Monday, April 28, 2014

My IronHeroes

Ironman isn't easy. Getting to the start line is time consuming, costly and downright tiring some days – and while it may be an individual sport, it is one that I've learned really cannot be done alone.

We've all read the posts and articles about the people behind the scenes that make it happen. We all have them. Those wonderful individuals that allow us – the sometimes selfish, training obsessed triathlete – to be able to get in the miles, work a full time job and still (mostly) function as a ‘normal’ human being. They make it easier to get to the start line, prepared and ready to tackle a life changing event.

For me and Shane, the two people who allow us to do what we do, and support us with so much unconditional love day in and day out, are my parents.

Sharon and Mike, Mike and Sharon – easily the greatest Ironman sherpas and supporters that could ever exist. Without them, I don't know what we'd do.

As training has ramped up lately, and schedules have changed in our household, it feels like we've been leaning on my parents a lot more than normal. In fact, some weeks it feels like Rusty spends just as much time with my folks as he does with us! (Which I'm sure he loves, as he never gets hot dogs at home, haha).

This past Saturday, they outdid themselves. Shane and I had a 150km bike on the agenda, but we also had a 2nd birthday party to attend for our friend's little guy in the morning that we didn't want to miss (2 is a big deal and you know, we like to try and remain somewhat social so all of our friends don't think we've completely disappeared).

This meant that we dropped the Rustbeast off with my parents around 10am, headed to the party for a couple hours (where I stuffed my face with awesome training fuel of Thomas the Tank Engine cupcakes and other party treats) before eventually saddling up on our bikes around 1:00 to start our ride.

For me, starting a 6+ hour bike ride at 1:00 in the afternoon is not really ideal, but you do what you gotta do.

It was a tough ride that saw us battling a pretty fierce headwind for the last 65-70km. Mentally and physically drained by the time we arrived home, my parents proved once again why they are the greatest.

They had driven up to our place (which is about 20mins from their house) to bring Rusty home and cook us a huge feast! Oh, and on top of that, my Mom cleaned my entire kitchen! Cupboards, toaster, range hood, you name it; it was clean. Cleaning is something that has been sorely neglected over the last little while, so it was no small task.

[Side note: who else lives in a filthy cesspool while IM training? Please say Shane and I aren’t the only ones].

While it wasn't a total surprise as we knew they were going to be coming up to our house with the pooch, it was still the most incredible and awesome treat to be able to finish a wonky training day and come home to a warm house, smiling faces and yummy food.

I am forever grateful for their love and support, and only hope that one day I can be as awesome as they are.

I love you Mom & Dad.

And on that note… some more #100happydays

Day 9
Soaking up the sunbeam before work.
My ability to almost always have inappropriate socks on when trying on dresses.
 Day 10
Coffee with an old acquaintance turned new friend.
Also, Habit.
   Day 11
 Easter treats at work. 
Day 12
Kirsten getting her stagette weekend started!
 Day 13
While the fact that everyone was sleeping after a night of hard partying didn't make me happy, I really like the composition of this photo, so that made me happy. 
The dog 'big air' competition in Whistler.
Check out that crazy mutt almost doing a back flip.
 Day 14
[oops, not a single photo was taken this day... but I swear there were happy moments]

Day 15
Rusty, cruising with his head out the window. Ears and jowls flapping in the wind. 
 Day 16
Quiet sidewalks and cherry blossoms on the stroll to work.
  Day 17
Extending my morning commute to take in the beautiful views, and seeing the signage already up in anticipation of the weekend's TC 10km
Springtime in Victoria!
Totem poles...
...and more tulips.
  Day 18

Jeans Day!
 Day 19
Always thankful and happy to be rocking my Road ID.
  Day 20
Catching Shane coming out of the A&W on our long bike ride on Saturday and the devious joy on his face.
  Day 21
Getting ready to run the TC 10km with my Dad. 
 Day 22
Is it weird that a pile of clean Tupperware makes me happy?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Blue Skies Above

Glorious sunny days filled with activity = one very sore, but happy triathlete.

This weekend was Spring! Mother Nature listened to my plea last week for a dry day of biking and delivered with two of the best weekend days we've had in a while. It was sunny. It was warm. The wind was calm and life & training were feeling good.

The previous weekend I really struggled through training. As per usual, Saturday called for a long swim and bike, followed by a long run on Sunday, and while I know we are all entitled to ‘off’ days, they can still be a bit of a bummer. I felt clunky and tired on the bike, then sore and low-energy the next day on the run. It certainly wasn't the worst weekend of training I've ever had, and I was actually pretty happy with myself for how I handled it mentally (as in, I knew it would pass and better days were surely ahead) but it still isn't the most fun to force yourself through a less than joyous “gotta get it done” weekend.

The week following was a little bit of a ‘regeneration’ week (yay!), and while I felt pretty tired at the start of it, things began clicking and falling back into place as the week progressed. The highlight being a pretty stellar 6x 1km @ 10k RP run on Wednesday evening. With that, I could feel myself bouncing back ever so slightly.

Enter this past weekend.

Saturday we were up early to head out onto the bikes. It was a cold morning, with the night's frost still lingering on the cars, but the forecast was for sunshine and warm temperatures, so we knew we were in for a good day.

Out around Shawnigan Lake we pedaled, through Cobble Hill and then onto Hwy 1. Once on the Island Highway, we headed north. Really, it was a pretty uneventful ride (which I think is always a good thing). The pace was comfortable but not easy and the time flew by for me. I had some weird achiness in my hips that I could have lived without, but it wasn't anything that ruined the ride for me.

Before I knew it, we were at the Nanaimo airport (and the 70km mark in our journey) and it was time to turn around.

The way back was just as good as the first half. My pace was consistent throughout and the sun continued to shine.

The worst part of the ride was the nearly 5km of climbing we had to do right at the end to get back to our house. I should be used to this by now, as any ride that starts and ends at home has a pretty big hill to tackle, but it certainly wasn't my favourite part of Saturday's ride. That said, I'm sure it was good for me.

Saturday afternoon was spent running a couple errands and chilling at home with Shane and the pooch. I was supposed to swim, but the lure of the sun soaked couch and time with my two favourite guys won out. So I skipped it, comforted by the false promise to myself that I would swim the next day after my run (spoiler alert: that did NOT happen).

Sunday morning was another early one that saw Kirsten and me meeting up with the Trail Guys for a jaunt around Gowlland Tod Park.

A 35km road run was on the schedule, but we both decided we needed a change of pace, location and scenery and that the trails were calling our name. As such, we decided to do a time based run in the hills. 35km on the road would likely take us about 3.5hrs, so that was the plan for the day.

And so, 3.5hrs(+) of up, down and all around is what we did ~ Caleb Pike, Holmes Peak, Jocelyn Peak to Mount Work and back.

By the end of the run, my legs were like Jell-O. I felt like a baby animal that was first learning to walk. The serious fatigue in my legs made it seem like every one of my stabilizer muscles completely forgot how to function (and I'd say the soreness in my legs today is a good indication that I was using some forgotten muscles yesterday). By the end, I was sweaty, dirty and tired – it was a good kind of tired though.

The afternoon was spent in the sunshine, hanging out and doing some chores. So, while the weekend was full of training, it was also pretty productive in non-triathlon areas as well (which doesn't always happen) and I can happily say, I'm feeling pretty mentally refreshed.

Here’s hoping that feeling will carry on through the week. :)

Also, to end this post off, here are more of my #100happydays.

Day 2

I know I already posted a 'Day 2' in my previous post, but that evening Shane and I rediscovered an old road/trail across the street from our place and had a glorious walk up in the hills. Oh, and I couldn't choose just one photo. Oops.

Day 3
The perfect parallel park job – on the first try! A rare happening when I’m behind the wheel.
Plus: a night out at the theatre seeing some amazing dance.

Day 4
Toot Speed. Enough said.

Day 5
Random dinosaur sighting at the mall.
Pretty much the coolest (and most unexpected) thing ever. 

Day 6
Post-ride nap time with the Colonel. Thanks to Shane for capturing this moment.
Also, pretty sure that poor Rusty woke up covered in my drool, haha.

Day 7
Summit rewards = a glorious day and some of the clearest views I've ever seen.

Day 8
A beautiful spring wander at lunch along a mostly empty causeway.
While I have nothing against tourists (as they help make our city tick), it sure is a treat to have the harbour to yourself on a sunny day. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I recently started following Erin’s blog (Sweet Sweat Life) and was really touched by her most recent post.

[Also, I have to admit, I did a lot of whining about the rain this weekend, and reading that it is still snowing in Minnesota (and various other parts of Canada and the US) I feel little bit guilty. I promise, there will be no whining this coming Saturday if I wake up to rain… but, Mother Nature, please oh-pretty-please can we have a dry day for biking?]

I haven't necessarily been feeling any less happy or more happy than normal lately, but I really love the idea of 100 Happy Days and thought it would be fun to participate in it (in my own way) leading up to Coeur d’Alene (which is only 82 days away ~ yowza).

So, for the next 100 days, I’m going to attempt to post my Happy Days photos here on the blog. I likely won’t post a new photo every day, but I do vow to take one every day and then will aim to post once a week(ish) – so kinda like a weekly recap of happiness. That sounds pretty fun eh?

I took my first photo yesterday. It was an easy one. The little Rustbeast makes me smile every day.

Day 1
Rusty ripping up the tracks with a wee stick he found, on a beautiful Spring evening.

Day 2
Walking to work this morning, the sky may have been grey, but the pop of colour from the theatre’s garden definitely put a smile on my face.