Sunday, May 31, 2009

Green Smoothies and Quinoa

One of the greatest reasons to travel (for me) is to find out what other people eat. I am not very creative with food, so the only changes I make are when I am exposed to a new meal or way of preparing stuff.

When I was in Victoria and stayed with my beautiful friend, Kelsey, she taught me a bunch of things. It was the day after the race, and I was secretly dreaming of waffles, but she suggested a green smoothie...

I'm game for anything, and knowing Kelsey, the smoothie would not only be amazingly nutritious, but tasty too. Remember her Boundless Energy Bar recipe? True to form, her smoothie was so good, I gulped mine down in 3 swallows while she enjoyed hers. Hahahahaha!! Next was the quinoa.

Now, Susi has exposed me to this the last time she stayed at my place, but I hadn't worked up the nerve to cook it myself. But holy crap is it ever good! I'm an oatmeal gal through and through, but quinoa is much more filling and less gluey. I can eat a big honking bowl of quinoa and go for a run, whereas if I ate a big bowl of oatmeal, I'm FULL and then starving an hour later. Kelsey, I'm a convert!!!!! :) :) :)

Here's the proof... My Magic Bullet came out of retirement!
Ingredient list: Spinach, Kale, Mango, Banana, Almond butter, Flax oil, and some Milk. Kelsey used almond milk, so I CREATIVELY decided to used almond butter and milk myself --- WOW, eh? See? Now I'm all motivated. Hahahahahaha!!



Green Smoothie --- YUM!!!! :)



And here is the quinoa...The great thing about it, is that you don't have to measure the amount of water or quinoa. Just boil a bit of water, then throw in some quinoa (and I also added almonds and raisins). Cover and let it boil away until the quinoa absorbs the water. Scoop into a bowl, sprinkle with cinnamon, and you're set! IT IS SO GOOD!!!



I had a great ride yesterday up Highwood Pass. It was one of those days where the wind is blowing at you both ways, but I was in heaven. There were quite a few cyclists out, but got lonely pretty quick the higher I ascended. The road was in great condition and the sun was warm -- it only got a little cooler when I got right up there.

I was prepared though -- food, camelbak full of water, clothes, spare tubes and cartridges... ;)

The descent wasn't as fast as it could have been due to the wind, so my 2.5 hour ride ended up being just shy of 3 hours. Then it was a hard run for me after -- 10 sets of 30 sec hard and 30 sec easy followed by 10 min easy running. I just about died 10 times, I swear. My left quad started to seize up too -- that was a first! Hahahahaha!

All that kept me going was visions of me immersing my legs in the ice cold river...

As soon as I finished my run, I grabbed my chilled V8 from the car, took off my shoes, slipped on some sandals and toodled on down to the river. (Keith and Jenna have already read this practically verbatim, so sorry guys! Hahahaha!) This was where I made my most important discovery!! The river was raging, but I found the perfect water throne -- a place to sit and get my legs fully covered without being swept away by the river.

My GOD it was a shocker when I first got in, but I could feel my legs saying, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!" I watched as my legs turned pink, and finally got out.

All I have to say, is that ice water really does work. My legs felt great after, and they are ready to go today! After today's run, Toby will join me in the river. The last time we went in the water, I made such a hullabaloo and noise. Sounds like this, "OH MY GAWD. OH that is COLD!" For some reason I glanced over at Toby, and she was standing mid-stream, head cocked to one side and giving me the queerest look...Hahahaha!!

OH!! I almost forgot! Amy had asked what would you do if you won the lottery after buying all the stuff you ever dreamed of, etc. Well, this is a secret goal of mine -- it doesn't necessarily have to happen because I win the lottery, but I thought I'd share it with you guys anyways...

I would LOVE to get my photo (with my bike of course) taken with Dog the Bounty Hunter and his wife and team. Hahahahaha!! I am serious!!! I think he is awesome!! So there you have it! Hee-hee!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Shawnigan Lake Race Report

Victoria is a BEAUTIFUL city!!! It's like what you would dream a community of the future would be like...community composting gardens where you take your pile of banana peels and learn how to do your own composting; miles and miles of paved and unpaved trails; and a local culture that is active and healthy - everybody is always outside doing things! :) :)

Onto the race report...

Swim
Swim was great, I felt a lot more confident and assertive in hitching onto other people's drafts. I actually went after a couple of guys that way. But, for the most part, I was alone for the entire swim and even felt a little lonely! Hahahahaha!

Bike
The Sperminator was out again in full force. LOL! I found the bike course very challenging. I wouldn't call it hilly and I wouldn't call it rolling -- it was a mixture of both. It was a good thing I rode part of the course the day before, because I knew I had to conserve energy to make it up all those hills for 4 laps...

The pavement was total shit. Big time. Frost heave and gravel and railroad tracks. I was amazed there weren't more flats out there on the course, just due to the fact that all of my fillings bounced out and were left on the pavement. Hahahaha!! My Profile aero bottle doesn't fit tightly into the space between my aero bars, so it rattled the WHOLE race. It was sort of funny, I'd come up behind someone, and they would look back on alarm at the racket I was making. LOL!!! They were probably wondering, what in the heck is behind me?? :) :) :)

The bike was really, really lonely. It was beautiful, mind you, but it was like I was all alone out there.

Run
Ahhhh the run -- my work in progress! Hahahahahaha!! This was the very first 1/2IM where I felt strong and good for the run --- well, for most of the run. Hee-hee! It was also the first run, where the heat (anything around 20 degrees Celsius this time of year is "hot" for me!) didn't bother me. I settled into a pace that I felt I could plod along at, and went along.

The trail we ran on was also challenging (for me!) Hills and more little undulations were particularly difficult, and gradually people started to pass me. I didn't worry about though -- I always think to myself, "Oh, that person is on a relay," or "That person is an Olympic athlete." I tell myself all kinds of made-up stories to get the focus back to myself. As a quick aside, I do this a lot when I am training -- especially when I was swimming with all the big fish in Victoria. Even when I swam with the normal folk, once I was correcting my stroke, it was like I was learning how to swim all over again. So, instead of trying to keep up with everyone else doing their sets, I did my best at doing the same sets but swimming correctly...

It was funny, because before I was told how to correct my stroke, I was swimming slightly ahead of a couple of girls. But, when I started doing it properly I slowed right down, and by the time I got to wall, I was panting and wheezing trying to catch my breath. I got a lot of strange looks, but I really didn't care. I just got in line to be the slowest and concentrated on doing what I needed to do....It was frustrating knowing what I needed to do and not be able to physically DO it -- but near the end of the swim session, it finally tweaked a teeny weeny bit.

It definitely felt different -- different enough to the point that my body "got it." It was really weird for most of that workout though -- I was trying so hard to swim right, and Sara's coach kept repeating, "Elbows up! Elbows up!" I was telling my arms, "Come on, dammit! Listen to him!" :) :) :)

Okay, now where was I.....

Ahh yes, back to the run. I eventually got passed by a lot of people on the run, including the two girls who won 1st and 2nd in my age group, but I was quite tickled that I had gone as far as I did before the passing happened. :) :) Another success was finally getting my nutrition figured out on the run -- Hallelujah!!!! FINALLY!!!

So, there you have it -- a deeply personal race for me, and quite the boring race report. :) :) One thing crystallized for me though during my stay in Victoria...I get an immense amount of personal satisfaction from triathlon. :) :) :) :) :) A very deep sense of joy and satisfaction. :) :) :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Check it out!!

Check out my coach's blog: http://saragross.free.fr/articles.php

I had a great race and for the first time EVER felt strong on the run --- was outta the water, ahead on the bike, but was then passed in the later stages of the run -- but good enough to get third for my age group and stand on the podium baby!!! Hahahahahahahaha!

I am staying at my very good friend's and fellow blogger's place Kelsey for a couple of nights and will return tomorrow. THEN I'll give more of a race report...

WHEEEEEEE!!! I am so excited at the progress Sara is making with me!!!

THANKS SARA!!!! :) :) :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Greetings from Victoria!

Hey all!

I'm in Victoria in full taper-mode and loving every minute of it!! The drive was long but very worth it. :) :)

I've had some great swimming critiques already --it seems that my Phoebe-esque running disappeared only to reappear in my swimming...LOL!!!

Tomorrow will be video day -- so I can really see just what I am doing --but I tell you, just the critique I received today made an impact. It's funny, every time I get an assessment, it's like I have to learn how to swim all over again. Hahaha -- But I am NOT complaining!! :) :) :)

What is so exciting is that I couldn't go any faster with what I was doing, and I knew I was doing something wrong, but didn't quite know how to fix it. :)

Time for supper!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Learning to Turn My Mind Off

Triathlon has taught me many things about myself -- how negative thoughts creep up when I am tired, how positive thoughts abound when workouts are going well, and how to turn around negative thoughts into positive ones. However, this year I've been learning how to stop my personal mind games altogether and turn all head static off! :) :)

Yesterday's run was a case in point. I met up with a friend (who is leaving for Ironman Brazil shortly, GO MICHELLE!!) for a swim and then a long run. We decided to run up the highway toward Waterton, and then turn around. The wind was absolutely incredible yesterday. It was a powerful crosswind and we looked like two leaning Towers of Pisa trying to stay upright and move forward.

We were blown off the shoulder a number of times, and the big grinning faces from oncoming traffic meant that we really must have been tilting into the wind.

I had a 45 minute warm up, and then I began my 3 x 10 minutes at 1/2 IM pace. Here's the set up: I was exhausted, really exhausted, and had been sneezing like crazy for a few days beforehand. I would rest, workout, and SNEEZE! But the thing I was hanging onto was that this was the last workout of the week before I start to taper for Shawnigan.

The beginning of the run was an uphill slog. However, just having Michelle there made it way more bearable! :) :)

Just after the 50 minute mark, I felt better. Now "better" is a relative term here. My legs were sore, I was struggling in the wind, but there was a distinct albeit subtle shift in perception. It was at this point that I looked down at my legs and said, "Well, do your thing, then!"

Even though my calves were sore, and I felt semi-crappy, my body seemed to know what to do IF I could just shut my mind up and off. So, I happily obliged. For the 2nd set of 10 minutes, I looked down at my legs again and this time I didn't even need to say or think anything. They just did the set on their own! And the time FLEW by.

There is something to be said for shutting the mind right OFF and letting go of all manner of control. Just run! I've labeled my mind switch with a bright pink piece of duct tape so I can easily find it the next time I need to turn my mind off. :) :) :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Of Jellybeans, Wrinkles, and Crib

After Sunday's race, I treated myself to a Coke slushie from Mac's on the drive home. :) :) My parents took me out to eat at Montana's, and while it was a great idea at the time, my body started to protest about 30 minutes after. I think the adrenaline finally wore off, and I crashed and felt terrible. I stopped the car on the way home to dig out another electrolyte pill, and wouldn't you know, that fixed me up! I HAVE to remember that! :) :)

Recovery consisted of: Playing Crib with my Mom and Dad and hearing my Mom call my Dad "Jellybean" for some unknown reason. Hahahaha!! The next day, when I was over at my parents' house, my Mom was all giddy and excited...She said, "Look! Your father got his wrinkles sunburned!" Then, she walked up to my poor Dad and smoothed the wrinkles on his forehead with her hands to illustrate her point. Indeed -- he had little white lines indicating where the sun tanned his wrinkles instead.

Oh man, my Mom is a total nutbar, and the scary thing is, is that it is my genetic destiny to become her!! LOL!!!!

Nothing else interesting apart from swimming, biking, and running...

:) :) :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lethbridge Oly Race Report!!

WOOHOOO!! 2nd place female overall and 2nd place in my age category at the Splash Pedal Gasp Olympic Triathlon Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!

Last year's time at the race: 2:45:21 This year's: 2:31:05 A new PB by 14:16!! YAY!!!

Now here's the schwag:
My medal for 2nd in age group



$50 gift certificate to Runners Soul for 2nd female overall



Now onto the race report...

Swim
12 people per lane sounds like a gong show waiting to happen and as usual didn't disappoint. LOL! This year, I managed to pass two people however, but then got caught behind Mr. Knees and Feet for the rest of the swim. He was in a hurry to get by me, but then slowed right down. Consequently, I drafted by touching his knees, inner legs, and feet for 90% of the swim. Poor dude -- sorry man, if you are reading this. He started to fade as the laps went on, and I did a real dirty move for the last lap -- I used all my surge practice to get by him. LOL!!

I probably should have done that a hell of a lot earlier, but it was pretty hairy having 3 abreast swimmers on one side of the black line, and another 2 coming down the other...

I had requested a "head bonk" from the timers to let me know when my last lap was... It was great -- I learned that trick last year at the race when a young girl who was volunteering asked me. Hee-hee! I was a little worried about the logistics of getting out of the pool as it is in deep water and you can't push off the floor to get out. But there was no need to fear -- I was so jazzed up I just flew out of the pool. LOL!!!!

I stopped doing flip turns as I used Mr. Knees and Feet as an excuse -- I made a promise to myself this year to be more aggressive on the swim, and I was -- to a point. I learned this year that I need to completely ignore what anyone else is doing and just concentrate on doing my own thing -- shoulda, woulda, coulda, right? ;)

Bike
The Sperminator was out in full force. I had a great bike AND was the fastest female on the bike!! :) :) :) I honestly thought I was the first female too, because I didn't see anyone else...Needless to say there was a frigging awesome chick who was moving so fast I never even saw her. I passed only one girl on the bike -- the rest were guys and not too many at that.

I knew the bike was going to be where I could make up a lot of time, so I really hammered it and pushed myself. At the beginning of the ride I gulped some air down with my Gatorade/Carbo Pro and had hymen-throat for the rest of the ride. ACK!! I kept trying to breathe/swallow/burp; it was like a sticky membrane covered my throat. I would pound my chest and burp and drink mixture would come up. NICE.

I saw Darryl just after I reached the turn around, and I pedaled away to see how long it would take him to catch me...LOL!! He eventually passed, but it was nice to see someone I knew! :) :)

Run
The whole bike portion I was saying to myself, "How bad do you want to win this?" And I would answer, "BAD!" Or, "How much do you want this?" Answer: "I want to win!" I pedaled away like crazy knowing that my running whilst improving, is still shite. LOL!!
I kept saying to myself, "Now is the time to hammer, here is where you can make up a lot of time."

After transition, I ran scared and was wheezing like an asthmatic 90 year old man who also happens to have emphysema. It was ugly. The run descends STEEPLY -- I wrote about it last year. It's like running up Turtle Mountain for the return trip, to give you an idea...Ahhh, I get ahead of myself...

I discovered during the half marathon a couple of weeks ago that I'm good at running downhill. A lot of people would slow down going downhill, while I sort of rolled on by. My knees and legs can take it I guess, so I knew this descent that goes down, down, down for I don't know how many kilometers was another opportunity to put some distance between me and all the faster runners out there. Read: everyone! LOL!!!!

It didn't take me too long to feel pretty rough from all the wheezing and gasping I was doing. Finally the turn around came and I still wasn't seeing any women. I didn't know that Ms. Speedy would win by 10 minutes!!!!!! HOLY DOODLY!!! The trail was marked with little pink surveyor flags and I concentrated on running flag to flag -- collecting them in my mind. Too soon, the inevitable climb back up to the top of the coulees began. OH God I was a hot mess.

I was still running scared, and got a fright when I finally saw a woman heading out to the turn around. She still had a ways to go, so I was praying I would be able to stay ahead of her, but I was falling apart pretty fast.

The last deadly set of hills, saw me walking again this year, although not as much. My legs were really hurting and I was making so much noise trying to breathe, I'm sure people thought I was dying. These two guys near the top of the last mountain climb yelled encouragement when I walked for a bit. I tried to run, but only managed three steps before I reverted back to a quick walk until I could summon my legs to "run" again.

FINALLY IT WAS OVER.

Ahhhhhhhh..

Cool things:

My Mom and Dad came to watch and had a great time spectating.

I met and hung out afterward with my blogger buddies: Darryl, Leslie (HOLY HOT BOD!!!), and Leslie's other half, Chad (GOLD MEDAL BABY!! LOL!!!)

I met and was complimented by the third fastest female overall. EEEEE! :) :):)

I am over feeling inadequate about wearing my Sperminator helmet. :)

I really wanted to win this race, but I did the best I could. Like our Arizona swim coach said, I went "ovaries out" and I could not have gone any harder except maybe for the swim. The girl that ended up winning was incredible!! I am even more motivated than ever to train even harder. (Before the race I stored my change of clothes in locker #1. Hahahahaha!! Positive thinking right? Shhh -- don't tell anyone, I feel like a knob for doing that!)

BIG HUGS and THANK YOU to Sara my SUPER COACH! "Here she comes to save the day!!" :) :) :) Despite my Phoebe-esque running, you are gradually turning me into a runner... :) :) :) My parents were shocked that I looked like I knew what I was doing swimming too. They said, "WOW -- you can swim!" Hahahahahahaha -- My Mom said, "What a difference from before!" I am hungry to get fitter and faster!!! :) :)

Now, onto the 1/2 IM on May 24... WHEEEEEE!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Small Towns Rock

For all my moaning about small town living, I have to admit that the benefits far outweigh the negatives...

I realized how lucky I was when I was talking to Keith and Darryl last weekend. For example, whenever I need my bike tuned up, a good chain-cleaning, or anything at all, I call up Gord (my bike guru) and let him know I'm a-coming. No waiting, no ticket stubs, no appointments -- I simply show up with an extra large double double from Timmy's along with a raspberry oat muffin. Yesterday, I jazzed things up for him and bought a banana nut muffin instead.

For his part, if it is cold outside, Gord starts the wood stove inside his shop because I always get a chibble (Me and Mike talk about "chibbles" -- just means you have a chill -- LOL!) Then as I eat an apple and drink out of my water bottle, we both proceed to complain, rant, and solve the world's problems. Hahahahahaha! My wheels are true, my "race wheels" are on (I am generous with the expression here -- they are better than my riding wheels), everything is lubed up, and shifting is a dream again. YEEHAWWWW!!!!

Another benefit of living in a small community is an empty swimming pool. The people that do show up are regulars, and we all have our own "usual" lane. Isn't that awesome? :) :) One of my pool friends, Larry, surprised me this morning when he said my coach had already been there. My head snapped around and I'm sure my eyebrows were raised -- He said, "Yeah," and then pointed. I followed his gaze and saw a big placard about 6 feet away that said, "Hot Tub Closed." Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

There is a new lifeguard at the Pincher pool, and he is French -- much to the joy of the LODs (to borrow Susi's expression: Little Old Dears) who show up for water aerobics at 8:00am. You should have heard the delighted giggles the first time they realized he was going to be teaching the classes from now on. Oh my! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

I was thrilled to see that the pool was selling Speedo swimsuits (my fave) for $30.00!!! And they are the GOOD kind. With double lining on the front and the rear -- 30 bucks!! I asked one of the girls at the counter why they were so inexpensive and she said that they had ordered a whack of suits in so they could sell them at a better price! YAY!! Normally I have to scrounge around and see what I can pick up off ebay, so I treated myself to a brand new swimsuit -- blue and black. :) :)

I am very excited about the Olympic tri in Lethbridge this Sunday...I had a great pep talk from my coach and I am ready to rock!!! :) :) :) Just a word of warning to those of you I see there...yes that will be donning a spermet. My coach says to wear it and told me, "Who cares what other people think?" So -- my dark little secret will be out there in the open for all the world to see on Sunday. LOL!!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My Mom is UNBELIEVEABLE!!!!

video

Double Tag, The Tag Ends Here

I've been double tagged, but as I've dragged my heels, there is no one left for me to tag...Here goes:

1. What are your current obsessions?

Training for and racing in triathlons.

2. Which item from your closet are you wearing most often?

Polar fleece MEC pants.

3. Last thing you bought for myself?

Pink Under Armour top when I was in Kona.

4. What’s for dinner?

Chicken and peanut stirfry with lots of noodles!

5. Say something to the person/people who tagged you:

I met both Keith and Jenna through the blog world. I have developed close friendships with them -- love the blogging world! :)

Keith -- You are a very good friend. Thanks for sending me all your thoughtful and inspiring emails. I've learned a lot from our email dialogues -- and am still learning too! :) You have a wonderful sense of humour and both you and Linda feel like a second family to me! :) :)

Jenna -- What can I say? My sistah from another mistah! The moment I physically met you, I KNEW we were going to be good friends. Your advice is ALWAYS bang on -- thank you for kicking me in my butt recently. :) :) I am always excited when I see an email from you -- and our phone dates never last long enough. ;)

6. What is one item you could not live without?

Carmex.

7. Vacation spots you must visit before you die?

Macchu Pichu and the Nazca Lines

8. What is your most immediate short term goal:

To totally smoke my PB at the Lethbridge Oly this Sunday (!!)

9. What are you reading right now?

A book about visualization for peak sport performance.

10. What is the last movie you saw and enjoyed?

Elegy

11. What’s your guilty pleasure?

Chocolate

12. What’s your favorite smell?

Coffee

13. Whats something you look forward to?

Racing!!

14. Favorite Quote?

Pain is just weakness leaving the body -- I don't know who said this!

15. What is your dream job?

Doing it right now. ;)

16. Whats one thing you can't go a day with out doing?

Drinking water

17. What do you have an addiction to?

Checking my email

18. What do you like most about your personality?

That I am optimistic

9. How many pairs of shoes (not just running) do you have??

WAY TOO MANY --although I have been slowly trucking older pairs to the Womens' Resource Centre.

20. Tell us one random thing about you.

I'm always cold -- I always wear my warm robe around the house along with my fleece pants.

21. Why did you start your blog?

I jumped on the bandwagon -- everyone else was doing it! LOL!

22. If you had a do-over what would it be?

I would have learned to swim when I was a kid.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Road to Nepal OR..."Linda Blew the Fur Off My Pooper!"

AH yes! This is what happens when you gather three triathletes, an exotic beauty (Darryl's wife), and a super chef (who got into the Sangria) around a dinner table. HAHAHAHA!!

What can I say about the 3 hour hilly ride? Awesome! Gorgeous! Sunny! (I had to put on sunblock!) Most importantly, not on the trainer! Wheeeee!

The first 45 minutes of a hilly ride always feel terrible to me. It's like the magic number of minutes until I am properly warmed up. I only noticed this phenomenon this year whilst training in Arizona.

We started the ride, or should I say the endless, wonderful hills, and I felt TERRIBLE. My legs felt fried, I was breathing hard, the usual. Sure enough, a little later on, I felt a subtle shift of perception while climbing up another hill. I still hurt, I was breathing even harder, but for some reason, it felt BETTER. I glanced down at my watch and it said: 45:32. Weird, eh?

Now for me, at the end of a really good ride, I start to moan and grunt a little. I shift around on my seat, and when I reach the top of a hill, I'll say, "Ohhhhhhhh." I also get pretty frisky when I get tired. I joke around with whoever is at hand, and laugh at my own jokes before they do. Hahahahahahahaha!! That said, I was teasing Darryl at the end of our ride. I'd read (on his blog) how he had been taking garlic pills to fend off a cold, so I said to him, "It's weird, I can really smell garlic..."

Hahahahahaha!! He gave me a quick look of alarm before I started laughing. hee-hee!!

Let's see...one other thing I can't seem to shake is the habit of saying hello to everybody. Every time I passed an oncoming rider, I would shout out a greeting. Sad to say, most cyclists looked at me like I was from another planet. Hahahahaha -- No matter, I yam what I yam!

As for Linda blowing the fur off my pooper...

Keith's wife, Linda, used a funky marinade for our BBQ chicken dinner. The label guarantees to "blow your fur off your pooper", so needless to say, that got all of us laughing pretty hard, pretty quick. In fact, Keith promised payment if I posted it as a title...LOL!!!!

However, I am liking the expression in and of itself -- I didn't need to be bribed. Just think of all the cool uses for that phrase...

1. After climbing a particularly grueling hill: "Man! That really blew the fur off my pooper!"

OR

2. After blasting down at least 70km/hour while escaping a near miss with a gravel patch: "That blew the fur off my pooper!"

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!