Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Spring Fever!!

It's official -- Every living thing in my household has spring fever. My animals are shedding at different rates, but the fur is flyin' all the same. My two cats have been loving the couple of days of nice weather. They are so frisky and run around the yard and zip up and down the trees in the front yard. Just now, Peanut made this God-awful yowl and sprinted around the living room. I opened the front door and she just took off like a bullet!! LOL!!

My swimming is slowly coming along. Charmaine gave me even more helpful advice yesterday. She said, "It's all coming back to me now" -- all her years of training and drills and such. Yesterday, she had me swimming along beside her for ten lengths without kicking and without a pool buoy, trying to keep pace with her (Yeah right!!! LOL!!!). She told me to keep saying to myself "Stretch and lean." I am still amazed at how these little tweaks leave me so exhausted. Just by concentrating on my swimming in this way I used muscles I never really used to capacity. My side stomach muscles throbbed after that measly 200m!!! And so did my poor little arms. Charmaine was telling me I was a bicep swimmer but I am really a tricep swimmer and she is going to help me change that!!

Needless to say, I was grinning like a mad fool all day long. I feel so lucky to have had great people come into my life!! :) :) :) My friend Cath in England is an incredible swimmer as well and her advice has lifted my meager swimming skills to another level. She has also swam beside me and around me, analyzing my swimming style. The way she explains things is like a true teacher. With Cath, I finally "got it." AND she is just most awesome person you will ever meet -- friendly, positive, outgoing, honest, everything!! (OK,I miss my bud!!) Can you imagine how wonderful it would be if all us tri-bloggers got together??? I think I would explode from all the positive energy!! :) :):):)

OK -- I know I have spring fever too!

I haven't rode outside yet this year and I am cutting it close because my first race is in Lethbridge on May 11!!! I haven't wanted to disconnect my bike from the CT on the one or two nice days we've had because I'd have to fart around to hook it back up afterwards. I know this is a terribly lame excuse but technology and me have a pendulous love/hate relationship dynamic. Unlike Susi and her gerbil, I cannot quell my exasperation when my DVD player, or computer, or my CT does not work. I get so worked up -- I can feel the frustration bubbling up inside me -- Just like the feeling of rising panic when I am in the hot and sticky change room after a swim and I try to put my spandex sports bra on. It gets all rolled up somehow and I contort my arms and back like an epileptic just trying to pull the damn thing down!!!! This is the feeling I get when I have to set up my Computrainer. LOL!!

Mind you, I did set it up all myself when I first received it. This was a huge deal for me. Despite a number of setbacks and a few hours on the phone with technical support -- I managed to ward off a full-blown triathlon drama melt-down!! The big problem (I am red-faced) I had plugged one cord into the wrong hole. Eeeeeeep.

So... I really, really, really don't want to unplug and disconnect my bike from the CT until nice weather is here to stay. Wimpy? Yes. Something else to work on and improve? Definitely. Something to work on this year? Umm-- no. After all, I need a good problem to solve for my 2009 New Year's resolution!! LOL!!! :) :) :)

Back to my first race on May 11 -- this will be my second one done solo without family or friends in attendance. My first solo race was the Osoyoos 1/2 IM, and I actually had a great time. I felt a strange sense of pride being all beat up after the race but stoically packing my bike and gear into my car all by myslef after the race. :) :) The race also felt intensely personal -- much more than when I've had my family there. It felt like a personal triumph -- I was racing FOR myself. I'm going to have to leave it there because I am having trouble finding the right words to express how I feel today. I'll leave it to Susi-- help me out, Susi!! I know you can articulate what I am trying to say!! :) :)

Has anyone else ever raced solo, and if you have, how did you feel about it? :) :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thanks for the Love!!

Wow!! Thanks guys, for all the blogger love on my b-day!! :) :) :) :) :)

After I blogged, I went on the Lizard Creek Lodge website and discovered it will be closed until May 2. So, Mike took me out locally last night to a new pad called the Tin Roof. It's a definite anomaly here in the Pass -- nice restaurant, Banff prices. We had a great time!! :)

Also, because it was my birthday, I felt a proper indulgence was necessary. WARNING!! The following may gross you out so be prepared... I opened up a Swiss chocolate cake mix and made sure to leave a heaping pile of the batter in the bowl. I then plunked down on the couch with my bowl and spatula and watched a movie. Mike was so grossed out -- "That's not healthy," he said. "There are raw eggs in there." Mmmmmmmmmmmm I know and it tasted great!! Until I got to the bottom of the bowl that is. Errrrppp. Let's just say I jet-propelled my way through my bike workout yesterday. And, I had to promise Mike that I "would NEVER, EVER, EVER" eat that much raw cake batter again!! LOL!!!!!!

My legs were a wee bit fresher than last week's Thursday bike workout, but I still had a hard time on the last set. I was so happy to finish it! This morning I had an epic workout of 20 x 100 all on 15 sec rest. OMG -- I thought I was going to die. I was really panting for air and every time I would stop, somebody would try and talk with me!! LOL! I only had 15 sec to recover and I thought, Oh Man, please don't talk to me!! LOL!! Right after swimming, I went for my run with tempo workout and had to bail on my usual core work. Busy, busy, busy today!! I'll try to get a bit of core in after work tonight.

Have a great weekend everyone!! :) :) :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Earth Day in the Crowsnest Pass?

I carry my water bottle with me everywhere I go. Even when I go to Timmy's for coffee with my Dad. Normally I have it filled, but yesterday I asked the lady at the counter if she would fill it for me. My Dad and I moved over to the side to wait for our two coffees and my water. The lady turned on the faucet at the little side sink and just let it run while she took another order. I stood there staring at the all this water blasting down the sink, feeling guilty because it was my fault!!

Then, when our two coffees were ready, I noticed how our coffees were in plain Tim Horton's paper cups, but she had given us two roll up the rim cups as well. What the heck is the point of this?? Why not just give us our coffees in the roll up the rim cups? Of course, then I started looking around the joint and saw that everyone had double the cups. I have no idea why this Tim Horton's does this -- it's like people can't wait to drink their coffee, they have to drink their coffee while they roll up the rim. Only in the Pass, I tell you...

So, after I did my part for the environment (LOL!!!!!!) I had a great 60 min. run with strides. I was so pleased because I didn't have droopy eyelids after the morning's swim!! YAY!! I was tired mind you, and there was a definite disconnect between what my brain told my legs to do and what my legs actually did, but all in all it was great!! LOL!

Wednesdays have become super speed day. Yesterday morning there was speed work -- lots of speed and lots of porn star panting at each end of the pool. 8 sets of 5 x 20 on 10 sec rest with 100 ez between each. I am so thrilled with my progress!!! I know I am improving as I am actually finishing IG's workouts in the time allotted for them (and with room to spare!!) YAY!!! :) :):)

I popped in the hot tub afterwards (thanks for the suggestion Jenna) and it does seem to help with the ravenous hunger afterwards. Also, (nod to Keith), along with my little plastic baggies(which I reuse btw!!LOL!) of almonds and baby carrots I usually eat on the drive home, I've now added a hard boiled egg. That fends off the hunger beast for a while. :) :)

Gotta go and decide where we are going to dine tonight -- we might drive to Fernie and go to the Lizard Creek Lodge. I haven't decided yet --Happy B-day to me!! :) :)

The Big 33!!!!! :) :) :) :)

Monday, April 21, 2008

I see old people

I had a massive collision with an old fart at the pool today. This guy really pisses me off. It's not the first encounter I've had with him either. Readers of my previous posts are familiar with the layout of the Sparwood pool and how all the old people come waltzing down the wheelchair ramp and then cross the lanes to get to the deeper side of the pool for water aerobics. They ALWAYS cross in the middle of the freaking lanes!!!!! They could ease themselves in any other way but nooooo, they just assume lane swim will stop just for them. For those of you who are unfamiliar with my situation, above is a diagram I took the liberty of drawing. DISCLAIMER -- I am not an artist, diagram is not drawn to scale. LOL!!!

As you can see there is only one lane roped off. Always. Well, virtually all the time. I didn't see the guy coming -- somehow he made it past the other lanes which had three other swimmers in them today. I was in the last lane swimming my sets and very much in the zone.

I've seen this dude trying to cross lanes before too. He tries to dive down underneath the lane ropes but only manages to float along at the surface with the lane ropes skimming his back. In his attempt to get to the deep end, he kept right on floating across my lane. I swam right into him and then over top of him. I saw him get all disoriented in the water, but I was so pissed, I just kept swimming. I HATE SWIMMING IN THE LAST LANE!! AAARRRGGHH! All the oldies walk there, or float around with pool noodles between their legs. And I am always on the lookout for some dimwit walking or just stopping to chat in front of me. WTF?????? Then I get the stink eye from the oldies because I have swam into them. This bunch in Sparwood are the most disrespectful group of seniors I have ever met in my life -- and believe me, I have met a lot. OK, I can't brand them ALL as evil -- there are just a core group of them that are real stinkers. I often wonder why they can't make the parallel as to what they would do if I just jumped into the middle of the deep end and started swimming amongst them in the middle of a water aerobics class. The crap would hit the fan I bet!!

So my focus is shot, I am mad, and I am getting angrier thinking how wrong it is that I just can't fricking swim during "Lane Swim." The old dude stayed out of the way for the rest of the time, and I ended up having a really good swim after all. But AAARRGGGHHHH!! Shouldn't someone explain to these guys pool etiquette?????

OK -- Gripe over. :) :)

Core work after, then a 2 hour rolling course bike ride. All in all -- a pretty good day. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Looong run!! :) :)

This morning I drove to Sparwood so I could do my long run with Charmaine's hubby, Stuart. Just like me and Char gabbing away in the pool, Stuart and I chatted away the entire run. I have never ran with anyone before -- let alone talk the entire way!! I found that yakking gets you out of breath faster than just running ... imagine that!! LOL!

But it was so much fun!!! I think I am really gelling to the idea of having training partners -- maybe it's because I've been so lucky at meeting great people. :) :) We ended up running 14.15 miles total I think -- I noticed my shoe pod battery died as I got in the car, so I am not sure when it conked out, but we ran 2:17 nonetheless. We were evenly matched so the run was just AWESOME.

That said, the weather sucked. It snowed all day yesterday and all night last night. The temperature this morning was -11 and I was fully garbed in my heavy long johns (Sorry Jenna,I wore mine inside my tights!! LOL!!) and gloves, toque, ear warmers, and neck warmer. Imagine my surprise when I see Char's hubby come strolling up to my car sans hat or mitts. He is originally from Australia and I am thinking, "Dude. Aren't you cold??" I even offered him my ear warmers but he declined. Why do I feel like such a winter weather weenie? :) :):)

We had a fantastic conversation and solved most of the world problems today. :) Charmaine and him (and their daughter) have spent the last 5 years sailing around the world in a boat. Just the three of them. For five years. Char home-schooled her daughter throughout the voyage, and the three of them bonded in ways many families could never imagine. They even sailed to Antarctica where a miscalculation could spell death. Amazing stories!! The coolest thing is how they are transitioning to living back on land. Particularly, the observation of how you need so much stuff to live but somehow balance that need with the rampant consumerism that plagues our culture.

After our run, Stuart said, "Maybe we can run a marathon next time -- we'll just keep talking!" LOL!!! I figure all this conversing whilst running is quite beneficial for increasing my lung capacity. LOL!!

Charmaine had cut up fruit and made muffins afterwards -- she even offered the use of their shower (which I will definitely take up next time as I froze my buns off on the drive home). I stretched a tiny bit but was having so much fun talking to Charmaine that I bypassed my usual routine. We agreed we will just have to spend a whole day talking next week. LOL!!! My kind of people. :):)

Hope everyone had a great weekend! :):)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Can I start today over?

My plans for today included sleeping in -- instead I was awoken by the unmistakable sound of a cat regurgitating. As I lay in bed, I thought to myself, "Why can't they puke on the hardwood floor? Why do they always move towards the carpet?" Ahhh well. I was so bleary eyed that I ended up dumping way too much carpet cleaner on the carpet. At least it's cleaned up! I have to get up and clean it right away, otherwise one of the other animals will eat it. I discovered this one day -- I have only caught Peanut doing it once, but I'm sure they all have done it. GROSS. And then they lick my face. Nice.

Then I had an accident at the computer with my protein shake. I'm the worst person for food at the computer -- worse than a kid. We don't have television (well,we get one channel), so I watch shows via the internet. I'll eat grapefruit that squirts on the computer screen. Eeeep. The protein shake spilled all over the chair, the floor and on the printer tray. I bet you didn't know how many cracks and crevasses there are on a printer tray. And, the ground flax and wheat bran mixed in is reminiscent of actual vomit. I cleaned the little cracks with Q-tips and kept wedging in a sheet of paper towel to get into the other places. Hoping Mike won't notice... ;)

Thursday's bike workout got the best of me. I was on the last set of 3 (175 - 190W) and my legs just couldn't take it anymore. I know it was because of my swimming exertions this past week. I ended up pedaling away for the remainder of the workout, happy to have completed as much as I had. I got hit by the pain train.

Jenna -- I took your advice and popped into the hot tub after Friday's swim. And, Keith -- I took along some extra food for those extra calories I burned. Thanks guys! Sometimes it's the simplest advice that makes such a big difference! :) :)

OH--I almost forgot:

HAPPY 40th JASON!!!!!!! Wish I was there to see Cath all gussied up in high heels AND a dress!! :) :) :) :) :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Unrestricted Pain Train

I didn't realize that the pain train could hop off its tracks and find me during running and swimming workouts. HOLY CRAP!!! The li'l devil (IG) has prescribed a new (very exciting!) set of swimming workouts for me -- tailored for my lima bean pool nonetheless. My workout yesterday left me shaking, quivering, and exhausted. It was great!!! Between IG and Charmaine, my swimming workouts are an epic saga everyday:

The heroine gamely steps into the pool, ready for the workout. She knows the journey ahead will be rough and fraught with danger (old people crossing lanes) but dives in regardless.

Chapter 1: First set of 4 x 60 on 10 sec rest, followed by 200 ez pull. Swimming fast is a newly learned skill, and it is not long before her shoulders and arms start to ache. The 200 ez pull is a nice break -- our heroine finds fulfillment in the fact that instead of panting and catching her breath by the pool side, she is continuing to swim instead -- miraculously managing to recover between sets.

Chapter 2: The rest of the workout -- 6 sets of 4 x 60 on 10 sec rest, building intensity up through each set of 4. The sets get harder now and her breath is harder to catch. On the fourth and fifth sets of 60, instead of going super fast, the swimming is almost half-hearted. Her arms are throbbing, her muscles can't... put.. out...anymore. Is it possible one can forget how to swim and just drown in the middle of a workout??

Chapter 3: The Arrival of the Elderly. Water aerobics class starts and the old people crossing the lane in front of our heroine seem to take a perverse pleasure in timing their crossings. Acting affronted when they (gasp!) are splashed, and making a big show that their hair (another gasp!) is slightly wet!!

Chapter 4: The Olympian Enters the Building. The amazing Olympic water nymph enters the lane and starts swimming alongside the quickly fatiguing heroine. The nymph stops her at one point to correct her form and walks alongside until the problem is solved. Our heroine is then given another task on top of her grueling workout -- swim two more lengths under the nymph's supervision.

Chapter 5: The Final Stages. With one more set to go -- she is tuckered to the bone. Building intensity is a moot point -- it's all she can do to swim. The final 60m is a killer -- her shoulders are burning with pain and she is ready to fall asleep where she floats. Then -- it's over!!!! AAAAHHHHHHH!! Bliss!

I was so exhausted after that swim workout -- it was awesome!! Core work was next and the 3:00 front plank was the hardest one yet. I didn't want to do it. I wanted to just stop at 1:30. I was saying to myself, "I mean really, what's the big deal? 1:30 is still good. There's no sense in killing myself." But somehow I hung on until 3:00. Side plank leg lifting was next: some on my elbow and some on my hand. Did the rest of my core exercises and then had to get a wiggle on -- My stomach was GROWLING. That intense swimming workout left me famished. I normally eat a big handful of almonds and baby carrots afterward on the return drive, but that didn't even take the edge off my hunger. I was so hungry I thought I was going to get sick.

This gnawing hunger plagued me all day -- I just couldn't seem to eat enough. I was so exhausted after that swimming workout, I crashed and had to have a nap -- I was out like a light. Drool on the pillow (and not from Peanut! LOL!).

Later on was a 60 minute run with strides. My ankle is fantabulous and I made sure my sprints were on the return portion, with the wind at my back. 6.87 miles total.

This morning I got up and felt like I had been run over by a truck. I can't believe how physically demanding that swimming workout was. I guess all you swimmers out there are like, "Well, duh. Of course it is supposed to be like that!" I'm just happy I have progressed to the point where I can actually do it!! :) :):) Yipeee!! :):)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Four blizzards in one day??

Mother nature was stuck on some crazy loop today: Blizzard, then all evidence melted away and then repeat. I was biking away on my CT (Ironman Switzerland course today) and couldn't believe my eyes as I looked out the patio door. A massive amount of snow blasting sideways across the yard -- and Mandalay was still outside!! Mandalay is one of my cats and I have to pay particular attention to her. She has this blood disorder where small little red bumps appear on her skin and the itchiness drives her so crazy she licks most of her fur off. Well, just on her belly, and behind her front and back legs. The poor little thing -- it looks as though someone took a razor to her. She gets a special ear cream twice a day for the rest of her life -- I just wish that her poor fur would grow back. :(

I hopped off the bike and opened the back door, calling Mandalay to come in -- and she came barreling in. She wasn't covered in snow because she has this special hiding spot by the deck. It is the opening for the old coal chute into the basement - it's propped open a bit and is another of the million and one things we have to fix. The only thing about that special spot is that the skunks of Frank like it a lot too. Knock on wood -- Diva and Toby haven't been nailed so far this year.

We did have a couple of close calls though. The other night, I let Diva out at some ungodly hour, when suddenly the piercing smell of skunk penetrated my nostrils. Man!! That stink is so powerful it can pass through concrete. We were quickly wide awake -- Mike ran to the back door, I ran to the front and we both hollered for Diva. She same in right away and had not been skunked!! You have no idea what an ordeal it is when your animal gets sprayed by a skunk -- of course with my two girls, they always get nailed head on in the face. We have this expensive skunk stuff from the vet and it works magic. Last time Diva got hit, it was around 4:00am -- (she's got a small bladder (like me!!) and as she gets older I have to let her out more frequently) and we didn't have any skunk remover. It was miserable outside so we couldn't force Diva to stay outside all night -- so she slept inside and WHEW and HOLY MACKEREL!!!! I was sick out of my mind with this terrible head cold and even I could smell it -- although the pong distinctly reminded me of green peppers?? LOL!!

As soon as the vet's opened, Mike went to load up on some de-skunker juice. On the way, he stopped at Fas Gas to grab a coffee, and as he was adding his cream and sugar, someone piped up, "Holy S*&^! Someone smells like skunk!" LOL!! I don't know what was more terrible for Mike -- having to publicly explain about how his blind dog stumbled into a skunk and then stunk up the whole house, or the realization that he had become somewhat accustomed the stink!! LOL!!!

I was really pumped about my bike workout today -- IG is increasing my power again. Yeah, baby, yeah!! This time, the increase was not only in the duration of the individual sets, there was also an increase in the power output for the 5 minute between each set:

Total bike: 2.5 hours
Main set: 6 x 10 min @ 150-165 W/ 5 min @ 110- 120W

I have to laugh though -- when I first set up my Computrainer, the manual tells you to warm up at 150W for 10 min. I always warm it up for 10 minutes, but not anywhere near 150W. Maybe by the end of the season I'll be ready to just warm up the CT for a "real" workout? LOL!!!!

I had big plans for my pushups after the bike -- the first set I cranked out 12!! I was thrilled, thinking, oh yeah, I can do three sets of 12 this week! Then, Peanut saw me on the floor and I panicked --- I've got to do this fast because Peanut's making a beeline for my back. I could only do ten. :( Before my third set, I walked back and forth from room to room trying to lose the Nut. She finally got bored and retired to the heated bathroom floor. I could barely make it to ten for my third set. I guess my puny little arms are taking a beating from all that pool arm-twirling!! LOL!!

After all this time, I opened the front door, and what did I see????

Monday, April 14, 2008

What a difference 3 weeks make --

Three weeks ago I injured my ankle by pushing my body a bit too much. I have had a lot of time to reflect on my little setback and realize it could have been a lot worse -- stress fracture, permanent damage, etc. Once I get an idea in my head it is pretty hard to hold me back. I wanted to run more this year, so I did. I didn't have a plan, I just wanted to keep pushing myself. It was so addictive -- I would push past something I thought I couldn't do, and this fueled my desire even more. The consequences of pushing myself regardless of my body's signals were serious. You'd think I would have learned this lesson a couple of years ago when I kept catching colds and then not taking time off to get better. I kept getting sick all year long and missed weeks of training because of it.

So here I am three weeks later, a little bit more grounded (but just as exuberant) and ready to train. Yesterday the IG schedule called for a 90 minute, but as it was my second day of running, I thought 45 minutes will be OK. (I ran 30 minutes on Friday and my ankle had only protested a little). I switched back to my older-style running shoes (still brand new, just a heavier trainer) because they have a lot more support than the ones I ran in on Friday. Once my ankle is back to normal I can ease back to my other sneakers.

Well, Sunday was absolutely gorgeous -- the sun was almost blistering hot almost as soon as it came up. OK -- a slight exaggeration, but it was beautiful. Everything was lined up for a perfect day except my mood. I have been struggling with some personal life-changing stuff and when I awoke Sunday, the weight of these thoughts were oppressive. I felt weighted, dark, almost numb. It was terrible. It was one of the very few times I wasn't excited about going out for my run. I wasn't dreading it, rather I was dreading the continued feeling of dread -- and felt suffocated by it. I didn't want these terrible feelings to follow me on my run -- a run that is always so uplifting and liberating.

I waited until the afternoon so I could get as much of the heat as possible and doggedly headed out. It was so beautiful, the weather was gorgeous, the wind wasn't even bothering me, but my black mood had settled comfortably in my heart. I ran on the gravel and the dirt to soften the impact on my ankle, and continually gaged how my ankle was doing. It was feeling great -- no twinges, no protestations. Still I just felt dead inside.

As I kept running, I realized that I could probably go longer than 45 min, but I thought to myself, "Just play it cool, Julie." I was running along and I was enjoying the physical aspect of running, and decided to just run how I felt. Pretty soon,I decided that it was entirely possible for me to run the 90 minutes. My ankle was fine. By this time, the path had ended and I was heading out through town and onto the side of the highway.

I saw this punk chick walking toward me on the shoulder of the highway. She had black spiky hair, a baggy sweatshirt and jeans on. When oncoming motorcycles passed,she would give them that rocker hand sign -- you know, holding your hand up with your thumb, middle finger and ring finger tucked in, so only your forefinger and pinky are raised? I was coming up to her and suddenly something wonderful happened ...

She broke into a smile and came jogging up to me and said, "Here, give me a high five!" I laughed and smiled and happily obliged. Instantly all the blackness that was inside of dissolved. A weight truly lifted from me!! I couldn't believe it. It was like a light switch turned on inside of me and I was there -- full on! Awake and enjoying the sun, the run, and even the traffic!! I ended running the entire 90 minutes -- 9.58 miles!! Not too bad for coming back after my hiatus!! :) :) :) I learned a powerful lesson on Sunday -- not only do we have the power to poison ourselves, we also have the power to uplift and motivate others. :) :) :) :)

Onto today's workout -- I didn't get IG's schedule in time, so I did an Olympic-style workout. I swam really fast, tried kicking butterfly (although I am more like a bucking bronco!! LOL!!), and then walked a number of laps twirling my arms madly away. It's funny, when I reverse the arm-twirling, I just keep splashing myself in the face. Charmaine was in the pool again today and I asked her if it was true -- was she in the Olympics? Like all great athletes, she was very humble and bashful about it - "Yes, but it was a long time ago." Long time ago my butt, girl!! She still rocks it out in the pool!! She is actually going to be doing Wasa as a relay so I'm excited as that is another buddy I'll have there on race day!! :) :)

Core work: 3 minute plank -- sorry Susi and Chuck but I just don't have any interest in pushing past that 3 minute line!! In other plank news... I reached another milestone today for the side planks. I've wanted to do this move since I started but just was not strong enough. Today I could do it -- and kept doing it!! Here it is: you're in side plank and then you raise and lower your top leg, like leg lifts. Yee-haw!!!

Later on, I did 90 minutes on a rolling course -- I scrolled through the Computrainer's list and found a rolling course. And it WAS rolling. Up and down, up and down, up and down. Great workout and something different. :) :)

My ankle is healed and will remain that way!!!:) :) :)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Olympic Collision!!

Something happened yesterday that has never happened to me before... In fact, it may have never happened to anyone else on the planet EVER!!! I laughed so long and hard afterwards -- and everyone in the pool stopped what they were doing to come and see.

Okay, first I have to tell you about my workout. I was to swim steady for 45 minutes. Things started off well -- I was churning out lap after lap getting into the zone. I lost count a couple of times, and decided to just keep swimming. About 40 minutes into the workout I started to notice a lot of water in my ears. I could also feel something on the back of my neck. The next lap I swam, I felt like a parachute was on the back of my neck. My swim cap had blown off (all that speed, I'm sure LOL!!!) and was caught in my goggles and dragging behind my head. Of course I had to stop and fix this mess -- I probably looked like such a dork -- I don't know how long I was swimming like that! LOL!!

When I looked at my watch, I still had about 5 minutes to go. I swam a few more laps, and then did some arm twirling exercises and then some super fast kicking. It was funny, this young girl in the next lane asked me while I was kicking on the side, "Does that make your kick stronger?" I said, "I hope so!" LOL!! By this time the old folks had taken over the pool for their daily water aerobics class, so a number of us crowded into the one lane that was left. My ex-Olympian super-star swimmer had arrived by this point and we quickly settled into our routine of swimming up the right side of the lane and then coming back down the left. Very quickly, our third swimmer exited the pool and it was just the two of us. (My workout was long over, but any chance I get to swim with Char is too good an opportunity to pass up!)

Now this is the AWESOME part. I made the assumption that as there was just the two us in the lane, we would each just swim on our own side. Char made the assumption that we would continue as we were. I swam to other end of the pool and when I turned around and started swimming back, I couldn't see her at all. Meanwhile, Char had started swimming butterfly and didn't see me. The 2 lifeguards and the swimmer who had just left our lane could see what was happening and waited for the collision. Now -- what happened next was a strange combination of luck, weirdness, and perfection. There I am swimming front crawl at Char, and there is Char swimming butterfly at me. At this one precise moment, just when my left arm came up to take a stroke, Char's arms came up in her butterfly stroke. We were both underwater when our armpits locked and we both stopped dead. Our bodies, legs, and arms, fit precisely together in this weird jigsaw puzzle thing!!! I didn't know what was going on -- I was thinking she was showing me some new move!! Char was the one who disentangled her arm first and in doing so,we both rose to the surface. We were both laughing so hard-- I mean by all rights, we should have banged heads -- but this strange collision was absolutely pain free. It was so weird --you couldn't replicate that if you tried!! I was laughing so hard I was almost in tears -- Char kept saying, "That has never happened to me before!" LOL!! HAHAHAHAHAH! One moment we were both swimming, the next moment we were stopped dead in our tracks!! LOL!!

We were laughing so hard staff came out from the front to see what was going on. I giggled to myself all day too!!

I did core work after and then later on I went for my first run. I only went for just over 30 minutes. My ankle was great, but I knew that 30 minutes was the most it wanted to do.

:) :) :) :) I am still giggling from the swim crash!! LOL!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lips of a Nutcho

I am going to share something that not very many people know about me -- I sing to my animals all the time. But not just any old song -- my forte is adapting current songs to my babies. I substitute my own lyrics and then sing away. The above video is for the benefit of Cath and Jason who hadn't heard of the song "Lips of an Angel " by Hinder. Actually it's good to have a listen to just to remind yourself of how it goes, because my latest creation is truly a masterpiece. I worked on this as Mike and I drove home late one night from Calgary, after a full day at IKEA. It's the longest song I have made for any of the babies to date, and if you are lucky, and if Jenna has her karaoke machine, I just might sing it for ya!! LOL!! Here goes:

Peanut why you meowing at me so late
I'm tired and I want to go to sleep
Diva and Toby don't want to play
And neither does little Mandalay

Oh Peanut, you cutie
Your big gold eyes look at me
I guess I'll always have to give in

CHORUS: (I sing this with the rocker's raspy yelling voice too !! LOL!)
Cuz Peanut when you meow at me
In the middle of the night
It sounds so sweet
Saying "move on over, I'm coming on up
Make room for me."
Little Nut
I love you oh so much
For you I will wake up
And the drool will be all over my pillow --
From the lips of the Nutcho

LOL!!! Did I mention Peanut sleeps on my head every night and drools all over my hair? Hahaha!!

Today's workout was biking for 105 minutes: 2 sets of 4 with 4 min @ 170-190W/2min 100-110W. Whew! My legs were sore, I was tired, and I was glad when it was over. I still surprise myself when I feel crappy and can still churn out a good workout. Afterwards,I did three sets of 10 push ups --I did the second set really fast because Peanut came around the corner and was looking to jump on my back!! LOL!!

Also --I received my box of goodies from trigeeks.ca today. I tried the AccelGel in citrus orange and vanilla. The orange was all right but the vanilla was sinfully fantastic. It tasted just like vanilla cake batter -- that is always my favourite part of making a cake -- eating the batter that's left in the bowl. Yummy!!! I don't know if I could handle that much high fructose corn syrup on a long ride, but I am going to jazz around with different flavours. I like that the gel has a carb/protein thing happening as opposed to just carbs. More nutrition to tinker with. I also bought a new tri top (that I totally did not need, but hey, it was ON SALE!!) And, because the original top I ordered had just sold, they threw in a free pair of socks (so awesome, they say I love tri on the sides). I wore my new ensemble on my Computrainer today too-- just me, Oprah, Dr. Phil, and Jackie Scantlebury (sp?) LOL!!

How to do the Worm!

Olympic advice

The word on the streets (of Sparwood that is), is that my swimming rock star is actually an ex-Olympian from South Africa. I don't have the whole story yet --I'm going to ask her on Friday -- but apparently she was headed for the Olympics when a boycott or some such thing prevented her from actually competing. WOW!!!! Yesterday's swimming session was so very awesome!! Char taught me (more specifically, TRIED to teach me LOL!!) how to do this dolphin kick thing. Two quick kicks and one really hard one all while smoothly bobbing up and down like an eel or other water creature. Well, my version of it didn't look anything like it!! I kept kicking my legs at the same time (Jenna and Kelly-- that is like the butterfly kick, right?) but my upper body wasn't diving down. The only way I can describe it is: How in the 80's my sister and I would fool around and try to do "The Worm." Anyways, this kicking thing is my next goal!

My workout consisted of: 8 x 200 with 30 sec rest. I swam the first 4 sets by swimming easy for the white rope portion of the lane divider, then fast for the blue portion, then easy again for the white. For the last set of 4, I reversed it so I I would swim really fast into the wall and do a quickie flip turn. My shoulders and arms were burning by the end of this and after each 200, I was just gasping. Apparently, this is normal --I never knew that the rest in between sets was to recover like that!! LOL!! Give me a break --I'm not a swimmer!! LOL!!

Core work was next and then later on I biked for 60 minutes on the Athens Olympic course. I sure do love my Computrainer!!! :) :) :)

Oh yeah -- We took the baby girls out for a walk yesterday and I tentatively tried running -- only about 6 meters but it feels completely normal. The swelling is gone --I can see my ankle bones again --Yay!! I am going to give it until Sunday though just in case. Then I'll try 30 minutes. Oooooohhh -- I can't wait to run again! And, it is supposed to be in the 20's on Sunday. I'm going to be in heaven!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Who is the push up master?

I am the push up master!! In keeping with my assault on the chin up bar -- my push ups took on a life of their own: First set was 8 (and not the dinky girly kind either LOL!!), next set was .. 10!! Third set was 10 as well!! I am so happy, I can't wait to try the chinups.

Bike today was a steady dogged effort: 2 hours with main workout of 8 sets of 7 min @ 150-165W/ 3 min @ 100-110W. I was riding the Ironman Switzerland course today! :) On the fifth and seventh set, I stood for the majority of the 7 min -- there was a hill that was giving my legs some grief. By the last set the pain train had rode up my quads and decided to stay there!! I had a great workout!!

Mike and I got a lot accomplished today as well. Our tiny house is finally getting cleaned up and organized. Yay! My spazzing out at having a messy space is starting to tone down too -- as the mess disappears so does my temper. ;)

I have a date with my massage chair thingy now -- it's a chair pad that fits on any chair and plugs into the wall and feels soooooooo good. I have hauled out the chair to the living room and am going to watch a movie now. Gotta rest up for tomorrow's swim!!

I Met the Rock Star!!!!

I am so excited about this I have to write about it first instead of going in chronological order! The Swimming Pool Rock star was at the pool again yesterday and as the old folks pushed me out of their water aerobic area, I moved into the only lane with her and another girl. The other girl is not a very good swimmer and she was going to leave, but I told her -- "Don't go!" We will be good about this loop swimming -- we're all lovers here!" (It's a term I adopted from my Newfie neighbour years ago) So, none of us wanted to swim first, but the rock star told me she was kicking so I should go first. I jokingly said, "I wanted to suck off your draft!!" We had a nice merry swim the three of us -- all very pleasant to one another and it was great! After the rock star started to leave I made my move ...

I asked her if she could give me any tips about my swimming AT ALL -- she walked beside me as I swam -- another indication of how frigging strong she is!! LOL!! Then she spent the next 35 minutes showing me all types of things!!! YAY!!! The first thing she said to me was that my style was great and I am just locked in to swimming a certain speed -- NO WAY!! You know that is always how I felt!! So, she said to me, I have to break the muscle memory and start mentally working on picking up my speed. She gave all sorts of advice on this:

The colours of the lane ropes change from white to blue then white again -- she told me to swim easy until the rope changes blue then go like stink until it changes white, repeat 6 -10 times, then for the next set reverse it -- swim like stink into the wall and easy for the blue bit. She told me when I am swimming fast I shouldn't be able to see my hand start to curve. This is a huge bit of advice for me because I am always concentrating on my technique -- she told me that I was "too good" and now had to strengthen up to get faster!! YAY!!!!!

She showed me a number of exercises to do in the pool to strengthen my arms: Walking up and down a lane rolling my arms over the other, then reverse it for the way back -- you know how people dance, by spinning their fists over one another? I started to do it and she said, "That's it, now faster, faster!" Another thing to do is take a kick board and push it away from you and then pull it towards you while walking laps. Then she had me on the side of the pool kicking, and she said "Faster, faster!!" Now do deep scissor kicks, deep scissor kicks!" I had a frigging awesome coach -- I was brimming ear-to-ear!!!! LOL!!!

Her name is Charmaine (sp?) and I am pretty sure she is from South Africa. She told me in that wonderful accent she has -- "Your legs are lazy when you swim. You have long legs, use them." Rock on baby!!! YAY!!! I gave her a HUGE hug afterwards and then she told me that she swims all the mornings that I swim -- just earlier so I can see her whenever I wanted!! I have a new bud!!!!! :) :) Apparently she used to do triathlons but she broke both her kneecaps (I have got to get that story!) so now all she can do is swim.

She warned me that at first I will get slower and it will take a lot out of me -- but that is how triathlon is anyways. I am so excited to get beyond this plateau I have swam around in!! :) :)

Now for the weekend report: We bought a Murphy bed (bed that folds up into the wall to save space) some time ago and decided Friday was the day to start installing it. Apparently, aside from law-making, Mr. Murphy also makes beds. We paid $2000 for this thing and it didn't even come with a mattress -- 95% of the holes were not pre-drilled and the frigging instruction booklet was diametrically opposed to the online video instructions we had to watch to try and puzzle things out.

Next, I banged my head hard on the corner of this desk and got a huge goose egg -- there I sat on the floor crying while Mike brought me some ice. I thought it was all going downhill after that but we kept plugging away at things. I was feeling terrible and had a bike workout still to go -- I had eaten Smarties ice cream and felt like crap -- bloated, exhausted and sorry for myself. So -- time marched on and I thought of Susi commanding the gerbil, Kelsey forging ahead with her evening bike ride, Jenna socking away at her workouts, and Kelly making no excuses for her cold toes -- Time to suck it up. I REALLY didn't want to but like you all have said, I was so happy that I actually did do it.

Saturday was my rest day and then Sunday my dad came over and helped finish off the Murphy bed. Instead of a long run, I biked 3.5 hours and watched IM DVDs. My ankle is quickly getting better now -- there is no pain, but I am going to wait until Sunday before I do anything else!! (Thanks for the reminder of common sense, Keith!!)

The Murphy bed saga doesn't end here though -- we put all the springs on the arms so when you pull the bed down, if there isn't anything on it it slowly goes back up into the wall. We had put one comforter on it and that was least amount of weight it needed to stay down. But -- that mattress has been upended in the spare room for months and has become Peanut's personal playground. She gets her claws in it and runs up the side and then would attack you from high up. With the mattress on the bed now, she got all frisky with the change and started somersaulting and clawing around the bed. I was on the bike and Mike was playing with Peanut when he had to go check on something... He was gone for around 10 minutes -- when he was finished with what had distracted him, he realized that the bed might have gone up with the Nut on it. IT DID!!! He pulled the bed down and Peanut was just stuck on the mattress with her claws and rode the bed like a carnival ride. Once the bed was down, she just rolled over on her side and closed her eyes in that really cute cat way. She loved it!! HAHAHAAH!! Mind you this is also the cat that loves to follow me around as I vacuum and likes to pop balloons!! No fear for that NUT!!!

:) :) :) :) :)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Ankle test #1

It was so beautiful outside yesterday and my ankle was feeling pretty good, so I decided I'd try an easy run on it. Not good. I ran real easy for 10 minutes, then turned around, ran for 5 more minutes, then walked the rest of the way. It just needs a bit more time to heal -- and I can't wait for it to heal completely!! Onto the bike I hopped and pedaled 1:10 on the Escape from Alcatraz course. I really like the varying terrain on that course.

Yesterday, I also swam 60 minutes with the main set of:
  • 10 x 20 (because of lima pool -- instead of 8 x 25)
  • 8 x 60
  • 4 x 100
  • 8 x 60
  • 10 x 20
All on 15 seconds rest. I am starting to like this swimming workout. I used to dread anything that called for swimming faster -- I just felt I was always swimming the same pace, and my arms would be so tired so quickly. I am starting to feel the difference speeds I swim when I am only swimming one length as opposed to three or five. I like pacing myself and then changing it up!

The pool was just about full yesterday in Sparwood! Surprise, surprise!! There was a woman that was a fricking rock star in the pool -- she was doing some kind of one-armed-swimming-butterfly kick drill that shook loose the lane rope!!! This lady doesn't fool around! I'm hoping she'll be there in the days to come as I am going to get some swim tips from her. :) :) When she paused to take a breather and stood facing the pool deck, her back was just about as broad across as my Mike's -- he's a former body builder and blessed with good genes -- if you knew how big Mike was you would know how astonished I was!! LOL!! No wonder she could swim: man-back!!!! LOL!!

Afterwards I did my core routine and added a new move to it!! Just to keep me rocking out in the gym!! LOL!!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Another pain train -- woohoo!!

The slug bug has been making its rounds-- I was feeling pretty sluggish today too, although it was no mystery to me. Sorry, lads but the only mention I will make of the "monthlies" is in this sentence. So -- I was a bit worried about my monster bike workout that l'il devil IG had prepared for me. I made sure I ate a huge plate of cannelloni a few hours before -- quick aside here:

Has anyone else discovered Olivieri pasta?? Holy Crap!! It is already prepared --the directions actually say you can't cook it for longer than 2-3 minutes!! Now,that's MY kind of cooking!! LOL!! The cannelloni was the same thing: Dump sauce under it and on it, then cover and cook for 20 minutes. I still surprise Mike with my triathlon-appetite! LOL!! I ate half of the package and that just satisfied me. Hahahahaha!!

IG had gently increased my workout compared to last Thursday -- watts increased a bit, and one more set was added. My 2:15 workout looked like this:

Main set of 2 sets of 6:
3 min. @ 170- 190W/ 2 min @ 100 -110W

I kept waiting to feel the sluggishness overtake me but the weird thing was, nothing happened. I actually felt great the entire ride!! Woohhooo!! It was an effort and I can see how these bike workouts that hover just under my all out ability are making me stronger -- STRONG LIKE BULL!! LOL!! Hahahahah! (I am a Taurus by the way!! LOL!!)

I have also changed tactics in my bid for the ultimate chinup -- Because I am a puny dit (especially in my upper body strength), my chinup attempts had to be temporarily sidelined because I hurt my wee little arm. So ---- are you READY for this??? I've decided I will do pushups until I am strong enough to try the chinups again. Tuesday,I started my little regime:

3 sets of 6 pushups!! This is fabulous for me because last year I could only do 2 pushups and that was a day!!! LOL!! So, yesterday, I continued my quest for the chinup and did another 3 sets of 6. :) :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Dancing Bubbles and Little Balls of Frozen

Yesterday at swimming, I decided it was time to bring out the kick board and see how my ankle was doing. It performed quite nicely, I'm happy to say -- and I am itching to get out there and run. I could probably run tomorrow, but it is still a little sore, so I am going to wait.

I had this "moment" yesterday when I was swimming. My workout consisted of warm up, drills, then 4 sets of 5 x 100 building intensity within each set of 5 with 30 sec rest. I have to laugh at myself though -- I wondered if I was actually building intensity or if I was just getting fatigued which made it feel like I was building intensity!!LOL! Onto the moment now... The sun had started to shine through the pool's windows and the way the light hit the pool enabled me to see all these little tiny water droplets popping up through the air. Sort of like the water's version of dust motes. Every time I turned my head to the right, I would catch a glimpse of these dancing bubbles and they made me so happy!! :) :) I have not had many Zen moments while swimming - and this one caught me totally off guard.

I've experienced the runner's high before, but my favourite Zen moments have been on the bike. Like swimming, it hasn't happened often, and when it does, I have found myself gently eased into this peaceful, flowing, completely aware state. It has never happened on my trainer, and only during long bike rides. Ooooooohhh I crave outdoor riding again!!

I did core work after swimming, and instead of running, I biked for an hour. Then -- last night, the dancing bubbles must have inspired me! I made this awesome dinner -- yes me!! Yippeee! It was chicken breast with spinach, feta, sun dried tomatoes (I even "blanched" them!!!), and pesto, all wrapped up in puff pastry. Granted, when I took it out of then oven it looked like two mini loaves of bread -- but it was good. It was funny, I brought out the plate to Mike,and said "Here it is! A nice homemade loaf of bread -- let me just get you some butter." Hahahaha!! He didn't know if I was joking or not - which is quite telling... LOL!!! :) :) When I returned with my plate, Mike had pricked his fork all over his loaf, still uncertain as to whether or not it was a loaf of bread or not!! LOL!!

Later on, we were both just about to doze off as our conversation dwindled away to talking about nonsensical things. This is the best time for conversing -- the things that come out are hilarious. Mike told me the reason frozen peas were so good for applying to an inflamed joint was because they were "little balls of frozen" that could conform to the area!! LOL!!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Biking fool!

As I have been unable to run I have been biking like a mad woman - and loving it! Today was another great workout: 2 hours 45 min. with main set of 10 x 7 sets of 150-165 Watts/ 3 min. 100- 110 Watts. And... it was noticeably easier than last week!! Yay! I started to get a wee bit fatigued during the 8th set but nothing hairy.

Oh yeah -- for Shannon -- I swim in the Sparwood, BC pool. There is no pool here (only an outdoor pool during the summer) and the Pincher Creek pool just makes me sneeze. :(

Found a cute pic: