Friday, April 30, 2010

...and my torso is along for the ride...

This is one of the many (and I mean MANY) things that go through my head while I am swimming/biking/running.

In this particular case, my torso is along for the ride when I am running. This is the cue that really works for me. Hahahahaha!!!

Here's a selection of a number of other cues/things I tell myself when I am training:


  • "Don't swim like a crucifix." (Asked if I was religious because I "swam like a crucifix" in Australia. Hahahahahaha!!! I think about this one a lot --- LOL!)

  • "Clench that butt" -- if you clench your butt you WILL kick straight and not break at the knee. Try it, you won't believe how much better you kick.

  • "If I cross over again, Clint will throw a weight at me...." (I don't think this one needs any more explanation. LOL!)

  • "Don't swim like a chicken wing." (Sara told me this over and over again. I think about this a lot too. Hahahahahaah!!!)

  • "Bubble, bubble, breeeeeeeathe." Lifted this off a swim site -- I was holding my breath sometimes as I swam. I would have told you there was no way I did that, but then I read how just about every new swimmer does this, and I realized that I did it too at times -- which is why I would feel breathless sometimes. Swimming doesn't make you breathless...holding your breath does. Go figure!! LOL!!! (Anyways, you say bubble, bubble to make sure you are constantly blowing bubbles when your face is in the water. Means you are exhaling all the time, and inhaling when you are supposed to -- no holding of breath. What a difference this has made for me!)


  • "Each butt cheek is operating independently of the other..."(That's what it feels like, people!! LOL!)
  • "Pedal from the bum, pedal from the bum...."
  • I think you pretty much get the gist of all my biking thoughts...they pretty much all have to do with my bum. Hahahahahahaha!!!

  • "Let your legs float and your torso is along for the ride."
  • "Pump those arms." (Or as Sara has told me over and over again, "Arms, Julie, arms!")

Any of you have some interesting cues that you'd like to share? Hmmmmm? Let's have 'em!! :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

My sister is a stud

I have been itching to share this news for some time now.....

My sister and her husband recently made the decision to sell their home in northern Saskatchewan, leave their jobs, and start completely new lives in Calgary. They DO NOT have jobs lined up. They DID NOT have a place to live figured out.

They DID know that they had to leave -- there were numerous signs in all aspects of their lives that pointed to change, and they had the courage to listen to them.

Initially, they tried to do the *responsible thing* and tried to line up new jobs. But as the months ticked by, they realized that sometimes, change starts with a leap of faith. And like with all leaps of faith --- those burning desires that are just waiting to be heard.....those dreams that have been kept close to the heart for so long....when they finally made the decision to follow their bliss, things happened very, very quickly:

They listed their house, and it sold within the month. :) :) They found an amazing condo in a great part of Calgary. My sister found a great used car off kijiji (for an AWESOME price) to replace the paint-peeling one that wouldn't have passed the inspection from Saskatchewan to Alberta.

The job front is still a work in progress, and I am so excited to see how their lives unfold!! :) PLUS I get to see my sister and her husband as much as I want to now!!!! YAY!!!! Before, the 12 hour drive to their old place meant I'd see her maybe once or twice a year.

Mike and I went up to stay with them this weekend. As I wasn't going to be running the half marathon, it gave me even more time to visit with them. :) :)

Mike met up with his son and the two of them spent the day at this sci-fi/comic book conference thing. Mike was all excited and said that next year I could come with him and dress up like a
n Avatar character "because there were all these chicks painted blue and in bikinis." LMAO!!!

Oh yeah! You know how pearls of wisdom pop up randomly in life? And if you have your heart open, you are able to hear a message uniquely suited to you? Well, last week I watched a bit of this cooking show...I think it is called Ricardo and Friends. I kept saying (yes out loud -- I make jokes out loud to myself and then laugh at them even when I am alone in the house watching TV -- HAHAHAHAH!) "Ricardo, I'll be your friend!!" And then I would laugh at my cleverness -- I think I said it every time there was a commercial break. LOL!!!

See, Ricardo makes all these delicious meals and then invites his buds over to partake. I would LOVE to be invited to one of those meals!!!!

Anyways, the show started off with Ricardo learning how to make bagels at this bagel shop in Montreal. (Another reason I giggle throughout the show is Ricardo's French accent reminds me of Mike's best friend Paris....) When Ricardo made a mistake rolling out a bagel, he automatically started to correct it. The head bagel guy stopped him and said, "We never go back and try to fix it, we do the next one better."

How's that pearl of wisdom for you? I've been thinking of this all week whilst swimming. :) :) :) :) :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mercury Rising Triathlon

My team's website is now up and running!!!! YAY!! Check it out:

In other news, I just got off the phone with my coach and she told me that the half mary is out for me this weekend. My foot is getting better every day, and I am excited about my next race -- A TRIATHLON (YAY!!) on May 9.

I managed to haul my sorry butt out of the pool this morning and make it to the end of this block in one piece. My last set was swimming with the band and I couldn't make it to one end of the pool without doing a butterfly kick about 3/4 of the way across to keep me afloat. Hahahahaah!!!

Then, when I would turn around and swim back to the shallow end, my feet would sink until they touched the bottom of the pool, at which point I'd stand up and push off and swim again. No flip turns happened during this time -- I was barely moving forward and the one time I tried to do a flip turn, I was so tired I just about sank. Hahahahaha!!!

Besides, I needed all the extra momentum I could to get from one end of the pool to the other.

The funniest through all this slow moving was when I got to take a 20 sec rest between one of the "sets." Hahahahahahaha!!

I was so tired when I got home I needed Mike to help me open the fridge. Hahahahahahaha!!! Can't wait for this rest week so I can do this all over again!!! :) :)

(I am wearing a maniacal grin right now!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAAHA!!)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I wanted hills

....and boy did I get them!!!

I had 4 hours of hilly riding to do yesterday and my offerings to the weather gods were accepted. Thus, I packed up my car, drove 2 hours to Calgary, and rode back and forth and back forth along the Road to Nepal.

Awesome, awesome hilly ride. The wind was relentless as were the hills, and I just love hills!!! I am excited to keep biking this route and get stronger and stronger.

One funny thing happened yesterday -- Keith came out to surprise me. He parked his car on the side of the road up ahead of me, and walked along the shoulder cheering me to the top of the hill. Hahahahah!! Poor Keith though -- I was at 2:17 into my ride and I was OUT OF IT. I was riding those hills into the wind and I barely even acknowledged him when I first saw him!

I stopped for a few minutes and got out a granola bar and chatted with Keith a bit. Still, I was in that zombie-like frame of mind that is uniquely induced by sunshine and long bouts of prairie wind....You know the way your eyes and face look so weary by facing the elements during a long ride? Hahahahahah -- that was me. I even had a hard time talking to my buddy.

Ah well -- Keith, it was so great seeing you out there yesterday -- it was a welcome respite from the dusty brown pallet and lack of other cyclists. It really was such an awesome surprise to see you -- just know that I am now fully back to myself! LOL!!!!!

One of the great reasons I love this route is that the downhill sections give you an excellent opportunity to go aero with crosswinds and every-which-way-winds buffeting you about the road as you descend. I find that I am more stable when I am in aero when the winds are blasting than when I am sitting up. I've never owned a road bike, so I don't know if maybe tri bikes are built that way or what -- all I know, is that after 4 hours on that road, any fears of being in aero whlist being blasted by wind are erased. LOL!!!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I do not have exercise-induced asthma!!!!

First workout after Australia -- yes that is a balaclava.

Jet lag can be a KILLER!!!! Holy-o-crap, I never knew that jet lag could be so nasty. Apparently flying from west to east can wreak havoc on your body's circadian rhythms. And the more time zones you fly through the worse it gets. I had terrible nausea and gastro-intestinal stuff for 3 days.

So bad that I would talk with my jaw clenched because even the action of talking made me nauseous. My foot swelled up to a disgusting size and took a couple of days to go down again...thank goodness my ankles are back. Hahahahaha!! Speaking of which...

The foot healeth.....

In other news....I found out that my exercise-induced asthma was not asthma at all but Vocal Chord Dysfunction. This is why me taking 9 hits of of various inhalers per day did nothing for me. The specialist I went to when I got back from Australia told me my symptoms were "classic" of this vocal chord thing.

Here is what happens: Certain triggers like cold air, strong pool chemical smells, level of effort in exercise caused my vocal chords to collapse. Then, like Pavlov's dogs, my body trained itself to respond the same way to these triggers again and again. The GREAT news is that I can recondition my body with a simple breathing technique!!!

Are you ready for this?

All I have to do is when I feel an attack coming on is to inhale three times through my nose and sniff. Like this: Sniff.....sniff, sniff. After the first sniff, you wait a second and then take two more sniffs. You don't exhale between sniffs, three sniffs and then the vocal chords are forced to open.

I am off all inhalers -- no more steroid inhaler, or nose spray stuff, or allergy stuff. All gone. Now, when I am in the pool, I think of my sniffing thing as my own personal inhaler on demand whenever I need it. I also visualize my throat's airway as being HUGE and OPEN like the size of a grapefruit. (Got this idea off the internet.)

And it works. Can't believe it. When I feel the chords trying to collapse in the pool, sometimes I don't even need to sniff now -- I just visualize my airways being open. I can't believe the difference has been instantaneous!!!! I am so thankful I got in to see the specialist. :) :)

Oh yeah -- he also told me that asthma sufferers make noises on the exhalation NOT the inhalation. Mine was always on the inhalation -- I had one episode that was so bad in Australia my voice (on it's own) was whining and wailing as I was trying to breathe. I felt so stupid when Sara asked if I was Ok, and I could only make these stupid wailing noises and gasped out, "I can't control this noise!" The attacks were also linked to an emotional response I noticed -- not panic per day, but frustration and tears even. Very, very weird.

So.....I am ready for summer!!!! :) :) :) :)