Thursday, September 25, 2008


so, when i read stuff like this, about myself, it gives me the warm fuzzies. it is nice to know that people feel that I am solid enough of an individual that can write compliments like this about me (click on image to enlarge). 

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


so, i think i am going to plan on staying in vancouver/BC.  for today, that seems like it would be a solid plan. 

and, i think that as of now, i am considering the following for education:

perhaps nursing at langara.  but, who knows.  

so, that lasted about 3 days.  then i found this direct-entry 3 year master's applied program in nursing at McGill, in Montreal.  It also has a option to focus on global health nursing.  *Ding!* i have always wanted to live in montreal, or go to mcgill. even since i was in high school. 

Monday, September 22, 2008

some plans for the next year...

From day to day, my plans change.

and, since i have no plans or ambition for my life anymore, here are some things i am considering, with no commitment to any of them:

  • going to peru and ecuador, to hike in the andes, see machu picchu and perhaps the galapagos (if i can afford this part).
  • hike up kilimanjaro.
  • go on a bike trip somewhere, maybe ride Ragbrai, in iowa, in july.
  • go to Liberia, visit my host family. Start in spain, and travel down through West Africa.
  • travel across north africa.
  • go to south africa on an multi-purpose advenutre, and hit up mozambique and visit my sponsored world vision child.
  • do my MPH in international health and development at Simon Fraser (vancouver), or Tulane (New Orleans), or University of Capetown (south africa), or somewhere else.
  • quit my job, sell my belongings, and leave town.
  • Keep my job, make some money, and force myself to be settled for a while, while i discover western canada and vancouver some more.
  • race in triathlons. maybe do a 1/2 marathon or adventure race or a 24-hour race of some kind.
  • not get fat, or sustain any sort of athletic injury, including near death experiences.
  • coach rowing, and do some rec rowing.
  • lead a Teen Missions team.
  • Drive/hitchhike/take the ferries to Alaska
  • get my teaching degree.
  • get my nursing degree.
  • not do research, once i am done my M.Sc. but do get some papers published.
  • live in the inner-city.
  • go work at pioneer alberta for a while.

this list will continue to change. be added to, and be taken away from. anyone want to join me on any of these things?

Friday, September 19, 2008

a little freedom

"The only thing that makes life possible is the permanent, intolerable uncertainty, the joy of not knowing what comes next "
- Ursula K Le Guin

there are a couple of things that i love about commuting by bicycle.  some of them depends on the ride; such as watching the sun rise, or set.  or if you want to get a workout, or if you want to take a leisurely ride. or, if you listen to music, or choose to listen to what is going on around you.  but, at least one thing that happens every single time you go on a commute.  You have the time to feel the wind in you hair, and rushing past your body, as you take the time to prepare for the day, or take time to decompress from the day.  it is a time to think about your day (ahead, or behind), while your blood is flowing rich with oxygen and endorphins.  :)

and, today, as always, i had a good think on my way home (which i rode leisurely, with great music in my ears)...

this week has been a bit of a trip.  and, so often, i find it interesting that the outward bound quote of the day is suitable for what is going on in life.  so, i included it at the beginning of this post.  Today, i sit and write with a little bit of sadness in my heart.  Sometimes it goes away, sometimes it is barely noticeable.  but, riding home tonight, it was quite heavy.  

On tuesday, I got the scores from my MCAT exam.  if you remember, i spent the majority of the summer getting ready for the exam, and felt fairly decent and prepared going into it.  I had a great, relaxing time on the sunshine coast, and even though i knew that one section did not go well, I thought that it would not have been terrible.  

well, I got the scores, and in the 30 seconds it took me to log onto the website, my plans from the last 6 years crumbled to pieces.  My dreams to go to medical school next fall were quickly clouded over.  My scores were not good.  And, especially on one section, low enough to not at all apply for Medicine.  Application boards would not even look at it.  and, so, things change.  I am now about 5 days in, and things are okay.  I woke up on Wednesday morning, took a deep breath, and said that it was not worth any more tears than the single good cry.  That it was time to walk forward.  

initially, I wanted to plan.  plan exactly what my backup plan is going to look like (i want to do my Master's of Public Health), where i am going to go, what i am going to do, how i am going to make some money, if i want to travel, etc.  and, now, i just don't know.  it has set into me that i am a little bit of a place where i have soooooooo much flexibility in what i want to do, and where i want to go, and who i want to spend my time with, and when i want to do it.  all of a sudden, i don't have to stress.  I don't have to worry about trying to be good enough to get into med school. i have good people around me, who believe in me, and who understand me, and who support me.  and, that is really nice.     

but, in all honesty, even though i know with 90% that i will pursue Public Health, i am feeling a little direction-less right now.  and, it feels really weird to not have a specific aim to be pushing for.

in many ways,  i do wish right now that i had enough money to take a long trip.  one in which i didn't have a time limit as to which i had to return.  maybe to find a little bit more direction, and another dream to reach for...

I added the tag of "the hilarity of life" because life is ironic. you never really know waht is totally going to happen. but, at least i know, and truely believe that we are small parts of bigger plans.  we are not totally in control of what is going on. I know that where ever i go, and what ever i do, it is going to work out. in the last 6-8 weeks, i have learnt so much, and (i think, in many ways) grown so much. it has been a rollercoaster, that is for sure. but, i am so glad that i have the trust and faith that seems to bring peace...

"...the joy of not knowing what comes next"

so, for now, another quote:

"Man has survived everything, and we have only survived it on our optimism, and optimism means faith in ourselves, faith in our universal qualities, and above all, faith in love. "
- Edward Steichen

Monday, September 15, 2008

off season....

so, today i got back on my bike for the daily commute, and back in the pool to enjoy some of the last of the quickly fading summer days.... it was so wonderful. all of last week, i did nothing. i figured that 2 olympic distance tri's in a span of 6 days was a challenge enough for my body. I didn't want to hurt it, so i gave it a rest. and, now after that week, i am restless.

i am ready to get back into it.
but, the unfortunate thing is that i don't know what to do. i am kinda at a loss. there are no more tri's until march. the rain is going to start soon. i am doing a 5km charity run in October, which i am trying to fundraise at least 150$ towards breast cancer (AKA: PLEASE DONATE!!!) and, i am also doing a 10km Turkey trot race on Thanksgiving. So, both of those should be fun, but they aren't going to really be a challenge. so, i don't really know what to do.
i am going to try to start doing yoga again, at least once a week.
i think i am going to sign up for a West African Drumming class once a week again. cause i miss drumming. (but, i dread the trip out to New West every friday).
it is wierd, cause when i don't have a goal, i don't know what to do. i have thought about a 1/2 marathon. but, i am not loving running these days. and, to think about training for a 1/2 makes me want to preverbially throw myself down some stairs.
anyone have suggestions? how do i keep myself going through the winter. Next tri will be the UBC triathlon on march 8th. i have also had strange muscle cramping in my legs, and random muscle twitches. not sure what is going on there. i am wondering if it is this medication that i am on, that one of the side effects is that it increases my potassium levels... i know that potassium has to do with muscles, but im not sure if that is it... anyway, next time i see the Doctor, i will ask...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

"journal of a narcoleptic"

A year and a half ago, my brother Leigh (who is 8 years older than me) turned up on my doorstep and stayed for 3 weeks.  I had not seen him for about 3 years, and since then, I have had not heard from him.  He was more than welcome to stay, and i wish he would do it more often. it was nice to have conversations with him, and hear his perspectives on life. i do wish that i knew where he was, and that i could see him more often in my life.  however, most of the conversations we had, I do not really remember.  But i do remember one thing that he said to me.  

he told me that if i thought that my early 20's were going to be the point of life in which i learn. and change. and grow. the most, that i am wrong.  he told me to just get ready for my mid-late 20's, because in those few years, life will have a whole new learning curve, and that i will experience more change in my life than i can anticipate.  

i have been 25 for just over 2 months.   and, in the spring, when i was approaching my birthday, i felt as if i was on the edge of something big.  that i was on the edge of big changes in my life.  and, it seems to me that i am approaching that change. quickly.  and, i don't know if it is that i am getting my scores from my MCAT on tuesday, and i am scared and nervous about it that i am thinking about some of this stuff.  but, i feel like in the last 6 weeks, i have had more deep thoughts. and conversations. and encounters. and scary experiences. and vivid experiences. about life than i have had in the recent past.  everything from 

racing in my first triathlon, to
writing my MCATS, to
applying to medical school, to
deep conversations about God, to
having my close friend graduate from our M.Sc program, to
having christina return from Egypt, to
meeting people that i have not expected to meet, to
making decisions about what will happen if i do not get into medical school, to
wishing that there was more time in life to experience more things, to
long walks that get me thinking about where i want to be in 5 years, and where i want to be in 10 years, to
being reminded of values that i have had for my whole life, to 
winning races, to 
thinking about the things that i am very passionate about, to
remembering that sometimes your best friends know you more than you know yourself, to 
many phone conversations lasting over and hour. 

and, i don't feel like, here, on this blog, i want to get into it much more than that.    

i just know that i am on the edge.  the edge of what, i am not quite sure.  but, i also just know that i wish i could know the answers to a lot of the questions that i have right now.  i kinda wish that i could know what my life is going to look like, and where i am going to be, and who i will be socializing with, and what i am going to be doing, one year from now.  

and, i suppose it is at this point, where people who know me well would remind me that all these questions will just work out, and that the answers will come, and that "the journey is not just about the destination." 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the city of angels

so, as you can see in the previous post, i went to LA this past weekend.  I had never been to LA before, and the city turns out to be nothing special.  I'm not going to lie.  but, it was a great weekend, none the less.

It was really nice to go down to the city,  and have my friend Josh show me around, with the brief time that i had.  I think he was paying back the favour from me showing him Vancouver, and racing in Squamish.  He even spoke of being able to show me a star.  so, I was in high anticipation.  

The race was the predominate feature of the whole weekend, of course.  I was able to see Venice beach, the basketball courts where famous NBA players show up sometimes.  I walked down Rodeo Drive, and browsed in Schwenky stores.  we mosey-ed through expensive hotels in hopes to glimpse a star.  we walked down hollywood blvd, and looked at the stars in the sidewalk, and the handprints in cement.  

The best part of sight-seeing in LA came on Monday morning, when we went to beverly hills.  we drove through the expensive houses, and around the hills, and looked at "the valley." this was when we went to rodeo.  And, i was treated to a phenomenal breakfast at the Beverly hills hotel, in the basement, where they have a cute little coffee and breakfast bar.  we rubbed shoulders with people who "Are from new york, but living in london, and has a french husband," and walked around the place like we totally belonged. but.... we didn't see a star.  

all the way down to LA, and not one famous person.  psh.

The best experience of LA was in Watts.  As you probably know, I love being in areas where i am a minority. especially if there are lots of black people.  And, so, we drove to Watts (which, if you don't know, is a poor, crime-ridden part of LA), and Josh knew of this happening on Sunday nights.  There is this groups of people, who every sunday night gather in a garage-like building to play Jazz.  and, we are talking, real Jazz.  Josh had bought a bottle of champange, and we poured some glasses, shared with the others, and sat for about an hour listening, and watching.  it was awesome.  there were Max 25 people there, and only one other white person.  Ran by the lady of the house, Georgia, the music is predominately improvised, and if you can play, you can get up there.  LOVE IT. :)

and, besides that...  it was really nice to see my friend, and to see him in his home environment. I like seeing people that I haven't seen for a while.  it is always a good time. :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

LA tri report

So, this past weekend, i traveled down to Los Angeles for a "on a little bit of a whim" trip.  Originally, when thinking about the possibility of this trip, I was not sure if i wanted to race in the LA tri, because of racing on Labour day, the race entry fee, the organization of getting a bike to race with (b/c i wouldn't want to bring my own bike), etc.  

but, i bit the bullet, and I thought "what better way is there to see a city, than to race through it?"  So, i went ahead and entered the LA Triathlon. The race is a point to point, starting at Venice Beach, and ending in Downtown LA. The bike course heads up Venice blvd, eventually doing a bit on Sunset Blvd, and turning around to go back downtown.  I had organized to borrow a bike through, which was amazing.  The bike, although significantly smaller than my own, was a Quintana Roo Tri bike, complete with carbon fork, stem, etc, and ultegra components.  so, needless to say, quite a step up from my Cyclocross with 105's.  (but, with a note, not as pretty as mine).  It was very exciting to be at such a large race.  total participants in the olympic distance were 1116, and in the sprint 576.  plus a "bike only," and a relay division.  Compare that with the squamish (~200 participants), and Vancouver (~500).  

previous to the race, we (my friend, Joshua, who lives in LA; Josh was previously raced up here at the Squamish Triathlon in July) went to the race expo (which was larger than any expo i have ever been too!), down to Venice beach to check out the water, and drove the bike course. i was a little nervous about the following aspects:
  • i have never swam in big surf.  I was scared that i might drown in the waves ;)  although, in reality, i knew that i wouldn't drown, but i had high chances of getting a slow swim, and lots of gulps of salt water.  Also, was slightly scared of those marine creatures called sharks. especially since we all look like seals in our wetsuits
  • i was worried that it was going to be super hot outside, very muggy, and polluted.  and, that those aspects would create the race to be a lot harder, and i will not have hydrated enough.
  • I have never rode in aero-bars before. was worried that i might bite the dust, or for some reason, the bike might breakdown.
  • i was worried that from racing last week, and again yesterday (a mere 6 days later), my legs would be super tired. 
 so, lets start at the end, and loop back to the beginning. When i finished this race, i thought i had done really crappy.  I was not sure if i was going to be pleased with my results.  I had just not felt very strong.  wasn't sure what the results were going to be.  Needless to say, once I got my results, i was a bit consoled, and *very* surprized.  I wanted to win my category (i entered the Athena, which is women over 150lbs), but was thinking that there was one girl who may have passed me on the run.  

so, results.  
overall 416/1116.  Overall Female 43/199.  My category... 1/7 Woot!  (if i had entered the women, 25-29, i would have placed 4/38.  which, i like.  but, is also surprizing... are triathletes in Vancouver that much quicker?) 

like i said, i was a little intimidated by the surf.  although Josh kept insisting that it wasn't so bad, and that i would be fine.  we were the last olympic wave off. but had bright orange caps, which was nice and easy to gauge if you were being passed in the wave.  The swam tired me out.  Well, the surf tired me out, both going out and goin
g in.  going out included a big gulp of salt water, and hard running and dolphining.  it was me and two other Clydesdale men out in front.  the swim felt slow, but i also felt like there was not much i was able to control.  it was the hardest swim i have had all summer. The nicest thing about it, though, was that there was barely anyone around me for most of the swim, and that i was able to find a pair of feet for a while. we  finally
 merged with the sprint distance athletes who stared shortly after us, and headed for shore.  Wanted to run out, but running on sand is hard.  and, my heart and breathing rate was soaring.  so i decided to walk through the sand, until it was more packed, and run through T1.  swim time: 26:26.  this is the slowest i have gone all year (since the other 2 results include T1 times). 

other than the sand running, pretty good.  forgot to un
-velcro my shoes which were already in my pedals on the bike.  that lead to a hard start to the bike.  opted for socks, from the mistake of last race and blisters.  but, had a great rack location. accidently hit the helmet of the guy beside me to the ground.  tried to quickly back my bag for the volunteers to later pick up, but this was a *big* hassle.  and, off to Venice Blvd.  T1 time: 2:28. 

by far, the best part of the race.  While driving the course, i was a thinking that the ride was going to be quite hard.  Lots of false flats, and undulating hills, and one big (but short) climb.  I loved riding in aero position, and the bike went well.  Ended up spending most of the ride with a group of men in their 40's.  they kept a good pace, and it was nice to have a speedometer on the bike.  the ride was fun, and had a lot of variety.  Other than my knees hitting the bars when i had to get out of the saddle a few times, and the fact that the bar end shifters sometimes confused me (because i am used to integrated sh
ifters!), i thought the ride was fine. i drank a surprizingly a lot of fluids on the ride. Bike time: 1:15.14 la la la!  lot's faster than the 1:22's from the previous races.  but, again, don't know my transition times from the previous races.

we dropped off out T2 bags at the expo the night before, and, the volunteers were to set them out for us.  I couldn't find my rack very easily, and got a little lost, which i was annoyed about.  had put some fast laces into my shoes, and that was nice. enjoyed not tying them.  appreciated having socks. this transition was normal.  no
thing special, other than getting lost.  t2 time: 2:15.

as always, the hardest.  i started off feeling quite good, surprisingly. i wanted to negative split on the run, but this is hard to do when you don't have a watch.  my feeling good off the bike quickly disapated, and i found myself feelin
g exceptionally slow, and  not enjoying the run at all.  i also had looming in front of me the hill, which looks like a wall as you approach it.  in my head, i knew that i wasn't going to be able to run up it.  i tried.  but, the first time, i only got 1/2 up it, running.  the second time, i walked the whole time.  but, i have a fast hill walk.  so, that was okay.  i do remember though, that there was one point on the run when i thought "hum.  i am not sure if i want to do this.  i don't know if i want to finish...."  i was really frustrated.  but, no blisters, thanks to socks and body glide.  also was soaking wet at the end.  i found myself pouring a lot of water on myself. and, lots of sweat as well.  might have also peed a bit as well?!  but, not quite sure on that one ;)  eep!  TMI?  run time: 58:55. very surprisingly, faster than last 2 races.  

overall time: 2:45.17. for a 1st place in my category by a whooping 21 minutes.  shocking, actually, for not feeling 100% great about the race.  and, also suprisingly, a PB.  strange how that works, hey?  

post race. did not feel like eating (or even drinking a free beer at the garden!) much at all.  loved the ice towels they give you.  waited for a massage, and subsequently missed the shuttle back to the beach; but, i was somewhat okay 
with that, since i got the massage ;)  eventually found our way home. ate a yummy sandwich, milkshake and watermelon for lunch, and went for an hour nap.  felt like the recovery went *very* well.  wasn't exceptionally dehydrated, or anything.  YAY!  

and, of course, congrats to my friend Josh who had a PB on his race, coming in with a 2:56 racetime, with a strong swim, fast transitions, and solid bikes and runs.  he came in 11/26 in his category, and was happy with his race overall, which is *awesome.*

so, who knows where I am going to be next fall, and if i will race in LA again. perhaps we will do this all over again, and i will have the experience to know what to expect for the next time.  i thought the race was fun, and well run.  so, maybe.  just maybe.  time can only tell.  

but, for now, i leave you with these super style-ish triathletes ;)  haha!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

2008 Vancouver Triathlon Race Report.

Sooooo..... Triathlon #2 done and done.  no photos this time though, sadly.  but, here is the report.  it might be short, cause i am tired tonight.  but, i may not have the time to write it this week, so, better something, than nothing right?

so, here are my results.  

13/36 in women aged 20-29.
25/110 in overall women.
127/288 overall, men and women.  

Final time:  2:47.09

Swim time: 24:24 (split 1:38/100m)
Bike time: 1:22:52 (27.4km/hr)
Run time: 59:54 (6min/km... ughghghg)  

let us compare that with squamish: final time 2:50.03; swim 26:42(1:47); 1:22:32 (26.9); 1:00:5 (6:05).

so, not so bad.  shaved the most time off on the swim, which i thought i would have. i think maybe i can still get faster on the swim, and definitely on the run... hopefully on the bike?!!?

Swim:  fantastic.  I have loved swimming this summer.  Water was cold, though.  so, i am glad that i got in early. I think it was about 16 degrees, so initially, it was very numbing to the face and hands.  I got in, floated around a bit, took a little warm up swim, and was ready to go.  Initially, i was afraid that i was going out too fast, cause i felt a little tired at about 350 meters.  then, i got a headache, and i thought "shit.  it is too early to have a headache in a race.  this better not last."  but, i had past most of the people in my cap group, and was catching up to the slow people in the wave ahead.   ran out of the first lap super stoked, and dolphined into the second.  got squished between two large men around the last turn, and got shoved away.  at this point, i had caught up to the main wave in front of me, but was relieved that the swim was almost done, so i wouldn't ahve to navigate through.

T1: i loved that i had tri bike shoes.  they were ready on my bike, quick to get into.  tried to tie my (newly cut) hair back, but it was seemingly taking too long.  scrapped the hair elastic, and helmet went on.  wet suit seemed a little hard to get off.  not a bad transistion, but not great, either.  

bike:  was out quickly.  but, couldn't find my legs for about 5 km.  i wondered if it was the coldness from the swim.  the weather was a little chilly at first, but was eventually fine.  it took a bit for my headache to go away, but, i definitely did not have it for the majority of the bike.  it seemed to me, that on the bike, the only people who were passing me were men, and ladies on really nice tri specific bicycles.  and, as we know from bikesnobnyc, an upgrade is really a downgrade when it comes to racing, and really you should downgrade to win. SO, that is what i did. ;)  found the east side of the park quite windy.  but, i seemed to be okay up the hill, and just flew down the hill.  I wish i had a speedometer, so i could know how fast i was going down.  I think i averaged less than 20min a lap, which is about on par for me.  i enjoyed the tip from a client of mine to mark my water bottles for drinking.  found myself a lot happier about hydration. still hope i can go a bit faster on my bike though

t2:  come back to find my race rack littered with wetsuits, and crap everywhere. had to push things out of the way to rack my bike.  was a little pissed off about that.  couldn't put my hat on fast enough, so decided to ditch it (visor maybe needed?).  went to put on my new shoes, and hated the laces, later regretted that i chose not to wear socks...  ran out of transition, wishing i had had the chance to practice more brick workouts recently. 

run: so, because of my stupidity of leaving my running shoes in gibsons, on the sunshine coast, i did not have them for the week previous to the race.  that meant no running, and a slight panic previous to the race, ended up with me buying a pretty new pair of bright blue racing flats, from pacific multi sport.  (I am so thankful for that shop, ps.  and, i think it is a fantastic, not prestigious Tri shop.  love it.)  anyway.  legs felt silly.  shoes felt great.  that is, until the hot spots started. in particular, one goodie on my bunion.  damn that bunion.  anyway, the run course was nice.  a 2x out and back through the paved trails of stanley park. Rolling hills.  not long/steep enough to kill you, but definitely enough to challenge this girl who hates hills. overall, felt a little rough off the start, and didn't like the uphills.  i did not like the blisters that i got, but that can be fixed.  i felt like i was going slow.  i hate feeling slow.  run, once again, was the most painful part.  was able to pick it up towards the end, but was finished as soon as i got to the line.  

so, overall, had a blast.  i am addicted to tris.  my competitive spirit has kicked in though, and, i am not quite happy with a 13th place finish in my category.  now, don't get me wrong, i know that it is good, and i am super happy with the result..  but, i want to be faster.  

i want to be a sub 2:45'er next week.  i want to win the athena category when i race next week.  i will have a fast bike, and a full body massage on thursday to get my muscles in gear.  i will have had a good week of a hard work out, and then a rest day, and then some gentler mid-week workouts, and a short taper on friday and saturday. 

i loved the fact that roommate did phenomenal, coming 6th in her category for the sprint athletes, and rocked her run.  i loved that i had friends, celine, joel, tony, emilie, and marsha out to cheer for me and watch me race. i loved that i felt better about my nutrition, and hydration.  

i spent the rest of the day doing nothing.  even skipped out on watching one of my favourite bands play at malkin bowl in the evening, because i was too tired.  but, i couldn't sleep for an afternoon nap, or even much at night.  i was just so stoked from a great day.  the day ended with me eating wayyyyy too much sushi with erika.  and, that is when i finally felt full again.  

i am soooo ready to do this all over again on sunday, down in LA.  but, i am *not* ready for 30 degree, and sunny weather.  to me, that is way to hot.  i can barely contain how excited i am about this weekend.