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?