a world title belt then run around the living room.
  • They ignore the rest of their loot.
  • They shred the box in their hurry to get at the cool stuff inside.

I think I was a successful "cool Aunt" this Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Run in the Snow

I decided this morning that I had to at least try to go for a run, either that or go absolutely stir crazy!

I layered up - wool socks, Sugoi sub-zero tights with wind breaker pans over top, Sugoi wool shirt under my club cycling jersey, $0.99 stretchy gloves, a Buff to keep face warm from the nose down and, finally, a toque to top it all off. Sadly my toque doesn't have a big pompom, or any pompom at all, so I missed the chance to look like I was trying to be ridiculous (sort of the winter equivalent of the ironic trucker hat).

I was warm enough when I got outside and when I was running with the wind I didn't need the buff over my face.

Running was interesting. Here in the 'Wack they don't get the build up of snow that the rest of the Lower Mainland does because it's so windy the snow doesn't get much of a chance to settle. It does settle in places so the roads alternate from totally bare to somewhat covered to blocked by snow banks. It's a bit annoying to run in as I couldn't get a consistent pace.

The wind was nuts too, it took a lot of effort to move forward when running directly into the wind.

Finally, most of the roads were pretty snowy and dangerous - I didn't want to go on main roads because of the traffic but sideroad were almost impassable.

Despite all the above, it was a fun run. I didn't go very far but it was great to get out of the house and I feel a bit more sane having gotten in a decent workout.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I had grand plans for running over the Christmas break and while I was visiting in Chilliwack and Penticton. Brought lots of outdoor running gear and everything.

Now we've got stormaggedon coming tomorrow, the wind chill in the 'Wack is currently something like -30 and I haven't experienced anything below -4 in a decade. I'm a Wimp with a capital "W," I'm freezing cold inside the house while my parents are practically in shirtsleeves. You'd never know I was born in Vanderhoof.

Anyone know any good workouts involving one flight of stairs??

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Trevor Linden had his number retired tonight. For the past week, and in the hour long retirement ceremony, they talked about the effect he had on the city . I want to add my own story.

My coworker is not a sports fan, doesn't really care about hockey, doesn't follow it. She is a very hard worker with a huge pile stuff of stuff to do at the moment and she's been staying late every night for several weeks. I was telling her to go home early today if the snow got really bad and she initially she said no, she had too much work then she suddenly said it's Linden's retirement tonight so she had to leave work on time. At first I thought she was worried about traffic. No, she needed to be home by 6 so she could watch his retirement ceremony.

Yes, Trevor Linden is such a class act that people who don't care about the sport or the Canucks love him. If only more professional sports people were like him.

Instead of the Gold Coast, how about Calgary??

My coach responded to my post "Reflections on 2008" and suggested if I want to focus on the half IM distance that I race the inaugural Calgary 70.3 triathlon in August and try to qualify for the 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater.

My first thought was that I don't really want to go to Clearwater, swiftly followed by the realization that I'm unlikely to qualify. (Don't give me grief for low self-esteem, I'm improving but being in the top 5 of my age group in a big race isn't likely to happen any time soon!)

Then I started thinking that I haven't visited my cousins and Aunt and Uncle in a very, very long time. And I have a number of friends I'd really like to see. And it would be cool to take some time to hike in and around Canmore and Banff. And ...

Where there were only a few aspects (one of whom is moving to Germany) of going to ITU Worlds on the Gold Coast that interested me, I suddenly kept coming up with reasons why I wanted to go to Calgary. Heck, I could even see if one or both of the parental units wanted to make use of the WJ travel agent companion fares and come along.

Now that I have a goal I'm excited about I'm keen to start planning, and training, for 2009. Definitely feels good to have a plan!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Blues

I normally get a bit cranky come December. I've always chalked it up to too much spending, this being a particularly rotten time to be single (stupid romantic comedies and all the couples I know being totally busy with couple stuff*), and that I'm mulishly stubborn so if you keep telling me I have to be jolly then, darn it, I'm going to be cranky!

But now that I hardly ever drink more than one beer or one glass of wine in one sitting**, or one week to be honest, I really notice the negative effects that too much drink has on me for a day or two after. As I'm a total lightweight "too much" is, sadly, anything equivalent to 2+ beers. Also, I have a pretty healthy diet so when I'm eating poorly I can definitely see that it makes me sluggish and generally down.

So, to sum up, January to November I have a decent diet and a very low alcohol consumption then bring in December and suddenly it's lots of red wine, whatever those drinks the Gisels were serving, sweets, high fat everything and cheese, cheese and more cheese. And I wonder why I get moody?

To avoid the Christmas blahs, therefore, I need to eschew all the Christmas goodies and excess. Or, in true endurance athlete fashion, spend more of the year building up a tolerance. Surviving December is all about pacing, having a solid nutrition and hydration plan and having a strong base of training. Really, I'm going into Christmas like someone trying to do an Ironman straight off the couch, I need to put some work in to make sure this race, I mean season, doesn't destroy me.

Obviously I need a better plan for Xmas 2009. (Not sure what the brick workouts are going to be but I'm sure they'll be ugly!)

*This is not a dig at my couple friends. They have twice the obligations I do - two work functions, two (sometimes more) families to deal with, two groups of friends to try to keep up with - I understand. In fact I bet they occasionally look at my schedule thinking that the grass is way greener (not sure how they can tell under the snow) on my free and easy single side of the fence. Hmm, am I explaining my point or just digging this hole deeper? How about I drop the shovel and walk away. Hey look everyone - shiny things!!

** Team Pink functions are exceptions.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Reflections on '08

I found this on Slowtwitch and decided it was worth doing. I'd love to see your answers too!

What one word describes your 2008 season? Does it match what you said last December in anticipation of this year?

That's not really the word I'm looking for but there were a lot of frustrations and more low points than in years previous. My perspective may be coloured by the fact that I'm recovering from an excessive weekend (excessive food and drink that is) and a slow swim time trial this morning and am not feeling particularly cheery but I have trouble thinking of major high points to my season.

What I was anticipating in 2007 was a fastest year ever, which I did, but I wanted that especially on the run, which didn't work out so well. I had very few races where I came away with the high I did in my first three years, but then I didn't do any new distances or different types of racing.

What one word comes to mind when you think about your 2009 season?

I've decided against ITU Worlds so now have to come up with a new goal. I'm thinking about maybe the Osoyoos half iron as it sounds like fun and it's one I've wanted to do for several years. And I could even qualify for IMC (the roll down apparently goes way, way down!).

I need to find a goal that excites me to give me the impetus to train. Right now I'm feeling rudderless and that isn't really helping with getting me out the door in the cold and wet.

Did you race any new distance this year or try any new type of racing or sport?
No. Might be an idea for '09 to keep things interesting and shake things up a bit.

What was your greatest thrill or joy this year from training or racing?
Hard to say. I was very happy, after I had some time to decompress from the race, with setting a new PR at Kelowna but I didn't feel quite the same level of accomplishment as I had in past years.

What was your biggest disappointment this year from training or racing?
My run at Kelowna. Actually, my running in general but Kelowna in particular. I made lots of speed gains in training but that didn't seem to translate to race performance. That said, Kelowna had tough conditions and I beat myself up unnecessarily (discussed here in detail in August/September).

What was your favorite race in 2008?
Wildflower. I think it was the epic road trip and the fun of the training camp, not so much the race itself. One big upside of not going to Australia next year is that Wildflower becomes totally doable and financially reasonable.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's all about the layers

It's been cold, cold, cold on the Lower Mainland the past few days. The evening news on Thursday was all abuzz about the blizzard* that was going to hit on Friday but luckily most of the region was spared.

I wanted to get myself out for a Saturday ride and decided that waiting until the afternoon would mean there'd be less chance of frost. Oh yeah, and I'd get to watch the NBC Ironman Hawaii coverage.

I intrepedly left at 1pm and was out for ten minutes before I realized I had the wrong gloves on. Now I'm all for toughing it out through the cold and all that but I really do like to be able to work my brakes when I'm cycling. I got as far as MacDonald Street before I decided to pull the plug and go home, making my ride a grand total of 25 minutes.

Once I got back, rather than change gloves and keep going I put my bike on the trainer and for just over an hour I spun watching men's Super G skiing on CBC. Sports are great to spin to - lots of action to keep you interested and you generally don't need to hear the TV to figure out what's going on.

The predicted snow finally showed up last night, meaning that this morning people bailed left, right and centre for our run. I was actually all kitted up and about to head out the door before I thought to check with the rest of the folk to see if they were coming. Happily Dave and Irene were still in so not only did I have people to run with but I got a very, very yummy brunch afterwards. The brunch was great, in fact I think I need a "I ate too much food" nap before I can get anything else done today.

The run in the Endowment Lands was lovely - very few people were out, everything was very pretty and the snow hadn't become packed down and icy so it was easy to run on/through. I had just the right amount of layers and was actually a little too warm at the end.

A good weekend so far and there's still one Christmas party to go, guess I better get that nap going.

*"Blizzard" in Vancouver terms means more than 2cm of snow falling in a 12 hour period.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No Tickets

I put a bid into the lottery for Olympic tickets (on the absolute last possible day, of course!) with my fingers crossed, sincerely hoping I'd get tickets and be able to watch all sorts of lovely sports live.

I mean, c'mon, it's the OLYMPICS! I love the olympics. Can you imagine living in the city where they're going on and not going to see it live?? I was so excited for a chance to watch.

Then reality started to sink in. The package I'd signed up for would cost me $900+ and my back up package was $800+. I wasn't quite so excited about having to pay that as I was about watching. Especially as I've been Christmas shopping and the annual December draining of my bank accounts is well underway. As I came to the realization that a grand is a lot of money I started to think that, really, TV coverage would be more than enough for me - no lines, lots of information on what's going on, cheaper food, I could even watch in my PJ's. Way more convenient!

I surreptitiously uncrossed my fingers and started to nervously check my credit card balance.

I'm sad/glad to report that I didn't get tickets. Sad that I won't be involved in the games (I didn't sign up to volunteer either as the time commitment was a bit too much) but glad I'm not starting the new year with an extra $900.00 in debt.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Saddle Stories

I've finally got back on my bike, I haven't ridden since the Mt. Baker ride in early September. That ride was epic but highlighted some issues I was having with my bike ("highlighted" as in hobbled me).

I avoided riding as I was afraid I'd be hurt again, then I had the vein taken out of my leg (the leg is fine now, btw), and then I got sick, mostly however I was just really lazy and pretty wimpy. As wasn't riding much I decided I'd learn to make some changes to my bike and I slowly acquired the tools to do so:

I took my time acquiring the tools and parts but never seemed to do anything with them until last weekend when I finally took the leap and changed my chain. It wasn't very difficult at all, I took a long time doing it but only because I wanted to be sure I was doing it right. I've since ridden on the trainer and outside for a combined time of 4+ hours and the chain hasn't fallen off and the bike hasn't blown up so I don't think I screwed anything up too badly.

I have a feeling changing my bar tape will be a bit more of a pain in the butt!

Tha big change I've made, however, is that I've changed my saddle. I bought a new seat in the summer as my saddle had a saddle (i.e. - where it's supposed to be flat and horizontal there was a big dip in the middle where it sagged). I never felt 100% comfy on the new saddle but thought I was having trouble breaking it in, I now realize it just never fit. That plus poorly installed (by me) cleats on my new bike shoes definitely didn't help things.

I went to West Point and they properly fit my cleats then Tim and Andrea spet 1.5 hours trying to find me a saddle. After trying pretty much every one in the store I finally decided I like the Trans Am (no, it doesn't have gold detailing a la the 80's sports cars) and have been test riding the saddle for a week. The version I tried is really heavy so I'm ordering in the lighter version, this is helped by the fact that my sponsors, aka Mum & Dad, are helping out with the new saddle. As per usual with my sports purchases, I'm not telling them how much it is, just asking for what they think is a reasonable contribution.

So just in time for the really, really nasty weather I have my bike back. Actually, I didn't mind the weather so much today, it was all the Christmas shoppers who seemed to think that running me over would make it easier to find a parking spot that got to me. When are the holidays over?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Crawl

This weekend Mum came out for the Eastside Culture Crawl, a three day event in which artists (about 300 of them) open their studios.

On Friday we had dinner at Tropika with Team Pink and Cassandra. On Saturday it was a lazy start to the day with eggs benny then off to the crawl. There were tons of fantastic artists, a few not so great ones and a few that were probably good but I think I missed something. I planned to go somewhere cool for dinner but we were both a little burnt out after all that art so instead we ordered pizza from my favorite pizza place in the city and watched a movie.

This morning we tried for a slightly healthier start (oatmeal) then met up with my friend/almost sister/Mum's 3rd daughter for coffee.

Aside from some slightly unhealthy eating, it was a fantastic weekend. (I made up [or tried to] for the unhealthy diet by going for a run this afternoon followed by some yoga.)

I had a Google video chat with sister and nephews this evening so it's been a great family weekend!

I'll leave you with a picture my Mum took (both photos in this post are her's). I think the Canadian Tire on Cambie needs to replace some lightbulbs.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Little Less Vein

I had my ugly, ugly varicose vein removed today.

The surgery was reasonably quick and painless but unpleasant in the way that surgical procedures are. I was about as unhappy getting my fillings redone last week, so it was sort on par with that (although I really dislike dental procedures). At least this time I was less likely to bite the person doing work!

Now I'm at home and supposed to sit quietly with my leg up. Usually when I'm home on a weekday it's because I'm sick so I sleep all day. Aside from an achy and awkward leg (it's wrapped from ankle to above the knee in a tight tensor) I feel fine, definitely not sleepy, and am seriously bored and more than a little twitchy. Using the computer is doable but difficult as it's a PC, I'm currently at my desk with my leg up on the arm of the couch - not a terribly elegant or comfortable position. I'm sure I can deal with one day of this!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
— Lt.-Col. John McCrae

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

IM Day

It was 200m IM day in masters swim this morning and I did a grand total of 250m of butterfly - I think that's double the total amount of fly I've ever done in one swim session (including butterfly days). We did break up the IM - 25m of fly, rest then the other 25m of fly and 50m of everything else in order, Paul probably figured this was the best way to prevent drownings!

This is cool because fly has been my nemesis since I started masters. I could do the stroke and I could do the kick but could never put the two together in any sort of useful way. On the last fly day we had something finally clicked and I got the rhythm (kick-to-breathe, kick-hands-in, kick-to-breathe, kick-hands-in ...)

Now that I've sort of figured out fly it's actually sort of fun. My technique is still terrible, I most likely look like an epileptic beluga, but it's far better than the almost-but-not-quite-drowning-while-somehow-moving-forward that was my previous method.

It was also fun to do (broken) 200m pieces for our main set. Normally we do 100's or, very rarely, 150's for the main set so a longer set was fun, especially for those of us who're more about distance than speed.

Monday, November 03, 2008


I haven't been to a yoga class in ages. For years I took yoga once a week, finding a good instructor was up there with having a good dentist, maybe more so as you only see your dentist twice a year (if you're lucky). It was something that had a significant effect on my life, helping me find peace and calm and get myself to a positive place. Somehow, though, I fell out of the habit - it's been years since I've been to a class. I keep meaning to go but never really got around to it.

A few months ago I came across a link to a website that had free one hour yoga classes, I've been meaning to check it out but, again, never really got around to it. Until yesterday. I finally tried out a class and it was fantastic. Fantastic enough that I did another today after getting home from work and am considering getting up early to do one in the morning.

The website should come with a warning that it's addictive.

If you're interested, the site is

The sessions are free, there's an ad at the begining but 60 seconds of advertising is worth sitting through for 60 minutes of yoga.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


A big reason I haven't posted much about my training is that there really hasn't been much training to post about. Some swimming, the occaisional run, a couple games of ultimate and no riding whatsoever.

I've been debating whether I've been relaxing and recharging or simply lazy this month. As I currently feel pretty mellow I'll go with the former.

My other debate at the moment is whether or not to do the Fall Classic. I haven't missed one since I got into running in 2004 but I'm not sure if I want to race when I'm out of shape and untrained. It's not that I feel I need to PR every race (okay, I do but I'm trying to get over that), more that there doesn't seem to be much point in signing up for a run when I can't give it a good shot. That said, I want the tights!

I'll hit the run workout this week and see how I feel before I make a final decision.

So what have I done?

- Cleaned my apartment (if you don't know me [why would you read this blog if you didn't?] you may not realize what a huge accomplishment this is)
- Read 'Anna Karenina' - a much better book than W&P but I'm ticked that Penguin gave away the climax of the story on the back cover
- After AK I motored through three books in five days, including the new Ursula LeGuin novel 'Lavinia' (I need another book, I'll take recommendations)
- Became hooked on So You Think You Can Dance Canada
- Visited the 'Wack a couple times
- Saw movies in the theatre (Paschendaele [I wanted to like it] and Hamlet 2)
- Cooked a scrumtastic gourmet meal
- Drank lots of wine, ate lots of cheese
- Spent lots of time with friends, both tri and non

Amazing what you can get up to when you aren't training 16 hours a week!

Monday, October 20, 2008


It wasn't my best race of the year, it certainly wasn't my fastest, but it was definitely my silliest.

The race was the first ever running of the Brewskidaddle 5km, an Octoberfest run/touch of silliness. I signed up for the race after Team Pink fed me copious amounts of wine then handed me a laptop - internet connections should come with breathalyzers!

The key draws of the race were that instead of a T-shirt you got a beer mug and the post-race festivities included an October fest feast (somehow this ended up being being referred to as the "shirtless sausage party"). Then we discovered there would be prizes for costumes. Finally, something I could win at a race!

My costume prep was significantly more involved than my race prep, although in my defence I've had a pulled hamstring keeping me back and a cold last week slowed me down.

Once I get pictures from Team Pink I'll post them here, lets just say that many a tourist has photos of the three of us in with their shots of the totem poles. ("Are we running through their shot??" "We ARE the shot!")

How was the race? Slow from the start, I never really felt like I got going and my final time was 25:++. This was more than two minutes slower than my time from the Breast Cancer 5km two weeks prior, which was close to a PR. Rather than be ticked at being slow, I enjoyed crossing the finish line with Team Pink and was more concerned that my stockings were pulled up for the finish line photo than having a PR.

The post race meal took a bit of time to get going but that gave us time for a massage (free!), a beer and catching up with Rachel, who joined us proudly wearing her tiara from winning the Diva 10km that morning.

After things had wrapped up I asked the somewhat harried looking race director if there were supposed to be costume awards. He apologized for forgetting, gave me a water bottle then saw Amy and Brian waiting for me at the door and gave me prizes for them too.

Oh yeah, if I'd run the same time I'd done at the Breast Cancer run I would have been the second place woman.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Breast Cancer 5km

I headed out to the Valley this weekend for a quick family visit and to run the Breast Cancer 5km in Abbotsford with Mum and her team - Sue's Crew.

The visit was short but fun, we mostly had a lazy Saturday. We hit the honey store and I borrowed my Dad's bike, riding a mountain bike for the first time in about 4 years as we dropped off race packs to various team members who were joining us on Sunday.

We got to the run early this year so Mum could be in the survivors parade. I managed to miss seeing the parade as I was warming up, poor planning on my part.

I was the sole runner of the group, the rest of the team; Mum's friends from the complex, golf, Probis, and Prince George; were walkers.

I forgot to check my previous 5km times before the race so had no idea what I was aiming for. As there are no km markers I don't think knowing the time I was aiming for would help me in the slightest! Turns out my best 5km is 23:11 set at a track workout in the spring.

The run felt shorter this year, probably because the weather wasn't absolutely miserable. I finished in 23:28, a little off the 5km time from May but running on a track (flat, easy to measure splits) is very different from running on the road.

There was a WTF moment near the end when we were passing the 1km walkers. A woman doing the walk was smoking. Smoking while participating in a charity run for CANCER! I looked back after passing her and the guy running behind me was shaking his head, obviously as shocked as I was.

My post-race cool down was to back track to find my Mum then walk the remaining course with her. Apres run was at ABC Family Restaurant for the buffet (brunch, Fraser Valley style). The team tried to get me the seniors' discount but apparently I didn't look the part.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Despite the fact that I have a PoliSci degree, I can't stand elections. I keep getting the urge to roar "MENDACITY!" like Burle Ives in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, but know I just can't deliver the line like he did.

What makes elections bearable is the satire that they generate. It's been frustrating waiting for the Rick Mercer Report's season to begin, let me tell you!

Youtube is also a saviour. If you're bilingual, Michel Rivard's "Culture in Danger" is likely hysterical, I've only got a smidgen of high school french remaining and this had me howling.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mount Baker Ride

On Saturday morning I was one of four intrepid cyclists that set out from the Tim Hortons (where better to start an odessy into the US) to do the fabled Mt. Baker ride.
Why is the ride fabled? First off, it's a BIG mountain, resembling Mount Fuji in it's symetry and bigness, that on a clear day can be seen from most parts of the Lower Mainland. Secondly, it's a long ride, not quite epic (I've been reading too many of this guy's posts to think of anything under 300km as epic) but the entire expedition is a good day's work. Thirdly, because of the unbelievable SNAFU-fest that three of our club members experienced last year when, after getting separated, they took most of the day to find each other. The story is best heard over a glass of wine from someone who was there but, to give you the highlights, there was a miscommunicated meet up plan, a lack of cell phones and enough border crossings that the border agents on both sides were on a first name basis with at least one of the riders.

We left Timmie's at 8am with cell phones fully charged, meet up points well set out and lots of energy for the ride.

The border crossing was uneventful and the ride from Sumas to Glacier, about 40km, was mostly flat or false flat through scenic farms that gradually gave way to forest. I was glad that Joanne insisted I bring a jacket as with the jacket, arm warmers and gloves, I was still a bit chilly. When we reached Glacier to regroup the weather had warmed up and I tried to find room in my bike jersey pockets for my warm gear. This was an incentive to eat so I'd have less stuff trying to fall out of the pockets.

After Glacier the road started to undulate, with some longer hills, but nothing too difficult. We entered the park proper and rode alongside a river and through a forest with some truly huge trees. It was gorgeous and very quiet as there were few cars on the road.

About 20km after Glacier the real climb began. This wasn't as steep or as hard as either Cypress or Seymour but the fact that we'd already ridden 60km at this point made it a bit challenging. The road is quite narrow with lots of switchbacks and the occassional section with 3" of shoulder then a steep drop off down the mountain with no barrier to protect you from falling off the mountain. Joanne laughed at these spots as she watched me go from being a considerate cyclist giving the cars room to a road hog taking up the entire lane as I tried to put as much distance between myself and the edge as possible.

At this point there was more traffic, including lots of riders on speed bikes (the only descriptive term I know for the bikes is the rather vulgar "crotch rocket"). This disrupted the tranquility of the ride, especially the switchbacks on the road meant that they were directly below you and you could hear them coming for quite some time. Happily they passed us quickly and disappeared.

Joanne and I reached the first designated turn around spot and decided we had to make it to the top. Two or three km past that point I wasn't so sure I wanted to make it to the top. I also wasn't so sure I wanted to ride my bike anymore, or do much of anything other than lie down on something soft for a very long time. Just as I was seriously running out of steam we saw a chalet, which had to be a good sign that the end was near! Sure enough, we soon reached Picture Lake (that's either what it's called or it's a US National Park term for a scenic spot) and the road became a one way loop. After a few more minutes of riding we were at the chair lifts - we were at the top!

I immediately sat down and started to eat. I was on the road by a bunch of rocks, not really an ideal picnic spot, and people driving by seemed to be giving me odd looks. (I'm the tired yellow person in the above shot.) It may not look comfy, but at the time that asphalt felt as great as my couch!

While I was recovering, amusing motorists and inhaling my peanut butter and honey bagelwich, Joanne was taking pictures of the scenery (all the shots here are hers).

The view of the top of Mt. Baker.

Joanne in her victory shot.
Joanne and I doing the self portrait and totally missing getting the peak in the shot.

As Team Pink didn't show up we decided to head down. I haven't got back to my downhill kamakaze mindset that I had last year so Joanne disappeared in front of me pretty quickly. About five minutes down the road I saw Team Pink heading up and Joanne following them as she wanted to go up again (crazy lady!). I figured I'd be the slowest one down, plus I wanted coffee NOW, so I left them and kept descending.
The ride down was a beautiful as the ride up, it just went by a little faster. I enjoyed riding alone, I took it slow and appreciated the view. Just before Glacier Joanne and Brian whizzed past me and I went from my slowpoke reverie to thinking "gotta catch them" and just barely managed to catch up for the draft into Glacier. We stopped for coffee and snacks and enjoyed the luxurious softness of the picnic bench (if you're spent four hours in the saddle you understand!).
I felt surprisingly good after the coffee break and enjoyed the mostly flat ride back. At one point I got into aero position and took off, loving the feeling of the flat road, only to be abruptly brought back to reality by a short hill. My legs didn't feel so hot after all.
We were careful to stop at the two stop signs as we'd been warned others have been ticketed there. Another uneventful border crossing then a feast at Wendy's.
After the ride we headed over to Chez Pink for a Raclette feast, accompanied by appropriate amounts of wine.
A great finish to a great day.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ride to Mt. Baker

Yesterday Joanne, Team Pink and I did the ride to Mt. Baker. It was fantastic, long, and beautiful. And very, very tiring.

I'll write up a ride report, just not today.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Follow Through

My goal for 2008 was to qualify for 2009 Short Course Worlds in Australia, or to rank high enough to get a roll-down spot. Having set that goal and worked towards it for the whole year, you know that I'd send in my Team application right away and diligently follow up to make sure it had been received.

Or not.

I faxed in my application on the last possible day and only today (three [?] weeks later) did I get in touch with Triathlon Canada to see if they'd received it. Nope, they had nothing from me. However, if I got my forms in immediately they'd see what they can do.

Dumbass is the word that comes to mind. Or maybe lucky. Perhaps both as this lucky dumbass now officially has a spot on the 2009 Age Group Olympic Distance Triathlon team.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Past Week and a Bit

For the long weekend I went on a nice little walk the some friends - gaining 1050m in elevation over 6.5 km of trail described as "mostly well blazed but at times can resemble little more than a route and is often no more than 2 boots wide. Often, you're left balancing yourself precariously to get up a section with a large drop on one side of you. Its prudent to exercise caution." Yeah, a bit of a scramble, made more challenging by the two days worth of food and booze I had packed poorly in my backpack (note to self, next time don't put the wine, eggs, and other heavy stuff at the top of the pack).

Turns out that triathlon training does not prepare you for hiking, especially four hours of hiking downhill. Three days after hiking down I was still hobbling and hurting.

The upside of the crazy hike is it keeps most people away from a truly beautiful spot. No, wait, we don't want any more people up there. Lake Lovely Water is ugly and smells like poo - don't go!!

Masters swimming is back on after a two week break. The YWCA pool was closed so I've been taking a break from swimming, unless you count my hurried dip into a glacial lake on the long weekend. Paul was away on Wednesday so Peter, who teaches the TI method, took his place. It was an awesome session, the technique work was great and I have a totally new understanding of the body roll. You use the hip roll to drive your arm into the water and instead of going faster by speeding up your arms, you speed up your hips and let your stroke catch up. Very different way of thinking of things. Now we just have to see if it'll make me faster.

This weekend I have a very leisurely ride with the ladies, then a leisurely coffee, a nap and a movie with a friend. A nice mellow day.

Today I played my first game with my fall ultimate team. Yes, I played ultimate. After saying I'm done, retired, etc. for the past few years, I somehow ended up on a team this fall. I did swim beforehand as 1) I was excited about the new techniques Peter taught and wanted to try them out and 2) I was scared I'd forgotten everything I knew about ulti so I wanted to do one sport today that I'm reasonably competent at. Turns out I haven't forgotten everything about ulti, although it helped to have some seriously kick ass teammates!

What else? Oh yeah, Team Pink got me drunk on Friday and conned me into signing up for a race.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Blogging 101

My sister is a teacher and a blogger (and a truly fabulous person), and being a teacher/blogger(/fabulous) you know that at some point she is going to start teaching blogging. (No lessons on fabulousness yet, maybe that's next semester?)

This week, as part of the Professional Development days prior to school starting, Claire is doing a Blogging 101 session to introduce teachers to blogging. She's put all sorts of materials up on her blog, those of you have already a blog will know some of what she's posted but there's still a lot of interesting stuff.

She loves comments and feedback so check out her site and feel free to speak your mind.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I thought the end of the Olympics would mean I have lots of time on my hands. Instead I spent the day in front of my computer, tracking my friends from the club who're racing Ironman Canada and trying to watch them finish. I was also the info source for friends who're in Penticton watching, I was trying to send text messages (times are very difficult to text, the full colon is hard to find in my phone) and watch the screen to catch people finishing, I was going a bit cross-eyed and now I'm feeling a little punch drunk!

I saw everyone except Dave finish. I'm really wishing I was there in person. That said, being in Vancouver makes me much less likely to sign up for next year!

Lisa Bentley, who finished fifth for women, is rocking the finish line, trying to get the crowd psyched and cheering on competitors. There's a reason she's one of my favorite triathletes!

I'm looking forward to watching and sherpa-ing next year - will schlep gear for coffee!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hope the neighbours didn't mind

I've always been amused by people who scream at sports on TV, who's going to hear you? C'mon. Granted, I have thrown some comments at the tube during hockey, but the Canucks can be frustrating enough to elicit back talk from anyone. I have never, however, been one of those sports fans who screams at the TV, veins popping on their forehead.

Until last night, that is.

Yesterday was the men's triathlon at the Olympics. I've been following the blogs of Simon Whitfield, Paul Tichlar, Colin Jenkins and their coach Joel Filliol for almost a year and, like a true cyber-stalker, feel like I know them all. These weren't just Canadians vying for gold, these were my people,

For the swim and most of the bike I threw a few comments at the TV, and there were some nervous moments when the break away on the bike got more than 30 seconds lead. Then the run started and Simon kept dropping off the lead pack. My comments and encouragement got a little louder and he'd catch up. I'd quiet down and he'd drop off the back so I'd yell again and he'd catch up again. And the louder I was, the faster Simon went. Now I can occasionally be a bit clueless but I'm no dummy and I figured out what was going on, in pretty short order I was screaming at the top of my lungs . In the last 500m when he made that mad dash from the back I was jumping up and down in front of the TV screaming and yelling, veins most likely popping out all over (although I didn't dare look away from the TV to check). What an incredible finish! He didn't get gold but we'll take silver no problem.

In closing, I apologize to all the couch potato sports fans I've mocked over the years. The athletes can indeed hear you so go ahead and yell your heart out!

Monday, August 18, 2008

2008 - Year of the Should

I'm getting comfortable and ready for watching the men's triathlon at the Olympics - I have my hot take out and cold beer on hand. However, I have an hour to kill before the race so I have some time to put in words some of the reflecting I've been doing on the '08 race year.

My initial disappointment yesterday and at various other races this year got me to thinking about a joke I'd made last year, that when I stopped having a PR at every race I'd quit triathlon. I definitely didn't PR every race this year but I think I'll stick around!

I am out of the rank novice stage as a triathlete. I've learned all the easy ways to drop time, I've developed varying levels of competency as a swimmer, biker and runner and any further improvements will take a lot of work. I'm past the point where merely completing a race is a victory. I did the race distance escalation - sprint to Olympic to half iron to full iron, where each year the focus was always on some longer distance and with completion being the key goal. I had back up goals in case my first time goal didn't happen, I was prepared for a DNF or a flat or GI distress and knew that anything could happen on race day to mess up my plans.

This year was my first year with my A race being a distance I'd already done and it came with a significant change in mindset. There was no back up plan, no willingness to accept that outside factors might mess up. Instead of going into a race with a time I wanted to achieve, I went in with a list of what I should be doing.

It may not sound like a major difference but shoulds are pretty insidious beasts - no wiggle room between hitting the should sweet spot and being a failure. Shoulds don't offer flexiblity for race day conditions or outside factors. Shoulds are unforgiving of the fact that you may have had a bad day or that your expectations were too high. Shoulds take the thrill out of achieving your goals because they were expected and therefore not exceptional.

In the context of the Olympics (the men's race starts in 16 minutes!) I can't imagine the pressure on some of the athletes. How can they compete when they have an entire country (or more in the case of Phelps) pressuring them with shoulds? Forget their physical prowess, they are monsters of mental fortitude for not crumbling under all those expectations.

I don't have a punchy, meaningful wrap up or conclusion. I'm still thinking this through and trying to figure out how to deal with high expectations and the reality of things going sideways on race day. Any feedback is welcome.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kelowna Apple

Went in with high expectations, especially for a fantastic run and an overall PR. Reality wasn't quite there, but I'll take the PR.

Overall time: 2:47:28
Swim: 31:11 (313th overall/105th women)
Bike: 1:18:56 (395th O/114th W)
Run: 53:52 (351st/113th W)

I had a late start - 9 am. The first waves went off at 7:15 and the transition area gets pretty crazy so it is a good idea to get there early, Mary & I got there shortly after 6 so I had a long wait. Pre-race nerves and lots of caffeine made me a bit edgy and I think I had some pretty bizarre conversations with people in the morning.

I got tired of waiting at 8:00, found a run route away from the race craziness and jogged and chatted with someone in the 8:25 wave. I went back to watch some waves starts and talk nonsense at Kristina, then did some B's & C's and strides, then went to transition for my swim gear. I had a great warm up swim, getting in the water really helped to sooth my nerves.

The water was 24C so it was no wetsuit, my first open water race without one. Most people were quite unhappy about the no wetsuit rule but as my biggest worry for the swim was getting out of my wetsuit I was pretty psyched about it. I was only 14 seconds slower than my swim at the Peach, although I didn't have the greatest swim in Penticton.

I've had issues with panicking at the start of the swim in Kelowna so my first goal was to have a calm start. For my wave I placed myself near the back and out wide and took a few seconds to get into the water. I was going to use my new don't-mess-with-me-mantra* of "I am Bronwyn" but as I had a great start that quickly became "I am ready". I had trouble finding toes to draft off but otherwise I was feeling really comfortable in the water and was having a good swim.

I lost a bit of time at the 750m mark as standing up, running around a buoy on the sand and then re-entering the water is a skill that's still in progress for me. At least I didn't belly flop on the re-entry as I did at this race in 2006. I tried to catch up with the women I'd been closing in on before the halfway mark and picked up the pace. I caught them but rather than get on someone's toes I decided to keep going and passed them and a number other women from my wave. I felt so good on the swim that I was surprised not to be under 30min when I exited the water.

The bike was awesome. There were a lot of racers on the course but it rarely felt crowded - people were pretty much all being courteous and smart and I didn't see any drafting. I went fairly hard and had fun passing people on the one real hill. My cadence meter wasn't working as the sensor had shifted so I was forced to go by feel - normally I try to keep my cadence at around 95 and and keep an eye on my HR to keep myself from overdoing it.

The run was hard and disappointing as I was never on pace for the sub-50 run I'd been gunning for since teh start of the season. I started out slow and never managed to speed up. I was pretty unhappy for most of the run, but I did pass a fair number of people and I didn't see any W35-39's passing me so I didn't drop in rank. I had a cramp in first few km's and was able to run it out but it slowed me a bit. In the last km of the run I had some issues breathing, my chest tightened up and I had to gasp for breath. I had to stop and walk for about fifteen seconds and then got back to running.

After finishing I found myself with a tight chest again and gasping for breath, I almost went to the med tent but mostly got my breathing under control and went to sit in the shade tent by the finish. I was still very upset and shaky, I was crying and trying not to show it in case any LETC'ers came by as I didn't want them to be concerned. I finally figured out that this really wasn't normal post-race behaviour for me so went to the med tent and told them I thought I might be overheated (actually, I think I told them I wasn't feeling okay and they had to play twenty questions to figure out what was wrong). When I started cracking jokes and thinking about food I figured I was back to normal.

Not sure what to think about my race, I'm going to go to bed and will do the post-mortem tomorrow.

The rest of the group had good races, and we had the usual strong presence at the podium: Andrea, Justine, Alan, Stephanie and Mary. Stephanie came in third and won her AG, as this was Nationals she is now the national champ for W40-44, which seems about right as she's also the World champ for W40-44.

*I like three word mantra's for swimming as I breath every third stroke. They help me get into a rhythm and focus on some part of my swim. They're not anything terribly deep or meaningful, usually something along the lines of "Smooth and Strong and Long [breath]".

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wedding Photos

Links to photo albums from A&B's wedding (click on the pictures to see the albums):

Everyone all dolled up and ready to celebrate.

Team Pink

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


So this week is supposed to be about eating well, catching up on my sleep and generally getting rested for the weekend's race.

I have the eating (sort of) covered but the sleep thing isn't working out so well as the IOC and the Chinese government very inconveniently scheduled the biggest sporting event in the world for this week (and next). I really wish they'd consulted me first.

CBC has made it all much, much worse with their website, making it possible for me to watch sports at all hours of the day. If I don't go into Kelowna seriously sleep deprived I'll likely have a back injury from twisting back and forth between my computer and the the TV or else I'll have a repetive strain injury from switching between CBC and NBC's TV coverage.

The perils of being an Olympics junky!

I know fast people!

A number of the LETC crew made the Provincial Triathlon Teams:

Long Course M4549 Jean-Yves "Broccoli" Sauriol
Short Course F2024 - Justine Clift
Short Course M4044 - Alan "Coach" Carlsson
Duathlon F3034 - Joanne "Trekker" Fox

Congratulations to everyone.

Very, very cool to be associated with such greatness!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

1km Repeats

Tonight's workout was 5-7 x 1km at the track. Alan wanted me to do them on 4:45, which seemed ambitious, especially for 7, but I want that PR run in Kelowna so I did 'em all!

1 - 4:38
2 - 4:37
3 - 4:51
4 - 4:44
5 - 4:46
6 - 4:49
7 - 4:50

Joanne is coming back from an injury so she was running my pace, it was great to have someone who's so steady with her speed to run with! We had a few math issues (see lap 1 & 2) and I had a couple of slow km's but I seemed to lose time on one half lap then get back to pace and stay with it for the rest of the kilometre.

I'm at the point where I've put in pretty much all the hard work, nine days until to see how it all pays off!

PS - I don't just want a PR for the run!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

16km Time Trial


TT results so far this year:
April 24 16km - 29:41
July 15 16km (ish) - 33:++ (in Penticton - South Main/Eastside/Lakeside Rd)
July 23 30km - 50:20

Don't know why I don't have May or June TT results, we must have done some.

Far more important than the numbers is the fact that Teresa beat me by almost 1.5 minutes so she'll finally have to admit she's faster than me!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Race Report - Mostly Numbers

Final Time: 2:55:45
Swim: 32:13
Bike: 1:27:27
Run: 52:26
Rank: 180 67/124 F 7/13 F35-39

Bike Numbers:
Ave speed: 27.20
Max speed: 62.200
Ave Cad: 87

HR Numbers:
Swim: Ave 157 Max 168
Bike: Ave 168 Max 175
Run: Ave 168 Max 175

Take from above what you wish, slowish times, okay top speed, low HR. If I was cool and had all the toys I'd have power meter and GPS data to give you, maybe throw up a pie chart or too.

Not much to say about the race, I wasn't that psyched to do it, didn't enjoy big chunks of it and had totally skewed expectations. I did enjoy the last 1,000m of the swim and having the crazy Team Pink crew cheering me on. Loved the post race food, I may have to bring Nutella in my transition bag as it was exactly what I wanted after the race.

Lots of LETC folk hit the podium, which is always cool. Fun to be associated with greatness!

Far more important than the race, the reception for Amy and Brian was fabulous. The bride was stunning and the venue was lovely. Everyone was in their best finery and looking fab-u-lous. The desserts were diving and the wine was perfect. A great group and a very fun evening.


So I should be writing a race report (or cleaning my house, catching up on correspondence, etc.) but the World Ultimate & Guts Championships are on this week at UBC so I'm going to spend the rest of the day immersed in my previous addiction.

I plan to catch up with some friends who're playing and watch some good ulti.

What are the games you should see? The (female) volunteers who did up the player's ID passes say that, based on the photos they submitted, the Aussie mens team is the one to watch.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Hangover + Race = BAD

The actual title for this was going to be "There's nothing like beating yourself up for failing then realizing you acheived exactly what you set out to do," but that was too long.

Reace report teaser:

  • felt miserable and cranky through most of the race
  • didn't expect the bike course to be that hard or my legs to be that dead
  • thought I did a totally poor job then realized I'd said prior to the race that as long as I was under 3 hours I would be happy
  • I was under three hours.

Full race report to come.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Friend, the "STAR TREKER"

Each month, TREK celebrates an individual who has made a commitment to sustainable transportation. TREK wants to hear about the inspiringindividuals at UBC who bike, walk, carpool, bus or have found otherways to make their commute to campus more sustainable. The only criteria for this award are a positive attitude and a penchant forenvironmentally friendly transportation.

Joanne Fox - August 2008Instructor, Michael Smith Laboratories

Commute Mode: Transit, cycling...and running!

Joanne Fox is an instructor at the Michael Smith Laboratories who is heavily involved in the various science education programs of the Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory. Her work naturally takes her into teaching laboratories, science outreach sessions, high school programs, camps for kids and many different projects across campus including the Terry ( global citizenship project.
Click here to read more.

A Look Back

Since I recently realized I’ve completed 20 races, I've decided to do a small look back on my short career in the sport.

Mostly Random and Largely Inconsequential Things I’ve Learned in Four Years of Triathlon

  • In three weeks preceding and following my A race I must not buy clothes. If I do, those clothes will only fit in the three weeks preceding or following my A race in following years
  • It is possible to eat three breakfasts and still be hungry
  • Coffee serves more than one purpose (don’t ask unless you really want to know)
  • High fibre breakfasts are a bad idea on race morning, no matter how much coffee you drink
  • Gels are disgusting but necessary and you eventually get used to them.
  • You don’t need expensive nutrition bars:
    - Nugget potatoes are possibly the best thing ever on a long ride
    - Mini blueberry pancakes are pretty darned good too
    - Almost ripe bananas are usually gross but when I’m riding they rock
  • The cycling skill I really want to master is peeling and eating a banana while pedaling
  • Triathletes think you're wierd when you offer them pancakes 50km into a ride
  • Chocolate milk is recovery food?! I love this sport!!!!!
  • I am more likely to leave the house on time when I make a breakfast that requires 6 minutes to prepare than one that takes 30 seconds (huh?)
  • After getting up early every day for eight months, sleeping in becomes incredibly difficult
  • Naps are good
  • My subconscious is a gullible five-year old
  • I am never, ever going to lose my biker tan

My fellow triathlete reader(s?), please share any somewhat random and largely pointless things this sport has taught you!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ironman Calgary?

Not sure this will work with next year's plans but I do need to cross the Rockies for a family visit sometime soon.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Haven't I Answered this Already??
Required information on the registration form for the Kelowna Apple:

Date of birth: 01 April 1972
Age as of 31 December 2008: 36
Category: 35-39

Did I just answer the same question three times?

Tell us about yourself
The dreaded "Other Accomplishments or Comments". I never know what to say for this and usually leave it blank. For the Peach I put that I'd completed Ironman last year but that's already begining to feel like old news and I don't need it shouted out everytime I cross the finish. I'm not really sure that fact that I quit coffee for three weeks is worth putting down (besides, nobody likes a quitter). I hate leaving it blank and am always tempted to make something up, but can never think of anything witty at the time.

That many?
One of the last questions was "How many triathlons have you completed?"

The Apple will be my 22nd tri. Why do I still feel like a novice?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Beaver lake Loop 1km Repeats

Thursday's workout was a pyramid (1 loop, 2 loops, 2 loops, 1 loop on 3min R) of the ~ 1km loop at Beaver Lake in Stanley Park. I felt pretty wasted from the 30km time trial on Wednesday and still haven't got my energy back from last week so I didn't go in with high expectations.

I did the first loop in 4:42 and thought I'd gone out way too hard. I was a little slower on the next set then picked it up for the last two - it helped that Erin was on my shoulder the whole of the last loop as I had someone to try to beat.

1km - 4:42
2km - 9:30
2km - 9:18
1km - 4:30

4:30 for a km? I'll take that!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Iona 30km TT

30km bike time - 50:20 (hr max/ave: 176/166)

500m run time - 2:19 (hr max/ave: 189/181)

Pancake flat course but harsh headwinds on the way out and no one to draft off combined with tired legs from last week made me one very cranky time trialer. That said, it would be pretty cool if I could keep that pace for a tri - a 1:06:00 bike leg would be totally acceptable!

Including the the 50min warm up/commute out and 45 min cool down/ride home, it was a long night.

Peach Race Report - The rest of it

Last year's (pre-penalty) time: 2:49:42
This year: 2:53:07

2007: 31:13
2008: 30:57

Bike (includes T1 & T2)
2007: 1:24:09 (includes penalty)
2008: 1:25:18 + 2:37 T1 + 1:07 T2 = 1:29:02

2007: 56:21
2008: 53:10

Looking at those numbers I feel better about the race. I thought my swim was atrocious it was almost impossible to sight on the return as we were swimming directly into the sun, it also didn't help that they gave some swimmers caps the same colour as the bouys, so I'm sure I swam far more than 1500m. I'm surprised I swam faster than '07, even if I did have a bad swim last year.

The bike was hell for the first 20km, aside from swim start panic attacks I don't think I've ever wanted to quit that much in a race. I was super sore from the prior week, especially the ride on Saturday, and had a hellish time getting up Vancouver Ave. I finally convinced myself that I would finish the ride then I could think about dropping out. Shortly after that I saw someone ahead of me that I deemed unworthy of being there and decided I had to pass her. When I couldn't pass her right away I told myself I'd get her on the run, at which point I realized I wasn't quitting. (FYI - I caught and passed her shortly after)

Sometime before the turn, probably about the time riders in front of me almost got taken out by a deer, I started to get into it. By the time the kamakazi coyote failed to get his head stuck in someone's wheel I was actually enjoying myself. I'm a sucker for wildlife (just try to get me to pay attention to what you're saying if there are hawks, eagles or other cool birds in the vicinity) so the distraction, plus the relief no racers or animals were hurt, probably helped my mood.

The return was fun, a guy and I played leapfrog for about 10km, enough that we started joking about it as we passed each other, until I lost him and was riding alone for the last bit. I got a bit confused at the top of the last descent as there were suddenly no markings on the road and no one stopping/directing traffic. I figured it would be par for the course if I got lost on the bike as well as the swim. Another racer blew by me and leapfrogger passed me so I knew I was on course, or at least I had company if I wasn't, and got back up to speed. Not a good ride at all but hopefully that was just fatigue.

The run start was also hell, I walked a bit at the base of the hill then realized I was losing the blue shirted woman I'd chased the whole way on the bike and got running again. Once I got to the top I felt better and chatted with a few people as I passed them.

The return portion was great. I started to pick up speed and pass people, I caught blue shirt and told her she couldn't walk as she'd been my pace bunny for the last hour. I thought I was being obviously silly but she actually apologized when she had to stop and walk again about five min later. I was able to run well down the hill, unlike last year, although when I hit the flat I still lost speed (and the orange shirted woman I'd caught and chatted with on the descent). Knew I did better than last year but am surprised it was three minutes.

Take away from this race:

  • If I'm having a bad day, focus on small goals (catching someone ahead, cresting a hill, finishing the bike leg, etc.) and don't worry about the big picture
  • I won't ride Richter two days before Kelowna
  • I need to get out of my wetsuit faster (slow T1)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Peach Tri Race Report - Swim Leg Illustrated

The course as we were supposed to swim it:

The course as I, and the thirty people I could see in front of me, most likely swam it.

Penticton Visit

I'm back after a week in the Okanagan - part family visit, part training camp. It was a great week, although I'm a bit tired and wondering if it's okay to ask for a day off work to recover from my vacation?

Family Visit
Claire and my brother-in-law are understandably a little tired due to the tree on their house (see photo in the previous post) and the headaches that go with clean up and fix up, but the kids are having a great time at their grandparents. I helped a bit with cleaning up, I spent a morning cleaning off books and separating glass from Tinker Toys, but there's only so much I could do. My exceptional Exec Assistant skills aren't really that applicable in this situation!

Mum came up too. She had a blast with the boys, she watched them at their swimming and skating lessons (I only caught the latter) and helped them build Custard the Dragon characters out of (glass free) Tinker Toys. Claire, Mum and I had a "Girls Day Out" and went for a pedicure at the spa at the Naramata Inn followed by lunch at the wine bar. It was a great day but I probably shouldn't have let Claire and Mum talk me into getting my toe nails done up to match my bike.

I joined Bronwyn and Dave for a couple of swims during the week but the rest of the time followed my own program, doing my workouts early then heading over to hang out with the family for the day.

I did a 16km TT workout - South Main/Eastside/Lakeside Road (the IMC marathon course) is a great 15km route, but of course I was determined to do 16km so I had to improvise a bit at the end. It's hillier than the Marine Dr. route we do, and I had to stop on the way out to fix my bike computer (using my "driving language" as Mum would say) so my time out was slow. As the club workout was an individual time trial followed by a team time trial I did a return TT, thinking I'd have a headwind out and a tailwind back and that would be a similar difference in effort. Somehow I managed to have a headwind both ways, plus for the return I started on a hill (not too smart) so I had some trouble getting up speed. I was 33 something on the way out and 31 on the way back. Slower than my Marine Dr. times but this is a harder course.

I tried to do the prescribed track workout of 6 x 1km on 4:45 and had my dumb training moment for the week. I went straight from the swim to the very nice track at Penticton High School and didn't have anything to eat in between. I forgot my hat so was running in the increasing heat with my easily fried brain unprotected. After a good warm up I did the first two km's too fast and the second two pretty close to 4:45. Somewhere around 200m into the first one I realized my mistake about food and around the third one I really, really wanted my hat. On the fifth 1km I was absolutely spent, I killed myself to just barely keep my time under 5 minutes and felt atrocious the whole way through. I know training is supposed to be hard but I decided to skip the last km, did a short cool down and biked back to the hotel.

Training Camp
On Friday I joined the training camp and did a long ride on the IMC course. I was only supposed to ride for 4 hours so Andrew said he'd pick me up at Yellow Lake. I thought he had high expectations for my speed but figured I wouldn't argue and see how it went. The first part of the ride was great, we were flying and I thought all the training had really paid off. Of course we had a strong tailwind, although it was nice to think I could average 40kph on an easy effort!

At Osoyoos we got to find out how much of a tailwind we'd had as we turned into the wind to ascend Richter. Climbing Richter wasn't bad, especially as I got to pass a few people, but the descent was frustrating as the wind was so strong it was hard to get any speed. The rollers were tough and the flat section heading into Cawston was extremely draining as we were going full on into the wind. I finally smartened up and got on Bronwyn's back wheel, I tried to take the pull a few times but she's just stronger than me and I was slowing her down so I ended up being a wheel suck let her pull me to Beck's road (the turn off to the Cawston out and back). This was four hours for me (nowhere near Yellow Lake) so I left Andrew with my bike and did my brick run on part of the out and back route. It was hot and my HR was extremely high but I felt okay for the run. I then piled into the van with Andrew and was very, very happy I didn't have to ride the whole course.

After that we had our ice bath and got to enjoy the odd looks from passers by as they tried to figure out why people were sitting in garbage cans in 35 degree heat while wearing hoodies and toques.

Saturday started with a long swim in rough water. It was very windy and the waves were pretty big, for Okanagan Lake at least. I didn't mind the rough water as I need practice swimming in waves. I tried to get Joanne's mind set from Worlds, where she enjoyed the roller coaster ride of the swim, and said "Weeee!" to myself when I was starting to get frustrated by the waves. In writing that down I realize it sounds really silly but it worked.

After the swim we rode the Peach Classic bike route plus some. I was a bit discouraged as it took me almost 1:45 to do 40km, I know easy ride pace is different from race pace but that seemed like way too much of a difference. I did a short run along the canal off the bike, another ice bath then back to the motel to change and go to my sister's neighbour's barbeque. The couple are very involved with Ironman as racers and organizers so I got to talk triathlon with quite a few people.

I ended the week with the Peach Classic (race report to follow), all in all, a great week off.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Good News is Everyone is Okay

My sister's house. Luckily no one was inside at the time.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Small World

I posted on Slowtwitch asking for elevation profiles for Cypress and Seymour and someone gave me a link to this, which was created by a fellow club member who works for one of our club sponsors.

Kind of funny to go to an anonymous forum for info I could have easily gotten from a clubmate.

Sasamat Swim

I did the 2km race and went in with several goals. The first, of course, was to beat my time from 2006 (last year I did for 4km swim). The second was to start in the thick of things and deal with my swim start psychosis and my third goal was to actually race the swim rather than do it as a set pace.

I started in the middle of the crowd and had no issues, it helps that I'm familiar with the lake and have so many people I know starting with me so it was a low stress environment. The crowd very quickly split up with a big break forming between the group of swimmers I was with and the group ahead. Most of the way to the first turn I was at the head of my group of swimmers. I couldn't get on anyone's toes as there was no one directly ahead of me, I realized that this must be what it feels like to be Stephanie (except slower!).

Before the first turn I found a pair of toes to draft off, lost them at the turn but found another set. I did have to battle to keep toes, at one point someone pushed me off the toes I was drafting off and I put my years of hockey watching to good use and hip checked her out of the way. There was a swimmer who kept breast stroking (whip kick in the water can be deadly) who I couldn't get in front of or away from which was annoying, especially on the last leg of the swim as a very aggressive group of women were pushing me in her direction. The more I pushed back the more aggressively they pushed me her way, it was a bit ridiculous as there was six of us swimming together with a whole lake to swim in but we were on top of each other for a good 15 minutes.

I was quite enjoying the battle and hopefully swimming well when I started getting out of breath and got a bit panicky. Suddenly my chest constricted and I was hyperventillating and I couldn't keep doing free. I swore loudly and did some breast stroke (shoulder checking first to ensure I didn't kick anyone in the head) to catch my breath and finished slower than my '06 time and, worse by far, well behind the agressive group I'd been battling with.

A disappointing race in some ways but I succeeded in the start and I definitely pushed myself speedwise. Maybe I pushed too hard, but as Sensei Harry used to say (back when I was the worst karate student ever), it's better to over correct than under correct.

Chrissie Wellington is my hero!

She's raced 4 Ironmans and she's won 4. What's more, she's won with a smile on her face. Very, very cool and fun to see a professional with that much joy in being in the event. This was her second chance to break a record (the marathon record at Kona in 2007 and the overall women's IM time today) and instead savoured the final miles of the run. I wonder if she's kicking herself for not going just a bit harder, 31 seconds away!

I'm not breaking any world records but it's been a tough week of training.

Tuesday was the Sasamat Canada Day swim. Wednesday morning was Master swim and I got to feel a bit faster and salve my pride somewhat.

Wednesday night was the second hill climb of the year. I had to miss the Cypress climb last month so I was happy to be able to do Seymour. Seymour is a tougher hill that Cypress, with a nastier starting grade - really tough for the first 5-6km. I was 1:09 and change to the top, I think I was faster last year in my rides with Teresa but I can't find my times so I no idea.

Thursday was up early for some core and strength work then in the evening a tough pace work run in which I was trying to keep up with Marie. I don't know what her 10km pace is but I was definitely going faster than mine. It's fun to have someone to chase (up to the point where she totally dropped me) and nice not to be pace bunny.

I didn't do my Friday ride as I wanted a day off in the week. Saturday was a four hour ride with Mary, Michelle and Christine. As usual we found a club member along the way (Heather this time) and came back with more than we left with. After the ride was a 20min easy run. I skipped the 30min of strength work as I had to make it to dinner.

Today was a somewhat frustrating swim at Kits beach. For the main set we were supposed to be working on drafting but there was no one my speed so I was either slowing down Teresa and Bronwyn or watching them disappear into the distance. I was tired from the week so couldn't swim (or think) straight and sighting was a struggle. After the swim was an easy 1:50 run. It took about 45 min for my legs to stop hurting, I started to feel loose and comfortable just before Spanish Banks hill.

It's been a very, very lazy afternoon! I dozed on the couch then had an official nap. I woke up enough for a Skype call with my nephews (luckily I don't have to work on keeping the conversation going when Marcus is around!) and now I'm watching the US track & field Olympic trials, which will be followed by the US swimming Olympic trials (aka "The Phelps Show"). Next week is an easy week then I'm in Penticton for a visit and a race!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Things I Don’t Miss About Ultimate

  • 6 o’clock games starting at 6:40
  • Losing to teams that only use one of their women and rely on the huck play
  • One negative presence in the game bringing me down
  • It’s hard to take anything positive out of a loss
I played my third game of ulti in two years last night. At the end of it I couldn't remember what had had me so hooked for fourteen years.

Near the start of the game I was actually surprised that my check (the woman who was thrown to, btw) got mad at me for moving on a foul call. I was breaking the rules and she was absolutely in the right, somehow I forgot that people actually take the game seriously. Shows you the headspace I was in when I showed up!

Even though I cared less about the ultimate game than today's 2km swim race, losing the game was more of a bummer than not hitting my goal time in the swim.

That said, I do miss the friends that I see so much less of and all the great people I used to play with. That's a big enough point to counter all of the above. Ulti is a great community with some pretty cool folk. Maybe I'll just have to get them all doing tri's!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

No News is Good News?

In homage to indexed (and why things have been a bit quite here):

Friday, June 13, 2008

Quite possibly the best race report ever

Found on Slowtwitch, the report from a race director who managed to keep a race together through seriously insane weather this past weekend.

Part 1
It all started on Friday. Things were going smooth. Getting to the park the portopotties were already there. The waste company was bringing the extra large dumpster and dropped it off. The local grocery story Logili (Schnuks) delivered a 52 foot refrigerated truck to keep our 9000lbs of ice, 2200 bottles of water and many thousands of other Pepsi products for the folks who were coming out to play. The folks with the 20 x 40 tent got there, they first dropped off the two gas powered carts for moving people and items, one could move six, the other had a flat bed for moving coolers and food.
Click here to read more.

Part 2
The rain started to come down and the sirens were audible in the distance, I think that I am one of the few who heard them – and understood what they were. Blake, Zach and some twenty + others were already on the run course but the mass of people were on the bike course. Folks were rolling into transition as I see some of our banners fly across the park. I head out onto the run course as I hear that our volunteers are running for cover, I need to be sure that aid stations are up.
Click here to read more

This actually makes me want to do this race - not because of the insane weather but the lengths to which the RD will go to keep the race running.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


* Warning - this post contains mention (no gory details tho) of medical tests, so if that makes you squirm, please skip it.

It's been sort of a tense week and a bit. Two days before heading up to Oliver for the half iron my doctor asked to come in for an appointment to discuss the results of my mamogram. Kind of a stressful voicemail to pick up.

Turns out there was something mildly suspiscious and I needed to go for an ultrasound to double check.

Now don't go shaking your head that I'm one of those paranoid women who're afraid of every disease out there and insists on being tested for everything. Yes, I'm in my thirties but my mother had breast cancer when she was just a few years older than I am, which puts me in a high risk category, so yearly checks are pretty much part of my life now.

I didn't really tell too many people as there wasn't much they could do except tell me not to worry, which wouldn't work, and a few were likely to worry quite a bit themselves. It didn't help matters that I've had a horrendous cold most of this week. I was in the state of mind where losing my keys was a sign of the apocalypse, so you can imagine how I was feeling about the test.

Anyway, to the point. Ultrasound showed all clear. Yay!

Now I just have to kick this cold and we're back to our regular programming.

Anyone seen my keys??

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Too much excitement?

I spent last week fighting a cold and thought I'd kicked it. After going for a run on Saturday I realized I wasn't being a wimp, that I actually was ill and shouldn't feel guilty about missing workouts. I slept in on Sunday, skipping my scheduled swim and run, and headed out at noon to watch the elite races.

Watching with Amy, Brian and Joanne was great, and not just because Joanne made me look calm (it's nice not to always be the most wound up person in a group). While the Canadians didn't do as well as we would have wished, it was still exciting to watch and a very fun day.

Felt fine on Sunday night, if a bit wound up, then horrendous on Monday morning. I thought I was wimping out by skipping my swim then got to work and realized I was quite ill (I almost always feel lousy in the morning so it takes a few hours to figure out if anything is actually wrong). Tried to go to work again this morning and at this point I think my coworkers were getting a bit ticked off - they kept telling me to go home and wouldn't go anywhere near me. I only lasted an hour, then came home and hit to couch for the day.

Eight days without a workout - incredibly frustrating. Almost two days off work when I have far too much to do - a total pain in the butt!

It's not a complete loss though. As I've been feeling lousy the past few days I figured I might as well cut out coffee while I'm at it. The headache yesterday didn't help but it was gone today.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

ITU Age Group World Championships

18 people from my club raced in worlds today and Colleen, Marie and I were there to cheer them on.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Cold Summer/Summer Cold

Is it summer yet? My seasonal clock doesn't seem to be working. I think it's solar powered, considering the total absence of sunlight the last few days that would explain why it doesn't work.

As we haven't officially entered the summer season I suppose I can't say I have a summer cold. Let's call it a "spring but it feels like late autumn" cold.

Training-wise it's not a bad time to be sick, post race recovery time isn't the worst time to nurse a cold. Work-wise, however, it's horrendous. Tuesday is the earliest convenient day to take off. Way too much stuff to do with a brain that's bogged down by a rhinovirus.

Just felt the need to complain.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

It was a dark and stormy day ...

After the sufferfest that was the 2007 Oliver Half Iron, everyone returning this year was hoping for cooler weather. I'm sure there were prayers, special weather dances, sacrifices, etc. building up to race day. Whatever people did, it worked. A little too well.

Saturday was lovely but race morning dawned cold, dark and windy. On the drive from OK Falls to Oliver the wind was strong and the rain unrelenting. I wanted to finish in under six hours but I decided on the ride in that having a cautious ride was smarter than going all out for a PR.

The Swim
I lost everyone from the club at the swim start and while I was looking for Mirabelle I heard someone call my name. The only person in the crowd not wearing a wetsuit and the only person carrying an expensive camera (or any camera at all) was waving at me. Shelley who'd played ultimate in Vancouver years ago was taking photos for a story on open water swimming and managed to recognize me. Very odd place to meet up with someone I hadn't seen in years.

I seeded myself wide so I had an easy angle for the first turn and managed to avoid crowding or panic at all at the start. What a difference it makes to have a good start, I didn't have to deal with breaststrokers and panickers and managed to find someone to draft off fairly quickly.

The first loop was a bit odd, in the first 300m I really didn't feel like I wanted to be there. Not my usual swim start psychosis, just a feeling that I'd rather be somewhere else, doing something else. It was very strange to be so unexcited to be in a race. I focused on finding feet to draft off and to try to get a little more into the pack of swimmers and tried to get into the right mindset.

The second loop was better, I think having deal with the crowding as the swim chute narrowed to the swim exit got me psyched (in a good way) and more excited for the second loop. As expected, my HR shot up from running around the buoy on the sand and it took about 100m to get it back down. I swam closer to the buoys and had a lot more contact. Some guys in blue swim caps of the previous men's wave made a lot of contact, one guy kept hitting hitting me at a 45 degree angle, swam away then hit me again. This ticked me off and got me swimming a bit harder. On my second exit from the water several green swim caps from the following wave were making contact and one was aggressive enough that I lashed out with my elbow to get her to back off. Okay, not playing nice but good that I'm finally getting more aggressive in the water!

Swim time: 39:35
Max HR 182/Ave HR 158

T1 was a bit longer this year as they changed the route to make it more fair for everyone. As per last year, I had a long run almost the entire length of transition in bike shoes.

T1 time: 5:33

The Bike
As it was still cold and wet when I exited the swim I wore my club jacket for the ride. I debated gloves but figured they'd just be waterlogged and gross. This turned out to be the right choice and I was comfortable the whole way.

I was way too aggressive at the start of the ride but luckily was blocked by slower and/or smarter triathletes and couldn't go too hard, but rather just got frustrated. About 10 minutes in sanity prevailed and I settled into the pacing that worked for me at Ironman last year - try to keep my cadence 95 or above and my HR around 160.

I settled into a good pace and missed seeing Helen, Andrea and Rene at the end of the top loop but did hear them. The hill climb after this was harder than I expected, I forgot that short hills can be tough! I was very cautious on the descent from this hill as I didn't know how slippery the road would be and the rough pavement made bike handling tricky. On this part of the ride particularly, but over the whole ride in general, racers were all over the road and scary to pass. Somewhere along this stretch I decided that going sub-six was totally possible.

Northward bound there was a headwind but it was either not as bad as last year or I'm better adjusted for dealing with it. Unlike a lot of people I actually had a wind proof jacket, which made me feel better. Tom Evans ripped past me and significantly later a couple of other pros follow. Sadly I was too fast to be passed by Michellie Jones, I was hoping to see her on the bike.

I topped the loop and this time managed to see the cheering trio and wave at them then headed out for the final loop. At around 70km my legs started to hurt. I also started to really feel the need to pee (sorry for sharing too much, but that's part of the risk of reading race reports. Be thankful I didn't have G.I. issues). Luckily I'm easily distracted and trying to throw my empty bottle into the hockey net at the aid station caused me to totally forget my need for the honey bucket.

At my third time at the top of the loop I focused on getting in some last minute calories and keeping my cadence high so my legs were ready for the run. Somewhere around this point I realized something was missing. It had stopped raining and I hadn't noticed.

Bike time: 3:12:09
Max HR 188/Ave HR 165

Another long run through transition and a wave at Helen, who'd managed to stick it out through the nasty weather

T2 - 3:19

The Run
The first kilometer was pretty terrible. My legs hurt, I was tired and (I thought) my pace was way off. This time I knew this was normal and I had to work it through. A quote I'd come across recently in a blog somewhere kept running through my head: "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." I'm not normally into inspirational quotes but this one stuck with me, the idea that how I deal with pain is up to me is one I like. And one that makes self-pitifests a little difficult.

I hit the first km in 5:35 and the following in only slightly less. This was distressing as I thought I needed to do the run in under two hours to break six hours for the race. The third km was even slower as I'd now remembered my need to use the honey bucket and finally found one that was free. Luckily I locked the door so when the angry guy kept yanking on the door it didn't open. Whoo boy did I get a glare when I got. Yes, buddy, I was doing my nails and checking my makeup in a deliberate attempt to ruin your race.

Somewhere around 7km my math skills kicked in and I realized that I didn't need to run 5 minute kms to run sub two and that I was actually on pace.

At the turn around I saw Rene and Andrea and they cheered me on with "Only 10km left to go." I appreciate the cheering, really, but next time maybe say "You're half way." Thanks though.

The second loop felt easier. I was worried about running out of steam and worried that my gut was starting to revolt so I only drank water and flat Pepsi on the run. Not sure why I thought cola would be kinder to my stomach, but my logic skills were obviously up there with my math skills at this point. Or maybe I was thinking straight as my innards behaved.

I was on pace for a sub 2 run but on the last hill before the finish my legs hurt enough that I had to walk. It's very frustrating to know I was letting my goal disappear but my legs just didn't want to cooperate. Near the crest of the "hill" (any other day it would be considered a gentle incline) I convinced my legs to move a little faster and I even managed to put in an almost sprint to the finish.

Run time: 1:59:35
Max HR 187/Ave HR 172

By my watch my final time was 6:00:12. So frustrating to be 13 seconds away. The official results, however, were even worse. 6:00:04. D'oh!

The upside is that I beat last year's time by 8+ minutes (thank you for the correction Alan, there is a big difference between minutes and seconds!). Pretty darned cool, even if I didn't hit the magic number. I also had a good friend come up and watch me race, which was very cool. I felt terrible for Helen being stuck out in the rain but she didn't seem to mind too much.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Masters Benchmark

25m Fly - 28.9s (I think)

3 x 100m
1 - 1:38
2 - 1:34 (PR??)
3 - 1:36

50m kick - 62.5s

3 x 100m
1 - 1:48
2 - 1:45
3 - 1:40

25m free FAST - 20.8s

Monday, May 26, 2008

I Know Fast People!

Triathlon Canada announced their Athlete of the Year Awards today. In reading the news I was thrilled to find not one but two people I know who were named, one is a full club member and one is an honourary club member:

2007 Olympic Distance award winners include ... Vancouver’s Rachel McBride, who won in the Age Group 18-39 category

In Off-Road – Triathlon ... Kristina Bangma of Vancouver won the award in the Age Group 18-39 category

I'm thrilled to be associated with such greatness! Congratulations ladies.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Up the creek (hopefully with a paddle)

Family news from the other side of the Atlantic about Uncle Stewart's current exploit:

River expedition will raise funds and help clean Waveney

15 May 2008
Diss Express

Friends Geoff Doggett and Stewart Orr will be canoeing down the River Waveney next week to raise money for charity and help raise awareness about the local environment.

The pair, who are both 62 and live in Harleston and Withersdale, decided to take on the challenge after watching Paul Heiney’s Secret Rivers programme.

“I think it’s fair to say we are not canoeists, so we have done preparation rather than training,” joked Mr Doggett.

“But we have done a lot of research into the route.”

The friends will be raising money for two charities close to their hearts – the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and floating hospital, The Boat of Life, in Bangladesh, which carries out eye operations.

Click here to read more.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Oliver Prep

I figured I should read my race report from last year to review the race and prep for this year.


Tonight's run was a 5km time trial. I think I hit a 5km PR but can't find my previous results and am too tired to do a serious search.

Regardless of whether or not it was a PR, it sure as heck wasn't my half iron run pace (which was what I was supposed to do). Don't tell Alan!

Can you imagine hitting 81 MILES per hour on a bike!

by Tim Keown

What do you get when you pair an inspired sculptor with a fearless bike racer? Only the fastest human-powered vehicle on earth.

SEPTEMBER 2003. Sam Whittingham, a national team track cyclist from Canada, is inside this contraption that he and his buddy insist on calling a bicycle even though it looks more like a homemade cruise missile with two tires peeking out from underneath. He's lying back on a recumbent frame inside the eight-foot-long sculpted faring, squeezed so tightly into place that he can't move his head; his position resembles that of someone hiding in a pipe. The only parts of his body that can move are his legs, which madly pump the pedals to propel this thing as fast as humanly possible. Literally.

Click here to read the full article.