Monday, July 26, 2010

i *heart* trees

God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars. ~Martin Luther

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. ~John Muir

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. ~J. Lubbock

Thursday, July 22, 2010

no more EPP's

so, this week comes with a pretty surprise.

As you may know, I love my bike. i love the colour scheme, I love the fact that it can be a three in one bike. it is my commuter, my racer and my very long ride bike. it is a reminder of breaking my arms 3 years ago in a bike crash, and the recovery from that, and getting back onto a bike. it was a new bike, one with disc brakes, pink cable housing, and a baby blue body. that bike taught me to love triathlon, and was a great deal, since I got it on a pro-deal. 999$ for a 1850$ bike. It reminds me of vancouver and commercial drive, and everywhere I bring it, people have a nice little look-see. in fact, *you* can have a look-see in the photo below, on the ride from Montreal to Ottawa, that I did in May.

it has had a great 3 years. And, it is not going anywhere. in fact, it is not being replaced, despite the large amounts of money that I have spent this spring to have repairs and fixes done to it (all to find out that I had crappy mechanics work on it.) But, let's just think of all of this as the fact that my baby blue is getting a younger sibling.

a sibling that is. sexy. fast. light. aero. carbon fibre. racing.

that is right. despite the genes being quite different from one another, I am sure that these two babies will get along just fine.

'cause at my next race, expect me to run right past my bike in transition. I will probably forget that it is mine, since it is so beautiful. since it is a bike that I do not feel worthy to be riding. it is a bike that *fast* people ride. really fast people.

and, this is where the no more EPP's come in. excuses for bad performances. now, I have one less. I now cannot say "oh, i go slower on the bike leg because my bike weighs 10 lbs heavier than yours, and it is a cyclocross bike. besides, it is aluminum and doesn't have aerobars." I now cannot say "ohhhh, she was allowed to pass me, she is has a way nicer bike than me."

my bike is no longer an EPP.
now I have to come up with other EPPs.
because my bike is a fricken Cervelo P3 .

Thank you to the folks at Way Past Fast, to my parents, and to one other person, for enabling me to get a bike that I would only imagine that I could own if I was a rich business woman. a bike that I could only imagine that I would be able to own if I were way faster than I am. Thank you, Tom, for allowing me to feel like I can continue to fly. But, this time, allowing me to fly a little bit faster and smoother.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A little bit of crazy Race Report

Well, what a weekend. It was kinda as expected. well... mostly. it was small, it was fun. it was a race, and (as you know...) i love racing!

Got there on saturday, at about 2:30. It was pretty funny to explain why I felt like I had to be there early. Explain to a non-triathlete all the pre-race rituals that you feel like you need to go through. get the race packet. look at the lake. maybe swim in it. maybe not. ride your bike. set all your race gear out on the bed. look through it. walk away to eat some carbs. look at your stuff again. lie in bed, maybe take a nap. relax. do nothing. talk with other competitors and size them up, if you see them. drool over expensive bikes. lie in bed. drink water. talk about what some of your goals are. but, not too much, so you don't stress yourself out.

Race day was a nice day. FINALLY! first race of the season that it did not rain. Slave lake is nice, but very shallow. I got there, racked my bike next to the other 13 olympic distance racers (yup, only 13 men and women in total. with the other races, the try a tri, and the sprint, there was a total of about 50), set up T1, and put my T2 stuff into my Blue T2 bag to be transported. The post race stuff into the white bag, and given to that boy who likes to hang out with me.

SWIM: down to the beach, and off to the races. Due to the shallowness of the lake, we had to walk out to the starting buoy, about 75m out there. the race was a triangle, and i had sussed up my competition, and determined that there was only one other person who might give me a run for my money. and she dropped the "at world's, in Vancouver" comment. I knew she would be my girl. I was out fast. quickly realized that I would be leading the pack. and, that was okay. Except that the buoys were really really small. Hard to site, but, every time i cornered, I would yell at the boat to go to the next one, so I could see where I was going. They were great, and totally accommodated my request. Swim was solid, steady. then, i hit the sand bar. run a bit. realized I could swim a bit more, and then hit the shallow water. here we go: 100m of water running, 50 m of beach running, across the timing mats (BIG ASS STEP!), towards T1. Up about 50 stairs, run across some rugs on top of the gravel road, down 30 steps, into transition.
first one out of the swim, in a time of 21 minutes (including the water and sand running), or so. but, i think the swim was short, due to the buoys moving a bit.

t1: everything went well. was faster than my main competition. out onto the bike, and found that my legs were a bit stiffer than normal onto the bike. maybe it was that long ass sand run, and stair climb and crossing the gravel road on carpets, and running down the other side of the stairs... here is a photo of me, heading out of T1.

Bike: I felt fantastic on the bike. The first 10 mins or so, I really felt my legs heavier than expected. i think it had to do with the water and sand and stair running into transition. But, not quite sure. All i knew, was that it was balls out. The bike course was great. A mostly flat (YAY!) out and back, with some pretty steady rollers. Nothing major, but enough to know that you had to gear down a little. Made it really fun for the way back into T2. the girl was out in front of me from pretty early on, but, I was able to keep the gap about even. I flew down the rollers, and loved seeing my mum, and that boy along the course. this was a ride that I have been waiting for all summer long. tried to drink early, and got 6 shot blocks in. but, wasn't feeling able to stomach a gu. otherwise wasn't passed, other than a older fellow on a P3.

time for bike (including T1): 1:17.13

here is a photo of me (i must say, looking fairly pro) on the ride.

T2: so, this is where the proverbial crap hit the fan... I got to T2, hop off my bike, and proceeded to look for my bag. all i could find was white bags. right. damn. i put my stuff in a blue bag. the blue bag, with the big number on it. not the white bag, with the little label on it.

it took approximately 3 minutes to realize that my blue T2 bag had not been delivered. so, what to do!? screw it. I am placed second. there is no way that I am not running. bare feet, here we go. isn't bare feet running all the rage all these days?

Run: so, i cruised out to T2, and some organizer said to me, "look, I am not letting you run, bare feet..." and, proceeded to give me shoes that were about 4 sizes to small. i took about 20 steps, and realized that bare feet would be better than those shoes. Take them off, and i ran. i ran as much as I could on nice grass, but, eventually, on the trail part of the run, I realized that the grass was a bit more dangerous, and certainly slower. so, the pavement was a little rough... and, I remember thinking at one point and also well, if this is as bad as it gets, i can manage for 10km... and also: heh. so, this is why they say that bare foot running forces a forefoot strike. amazing.

but, i am not going to lie. it was not comfortable. so, once i got to a point that was parallel to the road, i went up there, to see if it would be different. and, alas: MUCH better. so, i stayed to the side of the road, and knew that this is where I would stay for the rest of the race. a little more dangerous, but much nicer on the feet. this way, i might actually finish the race. about 4 km in, a little SUV pulls up beside me, and out pops the head of one of the other racers from the sprint distance, who saw me in transition. they were there to find out what number I was. to first, offer me a pair of shoes, and when I said that they would be too small, to go back and find my shoes.

about 10 minutes later, at about km 4.5, my shoes were delivered. i almost didn't put my socks on, because i wanted to save time. but i was reminded that T2 time was going about 5 minutes anyway, so the 30 seconds now wasn't going to make a big difference, but would be way more comfortable. so. on went the shoes and the socks. and, i ran. and, i loved it.

Time for Run (including T2): 58 mins.

I finished, wondering if I could've raced harder. but, I did race crazy. it takes crazy to say "i want to do endurance races." it takes a whole different level of crazy to say "screw the shoes. i am going to run barefoot, even if I have never done that in my life!" here is a photo of me, with shoes on, coming over the finish line.

Total time: 2:36:37. Good for a 2nd woman, and 3 overall. but, don't be too impressed, there were only 6 females, and 12 olympic distance competitors in total. but whatever. I am happy with the results. and, the girl who i lost too got 1st overall, and is a world's age group competitor. i am allowed to loose to people who are that fast. but, this is the fastest I have ever done an olympic distance, by about 10 minutes. to me, that is pretty dang exciting. apparently, I am improving. next time: don't screw up the Transition bags, and make sure I have my shoes.

the race had a few bumps in terms of organization, but, for a first time event, i thought it was good. I loved the course. I thought that the organizers had clearly put a good effort in. the participants were lucky to have a race in northern alberta, in a beautiful lake. pre-race dinner was pretty good, and results were quick. a few glitches to work out for next year, but, all in all, pretty good :) i had a good weekend.

can't wait for the next race!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Slave lake Triathlon

So, about to head up to Slave Lake, Alberta, which is 3 hours north of Edmonton. This will be my first triathlon in Alberta, and I am pretty stoked for it. for those of you who don't know about this place, Alberta is flat like a pancake, especially in the central/north part.

it is the "First annual" so, it should be interesting to see how many people are there, and how the event is run. it is kinda excited to not know much at all about the race!

I was able to put some tri bars onto my bike, and yesterday the guys at the bike shop I am working at, took apart my shifters, replaced a STI lever, and said my drive train was a shit show. but, then they fixed it. so, things should be good to go.

as long as I can go faster than the bugs which will be up there.

how am I feeling? well, I haven't raced an Olympic distance since May 2009. I know that the plan is "balls out." just go. so, that is what I will do. No hesitancies. Do I feel 100% "in form"? no. but, that is okay, since I know that I am in an upswing of a training period, that I can get a peak for another 70.3 in the fall.

it just depends on which race it will be. But, no matter what, i know it will be fun. because... I love racing. I LOVE racing. and, it will be nice to have the mother and that boy who hangs out with me, to come and watch. race report will be up on sunday or monday!


just got up to the hotel that is hosting the event. 14 women in the event, and 3 in my age category. AWESOME. i love small local races.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Calgary 70.3...

okay, so, this 70.3 (1/2 ironman) race is just in my [current] back yard.

previously, my coach said that it would be "too soon."

but, what if i did it "just for fun?"

oh god. that itch is back.

you know. that itch that makes you do insane things. crazy things.

fun things.

anyone out there want to give me a race entry?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

no title. no tags.

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
-W H Murray

So, that quote is the outward bound quote of the day. I like it. simple. something to think about. Apparently, according to "a popular reader edited encyclopedia," William Hutchison Murray (18 March 1913–19 March 1996) was a Scottish mountaineer and writer, one of a group of active mountain climbers, mainly from Clydeside, before and just after World War II.

the following, are my legs. in a lake. it was taken using a small camera, with a technique called Lomography, which (according to that same popular reader edited encyclopedia) emphasizes "casual, snapshot photography. Characteristics such as over-saturated colors, off-kilter exposure, blurring, "happy accidents," and alternative film processing" are used.

i think it is kinda neat. thanks, boy. i like this photo.

this past weekend, in Fernie, was great. it is so nice to get away from the city, and allow my soul to be refreshed by something I love the most in the world: mountains. we ate good food, played some good frisbee golf, watched tour de france and toy story 3, hung out at mountain bike races, I ran down rural mountain roads, and had a all round good time.

this weekend, I am heading up to the first annual slave lake triathlon. literally, I have no idea how many people are going to be entered, or what. all I know, is that it is far north, and there will be big bugs, and an olympic distance race. i love olympic distances, but haven't done one since May 2009... i will be shocked to see how I do. Mary has me training in a way that seems like I am not training. I mean, I am getting out there. I am doing little track bits, and little pickups, and the occasional long workouts. but, it just doesn't feel like I am rocking the training. and, i know I am not worried, because I trust my coach. she knows what she is doing. but... really? this is going to make me faster? shouldn't I feel a little more rockin'?

but, not going to lie. i don't really know what to expect. but, if it turns out to be a small race, with not to many competitors... goal will be to win. at least a top 3 in my age group. not to be bold, or anything.

I got a job at a triathlon store, called way past fast. it is pretty much one of two tri shops in edmonton. I walked in, said something to the effect of "I love triathlon; i am the ideal employee because in the fall, when it slows down, you don't have to fire me. I'll just leave. Will you give me a job?!" and they did! so, it is causal, flexible, and fun. Oh, and did I mention that on friday CERVELO is coming for test rides? oh. sigh. have I mentioned lately how much all I want in life these days is a racing bike? and, have i mentioned that I could get a pro-deal, since I am working for a dealer?

if only i didn't have a mouth to feed, a apartment to rent, and school to pay for.

finally, two recent blogs added to my roll, under "Train-this bloggers."

First is Solveig. She is a teammate, who recently, for no fault of her own, was in a bike crash, where an unleashed dog caused her to crash and fracture her pelvis in two places. Follow her recovery at "Mend-this."

Second is turbo curbeau. the 20-24 age grouper who is rocking fast, a teammate, and is going to rock at Lake Placid in a couple weeks. Follow him at Trinity Triathlon.

Friday, July 9, 2010

new look

so, I love pink.

i like the new layout. still going to be working on it, though.

Off to Fernie for the weekend. Boy and brother are racing in a silly, ridiculous mountain bike race, called the "Lost Boys Lungbuster." People think I am strange for doing long races that involve 3 sports in one. Try climbing up a ski hill on a Mountain bike. Now that is strange. i will take the chair lift up, and meet them at the top. :)

a [not.very.quality] photo from yesterday's ride with my two cousins and uncle (who is taking the photos) through the central alberta roads. Beautiful day, slight tail wind, draft line, and 90km at 30+ Km/hr at a percieved exhertion of probably around 4/10. Beautiful, if I do say so myself. Love the grain elevator. Such a typical alberta scene. More photos to come, when i get my hands on them.

I may have sounded a little cynical of Edmonton, in my last post. For those of you who are not really familiar with Canada geography, the province (like a state...) of Alberta (capital city is Edmonton, where I have grown up, and where I am now spending the summer) is like Canada's Texas. Lots of oil, and rich people because of that. and lots of farms, and cows. and cowboys. and all the stereotypes that go a long with that. and, let me tell you this much. I don't really feel at home here, hence the slight cynicism. despite that, i am marginally happy to be here this summer. i find it kinda ironic.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Remembering Edmonton

So, what memories do I have of edmonton, from the last time I spent more than 4 days here.

I think the best memories were from when I was a kid, and I was a "Royal Glenora Gator." Many days were spent under the summer sun at the outdoor pool, with friends who lasted for years. Every summer, we would come together, we would train together, laugh together, travel together, and race together. From the time I was 7 until I was about 14. then... I went to boarding school.

The other day, I went to the Glenora club, and I looked at what is their new pool. It is beautiful. It is indoors, but under a glass structure, so it feels like it is outdoors. The lap pool is detached from the kids pool, and there is a little jacuzzi tub. The guarding office is not sketchy, but a wide open, spacious area.

but. it doesn't have the memories attached. it is a vague recollection of the past.

I have, of course, other memories of Edmonton. like Edmonton Folk music festival. And the river valley. And loving indoor rock climbing. but, beyond that... it is a different city, with different people, and not much that i remember or know to be super familiar.

so, here is to making new memories.

I got to swim outside again. With my mother's master's group. I love swimming outside.
I am getting to explore the city on a bike. Find out what it is like to ride in the flat prairies.
I am discovering the food places in edmonton. and the coffee places. Like dacapo and transcend.
I get to reconnect with people. like makayla. and terry. and the other terry. and sujan. and my sister. and sean. and mike and cara. and camp friends.

maybe it won't be so bad, afterall. i suppose I can give the big trucks, the rednecks, the country music, the conservative thinking, the lack of diversity, the lack of mountains, a chance. i owe them that, at least.

tomorrow, I get to do something really cool. I get to connect with my Uncle Don Patterson, as well as my two cousins (his daughter) Nicole, and Rob MacInnis, for a bike ride that will be a portion of his bike ride across canada. The three of us will join him, and a "patterson family bike reunion" will occur. And it is for a fricken amazing cause.

My uncle is riding his bike across canada, to raise money for YMCA's Strong Kids. Read all about it on his webpage: Cycling for Strong Kids. Strong kids gives the opportunity for children to train and participate in triathlon. "They have some fantastic programs such as our triathlon program where kids can participate regardless of their physical abilities or financial resources. With physical education being cut at our schools and the growing obesity epidemic, I strongly believe that the Y plays a more important role today than ever before."

My uncle don is hilarious (read his blog), super fit, a volunteer coach at the Y, a huge support of his entire family (myself, and my racing passion included), and a all round fantastic individual. To ride with him tomorrow is such a priviledge. and... it will be fun to be with my equally hilarious cousins.

Monday, July 5, 2010

remembering the truths

so, today, I had a conversation with Jodi Tuck, who is one of the members on the committee for the Global Health stream, for my school. it was short. but. it ended up being a harder conversation than predicted.

global health. international health care. marginalized people. social justice. africa.

these are the things that make my heart beat. they are my passions. the things that I cannot imagine my life without. the things that I feel like I was created for. the things I want to dedicate my life to. the areas in which I want to serve.

and, yet, today I was told no.

i was told no, because apparently, in my application, I took serious issues, and approached them too "lighthearted." (for example, where asked about the need to learn a language, they read my response as me saying 'you don't need to learn another language to work in a cross-cultural setting.') the following was the question, and my response:

How do you plan to acquire the necessary language skills required to work in this placement setting? (if applicable)
Most of these settings have a good basis with English. However, as we know, communication occurs through many different aspects beyond language. I have been to a lot of countries where I have not spoken the same language, and it has been okay. If necessary, I would attempt to use some research funding for a interpreter to help with research.

I was told no, because apparently, I did not show enough ability to be autonomous in my work, and create learning experiences for myself. (What i hear from that [if it is accurate, or not].. is that I am not independent enough.)

I was told no, because apparently, my application did not demonstrate enough academic depth. it appeared that I did not take as much time on it as others did. again. it appeared that I am not serious enough about it.

I have plenty of overseas experience, she says, but that is not the only thing they look at.

and, to hear those things, hurts. it hurts to be rejected from something that I feel so well suited to do.

and the following are truths:
  • not being in the global health stream will change my goals. my passion. my ability to go overseas.
  • if I am a nurse.. a nurse with a graduate degree... I can go anywhere in the world, and do whatever I want... with whomever I want.
  • there are so many interesting topics for research that can be done here in Canada. areas that I am truely interested in.
  • this is not the end to the things I am going to pursue in the future.
  • i know that a lot of the things that I need to learn are through experiences that I will have in the future.

what are the things that I am scared of?
  • that I will miss out on classes, or experiences that will better prepare me for my chosen career.
  • that the things i want to learn in school (like nurse education, or the details of setting up non-profit initiatives, or learning skills required for resource poor situations)
  • that somehow, at the end of this degree, I will find that i have not been able to explore the things that I want to. that at the end of the day, I will leave school, pay people a lot of money, and be held back in the things I want to achieve as a student.
  • that I will not be challenged as much as I want to be or that i will get sucked into something (again...) that I am not interested in, and I just "slog" through for the sake of getting through it.

what hurts:
  • that i tried to be fairly "raw" on my application. and, that was perceived as not being serious.
  • that people don't perceive me as being autonomous. or able to strong achieve academic depth.
  • rejection. especially for something that is so "me." I can handle rejection from things that i am only half-hearted about. but, being rejected from something that you believe so much in.

today, i have had to remind myself about a few things.
and, those timeless quotes from Randy Pausch, in the last lecture.

and, i guess these are the ones most applicable for today:

We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.

The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people!

Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.

so, here is too the brick walls.

and making sure they crumble, when they try to keep me out, and I knock them down.