Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Random thoughts

After I workout I like to bathe. In a bathtub. I used to be a shower person, until I went on my little Nepal stint a few years ago. I endured such cold and hardship (ok, not REAL hardship, LOL!) that I promised myself if I sucked it up and made it through the trip, I could have as many HOT baths as I wanted -- for the rest of my life. This particular thought occurred to me in the middle of a snowstorm at 18 000 feet while we were huddled up in tents. The temp went down to -15 Celsius that night and I was soooooo flipping cold.

Anyways, whining aside, there is no greater enjoyment than immersing myself in hot water. It feels so good it's almost like I'm doing something wrong -- you know that feeling? Hahahaha!!

After my bike workout yesterday, I stripped down and headed to the tub. Peanut usually sits on the edge and paws at the water and sometimes climbs on my back. Then I'm yelling for Mike to come and get her off. Toby usually comes in the bathroom too -- but she likes to lick any renegade droplets of water that land on the edge of the tub. As you can guess, the bathroom door at my house is rarely closed. The only time it closes is when a guest is over. Even then, at least one cat and one dog will follow said guest and scratch at the door while the guest goes about his/her business.

As I was relaxing in my tub yesterday, it suddenly occurred to me that I hang my swimsuit to dry by the crotch on the door handle of the bathroom. So the odd time when someone is over and has to use the loo, they have to touch my suit...Yep.

I was feeling pretty relaxed in the tub and got to thinking about how long I could blow bubbles out of my nose with my face under the water. I bent my face into the water and exhaled, listening to the bubbles. I must have zoned out, because the next thing I heard was, "WHAT are you doing??" Mike came into the bathroom and saw me sitting in the tub, with my upper body bent over my legs to get my face in the water. Shannon's quip entered my head ("You married it!"), however, Mike and I are not technically married, but you get the gist!!! LOL!!!!!

In other news...the mouse that has sought refuge behind our stove for the last week finally made his move this morning. Peanut and Mandalay had been taking turns staring under the stove, and I even caught a glimpse of it ON THE COUNTER last night as I did the dishes. EEEEEEEWWWWWWWW!!!! Mike pulled out the stove, and of course we couldn't find it. But the sight of dust bunnies and all manner of drips, stains and assorted stuff underneath the stove grossed me out enough. I wasn't going to clean it though, because I was too afraid of the mouse!

This morning, as I was putting the dishes away, I noticed a bunch of tiny mouse poop in the sink. I continued to buzz about the kitchen getting ready for my swim, when suddenly I saw the mouse dart behind the toaster oven!! RAISE THE ALARM!!! I was hooting and hollering and poor Mike, shot out of bed grabbed his bathrobe and tried to get into the kitchen while simultaneously waking up. As the toaster oven sits in the corner, we managed to block it off with two extra Ikea bookshelves. Then, in the little space betwen the shelves, we placed a laundry hamper underneath, on the floor.

Mike put some gloves on, and then we had to wait for Peanut to finish up her morning poop. She was scratching away at the litter box downstairs, and then came roaring up the stairs. (As an aside, there is a direct correlation to the stink of Peanut's business and the speed with which she flies up the stairs.) I grabbed The Nut, and put her in the blocked off area where the mouse was. And then the fun began...

Things happened fast, and I was squealing, Mike was yelling at me to hold the shelf in place, I didn't want to look but could not look away...The mouse got past Peanut and fell into the laundry hamper! He started jumping -- really jumping, and squeezed out through one of those laundry hamper holes. DANG!! He scurried underneath the desk and now Toby and Diva were also involved. I was totally freaking out by this point, and it was all I could do to try and help Mike. Poor Mike!!! Hahahaha!!

The mouse finally made a mad dash toward the back hall where a little crack in the floor leads to the basement. The dirt basement where the rest of his family has probably burrowed in for the winter. Eeecccchhhhhhhh. All that action before 6:30am!!!!

Have a great day everyone!!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

And no, it is NOT a typo...

Workouts from my coach can be deceptive...

Even though I write down each swimming workout on a little piece of paper to take with me to the pool, somehow the level of difficulty of each workout eludes me, until I enter the water. After I actually start the workout, I realize, "Oh shit." Hahahahahaha!!

One thing all swimming workouts have in common, however, are their uncanny ability to cause me to do a double-take. I have even taken off my goggles and stared at the piece of paper thinking to myself, "Did she make a typo? I just did that set and and had a cool down -- I'm supposed to repeat it?" Or, "I have to do 2 sets 'hard, hard?'" Not just "hard," but, "hard,hard?"

It's not a typo.


Wednesday's swim was going along very well, until I got to the big bits -- something along the lines of a bunch of sets of 200m. By the time I was done, I was ready to go to bed. My eyes had that sleepy, half-lidded look, I swear!!! I couldn't believe that I had finished the workout and had a big stupid grin on my face. :) :)

Friday's swim workout, however, scared the living daylights out of me. As usual, I was chugging along until I hit the typo-part of the workout. I stared, blinking at the piece of paper, thinking to myself how in the world am I going to do that? After I accepted that there was no typo, I took a deep breath and went like stink! Well, I didn't exactly GIVE it that hard. Definitely not "hard, hard." I just don't have the physical strength to do justice to a "hard, hard" workout yet. I knew I had to ration my strength to even finish, and so many times while I was swimming, I wanted to quit.

I was breathing so hard during those precious 20 seconds between sets. I would try and swim as hard as I could, but oh -- 100m is so far!!!! I was gasping for air, and as I swam, my legs were getting tingly from the exertion. And at the same time, it was so maddening, because I knew I wasn't actually going "hard, hard!"

I was genuinely surprised when I finished the workout. Another big, stupid grin would have crept on my face had I not been sucking in all the oxygen I could. :)

Fast forward to today -- I decided to do butterfly during the sets of IM I had to do, instead of copping out and just doing the kick. I had prepared myself by consulting my very dear friend youtube, and armed with the visuals of a marine thrusting his hips backwards and forwards, I did my first real attempt at butterfly. It was a sight to behold -- Hahahahaha!

My arms actually do come out of the water -- Oh man, Cath, you should have been there!! HAHAHAHAHA!! LOVE IT!! I felt like a kid -- splashing away at the water with all my might, trying to remember what Jimmy from youtube said to do, and trying to breathe air and not water. Get this, I ended up doing a total of 5 lengths of drowning-butterfly-style stroke today!! WOOOHOOO!! I'm excited about learning something new - I remember when I was teaching myself how to do a flip turn -- I would carefully watch youtube videos and take notes, then follow the instructions the next day at the pool.

Already, I've been graciously offered a number of helpful hints: "Try swimming with flippers, try a couple of dolphin dives, try swimming with only one arm." I'm trying it all baby!! Woohooo -- butterfly, here I come.

And, yes -- that big stupid grin came back again today. :) :) :) :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Calling all triathletes!

Does anyone out there in the blogging world know where I could either borrow/rent/purchase a bike travel case? I'm flying to Arizona in February and am putting out the call now!

The lucky person who lends me their bike case will receive the following prizes:

1. A weekend stay at my place -- you can use my pad as a base for skiing in Fernie or Castle Mountain, or whatever you choose to do!

2. My signature homemade lasagna and for dessert, my famous apple and cheese torte.

3. Free snuggles from my two dogs and two cats.

4. As much coffee as your heart desires!

:) :) :)

If anyone could help me out (or know someone who could), I'd love you forever and forever.

Thanks guys!!

:) :) :) :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Julie does the butterfly...

So my schedule today called for a few sets of IM. In the words of my coach, "it doesn't have to be pretty," just try it. Now, the only swim stroke I actually KNOW how to do is freestyle -- and that is still a big work in progress. I only recently "learned" breast stroke and back stroke from my good friend, youtube. I have no idea if I'm doing them correctly, but I manage to make my way from one end of the pool to the other without anyone laughing at me -- so I figure I must at least look like I know what I'm doing. LOL!!

But the butterfly has been something I have not tried at all. Frankly, it scares the hell out of me. Charmaine had me do the butterfly kick earlier this year, but it doesn't look anything like it is supposed to! Hahahaha!! I just kick with both legs and take a breath every once in a while. I have no idea what to do with my arms, so I just sort of take a freestyle stroke when I go to take a breath. Hey -- whatever works right? :) :)

For the longest while, I would hump my way along the bottom of the pool. I was like a worm, wriggling my way underwater trying to get to the other side. Now, I manage to hump away at the surface (which makes breathing a much easier enterprise!) Oh man, Chuck you are going to love this post -- it really does feel pervy thrusting away at the water, and not really getting anywhere. It's these moments that only adult non-swimmers can truly appreciate. LOL!!

By the way, the thrashing I did in the pool this morning WASN'T pretty, but it sure felt like I was working hard!! Hahahaha!!!

So, before you know it, I'll be swimming like Zohan...I've laughed so hard over this vid clip, I've cried.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oh yes, it's crab apple time again...

Those of you who know me, even a little, know how much I HATE crab apples. I mean REALLY HATE them. In fact, if there is a word stronger than hate, I'd definitely apply it to them.

Let me enlighten you all about the joyful experiences of owning crab apple trees and white carpets. The only good thing about these trees are the blossoms in the spring and the shade they provide in the summer. Apart from that -- the stinking mess they leave in the fall and winter is gross. (If I slip up and start calling them cranberries, just ignore me - I do it all the time.)

From a crab apple virgin's perspective, I often hear, "What's the big deal? Just pick them up when they fall down." Ahhh, my little neophyte, you know so little about crab apples. You see, you only have a limited amount of time to pick the crab apples, and a limited reach. (I don't own scaffolding, so I can only reach as high as the top rung of my ladder.) The goal is to pick as many apples as possible BEFORE the first frost otherwise it's game over.

And every year, it's game over. There is no way to win. The first frost hits and the apples turn to instant mush. They will fall from the trees and lie there on the ground looking deceptively solid...until you bend to pick one up. Instant disintegration! All over your hands and shoes. The worst is getting nailed by falling crab apple bombs. With the winds being what they are here, you never know when a 100km/hour blast is going to strike just when you are trying to navigate the walkway to your car to go to work. SPLAT!!! Cranberries on my shoulder, my face, and yes even on my head -- then turn around and head inside for ANOTHER clothes change.

And the dogs!!! They like to go and lie down in the front yard, hence their rears are covered in sticky crab apple mush. They get nailed from the apple bombs too -- I have to continually wipe their faces and ears. Plus, I am the idiot that INSISTED on white carpets when we moved in!!!! AAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!

Every year, the saga continues...One year, Mike bought some rolls of black lawn fabric to try and "catch" the apples as they fell. With the winds here, we had to nail the stuff down. It wasn't too long before a few edges ripped free and the stuff would be flapping in the wind all the time. It didn't really work.

This year, it's as gross as ever. We are in the process of re-siding our humble abode, and the guy that has been doing all the work has joked about how it feels like he is stepping in dog poop all the time. There's nothing like the feeling of sinking your foot into a nice squishy pile of crab apples. They get right into the grooves of your shoes, or my personal favourite, they sneak up the sides of your shoes so you don't notice until you leave a trail of jam at the local grocery store.

This morning, I employed a relatively new tactic Mike has developed over the past few years...spray the walkway with water and dodge the falling apples.

It worked all right -- note the semi-clean pathway....

This next picture illustrates the magnitude of my crab apple mess! LOL!!!

And finally, here is a pic of our house in progress. Note the old brick-siding that we discovered underneath. LOL!! It's a!! LOL!! Toby (my little princess) is in the corner with her frisbee helping me with the crab apples.

Training is going so very awesome! I had my first official brick (a brick in the brick house, LOL!)of the season yesterday. YAY!! Completed my regular Friday, Spit-up Day routine today with nary a burp. Everyone at the pool has finally "gotten" that I can't chat it up when I swim like a mad fool from one end of the pool to the other and have only 15 seconds to recover. :) :) :)



Happy weekend everyone!!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

HTFU -- My New Mantra

Weather too cold? HTFU.

Got a flat tire? HTFU.

Swimming pool full of floatin' oldies? HTFU.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I've been fortunate enough (so far) to have been able to do all my bike workouts outside still. I want to delay the long, long days of trainer riding as much as I can -- so my trusty steed (y'all remember Crash right?) and I have had some fine autumn days together. Oh -- and Susi --- you'd be so proud of me! My courage has blossomed in regards to my mountain biking skills. Granted, I am still not technically on a real trail, but my confidence is at the point now, where I am excited about venturing off the well-beaten logging road. Heh-heh-heh!

That said, I had a helluva bike ride on Saturday morning. I should have known something was wrong when 35 minutes into it, my Camel-bak froze. No amount of gumming the nozzle would coax out even a droplet, but still I pushed on. My ride was to last 2 hours with overgear work during the second hour. Now, as all roads in the Crowsnest Pass lead up, I thought I'd bike for about 1.5 hours up and then sail back down and home. Things were going great -- I was really enjoying myself out there. The dirt road I ride on is a wicked steady climb (starting in Blairmore), followed by a long descent that flattens out in the bottom of a valley. I turn around before this point, however. The road eventually curves back and climbs steadily back to Hillcrest. I think it is a 50km or so loop, that I would like to do in its entirety next year -- gorgeous!

Anyways, things literally went downhill when I turned around. The wind was against me and it was so frigging cold, I couldn't believe it. My fingers and feet quickly froze. I had a really hard time trying to change gears on my bike, and I could feel my core was getting cold. I had layered up with wool and a wind blocking jacket, but my cheap sports bra/tank top was soaking wet and retained all the moisture.

I went as fast as I could go -- but I knew I was getting to be in bad shape when I felt my face scrunch up and start to cry. It was so weird -- it's like my mind was separate from my body. I was thinking to myself, why in the hell is my face trying to cry? I'm not sad or worried, I'm just f$%#ing cold! I had no control over it. It's like trying to stop yourself from sweating when you are working out. Very weird.

By this point, I couldn't feel my legs, my feet, or my hands, and I pedaled like the hounds of hell were yipping at my wheels. I remember looking down at my legs as they were pedaling and thinking, shouldn't I be feeling the exertion of this effort?

Well, I felt it as soon as I got home. It's like I had held my breath while cycling home -- when I finally stopped, I was breathing so hard and fiercely I thought I was going to spew. I also started crying uncontrollably. Poor Mike had to literally undress me and put me in the tub. I was pretty mixed up too. I got in and out of the tub 2 times, all the while crying and saying, "What the hell is the matter with me? I can't stop crying!"

Mike made me a tea and gradually I warmed up. My feet HURT so much -- I couldn't stand the pain of them warming up. I gradually warmed up, until suddenly, I was back to normal. It was like a light switch went off in my head. Mike said to me in his no-nonsense voice -- "That's enough biking outside for this year." Eeeeeeep.

But......yesterday it was so nice outside, I was able to bike outside. I had to pass through the security check-point of Mike however, telling him where I was going, and for how long I was going (only an hour).

Keep warm everyone, or suffer the face-crumpling consequences...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Here comes the gobbler!

My sister and her hubby are coming tonight all the way from Melfort, Saskatchewan. Both are radio announcers -- Scott for the am side, Karen for the fm side. Actually, my sister just received a promotion and is now off the air and in charge of all other kinds of things. I'm so excited to see them -- with the store, I've only been up to see her 3 times. Now that is all going to change!!!! :) :)

My Mom has bought the turkey and has gathered all the ingredients to make her famous stuffing. YUM!! Which reminds me, instead of coming across the 'fraidy cows on my mountain bike ride, I came across a herd (a cluck?, a group?, a what? LOL!) of wild turkeys.

Training is going awesome! I've been easing back into things -- I've never been one to consistently log my total meters of swimming, or total hours of training. Fortunately, Sara does it for me. Hee-hee!! Last week I logged a total of 7.3 hours, this week will be 7.8 hours. I peeked ahead at next week's schedule and see my first brick is nestled in there! WHEEEE! Can't wait! :) :)

Fridays have been officially dubbed (by me) as Spit-up Day. Those familiar with Keith and his retaste zone will understand immediately what I am referring to. You will get it too, Cath! I've warned my fellow morning swimmers, that "Swim until you puke" is my new Friday workout -- and to not try talking to me as I try and catch my breath in the fleeting 30 seconds of rest.

Last Friday, I was so tired during the workout, and honing in on the retaste zone, that I had to burp. I looked over at Larry, a fellow self-taught youtube flip-turner, and said, "This is how it starts." Hahahahahaha!!

I have been taking full advantage of the weather too -- I've been mountain biking to my heart's content. Last Saturday I had a two hour ride with overgear work and it was sooooo beautiful. There were PUDDLES of yellow leaves scattered about the dirt road -- the loamy smells, the crisp air, the scenery -- WOW! I am so lucky to live here!!!!

The positive feeling lasted all the way through the miserable rain storm of a trail run I did on Tuesday. I felt like one of my dogs -- I'd take them out for a 10km run, and with all their dashing and running back and forth they end up logging more like 40km! Hopping around puddles and rivers and balancing between streams of water on the trail had me huffing and puffing. Of course in the Pass, the wind always blows one way, and the hills follow suit.

This means that just like my Dad (in the days of yore, heh-heh-heh) I was running uphill and into the wind -- rain slapping my kisser, until I turned around and headed back to my car.

Good times! I think I must have channeled Susi on Tuesday, because the wind and rain really didn't bother me -- go figure. I won't go far as to say that I was feeling the kisses from Mother Nature (remember that post Susi? LOL!) but I truly didn't get caught up in misery. :) :)

I owe this new shift in attitude to a real whiner (whinger, for Cath and Jase!) I had at the store last week. They are pretty rare in triathlon, but I'm sure you all know the type: complaining about the weather, the roads, the drivers, everything -- like they are the ONLY ones who experience such things. They are the ones who ask what your Ironman time is in not a nice way...they are the ones who are insecure and try to pull you in and pull you down, you know?

So, there are people I strive to emulate, and there are those I learn how not to be like. Good lessons all around. No more whining about the wind from me -- if I do, feel free to smack some sense back into me. :) :) :)

I'm sure Sara Reinersten doesn't whine about how a hard a hill is to pedal up...

OK, That's the last thing I'm going to rant about, otherwise I'll turn into what I despise!!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone -- Oh and Susi -- We have 2 slow cookers, but I have no idea where they are...They are in the basement. Still don't understand? Ask Jenna! LOL!!!

A big shout of encouragement to my new coach, Sara Gross who will be competing in Kona on Saturday!! Good luck!!!!!! :) :) :) :)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Whew! What a week! With my store closing down, I've been crazy busy. Everything is 40% off and the sales have been NUTS. I've also been selling various racks, displays, and shelving -- Jenna was the one who discovered I actually made another blog to help sell my shelving. Hee-hee!

Things are moving along a lot more quickly then I expected-- we might be able to get out of there sometime in October if all goes well. My lease ends Nov. 30, and I already have the rent covered -- but the way things are clearing out of the store -- an October end date is possible. Yesterday, I sold ALL 51 feet of Ikea wooden shelving that fronts the store. AWESOME!!!!

Apart from training, which I will quickly touch on in a moment, a number of other random events are listed to entertain you...

1. I got SOOOO excited watching the leader's debate. I was up off the couch cheering and yelling. I still can't believe I derived quite that much enjoyment from watching it! LOL! I am officially an OLD FART!!!! The highlights of the night (for me) were:

* Gilles Duceppe's quip about how he wasn't going to win the election and three others aren't either -- they just don't know it yet! HAHAHAHAHA!!

* Harper's smackdown of Dion in the first few seconds of the English debate.

* Dion giving the WRONG website address to his party's green shift policy. For those of you who have not heard about this goes. Green Shift is an established and trademarked company in existence long before the Liberal Party formulated their policy. The woman who runs the company has received legal threats and innuendo from various Liberal party members urging her to abandon her company's name and threatening legal action. She cited instance after instance of Liberal newspaper ads, radio ads, and the like all erroneously citing HER site as the site to go to to learn more information about their policy. A gong show!!! LOVE IT!!!

2. I got a new hair dude -- a darker Julie has emerged for the fall season. heh-heh-heh. At the salon, my hairdresser told me of a prank she played on her nieces. She always sews them a special piece of clothing every year, and this year asked them to measure two things...

They had to measure the diameter of their belly button and compare it to the diameter of their nipple. If there was any discrepancy in measurements, they would have to go to the doctor ASAP. HAHAHAHAHA!!!! This has also caused me no end of enjoyment! LOL!!!

3. I decided to take Susi's advice and not talk assertively to the scaredy cows. I put on my cute little girly-girl voice and said, "Hi there little cowsie wowsies. You guys are so good. Oh look at you." And the stupid things just sat there blinking at me. I thought to myself, "You have GOT to be kidding me!" The voice worked for the first batch of cows, but I'm sorry to say it didn't work for the second set of cows. There were just as terrified as usual. Could it have been they sensed my eyes rolling because of the girly-girl voice? Heh-heh-heh!

I often wonder if a cow has ever died while sprinting away in fear. I'll see a cow's rump just a boppin' down the road in front of me, and then it will LEAP off the side of the road and down the mountain. They are like mountain goats!!

Onto to training...

Looks like I'll be working out 7 days a week! :):) And I've been mountain biking instead of road biking. Tomorrow my workout calls for some over gear work --- mountain biking in harder gears than usual! YAY!!

My swimming workout of Friday was the hardest session I have ever done. Really, I am not exaggerating. My swimming has been coined, "The Journey of the Eternal Plodder." I can go forever at the same pace, and it takes a lot to shake me out of it. And no Chuck, I am not being a pervert. LOL!!!! I had to do all these kicking sprints and then other sprints -- yesterday was the first time ever that I felt like vomiting from the sheer exertion of swimming hard. That's a good thing, right? HAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Sorry about the lack of posting -- when the store is finally closed, you all will be getting more than you bargained for!!!!!

:) :) :) :) :)