Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nothin's Worrying Me

It's been almost two weeks since I travelled up to the beautiful emerald green pacific northwest to the Lake Stevens 70.3 triathlon. I was super excited to head up because I love that area in the summer and I was going to get to hang out with some great friends. There are lots of race reports out there that describe the course and the beauty of the region. My race report is not one of those. It was a fabulous race but what I remember the most about the race is the Super Awesome amount of snot and golden nuggets that my sinuses and lungs produced. It was impressive! That would explain the pressure in my head the last 4 days. I swear there were buckets of extra body fluids being stored in my sinus cavities.

At the start line I knew I wasn't primed to race well. When you start coughing uncontrollably during a light swim warm up it is a pretty good indicator that your lungs aren't going to tolerate much heavy breathing. Thus, I settled in and had a comfortable swim racked only occasionally by coughing. Let's just say the lake water was clear when I started, not sure how it was for the waves behind me.

Onto the bike and I started to feel the sprinkle of some rain. No problem, if you are cold just go harder. Whoops, that doesn't work so well when an increased effort means an increased oxygen requirement. Look how fun it is to ride in the rain, at least it helps wash away the copious amounts of sinus drainage all over your snot rags-otherwise known as arm warmers. I saw a few crashes while on the bike ride, luckily they were in front of me so I didn't feel responsible for the slippery roads. Throughout the whole bike ride raindrops kept falling on my head, and I did me some talking to the sun, begging him to come out and warm me up.

I got off the bike, cause that is what you do in a triathlon. In transition I chatted with a few girls and then I decided to give the run a try. Right away the rain let up and it was dry. I knew on the first slight incline that my lungs were not going to tolerate an elevated heart rate but I had travelled all this way and I wasn't going to stop. Plus, I had an athlete out on course and what kind of example would I be by complaining and whining. The good news is, I wasn't dizzy, I didn't bonk and I finished the run course with a pocket full of unopened gu packets that I picked up out on course. It is pretty evident you aren't really racing when you ask what flavors are being offered and you get yourself a nice selection to take home. It was not the race I had hoped for, trained for and travelled for but cryin's not for me. I wasn't going to stop the rain from complaining. It was what it was and I still managed to have fun because I'm free and nothin's worrying me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Stories to be Told

When I was younger in one summer I devoured the entire Adventure series by Enid Blyton. Perhaps I was particularly found of the story because I felt I was a part of them. They had a parrot named Kiki, who was particularly clever and saved the foursome from many a mishap. To this day I believe that it is our adventures that make the best part of our individual novels. All of our escapades do not have to involve castles and strange lands, sometimes legends can be created at home by facing our fears and conquering demons that reside in our minds. In the past week I was able to once again be Kiki the supporting character in an adventure series.

Lizzie's Grand Running Adventure

In December of 2011 my client Liz set the goal for herself of running six half marathons in six months. Not only was she planning this impressive challenge but she set mini challenges along the way. Her first half marathon was a trail run with quite a bit of elevation gain. Prior to this race, Liz was not a trail runner. That quickly changed and she knocked it out of the park. In February she decided to do a local hilly road race as her run of the month. She could have taken the easy way out and run a flat course but she wanted to test her limits. Dragon number two slayed. March brought another road half and it went off without a hitch. In April she set her sights on another hilly half with the mini goal of running up the big hill. Some practice sessions up an even steeper hill and she arrived at the starting line with a full arsenal of weapons and killed the beast. Not satisfied to just to 6 half marathons in 6 months the May half was exactly one week after the super hard hilly April one and she managed to run it in almost exactly the same time. Five down and just one more to go. June didn't quite go as planned. Sickness set in and one thing led to another. No official races fell on the calendar on dates that Liz could make but that didn't stop her, I wouldn't let it. So on July 4, 2012 we did the first official Run Lizzie Run half marathon. Liz has some great friends who came out to support her and run with her. We combined a little bit of everything she had in her other races, hills, trails, flat sections. Since this was an official race there was even a sprint to the finish line. We had an official cheering section and most importantly we got it done. SIX in SIX. So proud to be an accomplice in Liz doing something which back in December she wasn't sure was possible. I have to say I always knew she could do it and I wasn't going to let her let herself down. Looking forward to being along when she slays her next monster.

Cherry's Adventure at Sea

One of the things I love the best about my friends is how activity is entwined in most of their lives. For my friend Cherry's birthday she wanted to do a group ocean swim. Now that is celebrating life. Less than a week ago reports were that a great white had been spotted in that area. Some wondered if we were afraid. I didn't think he'd still be swimming around but I also know that sharks live in the ocean. I'm so glad that even those among us who were harboring a slight fear were brave and jumped in. It was a spectacular day for swimming at the cove. The water was clear and a nice temperature (for us wetsuit clad seal imitators) and the sea life came out in force. We started out swimming to a yellow buoy, but it moved. Might have been a dive float. Brought back some memories of race buoys being blown away but all was good. Once out there we chose another buoy, and then another, and another to swim to. Rather than doing a birthday pub crawl we coined it the buoy crawl. Along the way we saw schools of Bat Rays, lots of pretty fishes and just as we were heading in a gray fin made it's appearance. WHAT? Oh, good there are three more. Don't panic, it's dolphins. Of course we all had the same initial reaction and therefore there were also some turtles out there;) After a fabulous tour de buoys we headed in for an amazing picnic with absolutely delicious food. Can I say another thing I love about my friends is that they take such good care of me and there were fantastic vegan dishes! Such a lucky girl. Fabulous company and lots of laughs and good times. The dolphins were a sign that the heroine of this tail is going to have an amazing year.

La Jolla Cove
'Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me. Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn't long before I actually wasn't afraid'. from Cheryl Strayed's 'Wild'

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Canada Day

Today is Canada day so happy birthday Canada. Even though I haven't lived in Canada in a long time, I am still Canadian as evidenced by my passport that needs renewing every five years. While I was out running, wearing my Canadian flag socks of course, I was reflecting on the things I miss most about living in Canada. Here is some of the list.

1) Curling. I was first introduced to the curling rink by my grandpa and I fell in love with it, the smell of ice and the smack, smack, smack of straw hitting the ice as someone yelled 'Sweep, SWEep, SWEEP'.

2) Hockey night in Canada. Mostly to make fun of Don Cherry's outlandish suits and crazy comments.

3) Long summer nights with the sun still up (of course I do not miss the opposite, long dark winter nights!)

4) Being served vinegar when I order chips (french fries).

5) Bumping into someone by accident and having them apologize. 'sorry, sorry'. So polite!

6) Being close to family and friends so that I could spend a long weekend with them.

7) Okanagan fruitstands. The best!

8) Coloured money, the loonie and the toonie. At least I could carry a couple bucks around on a run without having to wring it out afterwards!

9) Interesting reading on cereal boxes. My french may be limited to Raisin Bran.

10) Nanaimo bars, proper Scones, Smarties, but most of all Old Dutch Dill Pickle potatoe chips. Oh how I miss those!

So all you Canadians who were at the local pancake breakfast having real maple syrup, or at the local parade or just eating delicious old dutch hope you had a good day 'eh!