Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Failure is NOT an Option

Saturday I had 2 hours of hilly mountain biking to do, and I was excited to tackle *my* hill again. Only this time, I was gunning to get past my fear of falling down (and while I was at it, not actually fall). Hahaha!

I remembered what I had thought about the last time I had biked up that hill -- if there had been a couple of bears behind me that day, I KNOW I could have pedaled up no problemo. I wouldn't have had my head clogged with mental static; I wouldn't have had my head filled with fear, worry, anxiety.

I wouldn't have fallen off my bike.

I would have climbed the hill.

These thoughts were floating around my brain Saturday afternoon as I started the climb. I also thought about the dynamics of motivation -- sometimes it is not enough to simply *want* something bad enough to realize it. Sometimes, you have to grit your teeth, squeeze your eyes, and muscle your way to it...

The steep part of the hill was approaching. The same part that caused my heart to pound and me to tip over last week. Already, I was looking ahead to the same rut that I couldn't get over, and all these negative, fearful thoughts took over my mind:

"Unclip now, so when you go to fall, you won't hurt yourself."

"There's that rut, Oh my God, I'm not gonna make it, same as last week!"

Suddenly, a stern voice sounded in my head, and an image of a crew cut army dude popped in my head: "FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION!"

Quick as a wink, my entire perspective changed. Instead of focusing on the rut where I fell, I searched out another route -- there WAS another route up! It was to the far left of the road -- a skinny little path that had a drop off on one side -- but it was a path.

With this inner boot camp voice resounding in my head, I concentrated on pedaling steady and continually. Gone were the fears of falling. Gone were the feelings of frustration and giving up. Instead, my mind was filled with one thought, one purpose -- climbing that hill. In that instant, the unconquerable became the conquerable. :) :)

As I chugged up the hill, I marveled at how powerful the mind is. How a simple thing like changing the way you look at a situation can alter the outcome. WOOHOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had so much fun, I went all the back to the bottom and ended up doing 2.5 repeats of the hill. :) :) :) :) :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rediscovering Wonder, Rediscovering Joy

Is it the time of year? The way the golden sunlight reflects off the brown, dry prairie and makes it look beautiful? Whatever it is, I was blissing out yesterday...

I was listening to an interview on CBC with Jane Goodall and I swear -- I could feel her marvel and joy at the world come through the radio and into my heart. :) :)

She talked about how each individual's small actions can have a profound effect. She related story after story of average, ordinary, run-of-the-mill people who decided to do something to protect an endangered species. It could be something small -- there was a black-footed ferret that was thought to be extinct until a rancher's dog killed one. The rancher tossed it aside; the rancher's wife, after hearing that the dog had killed something, went to investigate the little body...And so the ball got rolling.

What was so delightful was the intense positivity Jane Goodall emanated from her interview -- full of optimism, hope, and looking at the bright side of things. When she spoke about how all of our own small, individual actions cumulatively causes great change, I believed it -- I felt it. Nothing new here, I mean I've spouted off this kind of "Live in the moment, etc, diatribe before too," but something was different yesterday. There is a difference in talking the talk and walking the walk, I guess I'm trying to say.

She told of this type of beetle who lays eggs on their choice bit of carrion after they've buried it. Mom and Dad beetle dig an adjacent chamber and hunker down and wait for their babies to hatch. Once the babies hatch, both Mom and Dad chew up bits of carrion and feed it to their babies.

The REALLY neat thing was how Mom and Dad Beetle are covered in these little orange mites. Jane Goodall said how at first glance, one would almost feel sorry for these beetles being infested like a dog with fleas. But, appearances can be deceiving...

When Mom and Dad Beetle hunker down in the chamber and wait for their babies, the mites hop off the parents and eat all the fly larvae that is on the carrion -- cleaning the carrion for the beetle family's sole enjoyment. When all is said and done, the mites hop back on the parent's and move to the next stop.

What am I getting at here? Looking at the interconnectedness of things. Of how things are here, there, all around us -- lessons are right in front of us if we just care to look. Instead of questioning the obvious, searching the internet, and essentially looking to replace my own mind-set, this radio interview served as a reminder to savour my OWN experiences -- because by looking within, the *without* can fall into place around it.

The best advice I've received has echoed this inter-connectivity --

"Don't over-think it."

"KISS: Keep it Simple, Stupid."

A good one I learned at the Penticton Ghetto Camp this year from Clint Lien: "Make your decision once and don't look back."

There is a deceptive simplicity in these statements -- a subtlety that hints at the gigantic realm of possibility that awaits those with an open heart... A moving forward with purpose: not muddling it up with doubt, second-guessing, or excuses.

It's like that commercial for cereal-- I forget what brand. It shows a guy surfing an impossibly humongous wave, and the text on the screen says, "Step 567, 983." Then it goes back to the guy eating a bowl of cereal and says, "Step 1."

I like this commercial. :) :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do You Want Me to Wash Your Back?

You can picture my astonishment when I heard this as I stood lathering myself up under the communal showers at the pool...


It was an LOD (Little Ole Dear -- Susi's expression I'm borrowing!) that asked me. I blinked, laughed and then said, "No thanks, I work on my flexibility this way!" She was so cute -- she said, "I have trouble turning, and 'insert other LOD's name here' has hip trouble so we wash each other's back."

Sure enough, the other LOD carefully picked her way across the slippery floor to the showers with her soap, etc, and then they took turns washing each other's back. What a great world we live in, eh? Hee-hee! People helping people. :) :) :)

I'm only 4 days into my schedule and EVERY SINGLE MUSCLE in my body is in pain. The type of knee-buckling pain that makes it hard to climb stairs, bend over, basically function as a human being. Even my toe muscles are sore from doing these calf raises. Hahahahaha!!

Good times and more to come! :):)

Monday, September 21, 2009

How to Catch a Mouse....

  1. DO NOT rely on your two cats and one dog to do the dirty work for you.

  2. KNOW that you will discover said mouse when you are alone in the house.

  3. BE PREPARED to walk away (run) from mouse and go outside to pick crab apples off the ground for 45 minutes.

  4. REALIZE there are many urgent matters that you need to attend to outside the house.
  5. TALK on the phone with your sister for 4.5 hours at your mother's house.
  6. TIME your return home with Mike's 11:00pm arrival. (Back from Ontario.)

Seriously, there is nothing that shoots my heart rate up faster than the sight of a scurrying mouse in my house -- it is disgusting. As usual, the first indicator was Peanut staring INTENTLY in the corner of the living room. Straight away, I knew there was a mouse -- she had that *mouse look* on her face. I peered behind the chair and SAW IT WRIGGLING underneath my purse!!

AAAARRRGGGHH!! I could see its long tail wiggling, and I just about heaved. Then I got mad at Peanut and Mandalay -- "You guys are terrible cats! Get that mouse! Kill it!" Then, I vacated the house for the next 6 hours. Hahahaha!! I like to deal with things head on, eh? LOL!!

It wasn't until the next afternoon, Mike and I *got* the mouse. Mike pulled out the stove and I was ready with Peanut, and some gloves on to get the mouse. The glove thing was a total joke -- like I would grab the mouse!! There is no way I would touch it! LOL!! Really though -- the times we have had to deal with a mouse, we have no plan -- our plan sort of evolves organically. (Hahahahah!! I HATE when artists say that, "Oh yes, the song just evolved organically.)

Usually, a mouse comes shooting out of nowhere and Mike jumps, I jump and flutter my hands like I'm waving them dry and say, "Oooh! Oooh!" And then both of us say, "Peanut get the mouse!" One of us picks up The Nut and will throw her in the direction of the mouse. Hahahaha!!

The last mouse incident ended when the mouse hopped into the cold air return thing -- one of those things that was left behind when our renovations ceased -- same as the light switch cover in the kitchen that I finally put duct tape around to seal off the cold air blowing in, but I digress -- I picked up Peanut and set her down in front of the hole in the carpet/wall, and watched as she leapt into it. Since Day 1, Peanut has enjoyed herself entering these tin tunnels and roaming the innards of the house.

It was odd the first time I saw Peanut actually go down into the vent...To hear your cat somewhere in the bowels of your house plodding -- every once in a while a "pong" would sound from her step on the metal. It was very odd the first time I saw her enter the vent in our bedroom and exit the vent in the dining room...What can I say?

(And no, there is no remote chance of her falling into the furnace -- the way the pipes are rigged, it is impossible, so don't get all riled up. Heh-heh-heh.)

Anyways, as is the case when we pull out the stove, the only thing we could find were all the missing play mice and dust balls (and a wayward tupperware lid -- That's where it went!). It was later in the day when I spied the mouse scurrying in the back hall by the dog food bowl.

That was it - Mike sprang into action!

He was on all fours and using anything on hand to try and get the mouse. He was shouting all kinds of instructions to me -- "Get me a piece of cardboard! I need something bigger!! JULIE!!!" All I could do was hop from one foot to the other and shake my hands and kept repeating, "I don't know! I don't know!!" Hahahahahahaha!

We are sophisticated human beings however, and Mike (the uber intuitive one) grabbed the swinging garbage can lid and *caught* the mouse. Now the trick was to somehow slide the lid with the mouse under it out the door...An impossible feat since the floor is not flat -- the back French doors have this lip thing. We quickly decided on a plan...

One of us would slowly lift the lid and get the mouse to run into the garbage can (big white plastic thing). At first, I fought for this job -- but quickly realized it required more skill (and courage) than I had. You see, the trick is to wedge something (solid) underneath the lid while simultaneously lifting a corner of the lid to urge the mouse in one direction. I watched as Mike did a test run...

We both exclaimed, "Oh!" when we saw one little paw sneak out. The lid came quickly back down. OK -- Game on!

I sat hunkered down holding the garbage can on its side. Mike started to work his magic on the lid. Man, this guy is GOOD!! He managed to somehow get the mouse and lid into the garbage can. He shouted, "Go, go, go!!!! It's in there!!! It's in there!!!!" I tilted the garbnage can upright and SPRINTED out the back door and threw the mouse out onto the grass.

There was a split second in all of this, when time momentarily stood still...For whatever reason, this image will be forever with me: It was like it was happening in slow motion -- as I tilted the garbage can to throw the mouse onto the grass, the sunlight lit up the plastic can and I could see the silhouette of the mouse flailing -- it's little legs circling through the air as it began to tumble.

The mouse softly landed in the grass (softly, because I have only mowed 3 times this year), took a few moments to regroup, and then slowly scampered away.

Ahhhhhh. :) :)

Onto training news...first day back was AWESOME!!! Swimming was great -- I wasn't too fatigued by the end; mind you my defintion of "fatigue" was severely challenged this year, so if I can walk (not crawl) to the showers at the end of a workout, this means I am not that fatigued. Hahahahaha!

Also had my first weight session of the year at my local club -- I call this workout the Workout for Weenies. Namely, I'm the weenie. 30 minutes later and I felt worse than when I crossed the finish line at Ironman. Nothing like trying something new to show you just how out of shape you really are! Hahahahahahahahaha!!!

ONWARD HO!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bears and wasps and me trying to mountain bike

I enjoy taking my mountain bike out this time of year. It is completely different from the tri bike, and so, it challenges my brain to fire neurons along new paths. I think this is a good thing. :) :)

There is a great hill one minute and 30 seconds away from my house -- it starts on pavement and then changes into dirt/loose rock/loose dirt. The grade is steady and significant, and the road is not technical by any means -- but technical enough for me.

To those who TRULY mountain bike, I must look like a total tool. I have a really nice mountain bike -- a really, really nice mountain bike that I do very little mountain biking on. I go up logging or fire roads and still end up falling off much of the time. I've accepted it.

I suppose my mountain biking skills are the equivalent of a noob triathlete decked out with carbon goggles, disc wheel, and $8000 bike and coming in dead last at the races. Yup, I'm pretty bad. Hahahahaha!

And I am completely unashamed of it too -- When I have to ride my mountain bike between two rocks or I go over a big boulder and my wheel spins and I am momentarily stopped in my tracks, my heart pounds and I pedal like a maniac to keep going. I feel exhilarated!! I feel like a REAL mountain biker!!

You should see me when I go downhill -- again only on fire roads. I stand, put my bum over my rear wheel and feel like such a stud. I am way too chicken to really let 'er loose on the downhills -- I save that fun for triathlon. No, for me, mountain biking is all about getting out in the bush and getting off my tri bike.

Also, I am a big wimp. I HATE falling off my mountain bike. I HATE getting bloody elbows and ugly bruises -- which is why I like to stick to the widest roads possible.
Even with all these precautions: big roads, easy routes; I manage to tip over every now and then. Tuesday was such a day.

I was happily pedaling up "my" hill -- I had already had a couple of close calls... The gravel was deep in places and the rocks big. Sheer terror kept my legs spinning uphill so I didn't fall over though. Plus, I'm always worried that a truck or ATV'er is going to come by and I won't be able to move out of their way on an uphill part because the gravel is too deep for me to ride on.

Can you imagine? Driving behind this chick on a dirt road --- who is riding up the middle (flattest, safest) part of the road and won't pull over to let you by? The thing is, the hills are steep enough, where I can only go UP not across. If I veer sideways for even a moment, down I go. So, these are the thoughts running through my head as I pedal like a mad fool to get to the top.

On Tuesday, I was approaching the ultimate *top* of the hill, and was getting excited. It would have been my first time to the top this year...

That said, the road was in rough shape -- it had deteriorated quite a bit from last year. There were big ruts all over the place, lots of thicker dirt and rocks. Many times I was pedaling like crazy and my wheels would just spin. My heart rate was going like a mofo -- my animal instincts took over. Reality dimmed, and a tunnel vision set in: I so desperately didn't want to fall, I pedaled, pedaled, pedaled. My whole mind, sense of being, very existence was rooted to this one effort -- of moving forward and not falling down!

I started to panic the closer I got to the big rutted bit. Left, right, straight ahead? There was no easier or safer place for me to go! NOOOOO!! My eyes darted back and forth trying to pick a path. Time was running out...

I was inching close and closer. Suddenly, I had no choice, I valiantly tried to go down one rut and up the other side, when I fell over. $HIT!!!!! I HATE FALLING OVER!! I always fall over going uphill, so when I fall over it happens in slow motion. Which is the worst. Because you get to savour how much of a knob you are as you tip over to the side. LOL!!!!!

I lay there in the dirt and looked to see if I was still clipped in. No. Yet I couldn't unlcip when I was going over -- what the heck good does that do me??? I want to unclip BEFORE I fall over!! LOL!!!

Just a bit of bloody elbow and bruised legs -- that's another thing -- I probably don't fall properly either. Any sin you can commit on the mountain bike, I have most likely done it! Hahahahahaha!

I was shaking from adrenaline (pathetic isn't it, when the adrenaline kicks in because of a super slow motion tip over? I felt like a sleeping cow who has been tipped over by some drunken redneck!), and decided to head back downhill.

I talked to myself a lot here: "Take a deep breath, Julie. Just get back on your bike and ride. Just breathe. You're fine, get your head together and keep your wits about you."

I employed my usual mountain-bike-descent posture which never fails to leave me feeling like a mountain bike hero. I used the brakes a lot, but I was getting into my stud groove when up ahead I saw Mama and baby black bear emerging from the forest.

I just about pooped my pants, I kid you not. They didn't see me at first -- I was coming downhill at a good clip and was simultaneously thinking, "Do I yell to get their attention? Do I slow down? Do I speed up? WTF?????"

Suddenly, Mama heard/saw me and they both bolted across the road right in front of me. There were far enough ahead of me, that I slowed down a bit to see if there was another baby that was going to cross. I DID NOT want to be in between the bear family for even a moment. No baby, so I bolted.

Funny thing -- the very next thought that occurred to me was this: "I bet I could have pedaled up that rut if those bears were behind me." Hahahahahahahaha!!

See why I like mountain biking so much? There are many lessons to be learned about oneself....

Yesterday, I went for an easy 20 minute jog, up the highway and back. Right after I turned around, from across the river my two bear friends said hi. I couldn't believe it -- this is a sketchy spot for bears -- there is a bald spot on the mountain that is vertical scree and after that, the mountain is vertical. Nowhere else for the bears to go. They can only go up so far, before they have to backtrack.

Last year Mike and I watched as a conservation officer shot flares to scare a little back bear from crossing the river and possibly the highway. The little bear would scramble up the scree, have nowhere else to go, and then come back down, only to be scared by the flare gun again. And again, and again. Talk about an exercise in futility.

As for the wasp - I was minding my own business driving my car with the windows rolled down, when I felt a stabbing pain on the left of my back. You know that place that itches and you try to scratch it but it is just out of your reach? Right there.

I had no idea what was happening -- I pulled over and threw my 4-way flashers on. It was then I saw this wasp crawling around on my emergency brake. I got out of my car and using a map, flicked it out. HOLY CRAP did that sting ever hurt.

I've been stung by wasps before while cycling, and while they sting, they never really hurt. I think it might have something to do with getting stung while working out -- your blood is coursing through your veins, you don't feel it, I don't know. All I know is that this sucker stung me HARD and I was a big baby all afternoon because of it. LOL!!!

Wonder where I'll go biking today?

:) :) :) :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

HUGE thank you!!

I am so excited to share the news....

My local weightlifting club has agreed to sponsor me for a full year's membership!!! YAY!!!!!

The Crowsnest Pass Weightlifting Club has been kind enough to help me out this year -- thank you guys so much. You have no idea how much this means to me! Triathlon is a costly sport and your support is directly contributing to my development. Thank you so much for believing in me enough to give me this opportunity!!

I am very grateful to you guys!!

THANK YOU!!!! :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Itching to get started again

Ya, ya, ya I know it is good to do non tri stuff after Ironman, but really, I love this sport so much, it is impossible for me to resist. :) :)

I've done quite a bit of swimming since IMC -- a big difference from last year, when I basically laid on the couch for four weeks and then arose to start working out again. Hahaha!

I've taken my mountain bike out a couple of times and ran a couple of times as well -- but whooooo baby, the running takes A LOT out of me. It's funny, the two times I have run, have only been short 20 minute sessions, but seriously, they have taken so much out of me -- it's all I can do to drag myself through the door and crawl into bed. Hahahaha!

I now know how my Mom felt when she used to work at the dollar store -- she loved it so much she was there all the time and most people couldn't wrap their heads around it. So many people told her, "You have to take time off, you will burn out, etc, etc." She always maintained, "I love what I do -- leave me alone!"

By the way, my Mom was asking questions about lane swim/pool walker etiquette...

To my astonishment, she told me she'll be coming with me some mornings to the pool to do some water walking to strengthen her hip!! YAY!!! I'll be sharing a lane with my Mom!! :) :) :) :)

One more thing...hummus recipe for Susi:

1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans
1/4 - 1/2 cup Tahini
1/2 - 1/4 cup yogurt (you don't have to add it Susi, you can add a bit of water as you are mixing it to soften it up)
3-4 leaves of mint (Julie don't buy no stinking herbs, I left this out)
Juice of one lemon
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbps water if needed

Throw everything into food processor, whirl around and finito! :) :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Putting it all together...

Apart from sleeping, napping, and dragging myself slowly around the house, I haven't been doing too much! Hahahaha!

Susi spent the weekend here, on her way home from Ironman Canada, and we relaxed in a grand style. I got her totally addicted to True Blood! Hahahaha!! We basically sat on the couch all day and night and watched episode after episode. I had to refrain from giving anything away when Susi would wager a guess, "Oh, he's a werewolf for sure." LMAO!!!!

Susi returned the favour by helping me out with my nutrition -- this girl knows her stuff! This past year, I struggled with not getting enough calories in -- and then gorging on ice cream bars, Chinese food, etc, when the painful hunger hit me. I couldn't figure out how I was supposed to subsist on salads -- it just wasn't enough for me.

Well, a weekend with nutritional guru Susi, has firmly planted me on the right track -- she has cleared up a lot of my misconceptions about eating -- namely, don't try to exist on salads alone -- bad idea!

She supervised me in the kitchen as I roasted vegetables and soaked steel cut oats. Susi, thank you so much for all your advice -- it is really working!!!!!

First off, was the much needed and long overdue purchase of coconut oil. Kelsey had tried to tell me about this before, but as all my friends know I can be pretty stubborn...LOL!! This plus the fact, that most health food stores give me the heebie-jeebies. As I told Susi, it had always seemed to me that really pale, skinny women who don't shave their armpits and buy crystals go there. When I would hear I "have" to buy such and such a product, I would automatically cringe and doubt -- wouldn't you? Hahahahaha!

Next, THIS is what I am eating now -- no more puny dit salads. Give me some full on vegetable love, baby! Hahahahaha!

I brought out my handy-dandy food processor and made my own hummus -- Chuck, just try it, OK? I know, I know, it looks like light poop, but trust me. LOL!!!

And the wonderful seaweed wrap or nori wrap!! Susi converted me to the delights of this!

And finally, again with my food processor, I whipped up some nice recovery balls -- coconut and date lovelies! :) :)

I am so excited to have FINALLY found some nutritional solutions -- things I can make without having to buy 79 ingredients -- simple, healthy, and truly NUTRITIOUS eating that fills me up with the right foods and leaves me satisfied and fueled.

I am ready for next year, baby!!! Hahahahahahaha!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Here's a Good Laugh --

Just found this on Slowtwitch -- hahahahahahaha!! Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ironman Canada 2009 Race Report

I remember when I *thought* I only wanted to do one Ironman in my life... Well, numero cinqo has come and gone and what a race it was! YEEHAWW!

Total time was 12:02:17 -- I managed to whack off one hour and 26 minutes from last year's time. :) :) :) :)

Swim was great! I felt super strong and fast -- funny that I was actually a few seconds SLOWER than last year! Hahahahaha!!

Bike -- Too many cyclists out there. I personally saw three crashes, and couldn't get around the PACKS of men, drafting and hogging the road. Seriously, I would have to scream "On your LEFT!!!!" and these guys would still be hugging the yellow line. I could go on forever about this, but I won't. All I know, is that if they don't start capping IMC's race numbers, 2010 will be the last time I race there.

Run -- Got a real good feeling passing those drafting packs of men on the run. Started falling apart -- lightheaded, woozy, that terrible but oh-so-familiar feeling I always get on the marathon portion -- at about mile 11. Started taking cola at every aid station and made sure to take some electrolyte pills. The electrolytes were what I needed. :) After downing the cola, I would run for 10-12 steps and then have to burp. I'd walk, pound my chest, emit two large and deep burps, and then run again. Heh-heh-heh!

I felt GREAT for finishing in the daylight (finally!) -- and am signed up for next year. Next year I am racing two IM's -- Couer D'Alene and Canada so I am sooooo excited about resuming training again. :) :)

For now, I'm in rest mode. :)

Amber -- I heard you shout my name on the bike course and then saw your logo "Women of Strength" emblazoned across your vehicle!! It was so awesome that you were there -- thanks for the boost! :) :)

Jenna -- You are the BOMB!!!!!! I heard you all day every where I went it seemed -- you are such an awesome spectator! :) :) :)

Keith -- I loved seeing you when I began the run. You looked so exhilarated and full of excitement yourself! :) :)

Sara -- YOU ARE THE BEST COACH EVER!!!!! :) :) :)