Friday, January 29, 2010

Ten Things About Triathlon That Make Me Happy...

1. Standing up out of the saddle after 4 hours of riding and letting the warm summer wind blow through my shorts for a few glorious seconds.

2. Flying downhill in aero. :) :)

3. Cycling with the wind at my back.

4. Pushing past self-limitations (that I didn't realize I had put in place.)

5. Not passing out/bonking/or having blisters pop during Ironman.

6. Zipping up my wetsuit by myself.

7. Going to Sara's tri camps.

8. Getting a "Good work!" email from my coach. :)

9. Talking tri with all my tri buddies.

10. Cheering for a friend who is racing.

In other news....

I know a TV Reality star!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hee-hee!!

Mike's best friend is Paris Gagne -- for anyone that knows Mike and how he plays computer games (he's back on Star Wars now), Paris is who Mike is talking to on his headset when he's at the computer. LOL!!!

They call each other "Baglicker" It's such a familiar nickname, that when I see it is Paris calling on the call display, I say to Mike, "It's Baglicker!" Just like I'd say, "It's your Mom!" LOL!!!

Anyways, Paris is on Discovery Channel's "License to Drill." He's the head guy at the well -- I don't know the proper terminology -- don't even ask me what Mike does for living. LOL!!! Last week, Paris managed to come down for a quick visit between jobs. I had to get my picture taken with such a famous guy!!! LMAO!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Tuck Shop -- Coleman, Alberta

The Crowsnest Pass might not have (OK, definitely does not have) the stores and services available in the city, however, one thing the Pass does have over Calgary and Lethbridge is a superior bike shop....The Tuck Shop.

Gord Tuck operates his shop *tucked* (yes I am so punny) out of the way in Coleman. Don't go looking for a place to buy gels, energy bars, clothing, etc. He does stock helmets, tubes, tires --- the necessities, and will order in a bike if you want. His specialty is bike maintenance, repair, and tuning.

This man is a miracle worker with all things mechanical. And doesn't overcharge for shitty work like you can get stuck with in the city....I'm not saying that all city bike shops take advantage of women and cyclists in general, but I've been visiting with Gord when someone from Calgary or Lethbridge comes in with a mechanical problem that the dudes in the city never fixed and still charged an arm and a leg for....

Last year, I met a guy from Lethbridge who was told by a bike shop that there was no way (impossible was the word they used) they could true his Zipp wheels. He had heard about Gord through a friend of a friend and made the trip to the Pass just to see him. Gord took one look at the wheels, and said, "Of course I can true them." AND HE DID IT RIGHT THEN AND THERE.

No appointments, no waiting list, no big frigging bill either.

I've been soooooo lucky over the years to have Gord as my personal bike guru. He coached me on how to change a flat tire -- I sat with him in his shop and went over and over how to do it. He never made me feel like an idiot either. :)

When I first started triathlon, he patiently talked me through bike care and maintenance over and over again. Because, me, being mechanically-challenged, nothing sticks -- it goes in one ear and out the other. Hahahahah!!

The first time I changed a flat tire, I messed up and got a pinch flat right away. I was near Bellevue, so I hoofed it to a gas station and called Gord. He came to the rescue. (Mike was away at work.) Now THAT is a bike guy to have on your side eh? :) :) :)

I often take for granted just how lucky I am to have the Tuck Shop in Coleman. Any time something goes on my bike -- I call Gord and I'm in the next day or the same day. I've been so pampered over the years that if I leave the shop after a bike tuning, and the gearing doesn't shift as perfectly as I know it can, I bring it back again and he works his magic gratis. Hey -- it's his own fault, I KNOW how awesome it feels to shift like buttah baby.

Today I spent the afternoon at Gord's while he trued my new race wheels and put a brand spanking new cog set on them....My new race wheels with new race tires!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!! OMG, they look so sexy I was squirming around with excitement. Hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!

My new derailleur and chain...Yes, I am freaking excited about this!!!!! LOL!!!!!!!

This is the best part....

I asked Gord if there was anything he could do about my hands going numb/hurting on the handlebars. I'm in aero most of the time, but when I'm not, CRAP my hands would hurt. See the custom handlebar taping job he did for me? WHEEEEE!! All the way down the bars!!! It feels like a cushion, I can't wait to try it out tomorrow!! :) :) :)

So, there you have it -- the Crowsnest Pass can be known for two things: The wind and The Tuck Shop. If you ever want your bike tuned PROPERLY and for far less than in the city....and you want to come see the Pass, give Gord a call: 403-563-3111. It'll be the best decision you ever made for your bike. :) :) :)


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Spin Class of One

I've never been to a spin class. And, to tell you the truth, I don't think I'd want to go to one even if I lived in the city where there were lots of good ones...

What do you people do when you have to, ahem, toot? At home, I don't have to worry about the black bean soup I ate the night before...

For that matter, what do you do when you have to go the bathroom -- I'm assuming the class just continues without you. I can't imagine unclipping, hurrying to the washroom all sweaty in front of all these people and then scrambling back to get on my bike.

When I bike, I am a sweaty, burping, farting mess. It's different during a race -- you are constantly passing or being passed by people. But sitting there -- stationary for everyone to see me in my sweat-dripping, aero-pad stinking glory....

I can't imagine the set-up needed for a spin class either -- look at what I have to do for a mere 2 hour ride....

Note the two big towels underneath the bike as well as all the facecloths draped everywhere across the aero bars. Right beside my bike is what I call the Wall of Nut. As you can see, that desk-thingie is a perfect launch pad for Peanut to jump on my back, so I have had to construct a barrier of sorts to block her attempts....

Starting from the left to right:

1. A bike shoe to block her initial jump up from the floor. This doesn't really work, because she doesn't care if she lands on it, but once she's up there, I use the shoe to sort of push her away from me. LOL!!

2. Stack of more facecloths. (I SWEAT A LOT!!!!)

3. Pile of bananas. I'll go through the whole bunch, tossing the skins on the sweat-catching/banana peel-collecting towels underneath the bike.

4. Water bottle line up. These work AWESOME at blocking the Nut.

5. Bike shoe box -- this is a good fence too.

6. Big towel -- for after my ride, when I grab it and dry off before layering up for a brick.

I've nailed the art of facecloth placement! See how by turning the facecloth diagonally, it covers my stinky (soon to be replaced) aero pads? Yeah baby!!!! LOL!! Then, once I start my iPod, I tuck it into the folded cloth so it doesn't get dripped on.

I LOVE MY COMPUTRAINER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This should be a killer.

That sentence embedded in the description of today's treadmill session struck raw, cold fear into my core.

Never has Sara said anything like this to me -- and the next sentence was like striking the final nail into the coffin: "Afterwards, spend lots of time on your calves!"

What was I in for??????

I am still getting my asthma under control -- and that was another thing I was worried about. I can run for a certain time or at a certain effort and then suddenly...WHAMMO! It hits and I am gasping. To tell the truth, I was more afraid of the asthma then of the imminent pain in the legs....

Today was my very first tempo treadmill session (EVER!) and despite the fear, I was excited to attack! :) :)

I had my inhaler ready and got to work. During the warm up, I noticed I was having no trouble breathing at all -- a good sign. I had taken a number of hits at the pool this morning, so I think there was sufficient stuff in my system that I would be OK for the run session. (The pool temperature is creeping up again DAMMIT. There is a direct correlation between how hot that pool is and how much I wheeze/whoop.)

Onto the main set.... 3 sets of 4 minutes. NO PROBLEMS BREATHING!!!!!!!! Amazing feeling to be able to push your body and feel pain your legs and actually be able to BREATHE HARD!! I was breathing hard!!! YAY!!!!!!

I would watch the timer for each 4 minute interval to end and thought to myself -- "I can handle the pain, if I can breathe." Over and over again I said that. Part of me half-expected the wheezing to start, but it never did. What a great workout!!!!!!!!!!

The only sucky (and I mean very sucky) thing about the session was the company at the gym....

There is this one young guy (maybe 14-15) that comes in with his Dad/Grandpa. And he STINKS of B.O. Really, really bad B.O. And the stench has far-reaching powers too. I am not exaggerating here...He can be at the other end of the building in the weight room and you can smell his reek. Poor kid. Somebody should tell him, but that somebody ain't going to be me.

Happy running!! :) :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010


UGH. Or should I say OWWWWWWWWW!!! The longer I run, the more I chafe underneath all my layers of clothing.

This is still a relatively new experience for me. I never had a problem with chafing before, but now.....OWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!

I chafe all around my sports bra and around the waist line on my tights. I am pretty thorough with the Body Glide application, but today I missed some spots and later on, they welted up like an allergic reaction. So now, I am an avid user of Polysporin too. (I'm still wondering why now, all of a sudden, I am a chafer.)

Today, one side of my freaking belly button chafed!!! WTF is going on????? I put a dab of Polysporin on it before I went to the weight room, only realizing when I got there, that the oily dab of Polysporin had absorbed into my tech tank. A belly button dark spot. NICE.

By the time I got to the gym, my legs were sore from my first run session...There was hardly any wind today, hence I was clocking some serious kms compared to my usual running-in-place-on-slippery-snow-and-against-the-wind. After I showered and changed for my next run session and the weight session, I had to hobble sideways down my front stairs. Hahahahahahahahah!!!!!

Compression tights never felt sooooooooo good. :) :):) :) :)

Trainer tire #2 -- R.I.P.

Oh yeah baby.

During my second ride yesterday, I felt my rear tire grabbing as I pedaled --- along with a squeaking sound. The tire wasn't flat so I kept going until my session was done. After the workout, I bent down to study my rear tire and looky what I found!!! I wore out my second trainer tire!!! YAY!!!!

You can see the threading in these two holes that appeared....MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

I called Gord to arrange a new trainer tire. You see, his bike business basically shuts down in the winter, so if you want something done you have to call. Then, Gord heats up his shop with his wood stove, and you drink coffee eat muffins and talk and talk and talk. Hahahahahaha!! We usually complain about the wind and the weather for about half an hour before moving onto other topics....

We usually solve most of the world's problems by the time I leave. Hahahahahahahaha!!!!

Here's some pics of my latest favourite breakies:

3 egg omlette with avocado, chicken, and cheddar cheese...(YUM!!!)

I have no idea why this photo turned all weird-ball...But here is a spinach, red tater, onion, sun-dried tomato, goat cheese frittata. :) :) :)

Here's one more pic --- We have a heated bathroom floor. Mike bought this kit and installed copper wire underneath the tile. The heat is always on and as you can see, my two kitties LOVE to sleep in there! LOL!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Come to Camp with My Coach!!

My friend (and fellow teamie) Jenna once said she is solar-powered -- I feel the same way. With this insane January melt and a VISIBLE winter sun -- I've been feeling like I have spring fever.

Don't worry, I know it won't last -- I go through this every year. Hahahahahahaha!!!

While it is still a few months away, I am getting excited about my coach's next camp....

It is WIDE OPEN to all triathletes too -- so if you want to come to it, you can!! Get your coach to book this in --- it's going to be a gooder! :) :)

I'm copying this from here:

Where: Victoria, BC

When: Monday May 24th – Monday May 31st , 2010

What’s included:
‐ High quality mixed training week, with high coach‐to‐athlete ratio, ensuring
individual attention while benefiting from group dynamics

‐ Race entry fee and transportation to the Subaru Shawnigan Lake International
Triathlon (Sprint, Olympic or Half Ironman)

‐ Accommodations at the Howard Johnson Hotel & Suites Victoria Elk Lake

o 1 bedroom suite – each room has 1 double bed and 1 pull‐out sofabed, as well as kitchen facilities shared with adjoining room
o walking distance to all amenities for camp, including grocery store

‐ Two team dinners at the Howard Johnson Hotel

Hosted by: Mercury Rising coaches: Sara Gross, Clint Lien and Carrie Meakin

Cost: $1500 per person; based on double occupancy.

For more information or registration, please email:

Space for this camp is limited, so sign‐up early to avoid disappointment!

Sara's camps are AWESOME -- you will learn a lot about yourself and you will push yourself more than you thought you could. Seriously. Plus, you will get to hang out with me!! WHEEEE!!!!!! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Survivor's Guide to Winter Running in the Crowsnest Pass

If you even think about going for a run in the Pass, you are going to have to prepare yourself for the wind. And don't get all woodsy and romantic and start day-dreaming of trail-running through the wilderness to avoid the wind. Because for 9 months of the year, there ain't no trails baby. Just snow. And lots of it.


That leaves the highway -- the one road that is plowed. Other streets and side roads offer no guarantee of being clear. But the highway is the one thing a runner can rely upon.

Unfortunately, it runs west to east, or east to west depending on what blows your hair back. (Heh-heh. The wit!) 99 times out of 100 the wind blows from the west. And it blows HARD. I'm not going to address the 1% anomalous manifestation of an east to west wind-- because it is so rare. (When it does happen, it doesn't last long and will switch back to normal by the afternoon.)

Thus, Step 1 is to purchase wind proof clothing. This is very important and cannot be stressed enough. Wind PROOF. Not wind-resistant. If you waste your money on wind resistant clothing, you might as well be running outside with nothing but mosquito netting on. You like the feeling of cold wind blasting through your clothing? Buy wind resistant stuff.

Step 2: Don't be afraid of layers. If you succumbed to the marketing at a running store in Calgary and purchased wind-resistant stuff, all is not lost! You can use them as a base layer underneath your wind proof pants or jacket.

Speaking of layering, merino wool is by far the best choice for layering. It costs big $$$$ but it will be the best money you ever spent. I own 2 pair merino wool leggings (1 thick, 1 thin), 2 long sleeve tops (one thin, one thick) and two short sleeves. Make sure when you buy the shirts that they have no pretty stitching and extra decorative seams. While visually appealing, those suckers will chafe you th
e sweatier you get. (And if you didn't know...merino wool won't stink from B.O! YAY!!)

Step 3: Get used to breathing with either a balaclava over your mouth or a neck-warmer pulled up to your eyeballs. My preferred method is to layer a balaclava under a toque, pull the opening under my chin, and breathe through the neck-warmer. You won't last a minute on the road without something cover your face. That wind is searingly sincere. (Again, the wit!) Do not forget to put ear-warmers on top of everything. The wind will whistle right through any toque/balaclava combination you may have and leave your ears in a sorry red state.

Step 4: Get used to a tactic called stop and go running. Basically, the wind is always blowing but in differing degrees of blow-it-tude. There will be times (many times) where you will actually be running in place. Just like a treadmill, except worse. (Because on a treadmill you don't expect to go anywhere. When you are outside, you do.) Then, suddenly, without warning, the wind speed will lesson and you will take off (so to speak). The real treat comes when it is time to turn around.

Unfortunately, this means that you will have to run into the wind for a longer period of time than running back. Depending on the strength of the wind, I usually add anywhere from 5-8 minutes to my turn around point. I AM NOT EXAGGERATING. (Even more if you are cycling, but as this is a winter running post, I digress.)

Running back is bliss. The wind pushes you homeward. Awesome. Sometimes, my legs can't keep up! Hahahahahahaha!! (Insert crazy wild-eyed laugh here.)

All this operates under the assumption that you have decided to run into the wind for your first half of the run. If you choose to do it the other way around, don't expect any visitors to your padded cell, because you will have brought this on yourself.

Which way do you think the wind blows?

Step 5: Subtract at least 5 degrees Celsius from Just because there is a picture of the sun on the site does not mean the wind has disappeared. I know all too well the allure of that little sun icon -- but don't be fooled. Put that balaclava and wind-proof jacket back on, my friend.

Step 6: Road conditions. The plow is not your friend. Make peace with this right now and save yourself plenty of heartache later on. Plows either ignore the shoulders, leaving thick difficult snow to run in, or they do too good a job and leave a glassy skating rink. Believe me, if you want to learn mid-foot running in a hurry, go for a run on an icy shoulder.

Plows will not move out of your way if you are running to them. Expect to be forced off the road and into the ditch. They will move around you if they are behind you. (Although the sound of one coming up behind you --- scraping snow and having sparks fly off the pavement --- is enough to terrorize and scar you for life.)

He's coming for YOU!

Step 7: Road etiquette: Contrary to what all the books, websites, fellow runners, ANYONE says -- it is often safer to run with the traffic (on the shoulder) than on the opposite side facing traffic. Especially if your run takes you past the 4 exits into Blairmore. Crowsnest-Passtonians aren't very familiar with a runner coming to cross in front of them as they try to exit Blairmore and get on the highway. (Or to exit the highway and get into Blaimore) Too many close calls than I can count.


Remember people, this a town where the majority of residents still cannot figure out how to navigate the 4-way stop that replaced the only set of lights in Blairmore. Therefore, the regular rules of the road do not apply.

Think like the beast: It's all about survival.

Now go out and have a run -- and if you want some company, give me a shout. :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Baking Soda -- My New Best Friend

Since I've started with Sara, I've learned to stop saying things like:

  • "WOW! That was the hardest swim/bike/run session ever!"
  • "WOW! I've never sweat this much!"
  • "WOW! My legs have never hurt this bad!"
  • "WOW! All the muscles in my body have never felt so sore!"
Because -- guaranteed, the next session will top the previous one in terms of sweat or pain. Hahahahahahahaha!!

I have two towels spread out underneath my bike and a stack of facecloths beside my bike. I even tuck a facecloth into my sports bra because the sports bra gets so saturated that the sweat drips down my abdomen onto the bike seat and all over my bike. A facecloth in the bra gives added absorption. :) :)

With all this sweat comes the dreaded occasional waft of BO....You know--- that gagging smell. I do laundry ALL THE TIME, so the smell of BO horrifies me. Immediately, I'm smelling under my arm, trying to find out where it is coming from. Now I have a lot of clothing that is pushing 8 years old -- but is still like new.

The only bad thing about a couple of pieces of clothing was the creeping stank from years of use. Heh-heh.

My favourite running shirt/jacket had stinking armpits a while ago. I noticed in the usual way -- an ominous waft -- then the usual frantic, "Is that me? Oh my God that STINKS!!!!!" I've had this jacket for YEARS so we are talking years of slowly accumulating stink here. It doesn't matter that I washed it all the time...

So, I washed the jacket again and again. Still the armpits stunk albeit with a perfumed overtone from the laundry detergent.

Then, I tried spraying the armpits with "Shout!" -- still, a residual stink hung about.

Finally, a friend told me to try baking soda. I soaked the jacket armpits in water, then poured a good amount of baking soda over each one, then sprinkled more baking soda liberally over the whole thing while it sat in a sink of hot water.

I left it there overnight and -- Voila!! Stink was gone!!! :) :) :)

Similar thing happened to me yesterday during my second bike session. The aero pads were already saturated from my previous effort, and WHEW boy they were stinking!! I didn't know my elbows could generate the same kind of stink as armpits!! Hahahahahah!!

I took them off the bike last night and did the same baking soda trick -- let them soak overnight in the sink. And this morning? Stink is gone!! YAY!!!

Baking Soda: Every Triathlete Should Have a Box!! :) :) :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mike Divided by Zero and I Ate Too Much Turkey

Mike's work computer had a meltdown the day before he had to leave for another job...

He was up all night trying to fix the problem. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, he discovered that his drilling program had somehow gone back into a previous well's data and DIVIDED BY ZERO!!!! (On September 21, 1997, a divide by zero error on board the USS Yorktown (CG-48) Remote Data Base Manager brought down all the machines on the network, causing the ship's propulsion system to fail.)

In other news....

I ate so much food (as well as non-food items like chocolate and poppycock) on Christmas day that later that evening I was over the toilet bowl almost heaving out the lot. I have NEVER pigged out so hard in my life and was totally disgusted with myself. Mike tried to get me to take some Gas-X and I was so full, the thought of eating them nearly had me puking. Shudder. But, the Gas-X went down, and Christmas 2009 passed. I divided by zero on Christmas Day. LOL!!!

1. The last couple of days my legs have been so sore from training that I haven't been able to squat to clean the kitty litter -- I have had to bend at the waist. Heh-heh.

2. The last load of clothes I washed were covered with a mysterious white fluff....I got that sinking feeling -- what had I forgotten to take out? At the bottom of the washing machine was my pair of ear-warmers. Who knew they were stuffed with white fluffiness?

3. Why does biting into a piece of chicken gristle gross me out so much, but eating a piece of bacon doesn't?