Family, Kids, Pemberton

My 12 days of Christmas

Or is it 13? Or 11? Who can tell, these days. School’s out, I take some time off work  and then all of a sudden I have no concept of what day of the week it is. It’s kind of neat.

It’s a white Christmas here and what a difference snow makes. Everything’s just that much brighter. The kids are easily convinced to go outside. And running in the snow? Waaaay more fun that running in the rain.

Needless to say, the last few weeks have been a whirlwind of wrapping things up (literally and figuratively), getting into the swing of winter and thinking about the end of 2015 by starting to make plans and hatch ideas for 2016.

Since my brain also seems to be on Christmas holiday, I’ll leave you with a photo wrap of the last few weeks.

Merry Christmas!

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Day-to-day life, Kids, Pemberton

A day in the life.

I’m tired.

It’s been a long few weeks of juggling. It’s not a complaint, merely a statement. Much of the fatigue is my own doing, I’ll be the first to admit. I have a hard time saying no and every time I turn around, there’s something being added to the white board calendar in the kitchen.

Last week, I realized that our Wednesdays were kind of ridiculous. As I said to a friend, I organize large-scale events for a living. But ask me to organize my life so that I don’t have to be in 3 places at once? Right. I’m not one to over-program kids. I just tend to program them all on the same day #Fail.

As I drove/biked/walked to one location after another, I mentally chronicled my day. Enjoy (or don’t. This is actually kind of boring).

Boop bee boop bee boop be boop bee doop.. doop… doop… boop bee boop bee boop be boop bee doop…

Recognize that sound? It’s the iPhone signature ring-thingy set to my alarm. It’s 6:15AM. My first though is: “Can I have a nap today?”

The phone is in the kitchen. This is strategic: it will keep beep-booping until I drag myself downstairs.

I go, followed by Kobe (the dog) because there’s a 99.9% chance he will have jumped on the bed at some point while I slept.

Until the kids wake up, I enjoy the quiet house and read emails and the rest of the internet and drink my beloved coffee.

Then, the whirlwind starts. It’s a slow build… but it comes. Usually, Rory comes first – wrapped in a blankie. Anja’s next, having bellowed from bed asking for permission to get up. Will is always last on  school days – he’ll need some prodding to join the fray.

Breakfast. Backpacks. Review homework. Hunt for lost socks. Repeat myself a million times over to get this or that and then, 2/3 of the off spring are out the door to walk to school. I check my watch. It’s 8:15, I have a bit of a breather before the little one goes to science. We go for a dog walk – with fake baby and little pink stroller. Our pace is not quick. Worms are collected, snails herded to the safety of the side of the trail.

IMG_8642

We get home in time to pack snacks and go to science.

Sidebar: Anja has not stopped talking since she got up. At all. It’s like a running, completely irrelevant commentary on our day.

She goes to science in the same building as the gym so I can squeeze in those treadmill intervals I’ve been dreading.

Another sidebar: I got into run gear when I got up. Otherwise, it’s just too easy to skip. Unless I’ve sweated through everything, there’s a solid chance I’ll be peeling those same clothes off at bedtime. Gross, right?! Welcome to my real life. Take it or leave it.

I get the run done with just enough time to have a powwow with my physio who happens to be there at the same time. I’ll consider that a two-for-one because even those 5 minutes make a difference. She always makes time for me and is supremely awesome.

Collect Anja, win the argument stating that I need a shower before our errands. We go home, I shower, she – of course, keeps me company. Heaven forbid I leave her side. She continues her monologue.

I check my watch. It’s 11:20. Errands and a quick lunch stop at the bakery ensue. We take the dog – today, errands on the bike must double as his walk.

We’re home by 1. I have a list as long as my arm of work to do. Dilemma: what to do with the little one? Arts ‘n craps, for now (monologuing the whole way). I’m having a hard time concentrating after 45m and anyway, she spills food colouring everywhere, so I give up and hand her the iPad. Check the calendar to remind myself how many days before Jay returns from Asia.

What’s that sound? Oh, right. QUIET.

Text message. Zumba cancelled. Can Anja come Friday instead of this afternoon? Yes! Win! That removes one of my 3 locations. Make mental note about Friday, then remember that mental notes are useless to me – white board it is.

I check the time. 2PM. I have 1 hour before we’re off again; I power through some work, diligently avoiding the piles of laundry, the messy playroom and the dishes. Also, sad dog eyes.

We’re off again. Meet Will to pick him up from dodgeball, throw him a snack and send him to soccer. High five Rory who’s at science. We’ll be back for you, buddy (mental note: don’t forget Rory).

Shit. Dinner. I check the time: 4:45PM. Mile One, my non-negotiable, go-to best-ever dinner option on Wednesdays is closed for 2 weeks for their (very well deserved) spring break. Decide to try to recreate their burgers at home. Whip to grocery store. Least favourite place.

I check the time. 5:02PM.  Oops, I’m late to get Rory. Pick him up with apologies. He doesn’t seem to care. Dodged that bullet.

Home by 5:30PM. Wonder how people who live in big cities with full-time jobs and deal with traffic do this. At least most of my commuting is by bike or foot. I bow to you. Truly.

Throw together dinner (burgers are ok but the house smells like bacon, so… win?), break up fights, send kids to trampoline in what appears to be a huge windstorm. Oh well. They likely won’t get blown away. I hope.

Will’s dropped off by friends (thank you – it really does take a village otherwise I’d burn dinner even more quickly than usual) and we have a quick dinner, reciting “Apples and Onions” and reviewing our day. Kids have showers (cue: FIGHT) and we get ready to watch “Modern Family”, my one nod to TV for them during the week; I don’t really care if it’s age appropriate or not, we like it. And I barely have to explain gay marriage. Another win.

We sink into couches, and sure enough, minutes in, the doorbell rings. Neighbours want to play. It’s like a cavalcade down the stairs.

Sidebar: Anja: “Go without me! I’ll meet you there! I’m just getting underwear!” It sounds a lot like “Save Yourselves!”

I’d say it’s quiet in the house as they play with friends in the yard, but it’s just as loud when there are 8 kids on a tramp 10 feet away.

While they are outside, I do my core stabilization exercises. And have a glass of wine. At the same time. How’s that for stable?

8 o’clock comes, the gang disperses, Modern Family gets watched, kids finally go to bed. And you know what?

So do I.

I think I’ve found the missing link in my training. How do you spell “Recovery”?

 

Pemberton, Running

Ending 2014 on a high note… literally.

I tried my best to stick to my training plan throughout the madness of the holidays and for the most part, I was successful.  Despite the running around, the juggling of schedules and people and the onset of the dreaded norovirus, I was good (and selfish) about getting out the door and doing my thing.

Sometimes, to make it happen, things had to get sacrificed.  Fun things… like sleep.  Jen and I had been talking about doing a winter run up to Joffre Lakes at some point, and what better point that sunrise on the last day of 2014?

The trail was perfect, the temps were very cold and the wind was howling.  Didn’t matter much since the sunrise over the 3rd lake made the effort worthwhile.

It was a perfect final workout for 2014.

 

 

Day-to-day life, Kids, Pemberton

“And the Mother of the Year Award goes to…”

Although none of the kids really ride in it much anymore, we have an old, beat-down Chariot stroller that has seen better days.  More often than not, it ferries around backpacks and picnics instead of children.  It’s dinged up, dirty and usually at least 2 of 3 tires are flat.

On Hallowe’en night a few weeks ago, we took it with us for Trick or Treating to haul coats, blankets, tired kids and of course, beer.  Because Trick or Treating in Pemberton without beer for weary parents is like Trick or Treating without candy for hyper kids.  Walking the kids to school the following week, I’d noticed an empty Corona bottle left over in one of the back pouches but quickly forgot about it.  I’ll toss it when I get home, I’d told myself.

This morning, Anja and I walked to her Nature Camp and I left the Chariot there, knowing I’d return at the end of the day to collect it, and her.  Nothing unusual there, that old Chariot gets left in a lot of places.

As I walked down the path this afternoon, I heard her friends shriek “Anja, she’s HERE!  HIDE IT!  NO, SHOW HER!”

Isn’t that sweet, I thought. She must have made some nice craft for me. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside.

As she came peeling up the path towards me at full speed, I noticed something in her hand.  Was that… could that be… Oh. My. God. My 4 year old is giving me back my own empty beer bottle.  AWESOME.  How quickly the warm and fuzzies get replaced by the shame and mortification.

But wait!  It gets better.

“MAMA!  Look!  We found the beer bottle in the stroller and there’s a DEAD MOUSE IN IT!”

That’s right.  A dead mouse. 

I was torn between being totally and completely grossed out to being in awe of this 4 year old little blond sprite who thought it was the coolest discovery EVER.

“Mama!  Look at his feet!  Aren’t they cute? And look at the tail, it’s so long! How do you think it got in here?”

And on and on it went.  Clutched in her lap, we had to take the empty Corona and it’s petrified contents to show her brothers and friends at school before we could properly dispose of it.

Amazingly, it didn’t take much to convince her to toss him when we got home (though she tipped the bottle over and tried to shake him out, first).

“That was such a fun show and tell, Mama.”

Lest you think I make this shit up, behold Mickey in his watery grave.
Lest you think I make this shit up, behold Mickey in his watery grave.

Shall I clear a spot off the mantle for my award?

 

 

Day-to-day life, Kids, Pemberton

Hot.

Nobody likes to read about the weather, myself included.  But I’m going to write about the weather anyway, since it seems to be the only thing anyone up here is talking about.  Apologies if you live in a part of the country where it’s been raining 24/7… but for the last 10 days or so, Pemberton has been somewhat comparable to the surface of the sun.

Personally, I like it.  I may not like it as much when I’m trying to sleep, but it’s been back-to-back days of lake time, a steady diet of freezies and popsicles, workouts in the heat of the day where your body just doesn’t sweat because it’s too damn hot.

And to think… in 2 months it’ll probably be snowing.

 

 

Pemberton, Racing, Triathlon

In the hot seat: Gary Martin

The next local athlete I’ll be introducing you to is Gary Martin.  Originally from the UK, he and his lovely wife Zoé are super involved in the Pemberton community and this will be Gary’s first IM.

A talented graphic designer, I first met him through work and often pictured him rolling his eyes at me as I sent over yet another design request/change/variation and cursing me as a client!

More recently, I’ve seen Gary zip by my house every so often, looking super-focused and intense, and have often thought to myself that we should team up for some training, but read on and you’ll know why I’ve now been convinced to zip my lip.  I guess not everyone wants/needs a blabbermouth following them around!

See?  Total eye roll.
See? Total eye roll.

Tell me a little bit about yourself, you family and your lifestyle. How long have you lived in Pemberton?

I’ve lived in Pemberton since early 2008 having moved to Canada with my wife Zoé. I’m a graphic designer so spend far too long sat in front of a computer but try to make the most of my time away from the screen by enjoying the great outdoors and exploring this fantastic valley I get to call home.

Tell me about your athletic background.

I’ve always been very athletic and competed in judo, swimming and bmx before even getting to high school. From there I made the most of all of the opportunities to be on pretty much all of the school teams. Football, rugby, basketball, field hockey, athletics, you name it, I did it. During high school I was lucky enough to learn how to ski and then snowboard, my love for winter sports was born which is one large reason why I now live where I do.

What inspired you to try your hand at triathlon? When was your first race?

Having swam and run competitively as a kid and given my love of biking, triathlons have always interested me but there was no real opportunities to try them back in the UK. A buddy of mine got me interested in running marathons a few years ago so over the winter of 2008/9 I set to work and got training. Completed my first race in 3:40:00 and then came back a year later to run it a little quicker at 3:28:00. During the summer of 2010 the same buddy that got me running was looking for a swimmer to be part of a team for the Squamish Triathlon. That sounds like fun I thought so I grabbed my surf wetsuit and headed off to the lake to start training. Really enjoyed being a part of the race so decided that I would do the whole thing myself next summer. As a result in 2011 I completed my first ever triathlon again in Squamish with a time of 2:26:00.

Sooke_Run

 

What drew you to Ironman in particular?

After my first triathlon in 2011 I decided that although it was fun it was over too quickly, my solution was to sign up for the 2012 Subaru West Coast Triathlon Series so completed my first Half Ironman Triathlon in Vancouver (4:48:00) followed by another in Sooke (5:10:00) and then an Olympic distance in Banff (2:23:00). After this busy summer I said to Zoé that she didn’t have to worry as I enjoyed the Half Ironman distance but had no desire to do a full one. This all changed however when Whistler confirmed that the race was coming to town and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to race where I live and have trained for the last few years.

What has you most excited about taking the start at Ironman Canada 2014?

Sooke_Bike

page1image25176

I’m ridiculously meticulous with my race preparation and every event I enter I like to pre ride, walk, run or drive the course. I’m so excited for the race as I know every inch of the course having trained on it over and over again. The course is so amazing and to be able to share it with other triathletes is so awesome having visited plenty of amazing places in my short triathlon career.

Do you have a particular goal for this race?

Yes, I’d love to finish in under 11 hours. Myself and three of my friends are also competing, we’re the Pan Pacific Whistler Ironmen. Two of us are married to the Pan Pacific while the other two work for the hotel brand. We’re trying to raise $10,000 for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice so also have this as a race related goal as well as trying to beat my three friends.

(Click here to find out more:  Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.)

 

Will you complete any races prior to Ironman?

Sooke_Swim

Yes, I’ve already completed the April Fools Half Marathon and have signed up for the Subaru West Coast Triathlon Series again. I’ll be competing in an Olympic distance in May over on Vancouver Island at Shawnigan Lake, a Half Ironman again on the Island in June in Victoria before a final Olympic or Sprint distance depending on how I’m feeling at the beginning of July in Vancouver.

How did you find training through the winter months? How many hours on average do you train per week?

After training through the winters for the Vancouver Marathon at the beginning of May I’ve actually learned to love winter training. Running in the winter rocks, snow, cold, -20°, awesome. Not so easy for the biking but a trainer in the garage with the iPad makes it bearable and swimming up and down, up and down makes no difference to the time of year. It’s been progressively building over the last month or two and I’m now up to about 15 hours a week.

Can you describe a typical day during a heavy training week?

They vary so much from day to day right now that there’s nothing typical about them to be honest. To give an idea of what I’ve been up to though last week I rode 250km, ran 50km and swam 10km along with a trip to the gym, the chiro and the physio!

Are you able to find balance with work, life and training or did “something have to give”?

Me_Snowboarding

So far its not been too bad although my wife did comment that she hardly ever sees my as I’m either sleeping, working or training. I’ll remind her of this in a few months time when training is over and she’s moaning about me being home all the time. I did pass on buying a season pass for Whistler Blackcomb as I really didn’t want either the distraction or risk of injury get in my way, good choice in the end after the mediocre season we had.

What do you consider your strength on race day? What about your weakness?

I consider my biggest strength to also be my biggest weakness. I love the bike and love the bike course but as a result I really need to make sure I don’t go too hard and remember that I still have a marathon to run. I got carried away at my first triathlon and had a great ride but a horrible run. This is why I love training on the course as I’m getting to know just how hard I can go and what gear I need on every kilometre.

What sporting/athletic accomplishment are you most proud of?

I was super proud when I finished my first marathon, growing up in the UK I always watched the London Marathon every year and always thought how tough it must be to run that far, I was right! I was also really proud with my result in Sooke in 2012. Given the lack of experience and the fact that I just found a training plan online and trained for six months on my own with no extra help it was so cool to see my name on the results list in 10th place.

What do you find most enjoyable about training? Is there anything that you dread?

So many people say that they find training lonely, this in fact is what I like most about both it and racing. Training with other people distracts me and stops me from focusing, a 20km run or 150km bike is a great way to clear your mind and not have to worry about anyone else. I wouldn’t have said there’s anything I really dread, I’d be lying if I said I look forward to the 4am alarm calls but I never dread them. I’ve really loved training this year and think I’ve actually only missed maybe 3 sessions this year and those have all been due to injury rather than dread.

What are you most looking forward to once you cross that finish line?

Being able to get back into the life I had before Ironman. Its a huge commitment to dedicate your life to such a big race. Having a cup of tea with my wife, taking our husky out for his bedtime walk, exploring Pemberton at the weekend with Nixon (our husky) and sharing a nice bottle of red, these are the things I’m most looking forward to getting back.

Any race-day superstitions?

Where do I start! When I said I’m meticulous I meant it. My superstitions and rituals begin the night before the race, haircut, shave (both my legs and face), spaghetti bolognese and layout all of my race gear. Early rise, walk the dog, roasting hot shower, breakfast, if these things don’t happen then let’s just say it messes with my mojo!

Name 3 things you can’t live without while training and racing.

Zoé pointed out her disappointed at being listed after my iPod and Glide in my 3 can’t live without things so here’s the order I think it might be best I list them in: The support of my wife, iPod and Glide.

If you could have your dream day – perfect racing – describe it.

A dream day would be a perfectly flat lake with comfortably warm water, endless kilometres of smooth black asphalt with no wind and blue skies and even more smooth black asphalt to happily run 42.2km on. The perfect day would then continue with a nice glass of wine on sunny patio with my wife and poopy dog, happy days.

If you could pick 3 dream sponsors, who would they be?

Cervelo, New Balance and Oakley. I was lucky enough to get a P3 last year and love it. NB has kept me going injury free for the last 6 years since I started running and I’m off to buy another pair this weekend after wearing another pair out. I’ve work Oakleys for years for my reading glasses and got a pair of a Race Jackets this year, so comfy, so awesome and so good being able to see and not have to stick contacts in my eyes.

If you could pick 3 dream training partners, who would they be and why?

There are athletes who I both respect and admire but like I have previously said I love to train alone so if I could stay solo for training that would be my dream.

What’s your favourite way to recover after a hard race or workout?

Smoothie, hot shower, compression tights. So many people I talk to about recovery love to eat, it takes me a while to feel hungry after a hard race or a workout so the smoothie does the important instant food and gets my through a few hours before I get my hunger on and eat like a horse. 

Kids, Pemberton, QOTD

Lessons in confidence

Anja rode her first “real” mountain bike trail this morning, the Bathtub trail.  She was appropriately dressed in a helmet, a stripy dress, a grey cardigan and pink glitter shoes.  Obviously.

As she wound her way through the twists and turns, she never stopped talking.  Again, obviously.

A few gems:

“I am the awesomest mountain biker ever”!

“I’m not afraid of anything in here!”

“I am so impressed with me.”

If I can channel that kind of confidence next weekend in St-George, look out.

2nd ride.  Tutu.
2nd ride. Tutu.
Day-to-day life, Family, Kids, Pemberton

Saturday.

Let’s face it.  When your 3 year old tells you she doesn’t want to go skiing because there are too many rocks, it’s time to move to plan B.  I can’t really argue with her, it’s not as though we’ve had a stellar winter to date.

Saturdays agree with me lately.  The kids are fairly cooperative in letting me sleep in (and by sleep in, I mean the clock doesn’t lead with a 6), cartoons are allowed and therefore coffee is consumed in peace, and it’s a day off from work and training.  These days, I’ve even been good and stayed away from the stimulation/black hole of social media!  (Pats self on back).

While we skied last weekend in balmy 12C, this Saturday was cold and sunny, so the little people wandered across the road to skate on their “rink”: a frozen puddle in the middle of a hay field.  I felt so Canadian!  Too bad I don’t own skates.

I suspect that tomorrow we’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming and be back on the hill.  We just can’t seem to stay away.  As it should be!

Day-to-day life, Family, Pemberton, Racing, Random, Skiing, Whistler

‘Twas the season and all that.

Sitting at the counter, surrounded by bits and pieces of Christmas and New Year’s detritus.  1 kid at daycare, the other 2 playing outside with a friend in what can only be called an honest to goodness downpour.  Welcome 2014!

So… whatcha been up to these last few weeks?  I wish I could think of something riveting to say but I can sum up the last 6 weeks in bullet points and pictures.  Hurray for the iPhone camera feature!  Otherwise I’m pretty sure my memory would erase 87% of the daily stuff that goes on in these parts.

– Ski school, blessed wonderful ski school has resumed for 2/3 kids.  That means we can now all ski together.  And that also means we don’t fit on one chairlift (cue the “I want to ride with Mama/Dada!” arguments).

-I couldn’t really hack retirement.  Back to work!  Thrilled.

-I’ve tackled some more structured training in light of some looming races (damn you, foolish near-unachievable goals!)  It feels good to shift into a routine.  And hey!  I can almost swim!  And I’ve remembered what it’s like to sweat on the wind trainer.  GTs.

-Contrary to all the lovey-dovey, 2013 was so wonderful #lucky13 posts I’ve read lately, I am not at all sad to see this year end.  It was a frustrating one for me and I’m ready to move into even numbers.

-Speaking of the New Year, I’m not one for resolutions but I suppose I resolve to eat better (hahaha – I say that every year) and to spend at least one weekend every month totally unplugged.  I think even I can manage that.

In kid news, this 2 week/3 weekend Christmas break with very little snow is kind of kicking my ass.  They might be loath to admit it, but I think even the boys are ready to head back to school.

A few of the latest Anja quotes:

“Mama, when you were on your trip, I was looking at the ground and then I splattered my face on the ground.”

Me: “Can you be quiet?” Her: “No.  My heart doesn’t like that so I listen to it.”

“Mama, elephants do not wear bathing suits.”

And lastly, a round up in pictures, in no particular order.

 

Pemberton, Triathlon, Whistler

Ironman Canada – the aftermath.

IMC

Doesn’t the word aftermath have a terrible ring to it? I’m going to have to think of something nicer to say. Afterglow?

Ironman Canada came to whistler – Veni, Vidi, Vici. But in this case, it wasn’t a hostile takeover by any means – I truly believe the towns, both Whistler and Pemberton, got won over by this event, in the best way possible.

Were there first year ‘birthing’ pains? Sure there were. Are there things that need to be fixed to make it better/safer/more convenient/easier to navigate? Absolutely. Were there grumblers and mumblers who, no matter how hard you tried, you’d never make happy? Yes. But I think that will be the case because, as I’m learning to accept, you really can’t make everyone happy.

wurtele

There’s no doubt I’m biased here. I’ve raced Ironman, so I felt pretty confident going into this weekend that folks who come ’round after watching it. I was working for the organization so I had a front row seat to the goings-on, but I was also able to use my “local’s knowledge” (condescending as that sounds) to help organizers with weird tasks, answer athlete’s quirky questions and help volunteers as best I could.

I was easy to spot: “Go ask the girl in the sling”.

Some highlights:

  • Hearing Suzanne sing the National Anthem on Friday night and thinking, “Holy shit. This is really happening.”
  • Walking to the swim start and realizing that we had greatly under-estimated how many people would come down to watch in person. And it was so, so worth it. Fog, sunrise, nervous energy and a cannon-shot to kick off the day
  • Taking 30m out of my day, ignoring my phone and sitting on the trail with Gabi to cheer on friends and strangers alike. This may have been my favourite part of the day.
  • Seeing John finish was great – but seeing how proud of him his mother was was pretty special. It reminded me of how proud my mum had been of me after my first Ironman and the teary phone call we had.
  • The late night or early morning tired giggles with colleagues. Those are the best.
  • Watching the 2 drunk guys on a bench outside of the coffee shop make fun of triathletes and their compression socks. C’mon – that’s pretty funny.
I don't know who this is, but I kind wanted to heckle him.
I don’t know who this is, but I kind wanted to heckle him.
  • Working with a tremendous crew of hard-working, generous and genuinely nice people; you’re all welcome back anytime (except for the guy who stood there and watched me struggle to load boxes on a dolly with one arm, and didn’t lift a finger. You can stay home next year.)
Pretty happy that Will took advantage of Expo freebies.
Pretty happy that Will took advantage of Expo freebies.

On Tuesday night, I attended the Pemberton info session and was blown away by the fact that I’d say 90% of the comments were positive and those that were not were constructive, not petty or vindictive. It was really refreshing.

I’m already looking forward to next year.

And no, I didn’t sign up.

On a more personal note, on my final day with Ironman I got a called that left me shaken and more than a little heartbroken; Macy had died unexpectedly that morning.

I’m so glad that this has been the summer of Macy. She went where she pleased, slept on all the furniture and got more than her fair share of treats. Her final breakfast included prawns…

I’ll miss you, you silly girl.

13 years young
13 years young