Saturday, November 16, 2013

pushing your comfort levels!

Today I sent out two emails.  One to 3 people, the other to hundreds.  If you are reading this, you may have received one of them.  I sent out both emails, then I went out to a movie with my love.  On my way home, i was thinking about the butterflies of uncertainty that I was experiencing in my stomach.  So, we talked about it.

(and ps:if you go a see Thor 2, stay until the end of the credits.  its worth it.)

The first email included a request of people who may make for a professional and career mentor.
The second was a email contact list clean up, but also a request for people to buy gift cards for Warm Heart Initiatives. 

And, what I find curious, is that despite these two topics being super positive things, and two topics that I believe are important, it still makes me have a sense of nervousness in sending them.  Because, despite being things that lead to good outcomes, sometimes it feels that I can be a burden if I ask other people to participate in them.

My love shed fact on the situation that it may just be because I am stepping into realms that I am unfamiliar with.  I am doing things that I have never done before, and I am experiencing the normal things that people feel when they are going into the unknown.

And. thats. OK.

I will keep going into the unknown, because I know it is good, and right, and will be fruitful.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Motivation to improve

I can't remember exactly what motivated it back in 2004, but all I remember is that fall I wanted to be a better person.  I wanted to be a better rower~ so I started riding a road bike.  I wanted to be a better student~ so i set apart a dedicated study time.  I wanted to build my faith~ so i dedicated to a quiet time.  I wanted to deal with a broken relationship~ so I sought counselling.

I remember my senior year at WVU as being a year that I grew a lot.  Let's do a throw back to that year: New years 2005 in Key Largo with some of the most quality people in the world.

The reason why i mention this, is somehow this fall, I am feeling that motivation again~  it's building in the past few weeks.  The motivation to be a better person.  Maybe it comes as part of my off season from Triathlon, and I have more time on my hands... maybe it comes out of a trip to visit my brother and his family.  Maybe it comes with the autumn season, where there is a physical representation of the death which has to occur before the spring of new life.  I don't know exactly what it is, but there is excitement.

I want to be a better triathlete.  Next year, I want to qualify for world championships in the 70.3 distance, and I want to rock it.  I know that one of the things that I have to do is become a better runner.  So, to do that, I have joined a running club.  And after 2 years of limited direction, I am hiring a triathlon coach again.  I am also really tapping into my food. and getting a personal trainer for a few weeks to build my core strength and intensity training.

I want to deal with the hard things in life.  I want to learn how to be a better wife, friend, and sister/daughter.  I want to figure out if I have dealt with the pain and grief that exists in my life. So, I just started working with a counsellor.

I want to have mentors.  So, I am thinking of putting together a personal "council."  on that council would be someone to mentor me in career, spirituality, friendship, and marriage. I hope that I can think about who those people are in my life.  They may not be "Friends" right now, but I want to find people who can dedicate to meeting with me, and mentoring me. 

I want to not have beer or wine as part of my daily routine.  Not that I drink too much, but, I want to know that a glass of wine isn't a requirement after work.  my goal: to follow the 1-2-4 rule.  

i want to take on a hobby that is not sport related. im not sure if that is related to improving the home, or taking on an art (such as taking piano lessons again). this still is going to take time to figure out.

I want my Non-for-profit company to take off.  Warm Heart Initiatives is amazing.  In partnering with folks in Malawi, I truely think that we can make a difference.  We are learning how to do this, but I want to be bolder with my promotion of it, and spend at least 10% of the time that I put towards nursing work, as a commitment of the limited amount of time that I can spend on WHI.  That is about 3.5-4 hours a week. 

Finally, I want to spend money on other people.  I know that I spend a huge chunk of cash on sports, and triathlon, and hobbies.  Sean and I have been talking about how we can commit to donating to something that can encourage kids that otherwise could not afford to do sport, to be able to do sport.  It's a bit hard to figure out, but, I am sure we can find it eventually.

These are big goals.  But, maybe they are kinda my new years resolutions that are happening a bit early.  Let's see how they go.  Stay tuned.  Cause this time, next year, I am going to be a better person.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Challenge Penticton Race Report

wow... it is almost a whole fricken month that I ran over the finish line at Challenge Penticton.  How time flies.  I guess that it is a bit hard to write a race report a month late, but, in so many ways, it still feels like it was yesterday.  Probably what happens when you do an epic thing for the first time in your life.  Full-distance racing is no joke.  It's crazy, its inspirational, it's EPIC!

One question might be "have you done an Ironman?"  No.  I have NOT done an ironman.  However, with this event, I have done the same feat: completed a race that is 4km of swimming, 180km of biking, and 42Km of running.   Last year, as you may know, the city of Penticton chose to go with the Challenge Family, rather than Ironman. It brings a new feel to race week in the Okanagan, but a great feel.  The biggest expression that I have about the whole even is WOW.  What an amazingly put on event from the fantastic volunteers, Felix (The CEO of Challenge) welcoming every athlete over the line, a family oriented event, and perfect details from start to finish, and beyond.  Thank you Challenge.  And, for all of you who love the I-Dot... Give this one a go.  You'll love it. It may not be the road to Kona, but it is the road that screams triathlon community and pure sport.

So, here we have it.

4.2km SWIM.
you think it is 3.8?  Well, this year it was about 4.2, thanks to the wind.  The waves were present, and the buoys off course.  The ability to swim in a straight line was impaired. Challenge offers the swim in waves, rather than a mass start of all the athletes.  My wave went right after the pro's!  so, it was rather special to be able to stand on the beach, and watch the phenomenal pro-athletes take off.  Then, Steve King told all of us to turn around, look at your supporters/the spectators, and wave.  That was a special moment.  And, I am glad that Sean captured it.

I started off the swim fairly in front of the pack, and the whole way out to the turn around, it was super hard to stay on course. I kept on looking to my right, and it seemed like the the other athletes were way way far away.  But, i kept on sighting, and I was feeling strong.  There may have been at least one time that I had a big gulp of water, but, otherwise, I felt steady and strong.  Honestly, I think that is the only way to do this distance swim.  just settle into it, and feel long and strong.  It was SO nice to go around the two turn around buoys and feel like the waves had settled a bit, and swim to the end.

On my way out, I looked at my watch, and it was 1:07.  A solid 5 minutes slower than what I was hoping for.  but, then... I heard that I was 3rd woman out of the swim.  WHAT!??!?  are you fricken kidding me? Comon.  This day was starting off great.

all I remember that was eventful about this, was that i remember telling the wetsuit strippers "398! 398! 398!" hoping that they would get my bike bag.  One of them looked at me and said "you need to take your wetsuit off as well!"  Right.  forgot about that.  it would've been a really long ride.  Super nice to have people in a tent to put your shoes on, and smear you with sunscreen.

180km Bike: 
What can I say:  180km through the Okanagan and Silmilkameen Valleys is a long and beautiful road.  Within the first 30 minutes, I passed the first two women out of the swim.  What that meant, was that for approx 100km, I was the first place AG woman.  I don't know if i had ever imagined that in my race plan.  We had a great tail wind down to Osoyoos, which allowed for the first couple hours to be fun and fast.  I focused on eating, and getting fluids in, and just spinning at a HR that felt super comfortable.  This was probably the time during the race that I felt like I was flying.

We turned up to Richter's pass, and climbed.  I looked up & back towards Penticton, knowing how far I already came, and knowing that I was faster than all those people behind me.  That felt good.  Climbing was feeling good, but, I was ready to descend.  over the top we went.  about 5km later, and cruising toward the rollers, I dropped a water bottle.  Oops.  I stop to grab it, to a little "im wearing cleats" run backwards, and whoops, there goes the first woman by me.  There she was.  Now I knew that I was not the first AG'er out there.  We played back and forth for a while, but then by the time we got to the out and back, I knew she was going stronger than I.  That was where I started feeling fatigued.  At the special needs stop, i stuffed a cookie, some bites of pumpkin cake into my face, and chugged a starbucks frap.  What a great idea!  other than choking a bit on the pumpkin cake, I loved what I had put in my bag!

I saw sean and my mum for the first time on the bike, and I was still smiling, despite my crotch hurting.  I hadn't even peed yet!  (that was a bit of a problem!) I started the mental prep for yellow lake climb.

Boy, did yellow lake hurt.  I have cycled yellow lake before, and I did not remember it being this challenging.  It was the first time during the race i got emotional. I hurt, my crotch was burning a bit & my hams were starting to get tight.  I appreciated the moment to sit up & stretch out, but boy, it was a slow slog up.  When I had some friends cheer for me up the climb, and one in particular reach out and pat me on the back, the tapworks almost started.  To believe that you are doing this, and to believe that these people are standing there cheering for you, and to believe that you are stronger than the pain... its kinda emotional.

over the top, and down into Penticton.  amazing.  That was what that climb was for.  To finish the bike going super duper fast.

I lingered a bit longer than I wanted.  I was getting to a point in the race that I wasn't able to communicate what I needed.  All I knew was that it was time to change into dry clothes, and new shoes.  I did find, however, that my feet were un-reasonably sore.  Kinda crampy, and I have never experienced this before.  I stretched them out, i walked out of the tent with a handful of grapes, and started my run.  

Run 42 km.

Off I went, and it is true that during the first 3 or so km of running, you feel amaze-balls.  You legs say "FINALLY! let me move in a different manner."   Here I am.  Running like I love running!  Then, you realize you have to run another 40k. And, it turns into something different.  
I set my watch to give me a 1km pace, but lapping at 5km.  I thought that having my watch beep every 1km would drive me mentally batty.  I knew that if I kept my 5k's between 30-35mins, i would be under my goal of 4:30.  [Initially, I wanted to run 4:15.  seeing that I have never ran a marathon in my life, i didn't want to disappoint myself, so I said 4:30.]  the first 1/2 of the run was manageable.  I knew that the hills would get tough, and they did.  There was a pretty solid wind that we were running into along lake side.  I knew that if I didn't mentally get myself together at special needs, that it would be struggle on the way home.

I did, but it still was.  Running marathons is no joke.  I got to the aid stations on the way home, and i couldn't speak.  I couldn't decide what i wanted to consume, and I hurt.  There was a series of about 5 in a row, that i just about cried at.  but, then you get back into town, and you know you will finish.  At that point, on south main street hill, I knew I would be well below my overall goal time.  Sean saw me at about this point, and all I could muster was a few wimpers, and a "this is haaard."  

For the last 3k, i realised that I would be really close to my goal run time of 4:30, so I had to pick it up.  I felt so good (in the only way that you can feel good, following 11+ hours of exercise) during those last 2km. I ran along lakeshore with all I could muster.  I couldn't even give my mum a high five.  I just ran.  

And I took it in.  I finished.  I finished more than 20 minutes faster than I had expected. 
Not only that... but, shortly thereafter, I found out that I got second in my age group.  There were 30+ women in my category, so I was pretty proud of that.  I got this sweet award trophy for it as well!!!    After the race, i couldn't muster up energy to spend it with my teammates, but I just went home, and asked my beloved to get my recovery food and rub my legs.  What a feeling.  If you want to see the hilarious photos that marathon photos took of me "in action" check out THIS LINK HERE.. there might be a little zombie apocalypse happening in some of them.  

To get me to the finish line, there are so many people to thank.   Lets start with the athletes who were racing challenge: 
Natasha, Doneen, Teresa, Erin L, Paul K, Chris.  To know that you would be out there while I was out there kept me moving forward.  To train and to relate and to eat with you got me to the line.

To Esther.  Early on in LETC, i could tell that you were on a mission.  You have inspired me this season more than you know, and your hard work has paid off this year.  The big dance is yet to come, and you will ROCK IT!

To the amazing coaches at LETC: Andrew and Doug.  I haven't been on a triathlon team before.  Thanks for keeping us in line.

To my colleagues: for not thinking i am crazy for doing the training that is involved in this.  For listening to me when I obsess about my competition, or show off the most recent strava segment that I got achievements on. 

and finally, to family: my mum and dad who love to be proud of me.  To the birches who have never had to deal with obsession like this before.  To uncle Don and Rob for being ultra-awesome-endurance-inspirations.  And to Maureen, who sends so many encouraging messages.

and, to my little family:  My beloved, the boy I like, and the dog he takes care off.  Without you, this is not possible. 

*i'll not be doing iron-distance next year.  it's time to focus on kicking ass on the 1/2 iron distance.  And, focus on running.  In 2014, look out for a faster runner.*

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

End of my triathlon season!

Boy oh Boy, do I have some race reports to write!  What a few weeks!  I haven't (obviously) posted since after Lake Stevens 70.3, where I think I did the best 1/2 iron of my life.    July and August were fantastic, with lots of sun, lots of bike riding, and all round general beauty of the summer.  I love long days, and they are quickly running away from us.

I wish that I can write a few other things other than triathlon, but, really, I feel like that is all that my life has involved recently.   I am finally on my off season, and I am happy about that.  A few weeks of doing *not much* is needed.  I plan to spend the time at home with my pup and my hubby, possibly to road trip a bit (jasper & lake louise this weekend! hopefully to go see family in October!), eat some good meals, and generally just not exercise very much.   I do have goals for the fall, and most of them include the outcome of being a better runner.  I have really struggled with my running through this season, and I would like to learn to love running.  If not love, at least like.  I tend to think that the fall is a good time to do that: cooler weather, beautiful turning leaves, and more time than during the summer.

I will get those race reports out, but I guess that the general consensus is WOW.  This season gave me a renewed passion for triathlon, and wanting to get faster and faster.

In addition, work is changing up a bit.  I have a new rotating schedule, with not as many weekends (2 every 11 or something like that) and the same hours as Sean, and I am still loving my job.  I do feel like I am still learning so much, and continuing to be a better nurse, and a better professional.  

Even though the weather today felt a lot like summer, I know that the fall is a time of change and difference and new things. That is pretty exciting, and I am looking forward to the next couple months!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Dear Vancouver Broadcasters: Re: "Woman reclaims stolen bike from Craigslist seller"

Thank you for covering this interesting occurrence in a city where bike theft is rampant.  I find the social media furry that is coming up around this story particularly striking, as something very similar happened to me earlier this year.

Last February, my 2000$ bicycle was stolen from the "secure" bike room in my condo's garage. Someone had targeted my bike, with a blowtorch to destroy the lock.  My husband's (more pricey bike) was left behind.

 I, like Kayla, was incredibly disappointed with the loss.  I spend more time on my bike than doing any other leisure activity: I commute, I shop, I race on my bike.  It had traveled to Montreal and back with me.   I filed a bike theft report ASAP with the VPD, including a serial number, description, and inspection of the crime.  On the morning of the bike theft, I tweeted and facebooked my loss.  The bike company (Brodie) replied, and reposted.  My tweet was repeated a few times in the vancouver cycling community.

All was silent, until May.

In May, I received a tweet from a stranger that stated "I think this might be your bike.  It is posted on Craigslist."   Brodie re-tweeted it back to me. Sure enough, the pictures were exact.  I knew, like Kaley, that it was my bike. Incredibly excited, and nervous that it would disappear again, I had 2 friends phone the lister, pretending to be interested.  His story of how he obtained it was incredibly shady.

However, the location of the man selling the bike was just over the border into Burnaby.  I had one friend that wanted to "go with a group" to get the bike back.  Steal it back.  He was ready to go, I just had to give the word.  However, what did I choose to do?  I was out of town at the time, so I got my husband to call the cops.

It was then, that the VPD let me down.  My husband was first directed to contact Burnaby RCMP;  despite the fact that my bike was stolen, and police report filled out in, Vancouver, the property was now out of the juristiction.  Secondly, my husband was directed to confirm that it was actually my bike, with a serial number.  He was told that once he could confirm it, the police would accompany him to re-claim the property.

The first time he visited, he was there alone.  The second time, police accompanied him, but did not ever leave the car.  We got my bike back (HURRAY!!!!), but not with any help from the police.  They would not press charges, as they stated that the most they could do was "possession of stolen property under 5000$."  They did not look to see if there was more stolen property, despite the fact that this many had many craigslist postings.  They did not investigate further into the original B&E.

I can understand why Kaley did what she did.  If the VPD wants citizen's to call, instead of taking "vigilante" actions, perhaps they should step up their response.  I understand that bike theft is minor, compared to many other crimes, however, it continues to increase year after year.   Bike theft is a problem. It needs to have serious efforts put towards stopping it.

However, what is more important is that  with a lack of response, average citizens will continue to have a lack of confidence in the local police.  We will continue to turn to social media, and self-sufficiency to solve the "every day crimes" that occur in our society.

Thanks for taking the time to read.  And next time, perhaps you should have your interview-ee wear a helmet while cycling.


Monday, July 22, 2013

sorry to be a downer, but, summer is already 1/2 over.

and, what a summer it has been.  I cannot believe how quickly it is zooming by, and part of that is probably because I have been working a full time job, as well as trying to enjoy the dog days of summer.  Other than working, our trip to alaska, and eating ice cream sandwiches, i have been busy training and racing.  Of course, I have a big race coming up in exactly one month August, which is Challenge Penticton. 

I am really excited for this race, because it is my first full-length/iron-length/"ironman" race.  It is held on the same course as it has been for the past 30 years, but put on by a different company.  I like getting new flavour in the triathlon world, and I think Challenge is going to be able to deliver great things.  Meanwhile, I have had a few other races on the docket, and this past weekend was one that I felt excited about.

The first time I ever was exposed to Long distance triathlon was way back in 2008, when I did a relay race at a 70.3, with my old rowing teammates.  At that point, I watched my good friend Donna do the whole race, and I thought "damn, if she can do this... I can do this..."  Shortly thereafter, I signed up for New Orleans 70.3 Inaugural race.  I was hooked.  That relay was Lake Stevens.   (i wish I knew how fast I swam, but apparently, they don't post relay times...)

The other thing that I want to make note of, prior to this race, is that I have been gunning for a Ironman 70.3 World championship Qualifying slot for many years.  I have never been an automatic qualifier (maybe one day...), but, I have been within 1-2 spots of receiving a roll down slot for at least 3 races. and, it has ticked me off.  I entered Lake Steven's this year, knowing that the new age group I am in is Super fast and inspirational, but with a slim hope that I could qualify.  This season, I have been racing fast.  I know St George kinda sucked big time, but, Subaru Victoria was my first AG victory, and my running/cycling is noticably stronger.

I went to sleep, not feeling nervous, but rather... excited.  I knew it was going to be a good day.  I had a crappy sleep, and woke up feeling quite tired. but ready.

30:20 split, 1:34/100m, 3 AG, 115 OA, 28 Female.

swim at Lake stevens is great.  A simple out and back, with a floating dock & almost to warm for a wet suit temperatures.  The other bonus is that there is a sweet yellow string that attaches the buoys, about 4 feet down in the water.  And you can follow it the whole way along.

Its as close as you can get to swimming in a pool, without swimming in a pool.

I felt steady, and arms felt strong.  The only disadvantage to that line in the water, is that *everyone* swims on top of it.  SO, passing swimmers from the waves in front of me was annoying.  I got one kick in the face, which removed one of the eyes of my goggles, but other than that, I stuck a bit to the right, and it was smooth sailing.  The water is clear, so i could see the feet of people i needed to pass, and could make a clean sweep.  NExt race: I'm breaking 30mins, i promise.

nothing big to report.  Just that I felt like I did it well.

2:45:44 split, 3:18:05 race time, 20.27 mi/h (32.6km/hr) 4 AG, 162 OA, 23 Female

we had driven the course the day before, and I was so glad that I did.  Because I knew that it was going to be a ride that would favour patience from early on.  There was a good amount of climbing (2160 Ft/660m), and many descents.  it was a technical ride, and there were a lot of crappy riders out there (aka, folks who would just grind the legs on the climbs).  There was also a dead deer at the most "major" turn, which goes from a decent downhill, to a *steep* uphill.  i hope a cyclist didn't hit it. Finally, the course is mostly in tree shade, and a whole lot of fun.

with my sweet new reynolds wheels that hubby got me for my birthday, I went out and rode as fast as I could.  I was gunning for a 2:40, but the climbing didn't allow for that.  I have surprised myself by equally splitting the ride, within a minute from 1st to 2nd halves.  I really enjoyed riding "with the boys."  I was a little discouraged that in the first 1/2 of the ride, I had 3 girls (apparently, the only 3 in my AG faster than me) pass me early.

and, apparently, I didn't hit my nutrition goals, either... which came to hit me in the run.

1:52:09 Split, 5:11:34 race time, 8:33/mi (5:18/km) 7 AG, 255 OA, 51 Female
well.  let's just say that I think this was the part the I screwed up on.  and, like I said, it came from early on in the ride, where I clearly did not take enough fluid/nutrition in... I started off feeling strong, hitting pretty consistant 5:05 km's (give or take about 10 secs) and then whamo... km 11... couldn't go more than 5:30s.  

My quads were crampy, i was feeling like I couldn't take much in & feeling shaky/cold.  That wasn't fatigue, that was lack of nutrition.   So, i started just taking in whatever i could stomach at aid stations.  It wasn't until the last 3 km where I was able to squeek it out again.  But, i knew that if i managed under 2hrs, i would still be PR'ing.  I wanted to break 5:10, but, it wasn't in the books.

I finished off the race with a 5:11:34, 7th W 30-34, and 255 OA.

My prior PR was 5:19:57, in Syracuse 2011.  SO, that is a 8.5 min PR.  I am really happy about the whole thing, and couldn't ask for a better weekend with Leading edge teammates, and the ultimate race supporter, Sean.

and, guess what?

I got a roll down slot for Las Vegas 2013 Ironman 70.3 World Championships. It may be 2 weeks after challenge, but, how could I not take the chance.  I am so. fricken. excited.

I also need a race-support crew.  Anyone want to go to Vegas with me?  Here are the details. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013


It was holiday time in early July!  And, for the... THIRD... time in my life, i went up to Alaska to enjoy the wilderness, spend time with my good friends Sam and Gretchen, spend 24hrs a day in the light, and get eaten alive by bugs.  Oh how much I love alaska, and oh how much it reminds me that i probably wouldn't mind doing some nursing up in the Northern Latitudes.  Sean and I had a few "discussions" prior to our trip, about what we planned on doing, as we tend to have opposite views as to what a holiday should look like.  I would love to just take off and spend a week in the backcountry.  Sean likes cultural activities. We tried to meet half way, and I think we did.

Lets go through some of the highlights:

My 30th birthday! 
 That's right, I'm now approaching the crest of the hill.  4th decade of life,   We spent a few days in McCarthy, which is a wee small down at the end of a gravel road, surrounded by a national park.  I slept on the ground on my birthday, and I loved it.  Gretchen also brought a cute cake.

And, that being said: being 30 is a big year.  Since I am always thinking about Malawi, and I also want to support work there, I want to ask you/challenge you to contribute 30$ for my 30th Birthday.  The link is here.  They take a little bit of cash, so 33$ would get me 30$ directly to send to Malawi.  Take the time to click and donate.  I apologize for not being able to give you a tax receipt.

We spent time on the coast!
Sean and I got to AK, and drove to Seward for a Day Kayaking trip. It rained.  Hard.  So, they gave us 1/2 day kayak, and 1/2 day boat siteseeing trip.  We went kayaking with "Sunny Cove."  Kinda ironic. But, at least it was fun, and beautiful.  Even though it was raining, Sea Kayaking was way better than the place we stayed the night before.  And, it was better than where we stayed the next night.  I want to do more sea kayaking.  And, good thing i live on the west coast.  'Cause it is kinda easy to do here.


We took the train from Anchorage to Fairbanks.  
It was great to have a day where the routine was: look out the window at beautiful scenery.  Read a book/magazine article.  Nap in big chair.  Eat snack.  Repeat.

We travelled to Wrangall-St Elias National Park
This is where I spent my birthday.  Unfortunately, we were once again, foiled by rain, and turned around early.  The scenery, walking on the glacier, learning history surrounding kenecott copper mine, and conversations around the fire, were all worth the long road trip. It was a bit too much driving for a short time, but, sometimes that happens.  I really appreciate that Sam was willing to do this!

We visited Museums and drank micro-brews
the nice thing about Alaska cities normally are away from the boundaries.  But, there are a few city things worth while.  Both Museums (Museum of the North in Fairbanks, and Anchorage Museum) were well worth it.  Enough to see, but not so much that it is overwhelming. We drank beer at Moose's tooth (Good~  but busy!  wish we could have tried midnight sun...), Hoodoo Brew (only beer, and yum!), and Silvergulch (Great food!).   

and, weird things happened too:
- we stayed at a hostel, where our beds were on a "loft" which really was the landing space for the stairs. Therefore, whenever people when up or down, they walked through our "room."
- we almost stayed at a B&B with very eccentric individuals.  lots of trinkets and stuffed animals.
- we ate at the "Sea galley" in Anchorage.  There was a group of people who sang happy birthday 8 times, minimum.
- we were foiled at our attempt to go to hotsprings by a gigantic forest fire, started by an army training mission.
- the people on the train.  they were quite unique.

and, that's good for now.  For more pics, go to sean's flickr page.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Social Awkwardness

Recently, i have had conversations about how the 3 different disciplines of triathlon always cause a little bit of a different result in terms of what i think about, or focus on, during my workout.   In swimming, I am totally able to focus on technique, my mind doesn't wander very often, and i like to focus in on exactly what i am doing, feeling, and seeing.   In  biking, I tend to think about the now.  what is going on in my life now, what are the conversations I am experiencing, what is going on later in the day, or this week, or what just happened.  In running, i tend to experience the deep emotions.  I either feel like crying, and work through the hard things, or I become exceptionally inspired, and feel like I can change the world.

This past sunday was a great training day.  I am finally starting to believe that I will be able to finish Challenge Penticton. In August, I will finish 3.8km of swimming, 180km of biking, and 42 km of running.  I know it.  

Back to thinking about social awkwardness.  yesterday, on my 120 km bike ride, I had a lot of time to think about the now.  I had already completed a morning swim, coffee with my love, and then Church.  My church, St James Anglican, is awesome.  Sometimes, though, there is a bit of a surprise as to who you might encounter.   And, that. is. ok.

yesterday, there was a fellow visiting, who you could tell that he was not quite socially appropriate. In the middle of the service, he would turn around and wave at people.  When I made an announcement at the end of the service, he waved at me.  He liked to interrupt conversations.  ONe of my friends said that this fellow walked up, broke into a conversation and stated "Hi, I'm...  I have a disability called aspergers. Who are you?"  He was very kind, acted younger than his self-stated "in my 40's."  He introduced himself to myself and my beloved, and also inappropriately hugged me at least 3 times.  Now, I am OK with hugs.  even from strangers.  however... it was very easy to tell that he did not quite get social ques.  Being understanding of his situation, i was not feeling uncomfortable, but I did let him know what was appropriate, and what was not... i.e. hugging is ok, but only if it is a short period of time, and you don't linger on a woman's waist.  Handshakes with strangers are normally better.  it was awkward, but, I deal with awkward and inappropriate every day at work.  

On my Bike ride yesterday, that got me thinking.  Aren't we ALL socially awkward or inappropriate at one point?  I can think of a good number of incidents in the last few months where I realized that I was totally not hitting social queues. for me, it generally relates to speaking before thinking.  It difficult to write these out without giving too much away, but i'll try.
  • Clost to last christmas, when we invited some brand new friends over for dinner, I told a story which was probably WAY to personal and revealing than most new friends probably would need to know.  They laughed through it, but they very well could have been cringing on the inside.
  • I recently introduced some friends of mine, to a new colleague.  These friends have a unique living situation, where they might wish to tell someone on their own time, other than having me tell someone about it.  But, I blurted it out within about 5 minutes of the introduction.  I realized half way through the situation that it was probably totally inappropriate.
  • I also recently was having dinner with some very close friends, where I asked if something serious was a joke;  I ended up hurting them quite significantly with this comment.
  • I am an extrovert, i like meeting new people in new situations, but I still feel quite socially awkward in new situations with a lot of new people.  Imagine how much more that is for introverts.  Yet, I consistently ask introverts to place themselves into situations like that.
there we have it.  a few examples where social awkwardness or inappropriateness have occurred in my life.  What gets me about this, is that we forget that other people might just be experiencing a moment of social awkwardness at any point.  Or, we think that we are the only people who experience this.  How wrong we are!  

I don't really have a end to this thought, just that how often we are so off.  And, i guess the point is that we ought to have grace and understanding with people... I guess the point is, if we are realizing that we are socially awkward, or inappropriate, at any point, how do we react to it?  How do we treat others who do something that we realize is not quite right?  I saw treat ourselves, and others, with grace.  They are just having a moment.  And, remember... when you are having one of those moments... get over it!  we all do it.  think about it, reflect on it, learn from it, and move on!  whatever you do, don't let that moment restrict your actions in the future, cause I am almost positive that the other people got over it as well.  if they didn't, just apologise, and hope that they understand in the future!

That is it for now!  I am off for my long run for the week.  Maybe I will be inspired to change the world. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

St George 70.3 Race Report Part 2

Wow.  May is almost over, and I still haven't written part two of my race report!  I need to get on it, as soon I will have other races done, and more reports to write!  It is a rainy rainy spring day here in Vancouver~  it seems a bit more like winter, honestly.  But, despite the sun not shining, you can count on me getting out to New Brighton Park, and swimming in that outdoor pool.  Its pretty much one of my favourite things about the summer.  Outdoor pools.  Here is a instagram of the pool the other day.

now, what I am going to do about the bike ride that is on tap, i am not quite sure.  For now, I will drink coffee, write my blog, and go finish painting the new colours in my washrooms.  I'll think about my bike later.  Finally, I am turning 30.  For my 30th birthday, I want 30$ for Malawi.  Go here to see what I am talking about.

St George 70.3 Bike
Oh Man, what a course.  I had driven about 3/4 of the course the night before the race, and I knew that there would be some good climbs, some good downhills.  

The first big hill was about 5km out of transition, and I felt good.  The sun had not quite come all the way over the mountains yet, so it was still a little cool.  No complaining there, and just happy to be feeling awesome.  I had NO idea how many women of my agegroup were out in front of me, or behind me.  But, I was doing some passing of people, and some other people were passing me.  The roads were a bit bumpy, but nothing out of the ordinary.  Things started getting serious at about mile 20, where climbing picked up, and there was a turn into a neighbourhood that I wasnt expecting. 

there is nothing like thinking you're at the top of a hill, and then there is another 2 miles. Oh well. 

I was enjoying the bike, and feeling solid.  I felt like I was getting enough nutrition in.  Then, all of a sudden, there were the bits that I wasn't expecting... a few sections of riding bikepaths through Southern Utah neighbourhoods.  Love that they added a a bit of alleycat racing on tribikes into this race.  Finally, we started climbing the canyon.  I had heard mixed reviews... everything from "it's a killer!" to "it's no big deal, manageable."   Let's sum it up like this... at the start of the climb, I was moving at about 30km/hr.  At the top, 360m higher in elevation, i was moving 9km/hr.  The best part was that my HR was consistant throughout. At least I wasn't pushing my bike.  I heard some people did that.

I turned onto the road home, and hit it on the down hill.  Felt AWESOME.  Until my left contact lens started itching, and flipping in my eye ball, and then fell out.  I rode and ran the rest of the race with no depth perception.  it sucked.  Also, at this point, I thought that i would need to go pee.  but, nope.  Nothing.  Crap.... not enough fuel over the course of this ride.  Rolled into T2, not terribly happy with my time, but not disappointed, either.  I was ready to get going on the run, but feeling that it was going to be a challenge.

t2: no big deal.  only tried to get a volunteer to find my contact lens in my eyeball.  that was unsuccessful.

I get going, take in some fuel, and start going along.  The run was an out and back along a parkway, with two spurs.   On the St George Website, the elevation profile did not appear to be a killer.  I thought it would be challenging, but, I had. no. idea.

BAM.  within 2 miles, it was uphill.  And, I couldn't keep running.  i knew that this was a problem, but, at this point, I thought... "ok, no big deal, you'll get through the brick soon enough."  

I don't remember much about the run, except about how hard it was.  it was HOT, so I ran on the white lines, and grabbed ice/sponges when possible.  It was steep, so I power walked with purpose going up the hills.  I hadn't peed at all during the race, so I took as much liquid and fuel as possible during the aid stations.  There were a lot of women in my AG passing me, and that was hard on the competitive mind set, so i often ran saying "running as slow as ever, is faster than your fastest walk." I had to refrain from crying many times, and I just prayed that I would make a sub-2hr 1/2 marathon. That wouldn't happen.

I started picking it up, when I knew that it was downhill to home.  Then, there was that second spur.  and, it was uphill.  At that point, i just about had it.  I think this was about that point.  I finished off the race, with tears streaming down my face. When i got a side stich, that was it... I couldn't hold it in, and frankly, as dehydrated as I was, it kinda surprised me that I still had liquid in my body to cry.  When someone cheered "keep that smile on your face!" i kinda laughed, because it wasn't a smile... it was a grimace.  But, I was done.  I didn't have a terrible finishing time, but i felt defeated.  I felt sore and tired.  I felt successful for finishing the hardest race that I have ever done. there were so many emotions, wrapped into one.

Post race, i was not happy.  What I was happy about was being able to meet, and go out for dinner with Erin and her hubby, Tim.  IT was great to meet two people who are so easy to get along with, and who understand what you just experienced.  

top 5 things i would do different:
1) more running of hills prior to race day.
2) more training at elevations other than sea level.
3) take in more fluid and nutrition on the bike, especially when it is hot. train for this.
4) do not fly to race the day before. relax more on the day before the race.
5) Remember that it is just a triathlon.  Its not totally worth crying about. 

I do believe that we need races like this, to remind us that what we do is hard.  To remind us that it doesn't come naturally, and it takes time, dedication, and effort.  If every race that I had is a PB, or a successful finishing placement, or was hard enough, but not so hard that i think "i've got this under my belt,"  then I honestly don't think that I would improve.  We need races that kick our ass.  So that we can go back and try again.  Improve on what we did.  Be defeated, so that we can rise up and succeed.

and, that is why i will go back next year. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

St George 70.3 Race Report part 1: pre-race, and swim

It has been just over one week from St George 70.3 "US pro championship" race.

Last year, after the Vancouver Subaru 1/2 Iron, I stated "it's hard to say which race is the hardest race I've ever done."  Well, I am 95% sure that I am confident to state that this was BY FAR the hardest race I have ever done.  And, im glad that I have waited a week to write this report.  It takes a while to digest races like St George.

As my newest Vancouver Triathlete friend, Erin, stated, when Ironman made this race the US pro championships, registration SOARED.  I barely got registered, as on Facebook, it stated that there were only 5 slots left. So, as planned, back in feb, I was registered.  It would be my first race in the (what I perceive as) super crazy fast new agegroup: females 30-34.  I counted the other registrants in my AG... 140.  WHAT THE?!?!  really? This kinda made me nervous.  And, when I saw that the super inspirational Sonja W was going to be racing, i knew... I knew it would be a competitive day.

here we go:

mistake #1: flying the day before the race.  I flew from Bellingham, on alaska Airlines. Honestly, this all went perfectly.  The anxiety came with the fact that I had about 5 hours to get my bike, rental car, meet my mum at the Vegas airport, and drive to St George to register and check my bike.  One day also does not give enough time to adjust to heat in the desert, an elevation gain of 1000m, and an hour time difference.  I was SO stressed out, and could not relax the day prior to the race.  That night was not very restful.

that being said, i got the bike checked in 10 minutes before close, was able to drive 1/2 the bike course, have a great dinner, and was there.  I made it.  Southern Utah is BEAUTIFUL... The town of St George is welcoming, and a perfect size for a race.  the area around town has more activities than you can possibly do in a 4 day trip.

Race morning was normal.  beautiful morning.  A B&B 4 blocks from T2/finish, meaning I could walk to the race shuttles, who gave us packed morning breakfasts. no wind, perfect weather. LOTS OF BIKES!  It took a while to go to the toilet, but i did.  less than 10mins prior to my start time.  Yikes.

I placed myself close to the front of swarm of 30-34 year old women.  and i looked around.  Man.  are they fit.  They look awesome.  We waded into the water for the floating start, and it was cold.  somewhat expecting this,  I gave positive self talk, and dunked my head a few times, tried to get some water into the wetsuit, and told myself to chill out.  Don't go out too fast, or else you will have a hard time breathing.

race mistake #2: no open water/cold swims prior to race day.

it was a good swim.  Not *amazing,* but good.   the start was interesting as one woman turned around and said "hey!  what is everyone doing, pushing up here?  if you are going to swim sub-30, you should be here..."  I knew I would be 32ish.  One thing that I was really happy with was how straight I went.  Garmin says the swim was a bit long.  

The beginning of the swim took a while to get going, but i was super happy with the clenliness and clam state of the water...  but, I definitely had a few moments of breathlessness.  so, it was just a race of keeping consistant.  try to keep the arms going at a reasonable pace, sight properly, and don't get stuck up behind people.  While I was swimming, I thought there were maybe 6 or so women in bright green caps ahead of me.  I  could see a lot of them during the swim.  I was kinda bummed when I found out that my result was 16th in AG, at the end of the race.  

Swim Details Division Rank: 16
Split NameDistanceSplit TimeRace TimePaceDiv. RankOverall RankGender Rank
Total1.2 mi32:1532:151:40/100m1626358

T1:  I ran out of the swim, happy. this was the first and last time that I saw my mum during the race, cheering for me.  I was happy to be there, nice to have wetsuit strippers, helped out another guy who couldnt find his zipper, and got on the way.  Everything had to be stuffed into a bag, with nothing on your bike.  It's kinda annoying to get have to get that rubber suit into a bag.  

So FAR, so good.  Getting on that bike, I was happy.

Monday, April 29, 2013

It's race week!

All of a sudden, I am racing a 1/2 ironman on saturday.  Not going to lie, it has kinda crept up on me, and as always, i have NO IDEA how I am going to do. I've already had my little freak out to Sean, where I complain that I haven't trained enough, and how it is going to be hot, and at elevation, and how there are more than 130 women in my age group.  that new, fast, age group   YOu know the one... those women who have been doing the sport long enough to be experienced, but not so long that their body is rebelling? WElcome to age group 30-34.  Welcome to St George, Utah.

It's going to be hot. In more ways than one!

meanwhile, I am doing things like this, to get me race ready...

i went to physio today, and he did acupuncture.  If you remember, in 2007, I had a bike crash that caused me to break both my arms.  It left me with one joint that was "good."  I.e.  never been fractured. But, since my arms are pretty much f'd up for the rest of my life, i am now experiencing pain, swelling and tendinitis in my "good" elbow.  Kinda sucks.

on friday, i will be flying to Vegas, to meet my Momma, hop in a car, and drive to St George, and get my race on.  This year has been such a year of transitions, and one of those has been learning how to train with a) a new team, and b) a new work schedule, and c) a husband.   because, you see, last season, i didn't have any of those things.  I was coming off a few months in Malawi, spent 3 months with McGill tri club, and then "coached myself."  With no commitments, As a student, I could train when I wanted, and how I wanted.  much to my surprise, i went fast.   I also was in a long distance relationship and unemployed, which meant i could place my training times whenever during the day, without sacrificing relationship time.  That is no longer true.   I have to be consistant, and I have to value my hubby's time.   I can't work out at 2 pm, cause im working.  I can't work out at 9:30pm, cause i have to get ready for work in the morning. 

Finally, we have this creature.  this creature who also needs things, like food and walks and attention and attendance at obedience class...  
bounding through long grass
 So, what does that all mean? 

am I going to succeed on Saturday?  Am i going to be able to rip it up, and run over that line with a smile on my face?  

Of course.  

'cause how could i not run over the line with a smile on my face?

i am a girl doing something that I love.  I live in a city that i love, with a partner that supports and loves me.  I have the world's most beautiful puppy.  I have Vancouver's most amazing nursing job.  I have a schedule that allows me to 

Ilala in Pacific Spirit Parkso, how can I not smile when I am done on Saturday?  I just have to trust in the process, and I know that i will be happy.

and, i just hope it doesn't hurt to bad.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Updating the blog

ai-eeeee!  I need to keep on top of this!  I just did 3 things to update:

1) Got rid of the photo page, as many were flickr, and I deleted that account quite a while ago.  But, go look at Sean's Photos on Flickr anyway.

2)  I updated the links page. Took a few away, added one or two.

3) I updated the "about me" page.  added some photos, made the Bio a little more accurate.

still more work to be done though.  Need to update that race result list, and maybe the background, and actually the posts.  I should post more.  Cause I like writing...

ciao for now!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Photo bomb

Sean mentioned this morning "I wonder how many blog posts start with 'I haven't written here in so long...'" So, I'm not starting that way.

It's Easter, I'm in jasper, and I am on a holiday with my love. Life is good. So, some photos that make this life so good...
My hubby, our puppy, nature, work, bicycles.

More substance to come soon. For now, I have to get back to the hill.

Peace, love and grace this Easter season.