Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ironman Canada Here I Come!

Ready to kick my own butt BIG TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The last two weeks have been emotionally taxing, that's for sure, but with the love and support of my awesome family and friends, I am ready to race. :)

For my family.....

On Sunday, go to There will be a pink box in the middle of the screen with the race Ironman Canada link in it. Click on athlete tracker -- my numero is 2387 -- let the games begin. YEEHAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Check out the size of the steaks I bought for Toby this afternoon....

The picture doesn't show it that well, but each
steak is the size of EIGHT of my fists!!!!!

Toby is doing well -- she has good days and bad days. We are cherishing every single day with her, and giving her the best food we can. :) I popped those steaks on the Foreman Grill, and Toby ate a whole one!! Hahahahaha!! I was so pleased -- the pills she are on need to be taken with a full meal, and a big, honking steak "makes the medicine go down." :) :) :)

My Mom gave me this list that has now earned a spot on my refrigerator...It's called:

18 Things We Can Learn From a Dog

1. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.

2. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

3. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

4. When it's in your best interest, practice obedience.

5. Let others know when they've invaded your territory.

6. Take naps, and stretch before rising.

7. Run, romp, and play daily.

8. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.

9. Be loyal.

10. Never pretend to be something you're not.

11. If what you want is buried, dig until you find it.

12. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle him or her gently.

13. Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

14. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

15. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

16. When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

17. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

18. No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and right back and make friends.

Pretty awesome eh? And the two that are highlighted are my can touch me, I will like it. LMAO!!!

Good luck racing everyone!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Grief, numbness, autopilot

On our way to Toby's swimming hole...

Can't believe it's only been a week and a half since Toby's diagnosis. She is deteriorating so fast, it scares me. Mike and I opted not to go the chemo route. She is 12 years old and the thought of driving back and forth to Calgary (2.5 hours each way) makes no sense when all we want to do is make her as comfortable as possible.

I've done a bit of research on the internet and joined a canine cancer internet forum. Here is what I've learned: Carbs feed cancer, high protein diet is great. My vet has told me to feed my Toby girl whatever she wants. Her new diet obviuosly agrees with her -- from wasting away and refusing to eat her dog food, she is in all her glory now. She gained 0.7 kg last week. :)

Toby's new gourmet diet

I've been avoiding phone calls, contact with anyone as I just can't keep it together emotionally. As soon as someone is kind to me and asks about Toby, I break down.

As a family, we've been really busy having some good times with Toby this past week. Taking her to her favourite swimming hole, lots of walks....we even threw her a birthday party. She LOVES snapping and jumping at a burning sparkler. And howling with us as we all sang happy birthday to her. :)

But interspersed in these moments of happiness are hidden daggers of pain that pierce my heart....

Like the last day I took Toby running with me -- it was only for 10 minutes after my bike ride, but she couldn't keep up at all. Not even when I was going REALLY slow. I kept running on the spot, then running back to her. My heart broke that afternoon, and as I was running/jogging up the highway home I was crying the whole way.

At her birthday party, she had to stop jumping at the sparkler as she fatigued so quickly.

This morning, when eating a meaty treat, her paws kept slipping on the hardwood floor and she couldn't support herself...I moved her treat out to the living carpet so she could gain purchase,

How can anyone keep it together?

I love you, little dog.

So, every day is a real struggle for Mike and I.

Add this to my last hard week of training and then taper time, and I have been an emotional wreck. But, whether it be functioning on auto pilot or relying heavily on Mike or my Mom and Dad, I've managed to get through. The weird thing about all this, is that I'll be laughing and playing with Toby one second, and the very next second I'll be in tears. I've been sleeping even more than usual (which will alarm those who know me) to take the edge off the exhaustion from crying all the time. WHEW BOY. Heavy, heavy stuff.

Mike, Toby, and me :)

I do have a funny triathlon related story for you all, however...

At the Penticton camp, Sara appeared horrified when I told her, "I don't ride over cattle guards. I walk my bike over them." "WHAT?!?!?!?!" was the response I think. Hahahahahahaha! You see, around these parts, there is only one cattle guard I cross and it is WAY out in the booners. I maintain that if I were to ride across it and something happened, I would be poop out of luck and waiting for a ride from some fisherman. (And for my other buddies that would LOVE to point out how this is yet another reason to buy a cell phone, there ain't no service up in those parts, y'all. LOL!!)

If you look really close, these signs also say, "If your name is
Julie, time to get off your bike."

So, last Saturday, I was 1:12 into my 6 hour ride when I reached the cattle guard. Now this cattle guard is a screwball sort of one too (of COURSE it is, I mean everything is odd about where I live! Hahaha!).

It has a bunch of long skinny metal pieces where a car's tires could go -- but these pieces are very, very skinny, like the width of my tire. Not like some of the other cattle guard or Texas Gates where they have wider pieces where if I grew some balls, I might one day try and ride across...

(Which leads me to another tangential thought...What is the difference between a Texas Gate and a cattle guard? I've seen signs for both of them. Texas Gate almost sounds like a pejorative term....LOL! I feel almost guilty and sheepish writing about it in case a fellow reader says, "They call cattle guards Texas Gates in Alberta!! How racist! Or discriminatory or whatever!! LOL!)

To cross this particular cattle guard, I walk sort of sideways on the long skinny pieces whilst carrying my bike. I often imagine myself walking over a ladder on the Khumbu Icefall on my way up Everest......Yes, the thoughts that go through my brain are always very interesting!

I was taking my last step when my cleat got caught between the skinny pieces and part of it snapped off. Oh shit. I looked down and the first thought that popped into my head was, "So much for my excuse to Coach Sara about not riding over cattle guards!"

The next thought was, "I am only 1:12 into this 6 hour ride."

But lo and behold, I could still clip in. I was a lucky l'il bugger!

I went up to Calgary yesterday and got new cleats on both my shoes -- I don't want to take any chances at IMC.

I leave you with this.....

Here's a quick video of how Peanut is ALWAYS jumping on my back. When I come back from a bike ride, she'll even jump on despite the fact I still have my helmet on....What a cat.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sad News

My baby dog, Toby just turned 12. I found out this afternoon she has lymphoma and about two months to live.

We are putting her on some steroids and taking each day as a gift.

Mike and his son brought home a big meaty bone from Wal-Mart for her.

I took her out on a super long walk and swim in the creek. She's really skinny but doing great. Tail is wagging, and she is sprinting all around.

Man, what am I going to do without her?

I'm going off the grid for a little while...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Calgary 70.3 - A great training day!!

I get a real kick out of using races as training own personal aid stations -- cheering spectators, and friends racing/training alongside you. :) :)

Last year the Calgary 70.3 was a tough training day -- I had missed three weeks of training due to The Cold From Hell, and Coach Sara used the race as a great fitness booster.

This year, the race was serving a similar purpose -- only this time I have not been ill but have an Ironman under my belt and a sold training camp too!

As in any race, I am racing against myself, and a training day or not, I always harbour the secret goal of earning a new PB. I knew I was going to have a really, really good chance at it, since last year I literally did nothing for the three weeks prior to the race except cough, sleep, and spit up mucous.

This year, I also decided to use the race as an Ironman tune-up race prep. Nutrition was bang on. YAY! Electrolytes, bang on. Another yay! Another goal I had for myself for this race was to not let drafting packs suck me in and annoy me. For the first time (ever!) when a pack wold go by and then slow down or get congested, I would slow down and keep my distance. I would either soft pedal or if I was in aero, I would sit up and let the wind resistance slow me down.

And it worked!!! I didn't get stressed at all about drafters this race. Another yay! When I would feel the familiar tickle of annoyance, I would sit up and pee or drink or eat or whatever, and then say the words "Fluffy Bunnies." Immediately, I would relax. :) :)

When I owned the dollar store, I used to sell these Easter gift bags that had the cutest picture of fluffy baby bunnies on them. Thinking of how cute they are just relaxes me instantly. I also think of the time I went to the Calgary pet fair and held a little bunny. :) :) :)

So, all in all, I took off 21 minutes from last year's time -- more importantly, Coach Sara was pleased with where my fitness is at - that she wasn't expecting me to finish that soon! YAY!!

The race has kick started my final big block of training for Ironman Canada. :) :) :) I'm right back into training today and have a solid week ahead of me and I feel stronger and stronger! I am soooo excited for IMC this year!!!! :) :) :)

Wednesday is a hilly ride....Highwood Pass anyone? ;)