Monday, October 31, 2011


Wishes you a very Spooktacular Halloween.
[He is not amused]

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

“I just wish I could teleport across the water.”

I often wish I could teleport (I mean, who doesn’t?). Of course, this dream of teleportation usually comes when I’m stuck in traffic or don’t feel like driving home after work or a night in town or something of the sort (yep, it’s mainly when I’m driving. I hate driving. Why don’t I ride my bike more?). That said, I don’t think I’ve ever wished I could teleport when I’ve been outside, especially when it is a beautifully crisp, sunny autumn day.

But it happened. “I just wish I could teleport across the water” was my thought yesterday as I peered across the harbour to the general area where my work – and the end of my run – was located. Usually, my lunch runs are great, but for some reason, yesterday was just awful.

It started positive enough, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and while my legs felt a little heavy, I figured once I got moving they would be fine.

My intention was a little fartlek workout that would take me for a few loops through the general Selkirk area, across the trestle and along the Gorge waterfront, before crossing back over the blue bridge and heading back to my desk for a few hours.

On my first “effort” I knew it was going to be a tough one. My legs were barely turning over and everything felt tense from my shoulders right down to my toes.

I pushed through the first ¾ of the fartlek work I had planned out, but as I crossed the trestle and turned to go up a little hill, my legs just gave up. (Ok, well, maybe it wasn’t my legs so much as it was my head). I then did something I rarely ever do. I stopped. Looked at my watch, walked to the top of the hill and knew there wouldn’t be any more “efforts” happening on this day. I felt absolutely cooked. My thought of “I just wish I could teleport across the water” hit me.

Star = Site of Teleportation Dreams

Of course, I didn’t want to end on such a bad note, so I decided just to find a comfortable pace and finish off the run as positively as I could. As I neared the blue bridge and knew my run was coming to an end, my dreams of teleportation slowly faded. I now just wanted to stay outside and play in the sunshine all afternoon. Fickle or what?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Happy Place

Recently I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic about our impromptu trip to Maui last November, and in a strange way I actually think it might have something to do with all the yoga and meditation I’ve been doing lately.

[Of course, it could be partially due to the fact that not only is it the 2011 XTERRA World Championships this weekend, but Kelly is also there to race (I think), two co-workers are planning trips to ‘the Valley Isle’ in the new year, and I have another friend who just returned!]

Anyway, back to my original thought on the meditation, etc…

In my Yoga Teacher Training class we usually do a few different guided meditations throughout the weekend. Recently two different meditations stood out for me – one was a “pebble” meditation and the other was a “tropical island” meditation (of course, sitting here in this moment, I can’t actually remember what they were called). Anyway, getting to my point (or trying to), realistically, these two meditations were fairly different, yet, in my attempt to quiet my mind, I went to the same ‘happy’ place during each of these meditations.

And where did I ‘go’ you ask?

Well, the Kihei Aquatic Center of course.

(not what you were expecting eh?)

Thinking of that wonderful outdoor pool makes me feel all warm inside, and well, just plain happy too. I seem to have no problem visualizing myself floating in the crystal clear (and chlorinated) water. I can easily picture the sun sparkling through the water as it breaks the surface…. I suppose I just find there to be something so magical about an outdoor competition pool and since the Kihei pool is my only first had experience with a large outdoor pool, well, it becomes my happy place.

Anyway, my workout at the lovely Kihei pool in Maui last year was one of my absolute favourite moments of the trip and one of my all-time favourite workouts. I absolutely loved swimming laps – full laps – without a roof over my head. It was so great to feel the sun’s warmth on my face as I caught glimpses of palm trees in my peripheral - and I didn't even have to worry about sharks!

So, umm, is it weird that a swimming pool is my happy place?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

RVM Spectator Report and Condo Cross ‘Race’ Report

Gosh, so, the Thanksgiving weekend came and went… FAST!
(I really can’t believe it is already Thursday, in mid-October. Yikes).

Anyway, I held strong and did not end up entering the Victoria Marathon at the last minute (however, I did enjoy the expo – but alas, no free hair elastics this year). On race day, course conditions were pretty perfect, and well, I probably should have raced (and kind of wish I had), but I didn’t, so it’s time to move on.

That said, I did fill my role as clothing sherpa pretty well I think. I spectated, I cheered (and cowbelled) and hopefully even put a smile or two on a few people’s faces.

I opted not to bring my bike down, realizing it would be more of a hassle then it was worth. I also, unfortunately, forgot my carefully prepared 'spectator race plan' spreadsheet at home with the course map. Luckily I’ve run this event a few times, so I still knew what spots to hit (and when to hit them).

We (me, Shane, the rest of the fam) got into town with about 30’ to go before race start and began the 10min-ish walk from my parking spot, along the waterfront, to the race-day madness and the start line.

Kirsten of course had to pee. So we all waited while she stood in the porta-potty line. We saw a few other runners we knew, chatted… and waited.

About 5’ before the start, Shane seemed to be getting a bit anxious, so the two of us walked over to the start line. I ran into my friend Erin (haven’t seen her since her return from Paris). Gave hugs and wished Shane good luck, before running back to find the rest of my family and get the remainder of their warm clothes to put in the bag.

And just like that, they were off… (and so was I).

Since “Spectator Reports” are probably kind of boring, the quick and dirty is this…

I dashed from the 1k mark to 6k. Since there is a nice loop through the park, I also got to see 8k and then made my way up to 17k. Here I saw Kirsten and Shane. They were both moving much quicker than I had anticipated, so I then busted my ass to run (read: sprint!) back to the finish line (approximately 2km away), where about 60 seconds after arriving (and breaking into a massive amount of sweat), I heard Kirsten’s name over the loud speaker!

A quick congrats to her as she made her way through the finish chute to the food tent and then before I knew it, Shane was crossing the line too! For his first half marathon, he did AMAZING! So awesome. Like, I’m kind of pissed at him he did so well (just joking of course).

Next came Dad, then Mom (and a few others we knew in between) and before I knew it, the race was done and my duties as pack-mule were complete.

And yeah, my family totally and completely rocked it.

It was a great morning, that saw new PBs set (Kirsten, Shane, Dad - and I’m sure plenty of others) and course records broken, followed by a great evening of delicious food and many reasons to be thankful.

Monday was race day for me and my first actual Cyclocross race – the Condo Cross at Topaz Park.

What to say.

Well, first, CX is SO.MUCH.FUN! And hard. Like, really hard.

As for the race, well, in short, I accomplished my goals of not finishing last and not getting lapped by the leader – woo hooo!

Now, the long version…

I got to the park fairly early to do a beginner’s clinic. Really, that meant I got to ride the course once with a bit of instruction from one of the guys who has been doing this whole CX thing much longer than me (which doesn’t take much considering this was only my second cross ride ever). I think I picked up a few good little pointers and by the time the beginner women’s race rolled around, I was 2 parts nervous and 1 part raring-to-go.

The beginner women’s race started one minute after the beginner men’s race and was 3 laps. Each lap was about 2.5-3k. I started out really tentative, and just kind of let half of the field get away from me (there were only 11 of us beginner ladies). I don’t love having other people right around me and didn’t want to crash into anyone, so, admittedly, I was just being a big old wuss.

As the first lap progressed, I started to get a bit more confident. I started to push a little harder and my lungs started to burn.

Then came a nice technical section, and my first wipeout. It happened so fast, I’m not entirely sure what actually happened, but what I think, went something like this…

I was excited to be gaining on other people (I think I had actually just passed one?), which also made me really nervous. It my excitement/panic, I did not take the corner properly and totally forgot that the uphill and corner combo I was now coming into pretty much doubled-back on itself (hard to explain).

[I think] my tire turned sideways and I went over the handlebars. I landed flat out in a belly flop on the side of the hill. My shoes came unclipped in the crash so I was able to pop back up in about 0.001 of a second (this had nothing to do with my total embarrassment for my massive bail), run to the top of the hill and try to get back on my bike to keep going. My parents, who were watching, may have a different version of events.

After that first crash, I wasn’t really afraid of wiping out anymore. My bike was still working, and I didn’t hurt anything (although I do have some pretty glorious bruises now). So, the next two laps, I totally pushed harder, definitely gaining confidence on each one.

I had a few more minor spills (nothing as spectacular as the first one) mainly due to pushing too hard into corners and not really thinking about the degree of corner that was coming up.

I managed to catch and pass two women (well, one woman, one young girl) in front of me (and one guy – although, he was like 12 years old, so let’s maybe not talk about that) and just really had a blast.

By the time I finished, my legs were screaming and my lungs were burning, but it felt oh-so-good.

I had a really great time, and honestly think that if I wasn’t such a big chicken at the start, and rode all 3 laps like I did the final one, I would have been closer to the front… Something to strive for next time I suppose.

My only disappointment with the day is that I didn’t discover cross racing earlier. The season is almost done and I’ve only just begun! (and apparently I'm a poet).

And well, I think that is that... Until next time.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Things you do when every person you know is racing, but you are not…

1) Reformat the blog, over and over and over and over....
I think I finally like this look. I think. Ahhh, who am I kindding, I am not totally sure. It is a work in progress at this point. I welcome feedback.

2) Devise a “Spectating Race Plan” in Excel and email to race participants for feedback.
[Yes, I really did this, see picture below. Oddly, I have not received any feedback from said race participants. What up with that?]

3) Carbo-load… because, well, why not? It is race week afterall.

4) Make a first attempt at Cyclocross.
[SO MUCH FUN! I was super slow (but not dead last, maybe second or third to last) but never crashed and really just had trouble wiping the smile off my face. Second attempt at CX is this coming Monday, and then third attempt on Wednesday night. Maybe I can move up to fourth or fifth from last, haha. If you don’t know what Cyclocross is, check out the video below.]

5) Have an awesome tempo run on Tuesday night.
[I headed out on an ‘out and back’ route after work on Tuesday night that I haven’t run in a while. In the past, this route would take me about 45’. On Tuesday I felt super relaxed and strong and my legs were just ticking. I made it back to the finish in about 37’ feeling awesome – and with that, I found my proof. I really did get faster this season.]

6) Carbo-load.

7) Read other blogs from people racing this weekend and get exceedingly more jealous.

8) Go to the race Expo to pick up your husband’s race package (because it would just feel wrong not to pick up a race package this weekend), renew Canadian Running subscription at the Expo (it’s tradition) and hopefully get some free Goody Stayputs (also tradition, plus, I desperately need some new elastics, but hate buying them).

9) Try to remember there is a reason you have decided not to race this weekend and stay strong in that decision.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Who’s tapering?

As mentioned in my last update, I have finally made a decision about October 9th and the Victoria Half Marathon. At the time, I mentioned my decision involves cowbell, and that I was not yet regretting the decision.

Some things have stayed the same. Some things have changed.

What has not changed is the cowbell. I have decided to sit the race out this year and I am sticking to that decision (no matter how incredibly hard it may be to stand on the sidelines this Sunday). My role will be that of "clothing sherpa" for all of my family members who are running, and also “number one cheerleader” (this is a self-appointed title of course).

What has changed is the regret. I am definitely starting to feel a little envious of everyone as they head into their taper week and gear up for the big day.

I’m really going to miss going to pick up my race packet and wander through the expo (although, I will still go to the expo, it just won’t be the same). No doubt, I will miss the nervous excitement as race day approaches and the pre-race carbo-load. Heck, I’ll even miss the achy legs on Sunday evening post-race.

That said, I do believe I have made the right decision.

Something that helped me with this decision was a pretty good chat I had with Kelly about a month ago. With his help, I was able to weigh the pros and cons of doing the race this year. It was close, but in the end, the fact that my desire to race wasn’t there and my heart wasn’t truly in it, won out. I don’t have to do something just because I’ve always done it, right?

Now, all that said, during this conversation, one thing that came up was the fact that I feel pretty confident that I could go out and run a PB at this race (which is definitely one of the reasons the decision to NOT race is so soo hard). Deep in my gut, I know I could go faster than last year.

So why don’t I run? Why don’t I prove it?

I've been asking myself this question a lot, but I suppose it comes down to the fact that I don’t feel like I need to prove it to myself... and why should it matter to anyone else? My goal for this past season was to get faster. I accomplished that and with this accomplishment came renewed confidence in my ability. I think that is a pretty good thing.

Also, I feel like by sitting this race out and watching, by allowing the envy and excitement to fill my body, my desire to get back into a regular training routine will be sparked.

Make sense? I dunno, I guess I’m just rambling now.

So, long story short, if you are running any event (8k, Half, Full) at the Victoria Marathon this weekend, look for me on the sidelines! I’ve recruited a small gaggle of girls (and possibly Ash) to join me. There will be cowbell, lots of WOO-WOOs and even perhaps some pom-poms and foam fingers. Yeah, that’s right – foam fingers!

Soooo, in closing... GOOD LUCK to all the lucky folks who are racing this weekend!!!!

p.s. As a major aside, the recent decision by the IAAF to only recognize women's marathon world records when set in all-women competitions is absolutely crazy to me (you can view a couple article’s about this here and here). I think it is awful that they can suddenly decide Paula Radcliffe’s world record is no longer that.

Maybe I don’t truly understand the rules around pacers, but my initial reaction is that this completely belittles her accomplishments, and in doing so, also sends a bad message to women in sport.

It simply just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

That said, I'm a good listener, so if anyone has a good argument for why this is a great new rule, please feel free to shed some light on it for me.