Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Diva Passed Away Tonight

She almost made it to 12 years old...

She went completely blind 6 years ago, and nothing held her back. While her arthritis wasn't bad, she would still come running with me and Toby. You'd never know by watching her that she was blind.

My God, my little dog taught me so much about life, I can't believe she's gone. It happened suddenly -- last night she could barely move and refused a treat. This morning at the vet's her blood was like water...her red blood cells were dying rapidly.

I just can't believe she's gone.

She got a blood tranfusion but it wasn't enough. My other animals all know -- they knew last night I think. Things are going to be so different now without Diva. She's been with me through so much, she was my best friend. I just wish she could have made it through the summer -- she loved to lie outside on the grass in the summer.

My God, I miss her.

Good bye, Diva -- I miss you so much and will miss all our outdoor adventures together.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Negativity Gets a Bad Rap

Yesterday during my long run I got to thinking...amidst the usual jumble of random thoughts, an idea started to emerge. About negativity.

How many times have I read or watched or heard stories of people who were told they couldn't do something? And these people all said in one way or another, "When someone tells me I can't do something, it makes me want to do it all the more." I've had this experience myself -- many times.

Following this train of thought, I thought about why our culture is so focused on the positive side, the bright side, the right side. Negativity is supposed to be bad and wrong and hurtful. But, like yin and yang, one cannot exist without the other. I got a feeling that the intermingling of positivity and negativity runs much deeper than this though. Truth.

My rambling mind continued...

So, it's a good thing to surround yourself with people who believe in you and support you, but there is a place for the negative ones too. I wonder just how much fuel the so-called negative forces in my life have provided me. Even when I have felt bad or down, it's often the negative feelings that have given me the impetus to grit my teeth and HTFU. I guess the trick is to convert that negative energy to fuel instead of allowing it to weigh you down?

There is a line in one of the two Ironman movies I watch all the time - something about "Sport is at its best when it is transcendent." That's how I feel! When I bliss out during a workout, there's a feeling of rising above all delineations of right and wrong. There is a feeling of being more than who I am -- more than who I THINK I am. A feeling of liberation, yet at the same time a feeling of being in sync with the universe.

Of course it helped that yesterday I wore a high-waisted pair of thermals so my belly wouldn't get cold like it did on Friday...I was fine until about 45 minutes in, when my pants started sliding down and although my various shirts covered my belly, I needed that extra layer of pants to protect against the cold. :) :) :) :) I'm running my butt off!! Hahahahahahaha!!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lance Armstrong's Incredible Short Cut 2003

Talk about being completely in the moment! AWESOME!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Not Much to Blog About

Just what the title says -- not too much to blog about. Biking is great, running is great, and so is swimming. :):)

I'm as happy as a clam and am now officially counting down the days to the Arizona training camp...I leave Feb. 15. :) :) :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Flash from the past...

9 years ago Mike completed a 3 month workout program... (2 years before I met him) Susi has seen ALL the pics!! LOL!!!

And 12 years ago, here is a blonder version of moi. Heh-heh-heh.

Build = Sleep

I've noticed a pattern to my training -- during the first week of a build, I am absolutely tuckered out. POOPED. But, I've learned if I can just hang on, the second week is much better.

This last week, I said a lot of "Suck it up, buttercup" and "HTFU" to myself -- especially on Satrurday's brick when I had to run as hard as I could off the bike...and of course the wind was just a howlin'!! I swear, my legs were pumping like mad, but I was hardly moving forward. Hahahahahahahah!!! When I turned around, I almost took off and landed in Saskatoon. (If I owned a cell phone, I would have called Jenna mid-air to let her know when I would be coming in for a landing.)

Fortunately, Mike was out on the deck having a cigarette,and managed to jump up and grab my leg and pull me down out of the sky. LOL!!!!

Later on, the wind quieted down so I could concentrate on HTFU during a hilly run.

I am pretty excited about this --- last week I did 17.6 hours, and it's going up from here! :) :):) :) :) :) :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Snowshoe extravaganza

After swimming on Friday, I had a 2 hour snowshoe planned. My friend couldn't make it so that left me to my own solitary devices...

I have the cheapest, lowest-end pair of snowshoes you can imagine, but I figure, the more cumbersome, the better the workout, right? I got them on without issue and began the hike up the mountain. The weather was perfect -- no wind in Sparwood -- but I felt like I was cheating as the trails were pretty much packed down with only the teensiest bit of give.

To make up for the lack of difficulty, I decided to hoof it on the flat parts and then keep searching for hills. I climbed up and up and up and zoned out, lost in the beauty of my surroundings. I reached the top, and began descending down another trail for a bit. I started to feel like I was cheating again, so I went backup the steep portion I had just descended and then decided to start heading back.

I completely misjudged how long it would take me to return, because when my car came in sight I realized I still had another 40 minutes to go!! This time I went back on another trail, and made sure to get in my full time. I was FAMISHED by this point and wolfed down my home-made Lara Bar. I LOVE my home-made concoction!!!!! :) :) :)

For all you Plankers out there...

Here's a new twist on an old favourite. A cat on your back provides added difficulty...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Inbox Inundation

Who would have thought checking one's email could inspire so much drama? Well, that's exactly what happened today when I innocently logged into my yahoo account and saw there were 26 (!) new messages in my inbox!

This is a big deal for me -- the bit of spam I get all goes to the "Spam Folder" so I was curious to see who was contacting me and what all the fuss was about.

Seconds later I was enveloped in a whirlwind of Jenna and Susi. Hahahahahahahaha!! :)

All I can say, is that's the most fun I've ever had checking email before. Heh-heh-heh!!

I had a good bike ride this morning and watched Ironman World Championships 2006 and 2007 AGAIN FOR THE ZILLIONTH TIME. I think I just about have all the words memorized....

"It's 11 o'clock and this man isn't sure about a lot of things right now..."

I need to get more viewing material but am too cheap to send a $30 US money order to get a new dvd. I've been scrounging around the choppy seas of the internet with my eye-patch and my trusty parrot on my shoulder searching for a torrent to download. I tell you, it was a sad day when Robert Downey Junior and Ironman came out -- You have no idea how hard it is to search for "Ironman triathlon" when all that keeps coming up is the movie Ironman.

And so, I will resort to watching (and inadvertently memorizing) my old vids!! Hahahahahaha!!!

Onto swimming news...

My shoulders are always in pain now. Is it weird that I love it? Hahahahaha!! I never knew my arms had so many little muscles in them. I'm completely in love with my paddles too. I even invented a new flip turn to facilitate swimming with them. Well ---- I haven't patented it or anything... LOL!!

Here's what you do -- when you come to the wall you tumble, but then you put your hands together like you are praying. Any other way and you will either snap your arm off, or go shooting off in another lane. :) :) :)

Yoga is on my plate for later today, and then it is meatloaf for dinner. ;)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I CAN Cook!

It's taken almost 8 years, and a lot of time management, and organization to find ways to feed me and Mike (who HATES vegetables and anything that is HEALTHY), but I can do it!!! :) :) :) You have no idea how tickled I am to learn that I can cook! :) :)

Mini pizzas on whole wheat pitas: Chicken/spinach/pineapple/peppers/onions

Mini-Muffin Frittatas: Eggs/Ham/Cheese/Onion

Salisbury Steak with BBQ Mushroom Sauce/Broccoli/Mashed Potatoes

Turkey/Cheese Quesadilla With Salsa

Leek and Ham Quiche (LEEK (!) I cooked LEEKS!!)

Pork Chops/Potatoes/Green Beans

Sunday, January 11, 2009

For Keith --

I've been prodded by Keith into making another blog entry! :) :)

Here's what I've learned over the past week...

1. When I run intervals, it is supposed to hurt. I've suspected for a while now that my running suffers from the same slow-pokiness as my swimming -- and I got confirmation of that on Friday's interval workout. I decided to up my warm up speed, just to see if I could-- and guess what? I COULD!

Next, I upped the interval speed for each session. I was quite out of breath and approaching the hurl-my-cookies-stage, but in retrospect, I KNOW I could have pushed it a little harder. Goodie!! A new goal for next week! :) :)

Dang!! As I write this, Mandalay is ripping open the new bag of cat food and eating from the spillage that ensues. Why on earth do cats like to eat out of the bag instead of their bowls?? Oh great -- now Peanut has gone over to check on the commotion.

OK -- Let's see, where was I? Oh yes, other things I learned this week...

2. That my bum and hamstrings hurt A LOT when cycling on a properly fitted bike.

3. I stretch after every session, and do yoga once a week.

4. Snowshoeing is now integrated into my training schedule! YAY!!!

Here's some pic's of The Nut in action for your viewing pleasure...

Peanut caught getting into trouble...

For the last 4 years, she would perch and watch me the entire duration of my bike workouts....New bike, new year, and no Nut to distract me from my Computrainer!

Peanut attacking Mandalay...

Nutcho messing with Toby...

Nut and Diva going at it...

And finally, a rare moment of introspection in the sunlight...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Swimming Bondage

My swimming has graduated to the next level -- the level that requires more toys!

You should see me in the mornings -- armed with my paraphernalia at the pool side. Ask Keith -- he saw my loot bag! LOL!!!

Here is what I start out with: A series of cable exercises to get the hurt on before I get in the water.

After my routine, I consult with my workout baggie. Sometimes I have to take my goggles off to consult with the bag. And sometimes, I have to look again and again like I have OCD just to make sure I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. :)

Next thing that gets wet is my trusty steed -- take a ride on the Pink Pony!! Err -- doesn't EVERYONE name their pull buoys? LOL!!!!!!!!!

My favourite part of the workout is when I get to put on these bad babies. I feel muscles in my arms and shoulders I never new existed.

And finally, drum roll please -- The Band. Dum, dum, dum. Just look how innocent it looks lying there -- lifeless. But when that little sucker goes around my ankles, my swimming gradually goes from horizontal to vertical. It's a race for me to get the other side of the pool. My arms will be trying to fling those paddles through the water fast enough (the term "fast" is used very loosely here) to keep me moving forward instead of sinking. Good times!! Hahahahahahaha!!!

Yoga is on my agenda for later today and the Pass is in the middle of a major thaw. It's like spring out there -- there is NO wind and the temperature is sitting at +4!! It was even raining this morning. :)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

100m past the rib cage...

My schedule today called for a hilly trail run. I've been chomping at the bit for some nicer weather and a reprieve from the treadmill. The snow is pretty deep on all the back roads, but I decided to try my luck at the Sartoris staging area. A number of skidoos had used the road, and I figured the resistance of running uphill through the snow would be just the ticket!! :) :)

Holy Mackerel was it ever! The skidoos didn't pack down the snow at all so it was like running through kitty litter. In fact, the snow was deep enough and slippery enough that I ended up running pretty much the same pace weather I was climbing uphill or running downhill. Hahahaha!! In fact, for the steeper hills, I basically ran in place instead of going forward. But, it was bliss -- nature's own treadmill! :) :)

As I slowly slogged along, I got to thinking about what "normal" means and how I've redefined what "normal" means to me. For example, after 1 hour 30 minutes of running through thick snow, the resistance of the snow wasn't such a chore anymore. I got used to it -- so by the end of the run, I felt like I was clipping along. You should have seen how I felt when I reached actual pavement at the very end!! WHOOIEE!! :) :)

Okay, back to pondering Redefining Normal --

It's interesting just how much our perceptions guide or limit us. It goes beyond having a positive attitude and looking at a glass as half full -- I realized on my run today that accepting the conditions as normal and run-of-the-mill, instead of looking at them as a hardship, paid big dividends. Mentally, I enjoyed the challenge, and I think because of that I was able to physically push myself. I think I physically performed better than if I had of focused on griping to myself about how difficult it was.

This is going to be my new trick when things get tough -- "Just act like it's normal!" :) :)

The scenery was absolutely breattaking -- snow covered trees on one side, a fire-ravaged valley with thousands of dead trees in front of me, and a deer leg in the snow...Yup, you KNOW there is always going to be one of those things laying around! LOL!!

The sun was out -- weak but warm, and the half moon was visible too. The contrasts of life and death were all around me and I was having a moment -- nature has a terrible magnificence doesn't it? Only a few steps away from town, and wilderness swallowed me up and I felt insignificant -- but in a good way. We live our lives and are wrapped up with our opinions and judgments of others, of what he/she said, or why he/she is wrong, etc -- and then here I am surrounded by snow, trees, and a winter sun.

Next thing I came across was a rib cage picked clean. I'm thinking it must belong to the leg I passed by earlier -- must have been a deer. I ended up running 100 m or so past the rib cage and then saw it was time to head back. (Not because I saw a coyote licking his lips, but because it was literally time to go back - LOL!)

Last summer, I mountain biked through here and heard a number of coyotes yelping/howling away one afternoon. The isolation of the spot and the incessant wild yapping was almost enough to drive me insane -- it's a weird valley. In 2003 a forest fire ripped through here and came perilously close to the towns of the Pass. So, all that's left is forests of dead, blackened trees. It's all quite surreal -- and coupled with the coyote noises -- what can I say?

I guess it touched some deep primal chord within, because words cannot accurately convey my experience...

The REAL reason I had to make a new post was to bury my last whining post and HTFU already. Hahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I hate snow

Reasons why I hate the snow in the Crowsnest Pass:

1. Because I HAVE to shovel -- Mike's back is permanently damaged so the onus is on me.

2. Because no matter how times I shovel, the 100km/hour winds always blow it back.

3. Because picking up dog poop in the back yard is nigh impossible. The unpredictable winds blast snow all around the backyard forming HUGE dunes of snow. There is one hill of snow that has formed between my house and the neighbour's -- it is so high, you can literally step over the fence to get into their yard. Now, after navigating through this, try hunkering down with a little metal spoon and a garbage bag whipping in the wind. Don't be fooled people, digging out frozen dog poop and getting it in the bag the first time is an art form...

4. Because the new snowplow operator must be either high or a 12 year old --- huge burms are left randomly in the middle of the street. (No offense to twelve year olds intended...)

Mike and I employ the same strategy every winter -- when the plow comes, we hurry outside and move our vehicles to one side and then the other -- that way we have minimal digging to do. We have three vehicles: an old minivan that just won't die, my car, and Mike's work truck.

Sometimes, however, our strategy is not enough. Plows don't operate on the weekends, and after two days of heavy snowfall and blasting wind to really pile it up, we have to be on the ball to move our vehicles when the plow eventually arrives. That's the other thing -- you never know when this guy is going to arrive.

So, the inevitable happened. We moved the van and the truck only to have more snow and then get plowed in. This morning, I got up early and decided I would warm up the vehicles while attacking the huge piles of snow, ice, and assorted snow/ice chunks. Once I cleared a path, I could move the vehicles out. I managed to get the truck out first. The van gave me a lot of problems.

I would get so far out with the van and then the tires would spin like a roulette wheel. And the van has studded tires too!! In between me cursing at the ice and getting out to attack more snow, the van automatically locked me out. SHIT!!

I had to phone our local tow truck guy this morning, and get him out of bed. I have a CAA card and he is the local CAA dude, but I still felt like a total shit for waking him up on a Saturday morning. At least it was 8:00am and not any earlier!

Here's the rub -- we had to call the same guy 3 days ago because Mike accidentally locked his keys in the van. We are getting another set of keys made today...

Man -- I can't wait to hop on my bike later today and dream of summer weather. :) :)