Tuesday, April 26, 2011


When I was little my dad built me my very own swing. I loved to swing on it. Lately I've incorporated swinging back into my life, not into my lifestyle. (there are blogs for that but this is not one of them!). In my attempt to increase my run speed I have started doing swing runs. Doesn't that sound fun? 'Swing runs', evokes all kinds of ideas of freedom and flying along with the wind flapping your pigtails while you yell, 'higher, higher' without any effort. The swing run does remind me of one time I was on a swing set, the time we all got going so high in the same direction that we tipped the whole thing over. (kids were WAY tougher back then, we just got it upright and didn't tell any parents because they might put an end to the fun) Yes, during this wonderful run session there are times when I feel like I am going to crash very hard in to the ground. Let me tell you that the pace during this run swings from 20 seconds faster per mile to 20 seconds slower per mile than you actually plan on running in your event. So for someone like me, who put down a rather ambitious goal, this is a very challenging painful experience. Maybe, I misunderstood and it was to run slower and faster than you actually currently are capable of holding? The way I am doing it, the slower is still faster than I have been running. One thing hasn't changed when it comes to me and swinging, I still like to shoot for the stars, only thing is now I have to push myself.

Next time I run by this I may just have to change the meaning of swing run!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Practice Exam

Last weekend I dusted off the cobwebs and did my first race of the year. The Big Rock Olympic Triathlon. It seems like I am getting a late start this year since last year by now I had done a couple of half marathons, a marathon and an olympic distance triathlon. Took a little longer this year to get to a start line, you'd think that would mean I was more prepared or something. Think again. I considered this race a 'practice' race. Just like when I was preparing to take my nursing boards, I took practice exams. I treated the practice exams like the real thing, I just wasn't completely prepared to take the 'real' exam yet. Last Saturday, just like in my simulation exams I set about preparing all my equipment and went about racing like it was the real deal. I knew that just like the pre exam exam the pre races race would show me the areas I needed to focus on. Maybe, just maybe a little fear would be injected into my complacency!

Here is what I learned:

1)While the zigzag stitch is a super cool stitch on the sewing machine, zigzagging might not be the best approach to a swim that is being timed! I'd say more open water swim practice is needed but that would imply I had done any. Maybe I could fix that drift to the right if I practiced. Although, to be fair, the person on my left kept coming towards me and I was just avoiding personal contact. At least my in laws will be happy to hear that I have some leanings toward the right!

Perfect temperature Lake Swim

2) My new Specialized transition pro bike is fast! (thanks Experience Cycling!) My new bike is smooth! My new bike looks sweet! My new wheels are fast! My new tubeless tires provide a fabulous ride! My new tri kit looks awesome with my new bike! (thanks Swim West:)) My new bike needs a faster engine, I thought these Specialized bikes came with an engine in the bottom bracket? Hmm,  my motor seemed to be missing the turbo injection! Time for some intervals and efforts, no more chatty chat rides:(  I'm actually very happy considering I have only been on the new bike 4 weeks and I hadn't been on a time trial bike since May. Thanks to Matt Hoffman for setting me up on my bike and getting the fit so comfortable!

Yes, Red is one of my FAVORITE colours!

3) No girls passed me on the run. Oh and only one passed me on the bike. Small races are very helpful for building some confidence. Lots of work to be done on the run, but progress is being made even if the time doesn't reflect it. My legs transitioned immediately off the bike, which was great since it was my first time  on the new set up running off any effort on the bike. I apologize to all the guys who I came up behind and they had to listen to my porn star breathing. I always forget how the air out there affects my asthma. One thing, it either made them speed up to get away from me or they let me pass uneventfully and didn't care that they were being chicked, as long as the noise stopped! 

The results of the practice exam are in and I need to work on lots of areas but I am not as far behind as I thought I was going into the test. My swim, even crooked was right where it always is. I consider this excellent considering all the time I took out of the water in the last year and where I was when I got back at it. My bike is fast, now to just tune the engine to match the chassis. My run is a work in progress, but progress is being made. Even though it was a 'practice' race I still managed to place and come home with some hardware. 2011 is looking promising! Time to hit the books so I am ready for the real exams!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stretch Pants

This is a public service announcement. Ladies, stretch pants are not our friend! Just because it will stretch over your butt, doesn't mean it should stretch over your butt. If you stretch stretchy material to the maximum stretchiness, it is not a good look. I'm telling you all this because I too have made my mistakes with the expandable pants. Heck, I practically lived in sweats in my freshman year, if only I had stuck to squeezing into those acid wash jeans everyday I might have had a chance at avoiding that sprawl I developed on the backside. Not that I am saying acid wash jeans are our friend, cause I am not, but at least they would have provided instant feedback on the damage midnight pizza and vats of beer were causing.

The urgent need for this PSA came to my attention last week. You see, around here many people do a lot of yoga and therefore are in their yoga pants, but some just wear yoga pants and never see a yoga mat. The other day I saw with my own eyes (and the image is burned into my cornea) a woman who was testing the maximum stretchiness of her yoga pants fabric. Now, giving her the benefit of doubt, she might have come from a yoga class. I find that unlikely though because she could barely bend to get something from her shopping cart, and yogis are flexible. The other case scenario was she was hired by some scientific research company to do some testing on force against elasticity to determine the breaking point. Well, judging by the pulling on the seams and the way the fabric pulled across her derriere, the breaking point was one pass of gas away! I thought about taking a picture to share with my readers so that your cornea could also be damaged, but I thought that would be bordering on rude. However, writing about the subject is perfectly polite;) Perhaps, all forms of pants with stretchiness to them should come with a warning label. Something to the effect of,

 "WARNING, wearing of these pants should be undertaken with caution. If you choose to wear these pants daily your ass will spread. As an antidote to this please wear your skinny jeans one day per week."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Going Soft

I've become soft. REALLY soft! What happened to that girl who was so excited when the thermometer dipped to -15C because it meant that the ski hill would be empty? Where did the girl who loved winter and tolerated summer disappear to? I wouldn't be caught dead wearing a touque (that's a beanie to you Yanks) in the winter, mostly because it would totally ruin my big 80's hair, but also because I didn't need one. Now, I am known to wear one walking the dog and it doesn't get to -15C here EVER! Granted, I also no longer have big hair, and instead of worrying about the touque ruining my hair I use it to hide the fact that I haven't bothered to brush it, or sometimes even wash it. I don't like to be cold and I can tell you when it is less than 60F I am cold. I wonder how the girls I see running in just a sports bra do it, but maybe the silicone keeps you warm, I don't know. Anyways, every so often it becomes glaringly obvious to me just what a wimp I have morphed into. Yesterday I was shown what tough really is. Here is a picture from a friend in Alberta (that's a province in Canada for you Yanks. Canada is the country to the north of you) taken 75 minutes into their ride.

Great for skiing, not so much for biking!

I have a couple of races planned for this summer in Canada, at least I thought June was summer. I am rethinking the plan to shed some pounds and get down to race weight. I either need to keep the blubber or channel my 16 year old self. In an attempt to toughen up today in 60F I rode without knee warmers. Hey, it's a start! Next thing you know, I'll be taking the toe warmers off my bike shoes, but let's not get too crazy all at once. Taking another look at that picture, I'm thinking I didn't get soft, I got smart!

Friday, April 8, 2011


This week I have been busy with a little room improvement. You know that room that you have that you don't like to spend too much time in because it just doesn't feel homey enough. Well, I had one of those rooms and it needed some work because I have decided that I need to be spending a whole lot more time in there. So, I decorated it to make it a happy place for me to be. First I needed to air it out because it has been a long time since I have been in there and it really had gotten a little stale and musty. I decided that I wanted to have a little lavender fragrance in there, you know to keep it nice and relaxing. While I was on the lavender theme I chose a nice purple fuzzy material to cover the walls, because there are probably going to be some collisions between me and walls while I am in there and I wanted it to be soft and forgiving. The space needed to be brightened up so I chose sunshine to fill the darkness. Bright summer day not a cloud in the sky sunshine, because sunshine makes me happy, especially when it is on my shoulders. Now the transformation is complete and I already noticed that I like being in there way more. On the way in I read this sign.
'Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional'.

Really, who can suffer when their pain cave has purple fuzzy walls? 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lessons from the Front Pack

I don't mean to brag but on Saturday I did a 1 hour and 13 minute half marathon. Way faster than my previous best time, so much faster that I am rethinking what I stated as my finishing time for that half I am signed up for in June. Now I am thinking that all those other buffoons in the 1:40 and under corral are really going to impede my forward progress.

Since many of you haven't had the experience of laying down such a fine pace I thought I would share some of the insight I gained being in the front pack. Firstly, if you aren't breathing hard, you aren't working hard enough. I noticed the runners around me were not chatting with one another, they were barely eeking out what they wanted to the volunteers at the aid stations. Very monosyllabic in their conversation skills actually. If you do speak, do not speak to your fellow competitors. Also, it doesn't matter if your family, even your children are cheering you from the sidelines, you do not lose your focus. Keep your eyes straight ahead, do not address them, heck, don't even acknowledge them. Therefore, in future races I will not stop to pet the dog, or my husband! Your footfalls should almost be silent and you should be in unison with those around you, synchronized running if you will. Do not show you are tiring, if you are fading make a charge at the front to trick those around you. It is best to go through the aid station first, if you are first you can get what you want and you don't get a half drank cup of cola tossed in your direction. If by any chance you can't keep up make sure you fall off dramatically and then when you drop out, do not just walk back to the start area. Get yourself in a prone position on the ground as quickly as possible. You don't want anyone to think you are just quiting, make sure they know it was a nuclear type implosion! When you are ready to make your move and switch into your fast gear, choose the spot wisely. Note where your competition falters slightly and attack them there. DO NOT LOOK BACK, and do not slow down.

Mostly, when you are in a pack of such fine runners, enjoy the view. I know I did, and I wasn't even breathing hard at all. It seemed like a rather pedestrian pace from the saddle of my bicycle as I led the pro men on the run at the Oceanside half ironman. I've never enjoyed that run course more!

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Sport, New Name

That's it, I am going to take up roller derby. I have a background in ice skating, I can maneuver on wheels and I LOVE their outfits! You get to wear fishnets and all women know that nothing makes your legs look better than fishnets! You can even wear a tutu if you choose, oh and not to mention the cool names that you get to have. Plus, hips put you at a huge advantage when it comes to getting through the crowd, not to mention padding for landing on. Yup, roller derby is for me, no more crazy knee warmers that make my legs look like sausages in casing, I'm trading it all in for fishnets and a cool name.

Now, I just need a kick butt derby name and I need my readers help. Start sending in the suggestions and when I make my derby debut I'll let you all know!