Monday, June 30, 2008

Turtle Power!!

Yesterday, I picked up Kelsey from her posh lodgings in Fernie, and took her and a buddy to my secret turtle lake. The goal was to have a fun and relaxed wet suit swim and to free Kelsey of any lingering bad mojo. What can I say? We had a fantastic time!!!!

Here we are wriggling into our wetsuits.

We met a husband and wife who were getting ready for a quick swim as well -- I kept joking with the woman that I was going to sight off her cap and swim at her feet and generally be a nuisance. Poor thing -- I could see the look of fear in her eyes as she wondered to herself, "Is this girl joking with me or is she serious?" LOL!!!

We swam back and forth across the small lake -- For one of our trips, we swam side by side to emulate race conditions. It was so much fun swimming with someone in a purely non-competitive environment. The sun was shining, the lake was crystal-clear, and to top it all off, Kelsey saw a turtle!! Hee-hee!!

The best part of the swim was our chat break. Or, I should say, we completely forgot about swimming and started gabbing merrily away in the water. You couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day -- we talked and laughed and floated around in the water, and just had a great time!!

I have no idea what in the world we were talking about here... We sure look like we're talking about something important!! LOL!!!

Yesterday was also the first day I tried silicon ear plugs...Why in the world didn't I know about these things before??? They are a MUST for any triathlete, as far as I'm concerned. They were immensely better than the soft wax I had tried before -- they stayed in the entire swim and blocked out a lot of noise too. So much so, that I was talking really loudly as soon as I put them in -- which Kelsey's friend jokingly pointed out to me. LOL!!!

I went to the drug store afterwards and cleaned them out of silicon ear plugs. No more dizziness after exiting the swim -- YAY!!

After looking at the pictures, I believe that triathletes in wetsuits are naturally-born swimsuit models -- Just take a look at this -- LOL!!

Or, my personal favourite...


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Diva got liposuction!

Well, not really! But she did get three fat lumps removed from underneath her armpits -- poor little one. It was a big day for Toby and Diva yesterday -- they both went in to get their teeth cleaned and their blood work done as well. I dropped them off at 8:30am and then went and hiked Turtle Mountain again -- this time the whole way. For those of you who don't know it yet, I've started another blog about hiking in the Crowsnest Pass! Hee-hee! :) :)

It is always difficult taking them into the back room where all the other dogs and cats are barking, yipping, howling, and meowing. We originally got Diva (who was no trouble at all, bless her little heart) into one kennel, and Toby (with great difficulty) into another one. Toby was freaking out, standing on her hind legs and rapidly scratching the plexi-glass door.

We then moved her into the same kennel as Diva and then we had to go. Mike has a really difficult time doing this -- he was having a hard time saying good-bye to Toby, especially when she got on her hind legs and started scratching like crazy. The old plexi-glass door was just a rattlin', and then all these other dogs started to do the same thing!! Oh man, it was like prisoners all rattling their cage bars in a jail-house riot or something. LOL!!!

We left right away -- I don't have so hard a time doing this anymore because of two reasons: I take the babies to the vet all the time, and I have learned that your animals will remain calm if you are calm. The trick is to calmly drop them off and then walk away and don't look back. Even if they start whining pitifully -- you must walk away. Poor Mike!!

After my hike (details of which are posted on my other blog), we drove to the vet's to pick them up. Toby was out of it, but could walk-- albeit crookedly. Diva was still completely zonked. My vet had only finished with her at 2:00pm (it was about 4:00pm by now) because another little dog who had been hit by a car was rushed in. (Everybody's fine, by the way!) Mike had to carry Diva out and I sat with her in the back of the car as he drove carefully home.

Her tongue was hanging right out to the side and she couldn't move. Mike carried her into the house and laid her down on her favourite spot on the carpet. I dampened a corner of a face cloth and squeezed some water onto her tongue -- Diva managed to get most of her tongue back into her mouth, and then she just lay there. I went for a quick lake swim, while Mike watched over her -- He told me when I got back that she had really struggled to stand up and he made her lie back down, and then she pooped! Poor little thing!

Late in the night, I had my super-sensitive bat-man ears tuned to Diva, and when I heard her moan, I popped out of bed to go to her. I knew she had to go outside to pee, so I carefully picked her up (all 90+ lbs of her -- good thing I train!!), avoiding her stitches on both sides of her little body, and carried her down the stairs. Once on the grass, she walked gingerly -- I could see the pain was setting in, but she found a good spot and had the longest pee I have ever seen -- we're talking Austin Powers type here.

She then made her way over to this bowl of water I always have outside for them and proceeded to drink about 1 liter!! LOL! I was standing outside in my PJ's, shivering in bare feet and waiting for Diva to be done - but I would do anything for her!! :) :)

Diva slept well the rest of the night, and was able to get up to eat her special "breakfast nuggets" and her "medicine." Breakfast nuggets are 5 big chunks of dental dog food that I put in their bowls every morning -- on top of their normal food. Then, it's time for medicine -- each pup gets the requisite medicine squished into a piece of processed cheese. I tried using the fat free slices once and Toby promptly spit it out!! LOL!!

I'm looking forward to this weekend -- Kelsey and I are going to hook up for a nice lake swim!! :) :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Hair, The Woman, The Mission

Hahahahahahahaha! These are for Keith and Shannon: Note the funkified colour and the incredibly aerodynamic cut -- if my helmet blows off my head, my hair will do the rest!! LOL!! Now I just have to get my NEW tri suit and I'll be set for Osoyoos! :) :) :)

By the way -- I tried swimming with ear plugs during my lake swim today -- WOW!!! What a difference! I can't believe I've been swimming in lakes without them -- no disorientation -- no cold inner ear. Amazing. Now I just have to perfect the technique of swimming with them so they don't fall out. I swam back and forth across the lake (it took me about 4 minutes to cross) and I would have to push them in again and pull down both swim caps each time. I'm thinking a good old swath of duct tape across each ear just might do the trick. LOL! But I AM serious! I'll update the duct tape + ear plug trick after my lake swim on Friday!!! :) :):)

Hill Repeats With a New Hairdo

Yesterday, I got my hair all funkified. Cut, coloured, and ready for Osoyoos in 11 days!!!! Oooooohhh I am so excited for this next race. Apparently, Peanut is excited for me too because she is in front of the keyboard rubbing her face and furry body across my face so I have to kiss her. :):):)

Workout yesterday was 2 hours of glorious hill repeats. My quads have eased a bit and I thought to myself -- I wonder how they will hold up? There is a super 1.5km hill with varying grades about 22 seconds from my house -- this is right where my river spot is too.

I had an awesome workout!! For the last 3 repeats, I stood up and pedaled progressively further, until the last repeat (tenth) I stood up for most of the hill! I was POOPED after that!!!!

This morning, my legs feel great -- They are getting stronger -- and 59 days to go!!!! :) :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Identity Crisis

I thought I had finally decided "what to do with my life." This cliche has plagued me for years now -- the feeling that I am not quite there yet, that my life will begin once I find the magical clue... I've always envied the few people who just KNEW what occupation to pursue. I have never had a clue and still don't.

I never finished university -- I dropped out in the beginning of my second year. I was enrolled in the U of A Business program, and just became disillusioned with academics. I met one fellow who after 4 years pursuing the same degree as me, landed his first job as a Kentucky Fried Chicken manager. I remember thinking to myself, "Crap! If I just stayed in the Pass working, I could be a manager at K-Fry and have saved a bunch of money too."

There were a number of other reasons for me dropping out...Many of which had to do with identity and expectations. Expectations of my family, and correspondingly high expectations of myself. I went through some rough periods of judging myself --the whole "Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting" pretty much sums up the inner turmoil I have experienced my whole life.

So what has sparked this identity crisis now? I have been taking correspondence courses via Athabasca University to earn a BA in history. Then, I thought, I could go to school for another year and qualify to become a teacher. To make a long story short -- this is not my path. I have turned inside myself and asked some hard questions and have come up with a number of truths that I have always been too fearful to acknowledge or articulate. Big breath --- here goes.

Our culture places so much emphasis on what it means to be a success and what it means to be a failure. I bought into this belief system, and consequently, if I do not finish something, I deem myself a failure. It doesn't matter if this "something" is a bad choice, a bad relationship, a bad mistake. I have always been the type to walk down the road until the very end, and I know for sure that I should change directions.

Lately, I have struggled with my goal of becoming a teacher -- Is this something I truly am excited about? Or is this a way for me to prove to the world that I have worth because I have a degree? Honestly, it is the latter. This is not a path I am going to continue on -- I have been doing it for all the wrong reasons.

Real worth and acceptance comes from within, and by shifting my focus to external matters instead of internal ones, I am doomed to repeat performances of feeling like I never measure up. It's not about studying, or working --- it's about what these things symbolize for me.

I still cringe with the thought of notifying my tutor that I will not be completing my courses. I am still struggling with the Donald-Trumpesque attitude of "If you quit you are a loser," and the knowledge that this perspective is a cultural construct that I am choosing to believe in, instead of choosing to believe in my own truth.

Added to this, is the fact that I am selling my business (dollar store) I have owned and operated for the past 8 years. It is a decision that is long overdue -- my original plan was to sell after 5 years. Living in a small community has its perks and its pits. (for lack of a better word LOL!)

I know pretty much every resident of the Crowsnest Pass, and if I don't know them, they know either who I am, or they know my parents. The biggest challenge for me has been responding to the nosy parkers and gossip-mongers -- just about every second person that comes into the store asks what I am selling it for, if anyone's interested in buying it yet, what I am going to do if it doesn't sell, am I going to let my inventory run out, etc.

For the record,people: IT'S NONE OF YOUR GODDAMN BUSINESS!!!!!

Can you imagine asking a person on the street about their personal financial information? God, sometimes,I tell you, just because you have somewhat high visibility in a community, people think they can ask you all sorts of personal questions. I could never handle it if I was a celebrity.

This also ties in with my identity crisis. For all you want to say your identity is your own -- it is also how others perceive you. My identity is "Julie, from the Dollar Store." I'm always happy, perky, and say "Hello there!" to every customer. I am helpful, courteous, and friendly. It's actually so bad that when I go into other businesses, I usually beat the staff saying, "Good morning, How are you!" But that doesn't mean that I am the store -- the store is my job and only my job. It is not my passion, my be all and end all. It drives me nuts when I am out swimming and someone will ask me about the store -- the hours I work, etc -- it's like I OWE them an explanation. This happens to me ALL the time - at the grocery store, at the post office, at Tim Horton's, at the gas station,even at the frigging gym.

People expect me to be the "Jovial Dollar Store Clerk." When I am not at work, I don't want to talk about my business. ESPECIALLY when I am working out -- that is MY time and it pisses me off to no end that I have to constantly endure the same questions again and again and again. I really hate the comments about how "I never see you at work." Like these people wake up to watch the sun rise every morning - but LO! and Behold! Every morning the sun rises regardless of whether they were there to see it or not. Ahhhh-- I digress.

One final point about identity and gender I have learned through owning and operating a business in a small community. Most people (now cities may be different, I am only talking about the Pass here) cannot reconcile that I actually own the store. My parents must own it. After 8 years I still have people openly challenging me when I answer them that "Yes, I own the store." I have long since learned to ignore them, but after the millionth time of hearing it, sometimes I am ready to slap them.

It's funny, if I were a male and owned a business, it would be a whole other story. You see, my mother works for me, and people cannot wrap their heads around the concept that as a woman, I can employ family members. This is where the gender identity comes into play -- my parents must be employing me, instead of the other way around. Male business owners in the Pass do not experience this.

Identity is a strange animal...I am finally getting the courage to collar my inner dragon and work WITH myself instead of AGAINST myself.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

One hurtin' unit!

Apart from being basically glued to the computer watching Susi's race and then reading Cath's race report (BTW, CATH KICKS ASS!!!!!), I did sneak out for a 1hour 45min run this afternoon. My quads are THROBBING!!! A delirious kind of pain that my quadzillas haven't known for a long time. That hike up Turtle yesterday utilized my quads in ways they haven't been used in a while.

I was really stiff this morning and moving my legs in any manner was painful. I knew that my long run was going to be a good trial! Hee-hee! Was it ever!! Have you ever ran on extremely painful legs? Well, this was a first for me -- The going was a bit slow at first, but my legs gradually warmed up and didn't hurt as bad. Either that or I got used to the pain!

In any case, the pain was bearable and I chugged along quite nicely. I took a different route and threw in a couple of hills to see just how much more pain I could endure!! LOL!! My legs held up (barely!) and then I turned to run back home, this time with the wind at my back.

I could definitely feel my legs, but I didn't let them slow me down -- I was driving the pain train! As the final torture test, I ran up and down the kid's bike course by the river instead of staying on the trail. They were actually a lot of fun! The first one was a killer -- especially because I had to run DOWN the other side! OUCH!

But the rest of the little hills took about two or three strides to get up, and when I got to the top, it's like the momentum made me fly over them -- it felt so awesome! Hee-hee! I ran to the river afterwards (it's about a 2 minute walk from my house!) and slowly hobbled into this deep pool of water. Every step was accompanied by a grimace of pain and an OW!

The best way for me to immerse my quads was to kneel in the water. The depth was just perfect and oooooohhhhhh did it ever feel good!!! I was just about delirious again, only this time with a delicious sense of accomplishment! Hee-hee! Right at that moment a groovin' song came on my iPod and I just blissed right out!!!

The spot where I was kneeling is right across from the Fas Gas parking lot and close to where the employees park their vehicles. I saw this one young guy get something out of his vehicle and knew he could see me through the trees, keeling in the river -- HAhAHAHAHAHA!! I wonder what he was thinking!! LOL!!!!

After that, my blissness jacked up another level,and I tilted my head back and looked up through the green leafy branches of the trees and to the blue, blue sky where some wispy clouds blew by. BLISS!!!!

I started laughing to myself -- The cold water felt so good on my legs I didn't want to get out! I finally emerged, and for about 3 minutes, I could walk pain free -- then the pain came back! :) :)

What a day!!! :) :) :) :)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Day of theTurtle

Of course, there is not a breath of wind in the Pass today -- not a whisper. It's one of those 4 out of 365 days in the year where there is no wind at all! :)

Saturdays are my days off, but yesterday I had taken off instead as I was fending off some kind of nastiness. I slept a lot, took a lot of zinc, and felt like total crap all day long. Today, I awoke refreshed and ready to go! YAY!!

So, I drove over to BC to this lake I always swim at. It was beautiful -- no one around and I counted 5 turtles swimming around beneath me! They were so cute -- a couple just lay on the bottom of the lake with their heads and legs tucked in so all you could see was a shell. Then, when I would swim by, they would pop out and swim a little.

I used to go into a minor panic when I would arrive at a lake and have no one there to help me zip up my wet suit - but I have since perfected the technique of zipping up my own wet suit -- Anyone who wants a full on description, just ask! :) :) I was quite pleased with myself as I zipped up and went into the water. LOL!

The swim was great! I got used to swimming in a wet suit again -- I took my time and had a really good warm up, then sort of piddled (well, I only piddled once LOL!!) all around the lake -- swimming to one point and then the other. It was a little cold, but nothing too bad -- it was very zen-like! :) :):)

After I returned home, I decided to hike Turtle Mountain to stretch out my calves. You know how just walking uphill really gives a nice stretch to your calves? Well,I grabbed my gear, threw on my pack, and off I went.

It was a beautiful day for a hike and I had a fantastic time. All this triathlon training really helps with hiking too -- I wasn't timing myself or anything, but I chugg-a-lugged up that sucker like it was nothing. In true Julie fashion, I lost the highly visible trail a number of times, but you can't go wrong with heading UP. When in doubt, just walk up! Same goes for the downward journey -- lose the trail? No problem! Just go DOWN! Works like a charm every time.

About half way down I stopped to eat a quick snack. I bought this awesome backpack at the second hand store in Sparwood for 50 cents!!! It's small, but roomy, and even has this built-in seat mat that you just unzip from the pack. There I sat, chewing my jerky and looking out over the mountains... BLISS!!

I was sending some positive energy to Keith for his 1/2 Ironman today -- Keith, I hope you had a great race, buddy!!!!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Of poop, puppies,and headwinds.

The winds were blasting again yesterday, so I decided to bike just past the BC/Alberta border. There is a nice set of outhouses at the bottom of the hill as soon as you cross into BC, and I thought that would be a good place to turn around.

There is another set of outhouses at what we locals call "The Lakes" -- right before you cross into BC, but these are the filthiest, most disgusting outhouses I have ever been in. They are so gross any time of the year. It's like all the most disgusting people on the planet -- the ones who don't know how to poop INSIDE the hole -- pull over and use these outhouses.

I have seen similar conditions in the open pit mines of Nepali outhouses. Seriously. In fact, these are the same outhouses that made international news a few months ago when some bonehead dumped a number of unwanted puppies down the men's hatch. As the story goes, a little boy had to pee, his Mom and Dad pulled over to the outhouse, and the little boy reported back to his parents that he could hear noises down the hole. The Pass was instantly mobilized and volunteers came out of the woodwork to jackhammer the outhouse open, rescue the puppies, and clean them up. All puppies were instantly adopted. :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Good swim, good run

Hit the pool yesterday and had somewhat of an epiphany - I had a heightened awareness of my stroke and what bad habits I revert to. I concentrated on how far underneath the water my hand went before I started to pull -- I noticed slight changes that made it more difficult for me to swim, and easier. Tomorrow,I'm heading out to the lake for my morning swim. :)

I was a hurting unit after the weights and core on Tuesday -- I was in more pain from that workout than from my Wasa race!! LOL! Go figure! I was going to head to the gym this morning, but decided against it -- I'm just too pooped.

Went for an easy run later on in the afternoon with Diva and Toby, but poor Diva had a really hard go of things. This is my same little dog who used to run beside the car going upwards of 50km/hour when we used to fool around on back gravel roads. She has always been used to running ahead of me, and the poor little thing has a hard time now just to keep up. Granted, I took her a bit further than what we've done lately, so it was my fault. She was really limping afterwards, so I am going to just start taking her on easy walks to the river where she can wade in and get her belly wet to cool down. (She's too afraid to swim since she's gone blind).

I also have this new arthritis medicine for her to try -- non-steroidal, so I am hoping this will help too. She still had a blast yesterday though -- the babies love it when they get really hot running, and then get to cool down in the water. The only difference is that now, it doesn't take too long for Diva to get pooped. :) I think I might start taking only Toby out with me for my runs, but it just breaks my heart to leave Diva at home. After a run, I can just take her and Toby out for a short little walk.

Today's schedule calls for a ride (YAY!) and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the winds aren't too hairy today. If there are no crosswinds, I'll head to Castle Mountain; otherwise I'll head toward Sparwood. I much prefer pedaling into a headwind, and then turning around and FLYING home!! :) :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Big Fat Hairy Crosswinds

I awoke bright and perky yesterday morning -- I rode my mountain bike to the gym, then rode my tri bike to the pool, and then went for a bike ride. I decided to head out towards Beaver Mines and Castle Mountain -- the road is relatively clear of traffic and has lots of hills. Right after I turned off the highway, I noticed the crosswinds -- CRIKEY!!

They were so powerful, I had a difficult time just to stay on the bike. The crosswinds were generally coming from the west, but they would sort of mix around and blast me from all sides once in a while. Going downhill was just too scary for me -- I rode the brakes a lot yesterday!!

I kept feeling off balance, like something was literally on my back -- I even swerved a number of times trying to get my centre of gravity back. It was only when I finally arrived back home that I saw who the culprit was....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pity Party Trip Over, Official Results In

Ok, so after a good knock on the head and a solid email from my very good friend, Cath, I am now back to normal. No more griping about my swimming -- I promise. I guess I just had a sudden attack of masochism or something! ;)

I hereby promise to continue swimming with as much heart and soul and pure enjoyment as before. :) :)

Here are my official times:

Swim: 30:47
Bike: 1:17:21
Run: 51:42
Total: 2:39:48
Place: 12/34 AG

Jake's Time: 1:05:06 (!!!!!) :):) :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Frigging PB Baby, Yeah!!!!

For Jake's race report, please see the previous post!!! Now, onto my race report...

I was so excited about Jake's race, that I had no nervous energy left over for my own! Race morning started off as usual -- lots of people with all their gear strewn all over the place. I had every intention of arriving early enough to get a choice bike rack, but didn't quite make it, and so was stuck in the very middle as usual. :P

Jenna's poop fairy came to visit again and again -- thanks Jenna!! LOL!!

I met up with a family from the Pass -- the guy, Mike did IMC last year, and his wife would be doing her first ever triathlon that day -- the Olympic too! I hung out with Mike (it's funny, there are all these Mikes all over the place. I'm introducing my Mike, to another Mike. Mike, this is Mike. LOL!!), his wife, and their son, Chris before the race started.

After squeezing into my wetsuit we headed down to warm up in the cold water. Wasa was the first outdoor swim I ever did and was the first time I had a full on panic attack, so I always make sure to completely immerse myself in the cold water BEFORE the race to get the shock over with. It wasn't too bad, but it was still frigging cold! :)

After singing the national anthem, (I was thrilled how many people actually sang along this year!) the race started. Not much about the swim to say here --I chugged along as best I could, only zig-zagged a little bit, swallowed a bunch of water at the buoy turn-arounds, and tried to keep it movin'. I did head-butt one poor swimmer by accident though -- Sorry, whoever you are!! I nailed this person right in their side. I am a terrible swimmer and usually just ping-pong off everyone around me to keep swimming in a straight line. To be fair, it was a gentle head-butt. I just don't move fast enough to do any damage.

Two laps in the lake and then I shakily emerged from the water. My swim time was the pits -- almost 2 minutes slower than last year -- 30:47 WTF?? More griping about this later...

My wetsuit didn't give me too much grief as I pulled it off, but I did get my right foot stuck and it just wouldn't come out -- AAAARGGGHH! LOL!! As luck would have it, the guy in the bike rack next to me was there at the same time -- making it even more congested.

Finally I got out on the bike, and despite some pissiness from this one girl at the mount line, I took off happy! I quickly overtook said pissy chick which I never saw again -- this pleased me immensely!!

I had a FANTASTIC bike -- I overtook tonnes of people --I couldn't believe it!! I have never been in this position before. I couldn't believe how many people I passed! I kept spinning my legs, and even though there was a strong headwind (whoopity-do, that's normal for me!),I felt strong and great. At the turnaround, my inner thighs started to hurt -- it's so weird, this year, my quads and hammys are OK, it's my inner thighs that start to hurt! LOL!!

It wasn't a bad hurt, it was just interesting to see how much I could push myself. I kept passing people right until the end of the bike ride!
New Bike PB -- 1:17:21!!!!!

I ran into transition and stood there temporarily lost in the middle of the sea of bike racks for a few moments! LOL!! I couldn't tell where in the world my running shoes were, but I quickly spotted them! Hahahahaha!

I took off out of transition and felt really good. I was going the same pace as everyone around me for 1km or so, and then I started to pass people again!! People passed me too, but I was so thrilled that I was passing other runners and I was just going my normal pace!! Yahoo!!!!

This 50 year old guy passed me wearing the exact same tri suit as me -- NICE. At one point, the 50 year old guy, another girl and me were all running one behind the other wearing the same tri suit. I soon passed that girl too! ;) But I'm wanting to buy a new trisuit!! LOL!!!!

I had a great run -- didn't feel like puking, and felt strong the whole way. As I approached the finish line, I saw it was 2:39 and a few seconds. I thought to myself, "F$@k! I HAVE to get under 2:40!!! LOL!! I did!!!!! YAHOOOOO!!! A new frigging PB!!!

My total time was 2:39 and change -- I forgot to write it down and the results aren't up on the site yet.

I set a new ALL-TIME PB for the 10km...


When all was said and done, I ended up taking 6 minutes off my previous OLY PB!!!!!! :) :)

The only thing that really sucked was my swim -- I felt so demoralized after seeing I was that much slower than last year -- especially with all the extra swimming I've been doing. I was feeling really great about setting a new PB, but at the same time I felt so disappointed all my hard work at swimming is just not paying off.

What the hell am I doing wrong? Is it possible that some people just can't swim, no matter what? I feel like everyone knows a secret and I am left in the dark... how in the hell can I be getting worse? I just totally SUCK at swimming and I am wondering whether or not I should even put so much effort into my swimming workouts anymore. It seems like everything I do is just not enough and I just feel so utterly miserable about the whole swimming thing.

I just have no motivation to wake up early and go swimming anymore --I think I am just going to go at noon and just tool around. After all, last year I was a much faster swimmer -- why kill myself in the pool, when I am not even improving?

OK, enough about the gripe -- but I experienced such conflicting emotions that I had to get this off my chest.

Can't wait to read everyone else's race reports!!!!

Jake's Second Triathlon!!

For the first time in a long time, Wasa in the middle of June was beautiful -- sunny and hot. The kids' triathlon was on Saturday and the adults' was on Sunday. Mike and I rolled into Cranbrook Friday evening and then left for Wasa the next morning for Jake-a-roo's second ever triathlon!! Yay Jacob!!!

After race package pick-up, we headed back to his cabin so he could don his racing attire. Now, this was a big thing, because of a wardrobe malfunction during last year's race. Last year, Jake wore those cool knee-length baggy shorts that he figured out weren't so cool for swimming and then running in. Let's just say the Coppertone kid was out in full force last year -- full on bum views!! LOL!

This year, Jake and I sat in front of the computer and decided to order the red kid's tri jersey. I asked him if he wanted to get the bike shorts too, but at 13 years old, the tight bike shorts were a no go. Hahahaha! Anyways, when he changed into his gear, we still had a bunch of time, so we got to talking about the bike short thing. Jake's Mom is a tiny chick and brought out her pair of bike shorts and asked Jake if he wanted to just try them on. He did and while a little reluctant at first, he decided that he was going to race in them. Bonus!!! :) :)

Doesn't he look like the total tri-dude? LOL!! Yay Jake!! Afterwards, I got him to practice putting his socks and shoes on, and then we headed to transition. (Check out his socks!!)

Jake's race was the last to go, so we just hung out at the beach and cheered for the other kidlets. I took Susi's que (heh-heh-heh no pun intended, well maybe!) and brought pompoms along. We also brought an air horn and a toy tambourine.

Jake took a small nap, while I took a brief moment to worship the sun! LOL!!

It was about this time that my camera does what I do during the swim -- crap out. I had bought new batteries and charged them, but lo and behold, suddenly the camera window, said "Change Battery Pack". We hauled out Mike's super nice camera and then it did the same thing too!! Remember what I told you all about me and technology? Sadly, here is where the pictures end. For the second year running, we didn't get any pics of me racing in all my sweaty, grimacing glory -- ummm, maybe that's a good thing? LOL!!

Finally, Jake's race began. He did so awesome -- swimming his little heart out,and when he exited the water, we waved our pompoms and blew that air horn like crazy. I jogged up to transition to watch him put his shoes on, and the poor little guy was disoriented from the swim, and I could see how difficult it was for him to overcome the dizziness! LOL!!! But he did it,and then he was outta there!

Last year,he rode his mountain bike, this year he borrowed his Mom's road bike. The only thing was that he neglected to actually ride it a bit before his race. Thus, he didn't know how to change the gears. It was stuck in the hardest gears the whole race! LOL!! I said, to him afterwards, "That's OK, that's what these races are for -- keep learning!" Besides, our goal for each race is to ALWAYS finish and to ALWAYS finish smiling, and he's true sport!! :) :)

He got out on the run, and ran his little heart out -- when he came across the finish line, he pounded his chest -- his trademark finish!! LOL!!

NEW PB for JAKE 1:05 and change --- 300mswim, 15km bike, 3km run!!!! Last year's time was 1:22:57!!!!!!

Way to go Jake!!!!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ready, Set, WASA!!!

I'm leaving for Cranbrook later this afternoon!! YAY!! Jake's triathlon is Saturday, and mine is on Sunday. I'm more excited about Jake's race than I am about mine!! LOL!

The weather is supposed to be nicer this weekend, so I'm looking forward to a race sans rain. My goal for this event is to kick my own butt pretty severely -- I'm aiming for a new PB!!!!

I'm ready to give 'er hell!!

I have still been getting flats on my rear tire,and finally took it into Gord again yesterday. It was fine when I arrived, but when I rode back to town, it was flat again. It was a bonafide Kelsey flat again -- A teensy weensy bit of metal embedded in the tire. Gord changed my rim tape next, and my Madge is pumped and ready to rock and roll on Sunday. :):):)

Have a great weekend everyone!! :):)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The incredible shrinking ... ankles????

I have never had problems with my weight. My Mom and Dad are slim folks and apparently the genes carried through. As a teenager, I was a very late bloomer. I'm talking no growth spurts at all -- I weighed 98 lb. on my graduation day and fit into kids clothes. Little kids clothes. I finally got boobs when I turned 22 -- go figure. I went from a 32A to a definite bra-wearing 36B a few weeks after my 22nd birthday. Go figure.

Sorry guys if this is freaking you out, but hey -- I'm freaky and I know it!! LOL!!!!!

Anyways, I always worked out -- but really started when I was 19. I never really had any program or anything to follow -- I would just go for a bike or a run or go to the gym. Since I've started this triathlon thing -- I have seen my body go through HUGE changes. It's like it must take a few years before you start getting definition or soemthing - because it is only this year that I have noticed definite changes in the old bod.

You know how when you see someone every day, you don't notice the incremental changes in weight loss as much as you would if you saw them only sporadically? Well, for some time now I have been noticing my ass has been tightening up. LOL!! But not enough to really see it, you know -- just enough to think that it is shrinking.

Also, my legs are transforming -- now this is the weird part. I have been noticing that my socks have been getting loose around my ankles -- LOL!! I am not joking about this. These are my tight-fitting running and cycling socks. The changes were small at first but yesterday --- KAPOW!!!!

I bent over to stretch a bit before my brick run and my socks were freaking LOOSE around my ankles. I could stick a finger in the gap between my ankle and my sock...WTF???


As for the bum ... like I said I am not trying to lose weight or anything, just tooling along like I normally do, but for the first time in forever, my jean size is different. I always fit into size 6, and I was at this awesome second hand clothing place the other day and saw this pair of Halogen jeans size 4. Looking at them, I thought, I think these might actually fit me.

I held them against my body, then would look at them, hold them against my legs, until I thought to myself -- just buy the frigging things! You see, you can fit as much as you want into an Overwaitea shopping bag for $5.00 -- and the ladies are very generous about filling it up -- Lets's just say that I had that bag stretched beyond measure with stuff spilling out of it. I also bought a new backpack (mine got a big tear in it from Saturday's mountain bike ride) and a purse for $0.50 each!!!

:) :) :)

I got home and tried the jeans on and they totally fit!! Hmmmm.. now I need to buy some new pairs of socks!! LOL!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Congratulations Cath and Steve!!!

My very good friend in the UK just raced her first tri (sprint race in Blemheim) of the season and she did so awesome!!!!! She is an amazing swimmer -- like Jenna and Kelly, she went through 4-6 hours of training a day when she was just a little tyke. She hadn't swum for 20 years when she decided to do her first triathlon in Elkford, BC -- where we first met.

Cath and her hubby Jase are going to become Canadian citizens!! YAY! They have purchased and renovated a home in Fernie -- for their dream of running a B&B. Let me tell you -- it is a beautiful home and they are beautiful people. They are back in the UK until next spring tying up loose ends and making a bit more coin, but their papers are clear and the only thing that Canada is missing is them!! :) :)

So -- onto Cath's race report -- There were almost 200 people in her age category and she was first out of the water and first off the bike!!! Then her legs went kaput and she ended up in 6th place for her AG!! All this after she had a terrible hacking cough that had plagued her for weeks -- Cath I am so proud of you!!!!

(Also - when we drove by your house, Cath, on our way to the bike trail, I pointed it out to Char and Stuart and gave them a condensed version of how wonderful you and Jase are!!)

Her brother-in-law also competed in his first triathlon ever!!!! He had just learned to swim and had a great day as well! Congrats Steve -- when is your next race?? ;) LOL!!

OK -- I have gratuitously lifted the pics from Jason's Great Bear Blog. Heh-heh-heh! Don't sue me Jase!! LOL!!!

Congratulations again you guys - I AM SO PROUD OF YOU BOTH!!!!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Mountain Bike Odyssey

Yesterday I was torn between driving up to Vulcan to see Keith compete in his first ever triathlon, or to go mountain biking with Char and her hubby. As I wrote Susi in an email, I decided to "be selfish" and go mountain biking instead -- Sorry Keith!! :P

Of course, as it turned out, the race was canceled so I didn't feel so bad at missing the opportunity to meet Keith. Besides, I'm going to go up to Calgary this summer (whenever the hell it stops raining!!) and bike the Road to Nepal with you guys. :) :)

Saturday is my day off training, but I couldn't resist christening my new mountain bike. It was pouring down rain as I left the house, but it lessened a teensy bit by the time we got to Fernie. Char's hubby had looked at Google Earth to find old logging roads cutting through mountains to determine our route. We started biking up and up and up and up. Then we started climbing and climbing and climbing and climbing. My legs were toast from the hill repeats on Tuesday and the Highwood Pass on Thursday -- but I was having the time of my life!!

I had a hell of a time trying to clip in and out of my pedals though -- I could get my left foot in OK, but my right one caused me no end of grief. We were biking up stuff I have never biked before -- stuff I would hike! So, every stop to get water (I don't have a camelbak yet) was a nightmare of trying to unclip and then trying to clip back in.

The trail was really steep and it was so freaking hard to force my right foot into the stupid pedal! My quads were killing me from trying to force my foot into the pedal -- I finally just gave up and left my right foot unclipped. I'm taking Crash into Gord's tomorrow to get that clip adjusted!!

We biked way up and just past the tree line when Charmaine started to get really cold. About 5 minutes later the cold hit me too -- the steady rain had turned into steady snow and we were both drenched. Stuart actually said to Charmaine that he was getting cold too -- and this is from the guy who has summited 4 of the world's 8000 meter peaks -- Char told me afterwards that he NEVER gets cold. Hahahahaha!!

At this point we turned around and blasted down the mountain. Note to self -- always wear sunglasses when mountain biking. There was so much mud that splattered all over my face and clothes and eyes -- this morning I still had little grains of dirt coming out of my eyes!!

I'll tell you, that is one way to get introduced to riding downhill fast -- get freezing cold and then you don't care what the heck is on the path you just let 'er rip!!! :) :)

We got changed at the car and then drove back to Sparwood where I had a bath at Char's!! They are such awesome friends, I am just bursting with warm fuzziness!! Stuart even washed my bike for me as I soaked in the tub!!! I couldn't believe it!!

Mind you,I had been plying them with Kelsey's protein bars (which they LOVE, by the way!!). I had to give them a copy of the recipe too. :) :)

We were out there for 5 1/2 hours!! My legs are stronger than they have ever been, and although I was POOPED I felt GREAT!! :) :)

Today, I only ran 60 minutes ez -- I was actually surprised I could run at all!! LOL!!!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Rim OK!! Mavic makes them tough!

I took my bike into Gord's today to make sure I didn't destroy my rim -- and guess what? After a bit of tweaking it's fine!! LOL!! Who knew? The biggest thing for me was to control my fear and deal with the problem instead of freaking out! Whew.

Gord looked at my tire and it was my own fault -- a rookie error: pinch flat. Two of them. He sat me down and had me change a tire 5 or 6 times in a row -- without using a tire iron to get the tire back on. He can change a tire in less than 30 seconds -- it's awesome to see. He showed me some tricks,like how to roll the tire on with the heel of my hands instead of forcing it in with the tire irons. I'm not as fast as Gord, but I'm a hell of a lot faster than I was yesterday!!! LOL!! And a lot more confident.

Charmaine came up to the Pass today as we planned to hike Turtle Mountain. It was bloody cold and windy, but we headed up chatting as usual. This woman is unstoppable!!! She charged on up like a mountain lion -- is there anything this gal cannot do?? LOL!! About 45 minutes into the hike, she suddenly stopped and turned her head. It turns out being out on the boat for 5 years has made her hyper-sensitive to any shift in the weather. She looked towards the horizon and pointed out a weather system that was going to reach us before we reached the top.

Therefore, we went for about another 35 minutes just to see if the weather was going to turn to crap. It got SO windy and the air was like an arctic blast. My eyelids were aching -- weird! We climbed up to this one point that overlooked Frank and sat down for a few minutes. I pointed out my house and the different roads, and then we decided to head back down as the wind was just BLASTING now. We joked that it would not be cool to have to be rescued from a piddly little mountain like Turtle!

We descended quickly and quite suddenly it was much warmer -- tree cover!

For those of you who don't know yet - I've been toying with the idea of running an ultra as my next goal, and I am planning on doing one next year. There is a race that is coming through the Pass this year: The Sinister 7. You can do it as a relay or alone -- of course, next year I want to run the whole 135km on my own. I've made a couple of posts on and have made a couple of connections with people who are willing to mentor me. One guy made the transition from Ironman racing to ultras too -- so I am so excited about this!!

I figure if I hike/run/crawl either Turtle and Crowsnest Mountains once a week, I will boost my tri fitness as well as get a head start on training for my ultra. Charmaine told me how she used to train by running up mountains with a pack of rocks on her back. She started off running for like 1 minute and walking for 10, and then gradually built it up to running right up. Holy Crapola!! This girl can move -- I just have to laugh -- she is in such great condition and still says she is so out of shape!! Hahahahaha!!

Tomorrow's agenda? Mountain biking in Fernie with Char and her hubby. Oh yeah, that is my other big news!! Madge has a new baby brother... Crash!! I'll have to post some pics of my new mountain bike!! YAHOOOO!

Thanks for all the positive comments in regards to my adventure guys -- it really means a lot!!! :) :) :) :)

51 km on a flat tire...

I think I set a blogger group record yesterday -- for distance traveled on a flat tire.

I'd been eyeballing the weather network all week and planned to ride the summit of Highwood Pass yesterday. As it turned out, yesterday was chock full of lessons for me.

First of all, I was woefully under-dressed. I had my sleeveless jersey and bike shorts, and it was only a last minute just-in-case urge that made me bring my arm warmers. Thank God!!!

I parked at the Highwood River Inn again and the weather was warm but very cloudy and windy. I was glad I had decided to put on my arm warmers. With the wind, it took me an hour to reach the road barricade, so I had a pretty thorough warm-up!

I climbed and climbed and climbed and eventually saw two riders coming down. We chatted for a bit -- they said it was raining and snowing up top. I jokingly said, "Well,I better get moving so I can keep warm!" Egad.

I was determined to get to the summit no matter what. The weather was deteriorating. The clouds rolled in and I rode through a bit of rain and a bit of snow too. I was pretty frigging cold but just kept moving.

I passed Mist Creek, and then the spot where I turned around last week. I kept chugging away, Storm Creek, Mount Lipsett, Lost Lemon Mine sign, and past the "Entering Peter Lougheed Park." There were BANKS of snow on either side of the road and it was really frigging cold.

It was about this time that for some reason I decided to stop and check my rear tire. As I was climbing, I had turned to look back a couple of times at various wildlife. I noticed that I had a tough time controlling the rear of my bike, but hadn't thought anything of it...

Now, however,I saw to my horror that I indeed had a flat. OK -- here I am going to apologize for my profuse use of profanity. I am making a conscious effort to minimize the amount of swears I use, but not for this story!! I was really scared because I was way the f*%k up in the middle of nowhere and I was FREEZING. My teeth were chattering, my core temperature had fallen and I was scared s$%tless. I have never used a CO2 cartridge before and didn't want to f&*k things up and be stranded. There was NO ONE around at all and it was snowing and freezing.

OK, I decided to go for it. I said a plea to God (Yes I am on of those people who don't think much about religious Brouhaha until the s$#t hits the fan.) and methodically changed my tube. I couldn't find the puncture -- a Kelsey flat -- even though I ran my fingers along the inside of the tube. I even cleaned along the inside of the rim - so I just assumed I had fixed the problem. I used theCO2 and it worked no problemo!! The tire was fully inflated and rock hard.

I put it on and promptly decided to hammer it back home. I had been riding for 3:08 and my teeth were really chattering. I let 'er rip, and then rode the brakes a bit because something didn't feel right. Sure enough, when I stopped and felt the back tire, it was a little softer. I had to pee so bad at this point, but knew I had a limited amount of air to get the f&^k down to a lower elevation where I could get warmer.

I said to myself, "Julie, you can pee now and spend the night right out here in the f&#king cold where you can pee 'til your heart's content -- JUST GO!!" I took off and descended rapidly. But there was no way I could out ride the escaping air. Pretty soon it was flat again and although I was a LOT lower, I was still scared.

There was no way I could walk 50 km back, so I decided to just take it easy and ride slowly back to my car. Have any of you ever ridden on a flat tire? I was terrified of riding around on a flat, but as km after km ticked by I grew more confident and was fricking chugging along like there was no problem. I can tell you the various stages of sounds a flat will make if you keep riding on it:

1. At first there is no sound at all, just a kooshy feeling -- a little wobbly until you get into it.

2. Next a soft hiss occurs every once in a while.

3. Then, the KOOSH begins -- this is quite an alarming sound at first, that only intensifies the farther you go.

I had gone quite a ways back, when I sent another plea to God. I was still very nervous about riding on the flat and was hoping I would see someone, ANYONE to help me out. For a nanosecond I felt the tug of a full-on drama queen meltdown, but surprised myself with an instantaneous rejection of that course of action. There was a time in my life where something like this would have broken me, but here I was scared sh^#tless, but dealing with it, and not bawling about it.

Up ahead I saw a dark shape coming down a hill -- another cyclist!!!! I immediately hopped off my bike and asked the man as he approached if he had another tube. He was riding a mountain bike, and said No, but he did have a patch. He offered to find whatever it was that was inside my tire and then patch my tube.

I was tempted but at the same time scared to take his offer -- what if he couldn't find it either? At least my tire was on now and I was able to ride it. He told me it was another 11 km to the road barricade. He was only going up a little further (Trout Ponds) and then would sit around and take some pictures. I asked if I could get a ride with him back to my car which was still a hell of a way away. He seemed a bit reluctant, and I told him, well, just take your time, it's your day too -- if I can find someone else to give me a ride I'll take it.

It's strange, but it was after this encounter that I grew much more confident riding on my flat. I upped my speed and was moving along quite nicely -- but only as fast as I felt I could control the bike. Pretty soon,I reached the barricade and thought, "F%@k it!!, I'm just going to bike to my car."

From the barricade to my car, my poor bike started a whole other orchestra of sounds. Believe it or not, the flat tire became even flatter!!! I had been lucky before without appreciating it, because now when I stopped to check it, it was COMPLETELY flat. Not an ounce of air in there at all.

No more kooshing noises for me. Now, the tube, held in place by the presta valve only, started to bunch up along the inside of the tire and make this horrible thwocking sound: THWOCK, THWOCK, THWOCK. It was so LOUD!!!

I didn't really have to pedal at all -- the wind was pushing me back just fine, and I didn't want to go any faster what with all the thwocking noises going on. I was getting closer and closer to my car when the bike began it's final round of noises. This time, it was like a jackhammer was hitting me sideways every time the tire made a complete rotation

THWOCK and hang on for dear life as the bike gets hammered from the left, and repeat. I was white-knuckling it.

FINALLY I made it back to my car -- I was only gone a total of 5:38 but the adrenaline and fear had worn me out. Fear is a great motivator, eh?

I am skipping my swim today and am going hiking with Charmaine instead. Later on this afternoon, I'm bringing my bike into Gord's for him to take a look at it. He was the first one I phoned when I got back!! He told me that once that happened to him only on his mountain bike, and three mountain ranges over. He stuffed his tire with grass to make it home. LOL!!!

I am just so frigging glad I made it out of there okay!! After I phoned Gord, I had this deep urge to call Susi -- for some reason I wanted to call her and tell her all about my day!! LOL!! Well, you're off the hook this time Susi, but next time, I'm picking up the telephone!! LOL!!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

6 minute bike, 25 minute walk

Yesterday I drove to Sparwood to get whipped by the drill sergeant, Charmaine. We have a mew girl that has decided to join our Tuesday and Thursday gruel sessions! We were, grunting, lunging, squatting, and doing sit ups all between bouts of laughing. Good times!!

I had planned on biking in K-Country, but the weather looked too formidable and I decided to do hill repeats on the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre hill instead. I was going to bike to Coleman first, as I had to go to the bank, and then go to Gord's for another bottle cage (I stupidly broke my other one!). A mere six minutes into the ride I heard a giant HISSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

My rear tire was slashed open by some horrible thing lying on the road (Never found it). FRIG! I turned around and walked Madge back all the way to my house -- I'm glad the wind wasn't with me on the bike, or I would have had a much longer walk!!

Fortunately I had a spare tire --a nice kevlar one at that, so I got to work and changed my tube and tire. My second attempt at riding was much better and after a good warm up, I headed back to Frank to do some hill work. I was going to meet some people about mid-way up the hill for a hike at 5:30pm, but there was no way I could make it -- I still had 50 minutes of cycling and then a 30 min. brick when I checked my watch at 5:35pm.

As it turned out, there was only one vehicle waiting at the cattle guard, so I introduced myself to a girl that was waiting there -- maybe next time! The clouds were pretty ominous in the sky, and I think the dark, rolling blackness frightened off any other would-be hikers.

My workout went really well, but it was long past my supper before I was done. I still had to clean up and then dash to Sobey's -- they take 10% off your purchases the first Tuesday of each month,and this is when I buy my frozen strawberries for my morning shake!! Gotta save that moolah!! LOL!!

I'm planning on biking the Highwood Pass on Thursday --I have been religiously checking the weather network's site and it looks like Thursday will be the hottest and driest day this week. So, I have primed my water bottles full of Carbo-pro and Gatorade and I am chomping at the bit to get out there!!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Boundless Energy Bars

I finally made Kelsey's protein bar recipe and is it ever GOOD!!! It's nice to know exactly what you are putting in your body -- and the taste is unbelievable!! For those of you who haven't made it -- you HAVE to try it. Here is her recipe:

The only warning I would add is that these bars clean you out. Let's just say these bars could also be called Boundless poop bars. LOL!!!!

Yesterday, Mike, Jake and I went fishing at a local lake. I brought Diva and Toby along much to the chagrin of the other fishermen. It's like I could read their minds -- "Oh great, Here's a girl bringing her dogs. They are going to splash around and swim, and bark and scare all the fish away."

I walked around the lakeside path to this little inlet and then let the babies off their leashes. Toby went swimming right away and Diva tried to muster up the courage but kept barking this high-pitched yelp in frustration. She wanted to go swimming so bad, but since she's become blind, she is just too afraid. Poor little girl. She had a fun time splashing around though.

I took the babies back past where Mike and Jake were fishing and thought I'd keep them close by. Toby swam out again, but this time she kept swimming to the left and right towards the Dog Daddy (Mike). OOPS!! LOL! Then she got out and shook all over Jake. See,I don't mind when the doggies shake their water droplets all over me. They only go swimming when it is hot, so I don't mind having a bit of a cool down too. :P

Needless to say, I had to bring the babies back home. :(

Yesterday was also the inaugural meeting of this new all-female club in the Pass: The Outsiders. Six of us showed up and I am thrilled to report that I had never met any of them -- No small feat in this town!! There are a number of other girls that couldn't attend for various reasons but I'm excited to meet ANYONE who likes exercise and the outdoors. For all you lucky Calgarians out there -- you don't know what it's like to live in a rural community where the majority of dog owners are too lazy to actually walk their dogs, and opt to drive alongside them instead!!! This is not an exaggeration!!

For me to connect with other activity-minded individuals was just awesome. Sad to say there were no triathletes there, but hey, not everybody's perfect! LOL!!!!

Our first scheduled event is to hike Turtle Mountain -- this is the Frank Slide mountain. I won't be able to make it with the group as it coincides with my Wasa race -- so I am hoping I can talk at least one other girl into hiking it with me this Saturday. I know there is one girl that was a bit nervous at the prospect of the hike, so I am going to target her first -- Hee-hee!! I'm a good guide and motivator and would love to help her overcome her fear. Even If I can't find anyone, I'm going up anyways!! :) :) :)

Sounds like Susi and Keith targeted Jenna pretty hard this weekend!!! Can't wait to read how Jenna liked all those hills... and if it is true that Susi has devil horns!! LOL!!!