Saturday, March 31, 2012

Turn off the lights

As someone who likes to conserve energy, in my home and on the race course, I am a firm believer in turning off the lights when you don't need them on. Most of the racing I do is during the daytime and therefore there is no need for the headlights to be on. I have grappled with this difficult situation for years. Okay, I really haven't. I have just forgotten all about it and it has never crossed my mind during a race. If it had I would have thought at least twice before pouring cups of ice down my tops. When I do think about it is when I get my race photos. Of course I think about it then, how could I not, it's glaringly obvious. I am surprised that the competitors going the other way haven't been blinded by the bright halogens I've been sporting! Well, no more. I have found a solution that actually works- even with cups of ice down my top.

With travel case, very convenient for racing:0

The travel case with the silicone pads

Now, I know most of you are use to reading equipment reviews that tell you how much time it will save you, how fast you will be etc. I am telling you this little piece of gel probably won't save you time but it sure will make you look good. Nice and smooth on the front and really isn't it all about looking good? I know I am recommending this for the ladies but how about all those guys who end up with nipple rub and blood stains down the front of their shirts. Probably would save them some time to not be in severe pain. Now that I've put it out there, maybe the ladies beach volleyball team at the Olympics has a potential new sponsorship? Although, these are so effective viewership may severely diminish and other sponsors (like the beer companies) would pull out.

One final product endorsement from me. Not only do these keep the lights off but when the cold morning wind hits your wet tri top as you fly along on the bike, you aren't nearly as cold with these little warmers in place. Be warned though, at the end of the day, you will have collected a puddle under there - think of it as a free water bra:) You're welcome.

March 31st at 8:30pm is national earth hour, that's today. So please do me a favour and turn out the lights.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Storm Running

A couple of weeks ago we ran away from home. The weather forecast for the weekend was dismal at best and we had friends over in Tucson doing a training camp. So we decided to pack it up and head over. The drive started out through the storm but we were able to out run it. Some people make a habit of chasing storms, I could make a habit of running away from them. We did get some less than desirable weather while we were in the desert but for some reason pouring rain, gale force winds and hail didn't seem as miserable in the desert setting. It was actually a surreal experience to be out on a trail run amongst the cacti and find myself being pelted by the hard icy stuff out of the sky. At one point it was coming down so hard that it was stinging, my option was to dive for cover in the bushes but that looked like a sticky situation.

doesn't it look like I'm having fun?

I was actually having a blast. First, I love running trails. Second, I love exploring new places and lastly the scenery was brilliant.

The Desert was in Bloom

I think I found my dream house, yes it needs a bit of work

The riding was fun and swimming in an outdoor pool to ourselves couldn't be beat. While I don't recommend running away from all stormy environments, sometimes it is easier to deal with the storm in a different location. When we returned to our coastal haven as the sun was shimmering off the ocean we were reminded that sometimes you have to weather the storm to come out all sparkling on the other side and other times you can just run away and come back when it is all over.

Kiki's Kulinary

my St Patty's day Shamrock Shake- Pina colada flavoured:)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Restorative Yoga

Every week there is one workout that I look forward to knowing that I will come away from it feeling blissful and centered. With all the yang going on in my training it is nice to know that for one hour and fifteen minutes each week I get a little bit of yin. Once a week in the evening I give myself the gift of a restorative yoga class. Unlike many yoga classes this one does not require me to be a pretzel (which is a very good thing because I am like a super stale pretzel that will break and crack if twisting is involved). Restorative yoga uses many props and we are mostly in supported poses. We use bolsters, blanket, blocks and a wall. Each time the teacher gets us all set up into a pose I think 'wow, this is so comfy'. That thought lasts about a minute and then strange things begin to happen. My hips will release and I will start to settle deeper and deeper into the position. In almost every pose there comes a point where it gets to be uncomfortable and all I want to do is come out of it. From practice and breathing and the encouragement of the teacher I have learned that if I just breathe through I will come out the other side. The moment of discomfort passes and it is amazing how much more relaxed and deeper into the position my body settles. Even though it looks like I could be taking a nap when I am in class, I have found that it is one of the most important workouts I can do for my body and the hardest for my mind. It takes discipline to quiet the mind. Shut off the thoughts about how it doesn't feel good, how much longer, why is that guy next to me grunting so loudly. The more I practice though, the easier it gets to release my mind along with my body and get into a state of gentle acceptance and internal peace and focus. Last night the instructor reminded us to find the blissful place between effort and surrender. That is a magical place where wonderful things can happen, I hope to spend most of my Ironman day there, I just have to remember to breathe through it when it gets tough and my body will open up and come out the other side. The best thing about this type of yoga is that afterwards it feels like you had a deep massage and all your muscles are suptle and fluid. I have my best runs the day after, not to mention how good I sleep that night. I have come to think of this hour every week as the time I honor my body for all that I ask of it the rest of the time. Namaste

'Yoga is invigoration through relaxation. Freedom in routine. Confidence through self control. Energy within and energy without.' Ymber Delecto

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Engine Rebuild

I realize that I have been neglecting writing lately, but I have a good reason (okay, maybe not a good reason but an excuse). Actually, I've written some brilliant blog posts recent out on long runs and rides. Sadly, for you my reader, they have not made it to the actual blog, you have missed out on some brilliance. Or at least they seemed brilliant in my fatigued mind numb state at the time. When I returned home though, I was too fatigued to move my fingers and do any typing. Also, they didn't seem nearly as interesting or important once I had come down off my endorphin fix. Back to the excuse, the real reason I haven't been writing is I have been focusing all my extra energy and time into a new exciting project. You see, I have been trying to rebuild a diesel engine. I am in the attempt of taking an old, well worn diesel engine and adapting it to take a turbo injector.

I like to think my engine is this clean:)

Having a diesel engine has many advantages, or so I keep telling myself when those little formula one racing engines burn by me. I tell myself, they do not have very good fuel economy. They require much more maintenance to keep up that speed. Sure they have a quick start but can they sustain that speed all day. While this diesel engine can go all day very efficiently on very little fuel burn, it has difficulty with sudden changes in speed (that is a little false because it has no trouble with the slowing down part of speed changes). This big engine can haul big loads up and over hills but it does so at a nice slow and steady pace, there is now speeding up. So, I don't want to give up running a diesel engine altogether because I want to be a long haul trucker, but I want to be a long hauler with a little fuel injection turbo.

The addition of the turbo injector has involved countless sessions on the -wait for it- turbo trainer. Yes, rather simplistic idea but one that has my engine reving at maximum and the temperature gauge moving towards hot. All systems are telling me to back off the gas pedal and get back to cruising speed but I resist and push through. When the workouts are done the engine is sputtering and shaking and the gas warning light is on. Each time I try to push it further and further, knowing at some point I will be walking with a gerry can to the kitchen to get more fuel to make it to the destination. Or maybe not, this diesel engine might be able to run for a long time on fumes.

I am hopeful that at some point within the next 8 weeks preferably that the turbo charge will take my engine rebuild will be successful. For now signs are pointing that I am getting there. For example my mpg average has gone down slightly and the engine seems to be burning hotter, requiring more tank fill ups. There have been times that I have felt the surge of the turbo beneath me, although going uphill is still a steady grind with black smoke billowing out my stacks. For years I have relied on my trusty diesel engine so if the turbo project fails I know that I still have a big fuel efficient well seasoned engine beneath the hood. Like any race car, a nice chassis is just that, a nice body, but it is all about the engine!

Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine- Elvis Presley

Kiki's Kulinary
Raw Vegan Scramble on bed of spinach
Diesel Fuel:)