Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Those 3 little letters really suck, and unfortunately, I experienced them for the first time this past weekend.

Thankfully, my first DNF was at a race that I was doing purely for fun. The plan was just to get down and dirty in the mud and have a little play time on my bike. Don’t get me wrong, it still totally sucked and bummed me out completely, but it wasn’t something I had spent a year training for or paid a $500 non-refundable entry fee to or anything like that. So you know, perspective I suppose.

Anyway, this DNF that I speak of happened on Saturday at the final Cross on the Rock event - the Ricky Bobby Cameron Cross - at Western Speedway.

It was quite the ordeal to even get to the event on Saturday morning, due to the fact that I only have road shoes and pedals and have been borrowing Kirsten’s mountain bike shoes and Shane’s mountain bike pedals for all my previous attempts at CX. Unfortunately, we discovered late Friday night that one of Shane’s pedals had seized onto his bike (nothing like leaving it to the last minute) and after many attempts to free it from his bike, many swear words uttered, one pedal wrench thrown, and even some bruised and cut knuckles, that thing wasn’t budging. So we went to bed.

When I got up Saturday morning, we made one last futile attempt to free Shane’s pedal from his bike. It did not work. My new plan was either to try to ride in my road shoes or borrow some flat pedals from my parents. Then Kirsten came through and said she could meet me at the speedway with her mountain bike pedals. The only problem now was a lack of time. I had pretty much already missed the ‘beginner pre-ride clinic’ but still had a shot at making the actual beginner race.

With about 15 minutes to spare, we made it to Western Speedway, got Kiki’s pedals on my bike, paid my registration fee, attached my number and headed down to the track to see if I could get a bit of a pre-ride in. I made it about 1/3 of the course before the announcer called for the beginners to meet at the start line.

I realized at that point how excited I was to race and give a good effort out on the frosty, muddy course.

The first stretch of the course was on the race track and through the grassy parts of the pit area before taking to the motocross track behind the oval. MUD PIT! It was sooo much fun! Some of the hills were a little scarier to descend than I expected (they look a lot bigger when you are cresting the top of them then they do from the stands) and I nearly crashed once or twice, but I was loving it. Even with the taste of dirt on my teeth, all was good.

As we came off the motocross track and back into the grassy parts of the oval, I made a bit of a mistake by not attempting to bunny hop a curb. I thought it was rather rounded and I could just ride over it, but unfortunately, I was wrong (or so I think, not 100% sure if that was the cause of what came next, but I have my suspicions). About 5-10 seconds later, my tire was flatter than flat. I had a fleeting thought that I should just keep going on my rim, but didn’t want to risk ruining it, and so with that I walked the rest of the course, back to the finish area to let the timers know I was out.

I should have attempted to change my tube, but realized in my panic to even get to the track that morning that I didn’t bring one that was the right size and just thought it would be a waste of time and a perfectly good tube. So, yep, after all it took to get there that morning, I got to ride almost one lap, and was done. DNF. Lame.

The day was not over though!

Next on the docket was the Gunner Shaw Memorial 10K Cross Country Classic at Thetis Lake. While I like this race and the giant puddles, and the lake finish (the lake finish is my favourite in fact), admittedly, I wasn’t super amped to be running it. I think I just wanted to keep riding my bike.

So, with this less than motivated attitude, I decided I wasn’t going to attempt to ‘race’ this event, but was just going to go out and try to run steady, have fun and enjoy myself.

After a short warm up (that consisted of running to and from the bathroom at the dog beach with Kirsten), it was time to go. It was cold, but it wasn’t snowy like last year, so that was nice.

My lungs burned with the cold air and I pushed myself – but not too hard. The puddles were awesome and muddy and somewhat smelly and overall, it was fun. But yep, I definitely didn't have much killer instinct to want to go out and run hard. So with that, I accomplished my last minute ‘goals’ - I found a steady pace and just cruised along and enjoyed myself (for the most part). Of course there were a few moments where I was cursing my decision to do the race (on the really big uphills probably) but overall, I had fun. [Fun seems to be my “word of the day” for this blog post, doesn’t it?]

Admittedly, I dogged it a bit on the last three hills and probably could have been slightly faster, but it was what it was and I wasn't too upset about not going out and trying to kill it. Oh, and I eeked out a PB over last year too, so that was a nice surprise.

Otherwise, training continues to tick along. Ironman and NZ are looming in my mind at all times….

Monday, November 14, 2011

Vegas, Yoga and Iron-Nightmares ~ Oh My!

Well, as is usual in my blog cycle, there has been a bit of a lull since my last post.

That said, I feel like it was with good reason this time around ~ a Vegas vacation!

It was planned way back in July, Shane and I would jet off to Vegas with our good friends, Sean and Kelly (not coach Kelly, but ‘Sweet-Kel’ Kelly), for our first taste of Sin City, in between my yoga training weekends. After we booked our flights, I kind of put the adventure out of my mind and didn’t really even start thinking about it again until a few weeks before our departure date, when Sean contacted me about booking a hotel. It was like, “Oh yeah, Vegas. Right.”

I usually research and read and plan for trips, but with Vegas, every time I started doing any sort of reading I just got completely overwhelmed, and so, I headed to “The Entertainment Capital of the World” with very little knowledge or expectation. I knew I wanted to see a Cirque show and I knew I wanted to go for a run along the Strip, and that was about it.

Arrival in Sin City. Matching sweaters, matching hats.

What a crazy land of EXCESS. It was fun, but it was exhausting. We walked, we shopped, Shane gambled, (I played roulette once, won $50 and cut my losses), we ate, oh and did I mention we walked? We saw a Cirque show (two, in fact) and I got in not one, but two “early” morning runs along the strip.

Frrrrozen Hot Chocolate - Sooo Goood!

Walking + Taking Photos = This Masterpiece

I imagine that only in Vegas can you be running along, and in the short span of an hour:

1) High five two drunk guys with guitar shaped drinking glasses who have obviously not been to bed yet (and feel like you totally made their day with a simple high five).

2) In the next block, have Elmo cheer you on and fake run beside you.

3) Shortly after, have a 300-pound(ish) drag queen with sparkly boob tassels (and a very big tummy) actually run with you for a block. (It may have just about killed him).

4) Capped off with a lovely serenade from Elvis.

Not my Running Drag Queen friend, but he may have been this sparkly.

I may have done some running, but this is about as close as I came to swimming.

All in all, it was a pretty fun experience. Crazy, but fun.

Upon our return, it was back to work for two days before getting nailed with a cold just in time for the Remembrance Day long weekend and the Thetis Lake relay.

Friday morning I woke up feeling like death. Like DEATH I tell you! But, I figured the run at Thetis might help loosen things up and make me feel better – and it was a relay, so I couldn’t really not do it, and let down team tskk-tskk (Tyler, Shane, Kirsten, Karyn – creative, non?).

In the moment, the run, it did not help. It was possibly the worst run around Thetis I’ve ever had. I walked – and not just on the big hills at the end – and felt like every part of my body that is not supposed to cramp, cramped. It hurt, and not in a “hurts-soo-good” way.

Thankfully, my teammates (ahhh, family) realized it was all just for fun and they didn’t hold my slow time against me… and we still managed a 3rd place finish in the ‘Family’ division. Mind you, if I had run like I know I can, we would have got 2nd. Next time I suppose, next time.

Following the relay it was time for Yoga Teacher Training. I didn’t know how I was going to make it through a full weekend of YTT feeling like I did, but thankfully we did a tonne of gentle restorative style classes and I awoke Saturday morning feeling quite a bit better. There is something to this yoga thing afterall ;) Oh, and I even nailed my “mid-term stances” exam on Sunday! Yay me!

Of other note, I’ve returned to the world of being a coached athlete and will be back training under Kelly’s (not Vegas Kelly) guidance from now through NZ.

I feel an odd sense of relief not having to worry about coming up with my own training schedule and knowing there will be someone there to hold me accountable to skipped workouts, etc. (Not that I really ever skip workouts, but if I did, well, you know).

Although, happy in my decision to be coached again, oddly enough, I had my first ever Ironman nightmare last night. WTF?

I didn’t have an Ironman nightmare in my entire lead up to IMC 2010 and yet, last night, I tossed and turned as I dreamt about not packing my transition bags and special needs bags correctly and not getting to the start line on time because I was dealing with these effing bags. Feck. IMC 2012 is still 285 days, 14 hours and change away and I’m already having nightmares? So much for it “not feeling quite so scary” this time around.

Also, I saw this photo today. I love it.

My new mantra perhaps?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November 1

Two years ago today when I opened my training calendar, I saw the first “official” workouts posted for Ironman Canada 2010. It would be another 10 months and approximately 357 completed workouts posted on that training calendar before I got to August 29, 2010.

So yeah, November 1, 2009 was the ‘official’ start date on my Ironman training calendar. At that time, Sunday August 29, 2010 seemed so far away and yet loomed so huge on my mind. Pain from my PE still lingered and I’d just come off of two weeks with barely any exercise following surgery.

[I can’t believe it has been two years since I started training for my first Ironman!]

Anyway, this year, things have been different and I imagine will remain that way… but probably only slightly.

August 26, 2012 still seems so far away (298 days, 16 hours, 1 minute and 24 seconds at the time I started writing this to be exact) and I still expect it will be an epic adventure, yet, somehow it just doesn’t feel quite so scary. Maybe it is because it all doesn’t feel quite so ‘unknown’. Maybe it is because I also have NZ to look forward to as well, so IMC won’t be my sole focus. Maybe, maybe, maybe, but who really knows?

I do know what has been different though.

I haven’t had to take any time off. I’ve been healthy and feeling fit and, sure, I’ve taken some time to just do what I feel like (and maybe gained a pound or two), but I haven’t been forced to take 2 weeks off to sit on my butt and recover.

Also, my approach to training over the last little while has been a little different. After taking much longer just “doing what I feel like” than I had originally planned, I started writing out more concrete training weeks for myself and Shane and have been plugging away at a more structured workout regime since early October.

It is strange writing my own calendar and I am quickly realizing how much I depend on Kelly and enjoy having someone else writing my schedule for me. I tend to second guess myself a lot and worry that I am missing some crucial step in the training process.

That said, I’m getting reacquainted with the bike trainer and two-a-day workouts. My gloves and long sleeved running shirts have been dug out from the bottom of my dresser drawers and in my mind, my Ironman year has begun – and I’m really looking forward to it!

Next on the calendar is the Thetis Lake Relay with Kirsten, Shane and Tyler and then either the Gunner Shaw Memorial 10k or the Cross on the Rock finale ~ or (if I can swing it) both!

So, here’s to another exciting year of training!

[I’m realizing I count November to August as a year. Do other people look at their calendar based on Ironman Year vs. Non-Ironman Year? Or better yet Tri-Season vs. oh, I dunno, Weight-Gain Season?]