What do you know… something like 65 centimetres (25 inches) of snow has fallen in the last 48 hours. Granted, I was in a conference room in Florida when this all happened, but still. Winter is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Is there anything redeeming about the month of February? I mean, besides the fact that it has 28 days instead of 31? Nope. January is all full of post-Christmas attitude and goals. March has hints of spring and noticeably longer days.
February? It’s got Valentines Day, and we all can guess how I feel about that.Somewhere between the end of January and now, I got sick again and have misplaced my mojo. My desire to stay under the blankets and daydreaming about warm sun and green grass is kind of overwhelming. I’d like to let my shoes and bike gather dust… but then I’m quickly reminded that I have a race to look forward to in about 7 weeks.
Maybe I’ll ski some neck deep powder this weekend and all will be right in the world again.
Can we all just agree that race reports are boring? Unless accompanied by a lot of photos and human interest filler, I lose interest pretty quickly. Mostly because tales of watts and nutrition bore me. So I shall endeavour to keep this short, sweet and with lots of photos and useless and completely unrelated movie quotes.
The lead up
As summer wound down, work slowed a little and the dependants went back to school, I was able to focus a bit more on training. It was… condensed. Not quite off the couch, but still. Am I getting too old to do it this way? Maybe.
My fave run of the build, supported by Coach.
Training on the East Coast.
Up Up Up we went
This is how good I look when running in 98% humidity!
Sometimes, life just fits into training. And vice-versa.
The Lone Star State
Last time I went to Texas, I said I wouldn’t go back anytime soon. Well, surprise! I lied. Austin fit into my life, and as I’ve gone on and on about, I was super excited about my little camper.
Turns out travelling solo was fine, but it added an air of seriousness to the race that I didn’t really want. Part of racing is being social and hanging out with friends. In this case, I kind of folded inward and didn’t make much effort to be social. I did my thing, caught up on rest, read and pretended I could totally fit my life into tiny home living.
I rented the ugliest colour on purpose.
Taking the most Texas selfie I could come up with.
I wanted to park here all day, but was also a bit scared.
Talk to me, Goose.
Fast forward to race morning, and watching the fog settle onto the lake. I wandered aimlessly, peed behind trees (it was foggy! No one could see me!) and went to find friends working the race who could give me the goods. Sure enough, I learned the quick way to be careful what you wish for: swim cancelled… Surprisingly, I wasn’t super happy about this. I mean, I had a new wetsuit to try!
Getting the goods
This was when the fog was “thin”
Killing time behind the aforementioned trees.
You’re ego’s writing checks your body can’t cash
Onto the bike, I thought I felt good. I trucked along, kept and eye on the über bumpy road and my numbers and, as it turns out, totally over-biked. Woo! Also, I hit myself in the face with a flying water bottle.
This was before I hit myself in the face.
Front row parking. One of the few times being a AWA pays off?
Stunning bike course.
Good morning gentlemen, it’s 110 degrees
That about sums up the run. Heart rate sky high, melting from the inside out, running in circles through the rodeo grounds. Extremely grateful for the unicorn hat that created a little bubble. Also, my aim for cups into trash bins was exceptional at this race. Was it the most scenic of runs? Nooooo. Did I stick to my race plan? Also, nooooo. It wasn’t for lack of trying.
Great balls of fire
Stumble across the air conditioned finish line, see double for a few minutes, cool down, regain composure, meet up with friends, beer, burger, juan pelota, eat some more, netflix and bed.
Visiting Juan. Love him or hate him, it’s a neat place.
My teeny home away from home.
All in all, just another Sunday in the Lone Star State.
I do a lot of stuff alone, particularly when it comes to sport. I mostly train alone and have never played team sports. All that togetherness and camaraderie, it’s all very intimidating and so not me.
Don’t get me wrong. I love running and riding with my friends when I can, mostly because it’s a fairly rare treat. I even like swimming with friends (we know how that goes – you chat for 30 seconds at the end of the lane then debate where to have post-swim coffee).
Perhaps what makes training alone so rewarding is the culmination of it all, which for me traditionally results in a trip somewhere with a bunch of friends to do whatever race or event you’re gunning for. You prep together, analyze the forecast together, etc etc. And of course, post-race beers. Post-race beers are the best beers.
Now, here’s a question.
Am I going to still have post-race beers after Austin?
Because Austin is the first time ever (I think) that I am going to a race completely by myself. Like a big girl.
I can’t even recall the last time I even went to a 10km running race where I didn’t at least have an acquaintance to chat with on the start line! Maybe I’ve been spoiled. Anyway.
Austin fit into the schedule for me and initially, I was pretty convinced in my own powers of persuasion and that I’d talk some friends into coming with. Well, lo and behold, people have lives beyond a triathlon that I picked that suited me. And so, here I am. Solo mission.
There’s a part of me that’s super excited to have 5 days alone with no one to think of but myself (hello, selfish triathlete nature), to live in my little vintage camper that I scored (no one over 6ft allowed) and to do what I want, when I want, particularly if that means having breakfast for dinner.
There’s a part of me that is already fretting. Who’s going to remind me to bring body glide to the start? What if I sleep through my alarm? What am I going to wear? There are 2 transitions! I have a headache already. Who is the first person I am going to talk to at the finish line?! Am I just going to follow some randoms to the closest brewery?
“Hi folks! I’m Canadian! Can I have a post-race beer with y’all?”
Man alive, you’d think I’d never been anywhere on my own, ever.
Has anyone seen my giddy-up? You’d think that with a break in racing and structured training, I’d be raring to go. Seems I work the opposite way: the less I do, the easier it gets to skip the next workout. The more consistent I am, the more consistent I want to be.
**Noted: same goes for blogging. Or keeping the house clean. Or getting work done. Yeesh!
Lately, every time I make up mind to get back to it, in some way, I get jolted into some stupid stop-start routine. Typically, it’s about 4 days of training followed by 4-5 days of travel/work/etc. that wipe away any progress made whatsoever. It doesn’t help that my drive is driven (see what I did there?) mostly by incentive (races, adventures, etc.) With nothing on the calendar to give me a kick in the pants, it was too easy to kick back and do nothing.
Also? Event food is the worst when you are tired and will power is at level nil #allthecandy.
Therefore, I can summarize training this summer as consistently inconsistent.
My options were: continue to try to get my act together without a looming race (success level: negligible), or sign up and have a race loom (success level: TBD).
So it’s a trip back to Texas for me. It fits the work schedule and it’s far enough away that the looming isn’t so… loomy.
Days were long, hot, sweaty, stressful, tiring, a mad rush, long waits, flurries of activity. I was alternately elated and frustrated, buzzing with energy and exhausted. But the Invictus Games were nothing short of inspiring and gave me a whole new level of perspective. Many of these men and women shouldn’t be alive, let alone smashing themselves in wheelchair rugby or diving into that beautiful pool.
I saw an alligator. Granted, it was from the comfort of a car going 100km/h, but now I know how tourists feel when they come to Whistler and see a bear. There was squealing.
Mickey rules all in Orlando. Including the food.
“Are you Nick’s sister?” I hear this a lot. Games gypsies are a small family. Nick led the way for me. Working these types of events allows me to meet people from all over the world and make life-long connections. Best of all, my crew was made up of 2 of my most favourite people. The late-night giggles and inside jokes were all-time.
Before the madness really set in
It rains in Florida, apparently.
Our last event
Volunteers make the world go ’round.
Yes, I met Prince Harry. The “he’s royalty” factor wears off pretty quickly when he admits to being just another ginger suffering in the sun. His dedication to these athletes and hands-on approach was admirable and unexpected.
We invented a new game called “Spot the Secret Service”. We thought we were pretty good at it. We probably have no idea what we are talking about.
Signed by all the athletes
Is this Lady Gaga or not?
Sitting Volleyball. Amazing.
“Now, if you just sign here…”
Just another ginger with an iPhone
I didn’t run when there, but walked a touch.
We met a Harry Stalker. That was something.
I loved how family-driven this event was. Each athlete was invited to bring along 2 or 3 supporters with them. It added a completely different dimension to the Games.
The best part of being away and working myself into the ground for 2 weeks is coming home to cuddles and hugs from my people.
It’s true. There are things that scare me. One of which consists in sleeping on the ground surrounded by a millimetre of nylon, with 3 children. I’m a creature of comfort, so forgive me if I prefer to parent my children in the comforts of my home, knowing that I get to collapse into my cozy bed at the end of the day.
When friends planned a camping/biking trip a few months back, I thought little of saying YES. In fact, I kind of forgot about it until the week before — when I realized I’d have to borrow a LOT of gear and then started checking the weather like some crazy person (or like a triathlete with a race coming up).
I had mentally decided to pull the plug on the whole adventure until the morning we left… the weather looked bad, we were all tired and at each others throats. So that was when I pulled on my big girl pants, packed the truck and… followed friends up the Forest Service Road to our destination because I was sure that 1) I was bound to get lost 2) I’d get a flat in the middle of nowhere and 3) I’d get eaten by bears which fixing the flat.
And we’re off.
Last chance food stop
The end of night #1 was a deal maker.
What do you know – none of those things happened and we had a fantastic weekend. I even – dare I say – enjoyed the sleeping on the ground wrapped in nylon.
The riding was spectacular and hard and fun and I’m pining to go back. The kids were happy, dirty, tired and ate meals with their helmets on their heads between bike laps. My friends bent over backwards to help me manage the team and give me the chance to ride.
Oh, the things we see
And at the end of it all, I was brave enough to do the drive home down the service road all alone. We only got lost once.
If we are social media pals, you may have noticed that I broke all kinds of posting rules a few weeks ago by bombarding my feed with pictures of Liz and I on a training trip to Sunny Southern California.
I was going to write up some kind of recap of the week but Liz did a WAY better job than I ever could, and you can read about it here. I will, however, bombard you with more pictures and my own race report.
Inspiration Point overlooking LA
If there’s a beach, there’s a handstand attempt
This is my artsy attempt.
This was hanging on the door to our room. The irony was not lost on moi.
Meet Joey. Joey grosses me out. Apparently Joey ‘likes to meet new people’. Uh huh.
Incapable of hiding my glee
Cutest. Human. Ever.
This swim started 4000m ago in the pitch dark. I survived.
I’d like to say that this is the aftermath of something. It’s not.
Not unlike Liz, my level of caring about this race was hovering somewhere between “F&^ it” and “Can’t I just stay in bed?”, particularly when we got up in the morning, in the desert, to the sound of pouring rain on the roof. Do you know what rain in the desert after jamming Instagram with pics of sunshine is? This is what it is:
thegoodorbademanationsfelttobegeneratedbysomeone or something:
So anyway, yeah. It was raining. Hard. Oh well. We hearty Canadians squeezed into wetsuits, high-fived and got it done. Here’s how it went down for me.
Swim: I do believe that while my swim is improving, I still swam like an inebriated eel. The saving grace is that I got through transition quickly and out on the bike efficiently.
Bike: The bike was totally flat, which usually puts me at a bit of a disadvantage, what with my huge size and all. I much prefer a course that has big hills on which I can pass all those big boys. No matter, I put my head down and pedaled my gradually freezing self to the transition. I didn’t race with a watch or a bike computer, so I didn’t really know where I stood. I just know that no girls passed me, so that was good.
When I got back to transition, lo and behold, there were no other bikes there. Neat! I fumbled to take off my helmet and shoes and off I went with frozen feet and hands.
Run: Also totally flat, also not my fave. I was off in lala-land for most of it, picking people off and focusing on moving my frozen feet. I finally warmed up for the last 3kms, passed Bobby within sight of the finish line (sorry, Bobby!) and managed to win my age group. So yay me!
There was no loitering post-race. We had one mission and one mission only in mind: In n Out burger.