Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ironman Canada 2008

What a day -- or should I say what a swim!! Hahahahaha!! I had a remarkable swim this year. I took off almost 10 minutes off last year's time! Hee-hee! I still can't believe it. My friends and family who were following my journey via the internet couldn't believe it either. Charmaine told me, "I thought they must have made a mistake!" Hahahahah!! Last year, my swim time was 1:21:15. This year, it was 1:11:51. You have no idea how funny I think this is!!

As for the rest of the race, I was not happy with my bike split -- it's actually gotten slower every year, and this year was the slowest. My very first IMC was my fastest bike split, so I don't know what is going on there. My first IM bike time was 6:45:29, this year's was a snail's pace of 7:11:26. THAT is changing next year.

My run was better -- last year was 5:09:45, this year was 4:58:17 -- but I KNOW I can do much better than this too. So, look out next year! :) :) :)

I really suffered during the last half of the marathon. I began to pee at every aid station, and started getting dizzy and woozy. I became really scared -- terrified actually, because I knew how I could end up if I continued on that way. I did not want a repeat of IMC 2006, and almost started crying I was so worried. I stopped drinking water altogether and forced myself to take in Gatorade, chicken soup (at the aid stations which hadn't run out), bananas, and orange slices. My condition grew progressively worse and I was terrified beyond belief.

But, somewhere along the way, I started to feel a teensy bit better. I still was peeing much too much, but not as much as before. By this point, the pain in every single muscle of my legs and the blister on my right foot proved more of a distraction than my wooziness. It was so unbelievably hard to start running again after I would stop to eat and drink. I kept thinking to myself, "Why the hell am I doing this? I really don't need to do this to my body anymore. This is my last year of Ironman. I don't have anything to prove!"

Of course, this feeling lasts only until right before the finish line... HAHAHAHAHAHA!!

So, a new PB for me: 13:28:35 -- 17:42 off last year's time. While I am happy with my race, I am not satisfied with my results and know I can do much better.

Now...onto the REAL highlights of my stay in Penticton:

1. Seeing this before I left home, I knew I was going to have a good race:

2. Swimming with Kelsey in the OTHER lake in Penticton -- the one where no triathletes are fretting about! BLISS! She invented a new stroke -- the "rocking horse." Hahahahaah!! You lie on your stomach, cross your feet at the ankles and then do a kind of breast stroke. It looks hilarious! I laughed so much at trying to emulate her -- she was like Loch Nessie bobbing around the water. Hahahahah!

3. After stepping out of the shower in my motel room, I bent over to pick up my towel, only to feel a fold of the cheap cloth shower curtain get caught between my butt cheeks. NICE. My immediate thought was, "How many other people has this happened too?"

4. Weighing in at IMC 16 lbs heavier than last year... then learning that EVERYONE had experienced the same inflated readings. Still, you have no idea the conversation I had with myself before realizing the scales were wrong!

4. Making deals with my body throughout the run portion -- My inner dialog went like this: "Body, I promise to not run with these legs for a month if you don't cramp up." Or my favourite, "Foot, if you stop that blister from popping, I promise to take very good care of you and put you up on the coffee table so you can watch movies."

Yup. It's the size of a flippin' toonie. And it didn't pop. Heh-heh-heh-heh.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Whole Lotta Cheering Goin' On!

This weekend I broke out the tambourine, bells, and pompoms for some serious cheering. Friday, the Trans Rockies came through the Pass. The event lasts seven days and covers over 600 km of rugged mountain terrain. Competitors come from all over the world to participate -- it was so awesome to cheer them on. Charmaine, her hubby, and I would like to do this race, but it's a little close to IMC -- hmmm...but you never know right? LOL!!

Yesterday, I drove up to Fort Macleod to cheer my friend Trudy in her first ever triathlon!! I went absolutely bananas!!! The Trans Rockies was cool, but triathlon is MY sport and I yelled and hollered for every competitor. I was in full-on Ironman cheering mode, and I can honestly say, I don't think Fort Macleod has ever seen the likes of it!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!

Trudy did so awesome and she even SPRINTED like an Olympian to the finish line!!! She was running so fast, I doubled over in laughter -- it was so cute to see that final kick!!

I'm taking a break from the blogging world until after IMC... I have a lot of stuff to get together so I'm going to say my good-byes and good lucks now...

-- I'll see you there, and for heaven's sake, remember to put something on underneath your wetsuit! LOL!!!

- Pack up a big suitcase of smiles and laughter -- you are going to love it! :) :)

- You are so ready for this race -- I am really excited for you!!

See ya later, when it's all said and done!!!! :) :) :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My New Hero -- Sherraine Schalm

I just finished watching a CBC interview of Canadian fencer Sherraine Schalm and was motivated and impressed by her passion and values. After an emotional outburst after losing her fencing match, the media (Canadian media) pounced all over her like she committed some terrible crime.

I find her dedication to sport and her unabashed honesty exhilarating and am proud that she is Canadian. Finally, here is a strong female athlete who is unafraid to say exactly what she thinks, and is just as quick to apologize and learn from her mistakes. I am doubly proud of her!

When I watched her reaction at the end of the fencing match, my first reaction was: "YES! Finally a female athlete with some fire!" She gave it all she had, and in the antagonistic interview on CBC, she didn't back down. I loved how when the interviewer introduced her by saying she was unable to win an Olympic medal for Canada "yet again," she interrupted him and repeated sarcastically "yet again." The interviewer is the one who needs etiquette lessons.

Near the end of the interview, the interviewer again blundered into the realm of rudeness when he asked why after all her world cup wins, her efforts have not translated into a medal. I LOVED her response...

She asked him, (my paraphrase here) "I don't know if you know what it's like to be an Olympic athlete, but every girl here has the potential to win gold. And all 32 girls are asking themselves what they could have done differently." Right back at you sucker! Ha!

I am disgusted at this interviewer's tactics -- considering she is one of our athletes. For that matter, I am disgusted with the CBC's habit of chasing the ambulance so to speak and asking athletes right after they have given it their all - "Why didn't you do better? How do you feel knowing that your personal best wasn't good enough?" How do you think they feel? Like shit.

I am so proud that Sherraine is such a fireball!

Congratulations on your performance, Sherraine -- you are a true Olympian!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Race numbers announced!

My race number is 1922!!!!!!!!!!!!

:) :):) :) :)

Animal magnet

Every morning, as soon as I wake up, my animals expect me to follow a precise routine. The dogs especially let me know about it if I do anything wrong -- perhaps because they benefit the most. I'm one of those pet owners who makes sure the food bowls are brimming with food all the time. I don't pre-measure the food, nor do I only feed at a certain time.

However, every morning, as soon as I get up, Diva and Toby herd me to their food bowls. First stop is: "Breakfast Nuggets!" I try to liven up their canine palates, after all, it must be so boring to eat the same food every single day! So, I put in 5 big chunks of a dental food -- I have to scatter it around in their individual bowls too, because they like to root through the smaller dog food and find surprises!

Sometimes, there are slight deviations to this routine -- the main one being that Toby has to go pee before she gets her nuggets. At these times, I have to watch, because Diva will slink over to Toby's bowl and polish off her share. Heh-heh-heh!

Next stop, is "First Medicine" ("Second Medicine" occurs in the evening -- heh-heh!). I have to time this right -- sometimes I go down and clean the kitty litter while they are eating their nuggets. But I have to be quick, otherwise Diva starts barking at me to hurry up. I'll scoot up the stairs where they crowd around me for their respective thyroid pills wrapped in pieces of processed cheese. The timing of the medicine is key -- I have to make sure I give them their medicine at the same time -- exactly.

Diva will eat anything, wrapped in cheese or not, but Toby is a finicky little squirt. She spits things out. So, when she sees Diva getting a morsel, she gets jealous, forgets her finickiness and wolfs it down too. Then, they each get a milk bone.

Afterwards, when I plunk down in front of the computer and start to blog, the Majestic Nut graces me with her furry presence. She jumps on the desk and walks back and forth in front of me. She paces directly between the keyboard and my body -- this is my que to bend forward and let her rub her body against my forehead as she goes by. Then she turns around and does it again. With each pass, she initiates the full body rub by starting with her furry little cheek. Then she angles her body in and arches her back in delight.

Sometimes I have to kiss her body as she walks by too! Hee-hee!!

Who has who trained?

Well -- not much to say about training, only that I am very slowly getting rested. I went for a 2.5 hour ride yesterday and was astonished at how the wind didn't bother me. Usually I'm grinding away in my easiest gear and hardly pedaling at all. Yesterday was the first time EVER, that I could actually put it into a harder (or maybe I should say, not as easy? Hee-hee!!) gear, and then actually push it a bit when the grade of the road slightly changed. I have never been more surprised in my life!

Well, that's not precisely accurate...About 30 minutes into my ride, a black bear scampered across the road right in front of me! I just about fell off my bike, as I was climbing up a hill. For the rest of the ride, I saw huge piles of bear poop on the shoulder of the road.

One more animal story to tell you... On the way home from Susi's a couple of weekend's ago, I saw something moving very slowly in the middle of the road. As I drew nearer I was alarmed to see it was a procession of Mama duck and her baby duckies! All at once, I slammed on the brakes, punched on my four way flashers, swerved into the opposite lane and waved my arm like crazy out the window to the oncoming traffic. Would I have risked a head-on collision? Yes. I didn't have time to think, and my gut reaction was what it was.

Fortunately, there was enough of a gap in traffic that I didn't hit anyone -- the oncoming motorcyclist flashed his old light at me, but slowed down nonetheless. Whew!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Olympic oohs and ahhhs

As I sit on the couch tapering and eating a fudgesicle, I am in all my glory watching the Olympics. Hee-hee! Watching Phelps win another gold last night was awesome!!

I did manage to go for a lake swim yesterday morning however. But it was freezing cold! What happened to summer? There's already been frost up at Mike's Mom's horse camp -- brrrrrr!

When I drove down to the lake, I could see the wind had turned the usually placid water into a choppy surface. I dallied a bit at my car. Should I go for a swim, or should I just head to the pool instead? It's frigging cold! I bucked up and decided to just give it a go.

I stood there shivering in my bathing suit as I quickly got my wetsuit on. There were a few campers about in case I needed help zipping up my suit, but I managed to do it on my own. As I walked to the water, my eyes were glued to the waves. Now, I know it isn't anywhere near as wavy as REAL lakes, but they were short and choppy enough for this rookie!

My first step into the water confirmed it -- it WAS cold. Oh well -- nothing like swimming like a mad fool to get warmed up. There was a guy fishing just to the right of me -- he was bundled up pretty good and looked like he was enjoying a beer. I heard him ask, "It's cold out today, eh?" as I stood waist deep in the water. I was surprised I even heard him as I had my silicon ear-balls in, but I yelled back cheerfully, "OH YEAH!!"

I swam back and forth across the lake like I usually do, until I noticed a few kids had set up a fishing station in between my lake crossings. The waves would crash over me and I got a good few mouthfuls of water before I finally decided to breathe on just one side. This didn't last long, though -- I just had to try and see if I could roll more to the wavy side to learn how to swim in the waves.

Now, Cath -- if you are reading this, you would laugh if you saw what I call waves -- compared to your race that was changed to a duathlon due to the magnificent wave action...but like I said earlier, it was challenging enough for me!! :) :)

I decided to swim directly into the waves and to a further point across the lake. I could practice swimming in some wave action, and I would give the kids some breathing room to fish their hearts out. :) It was definitely different swimming into the waves. The waves crashed over my head no matter which way I turned my head to breathe, and I had to work harder to actually move ahead. Swimming back, was GREAT!

For my last "lap" I decided to swim across the lake, but to the right of the fishing kids. I sighted off this white rock and noticed immediately that the waves had REALLY picked up. It was like a bloody current. I had to hammer my arms into the water really hard to make progress and to keep in line. Coming back was even more challenging --- I really had to swim hard. It was so weird -- I have never had to swim that hard just to go straight across the lake. It was a good workout though!! :) :) :) :)

By this point, the waves started to grow again. Standing knee deep in the water, the size of the waves rolling by me was startling and I started to get a little scared -- I decided enough was enough and to call it a day. :) I looked at my watch -- 30 minutes. My inner Ironman freak was yelling, "Well, just drive to the pool and swim another 15 minutes to make it 45 minutes!" Fortunately, I slapped my freak into silence and had the good sense to go home and watch more Olympic coverage instead. :) :) :) :) :) :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cath blasts a new 10km PR!!

Many of you have heard about my friends from the UK -- Cath and Jason. They will be moving to Canada for good next spring and I can't wait!

Cath has set herself some very big goals for this year -- to pre-qualify for the World Championships in Australia next year. She's been dashing off around the UK racing and getting points -- and making HUGE strides in her tri times.

Forgive my excitement-- I can barely type -- but on Sunday, Cath raced at Worthing and had an awesome 10km split!!!

The weather was terrible -- so terrible that the swim was canceled and the race changed into a duathlon at the last minute. Now, according to Cath, her run is her weakest. She is a very strong swimmer, and to give you an idea of how much she dreaded the run -- as she was looking at the waves crashing into shore, she thought to herself, "I could still swim in that." Hahahahaha!!

She had to run 2.5km, then bike, and then run 10km. The wind was ferocious and relentless, but Cath ended the race by running a 47 minute 10km!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations Cath!! You are a ROCK STAR!! You dealt with the worst mother nature could dish out and still came in third for your age group!!!

May all your dreams come true, Cath!!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympic Mania!!!!!

When I first received this issue of Time, my first instinct was to rush and put this on my blog! Alas -- I ran out of time, misplaced the magazine, etc.

But now...WOWSER!!! She won silver!! First swimmer (male or female) over 40 years old to win an Olympic medal!!!! Man, she is ripped! Congratulations, Dara Torres!!

I loved watching the videos of Michael Phelps swimming. Unfortunately, the streaming video on CBC does not actually stream, so I have been forced to watch the recaps -- I've only seen Phelps win the final heat, but haven't yet seen his first gold-medal performance. I went to bed, visualizing myself with the same superb form and gracefulness in the water.

AIIIEEEE!! I love watching the Olympics!!!!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

How Do You Spell Bliss?

After 8 long years I finally have a washer and a dryer...

(Don't even ask!)

:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Gas Station With the Skinny Mirror

Oh yeah girls, you know what I'm talking about -- there are fat mirrors and then there are skinny mirrors. At the local weight club, the mirrored walls contain both kinds. I'll be working out and feeling great when I look into the skinny mirror. Then I'll walk around the corner to come face-to face with a fat mirror. Suddenly the elation dissipates...heh-heh!

The best skinny mirror in the world is at a gas station at the east end of Bellevue. Every time I need to stop and fill up my water bottles there, I get a thrill of excitement looking at a skinny-mirror me! Hahahahaah! Today was one such day. Reflections are jarringly stretched out -- my image reminded of the actors in the old VHS movies my parents have. The quality was so poor on those recorded tapes that all the people looked 9 feet tall with skinny heads. LOL!

Today was the first time I wore my heart rate monitor -- I figure I better get one ride in at least before IMC since I am going to use it. Hee-hee! After two cups of coffee, my heart rate was still at 66 -- I'm thinking this is a big improvement? Frig, if I didn't have that coffee, I might not have had a beating heart at all!! LOL!!

The taper monster and me have finally made friends -- dare I say I am actually starting to feel...rested?

:) :) :) :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

That Time of Year...

You know it is "that time of the year" when:

1. I'm sick and tired of training for Ironman -- let's race already.

2. I'm sick and tired about talking about training for Ironman.

3. I'm REALLY, REALLY tired.

4. I get grouchy because I am so tired.

5. Weird aches and pains start randomly appearing and disappearing throughout my body.

6. Despite the knowledge that my body is absorbing all this training, and I am getting stronger through the taper -- I still feel like crap.

7. I am more excited for NEXT year, than I am about this year!!


Anyone have anything else to add?

Happy tapering everyone!! (Said with a sinister, sarcastic, smirk!!) :) :):):)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Good Times in Cochrane

This weekend I stayed at Susi's beautiful home in Cochrane! Friday night, we went for sushi with a couple of Susi's friends -- Tina and her beau Andrew. You know you are with a good mix of people when within seconds of meeting each other, you share fart stories... Let's just say Susi explained to me what a "Dutch Oven" was. Hahahaha!!

Tina warned us that she could eat all the sushi we ordered for four people -- on her own. There was something about the quiet confidence with which she said this -- We knew she was not joking!! LOL!

After dinner, Tina asked if I liked coffee. Ahhhhh! That was music to my ears! Do I like coffee? Oh yeah baby! Unfortunately the cool coffee place she wanted to show me was closed, so I'm taking a rain check!!! :) :) :)

The next day, Susi and I shopped around Cochrane with our coffee and teas in hand. There was this AWESOME second hand clothing store -- I spent 80 frigging dollars there!! AND I was so excited to find a brand new lululemon top I nearly spun right out of control. I confessed to Susi, that "Yes, I am a label whore!" WHEEEE!!

After lunch we drove to Keith's and Linda's house -- FINALLY I met them!!! I am gradually working my way through my list of blogger buddies -- meeting them one at a time. Keith escorted us part of the way to the infamous "Road to Nepal" where Susi and I took great enjoyment climbing up, up, and away. There was on sketchy bit however -- I was going down one hill in aero, when off in the ditch was a deer -- time seemed to stand still. I looked into its deep liquid eyes and it looked right back at me. It's ear twitched to the side. Was it going to spring out in front of me? Or worse, was it going to jump out in front of Susi? I frantically popped upright and started pointing like mad towards the ditch to try and convey to Susi that danger ahead. Fortunately, the deer was totally uninterested in us and went back to nibbling on whatever deers nibble on in grassy ditches.

Great ride -- I knew I had a good time, when I kept thinking, "Aww. Is this it? It's over already?" :) :)

Back to Keith's and Linda's where we showered and ate some of Linda's DIVINE cookies, before heading out to an Indian restaurant. I've never eaten Indian food, so I was really pumped. Dinner was divine and educational -- I pried Linda about all things cooking, and she was happy to oblige. In a comedic twist, I asked her to explain to me what a dutch oven was. I was quick to vocalize that her description didn't match Susi's description, but then Susi just about whapped me on the head and didn't want to elaborate ... Heh-heh-heh. The devil made me do it!!! LOL!!

The next morning, Susi took me out on her special "Lochend Loop." What a beautiful ride!! It was like riding through a calendar of Alberta -- through rolling countryside, marshes, prairie, etc. But the clouds of bugs were disgusting! You know how those little clouds of gnats or whatever they are hover together in space? Well, one group of them happened to be positioned right at head level and when I went through them, I got little bugs everywhere -- after our ride, I noticed them all glued around my eyes. Nice.

There was one point during the ride that I thought I saw billowing smoke -- when I cast a glance back over my shoulder -- it was just more clouds of those bugs. ECH.

The ride ended with the descent of "Cochrane Hill." I was bummed that we wouldn't be riding up it -- it looked so awesome -- just like Penticton. The weather, however, dictated our plans and neither Susi or I wanted to risk getting zapped...especially after the static electricity made Susi's braids stand up over her helmet. That was when we decided we better head for home.


A great weekend, with great friends.

Now go do the right thing.