Travel, Triathlon

Consistently inconsistent

I mentioned this briefly in my last post.

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.

Onwards.

I hear the roads in Austin are bumpy. Getting a head start.
I hear the roads in Austin are bumpy. Getting a head start.

 

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Day-to-day life, Travel

Invictus Games 2016

Snippets from my 2 weeks at Invictus Orlando:

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.

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.

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.

Invictus Toronto 2017?

Orlando OUT #boom.
Orlando OUT #boom.

 

Family, Kids, Random, Travel, weekend

I did what the Lululemon bag said to.

one thing a day

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.

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.

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.

Race Report, Racing, Travel, Triathlon

Californi-EH

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.

The purpose of the trip was two-fold: log some big miles, and race in the hot, hot desert sun at Desert International Tri.

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.

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:

karma

[kahr-muh
noun
1.

Hinduism, Buddhism. action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitableresults, good or bad, either in this life or in a reincarnation: inHinduism one of the means of reaching Brahman.

Compare bhakti (def 1), jnana.
2.

Theosophy. the cosmic principle according to which each person isrewarded or punished in one incarnation according to that person’sdeeds in the previous incarnation.
3.

fate; destiny.

4.

the good or bad emanations felt to be generated by someone or something:

Lets get out of here. This place has bad karma.

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.
Mission? Accomplished.

 

Race Report, Racing, Running, Travel

Because we can’t just sit on a beach, apparently.

Sunday morning – on our HOLIDAY – we got up at 3:10AM to go run the Maui Half Marathon.  I’d say it was somewhat easy because I was still on Pacific time, but that would be a total lie.  Getting up at 3:something to do any kind of race is just silly and it sucks no matter how you spin it.

We piled into the car, in the pitch black and headed out the start on the other side of the island.  Standing on the start line, shortly before 5AM, was not unlike standing in the middle of a human sauna.  Foreshadowing: maybe I should have been a little more concerned with fluid loss considering I’d yet to start running and was pretty much already soaking wet.

We took off in the dark, admired the stars and ran somewhat blind for the first hour or so of racing.  It was dark enough, in fact, that I nearly ran head first into the first guy coming back from the turnaround.  I paid slightly closer attention to where I was going after that near miss.

I think it was also around this point – roughly mile 6 – when I started to become aware of the fact that while I was cooking, temperature-wise, I wasn’t sweating that much and I was chilly and covered in goose bumps.  Not ideal.  I figured it would pass if I could get some water down and on me.  And believe me, I tried.

This wasn’t the most riveting course in the world, so I was more than a little relieved when I finally crossed the finish line.  I was rather wobbly, but 2 big guys grabbed me and gave me little choice about heading straight to medical.  Some IV fluids and some chocolate milk later, I was fine.

In the end, good enough to win my age group and finish 7th overall.  And then, of course, hit the beach/pool/post-race beers.

A few days post race, Liz and I decided “Hey, there’s a volcano.  Let’s go ride bikes up it!” Or something along those lines.

Actual conversations held during the ride:

Mile 16:

Me (squealing as something flew at me): “What the hell was that? Did you see that thing?”

Liz: “What? No. Nothing. You’re hallucinating. Maybe you’re seeing cheeseburgers.”

Mile 21:

Me: “I sure hope this volcano doesn’t explode on us.”

Liz: “Shut up, cheeseburger.”

Needless to say, we made it.  It was pretty epic.  10’000ft of epic. And really freaking cold.

Common sense dictates that yes, we did also lie on the beach, nap, lie by the pool, talk,  read books, hot tub, watch sunsets, drink lots of coffee and many, many other beverages, dance, laugh and generally have a very above average holiday. An excellent kick off to this 24th, er, 40th year, I’d say.

 

Day-to-day life, Running, Travel

Multi-sport birthday weekend.

Yay, me.
Yay, me.

I celebrated my birthday last weekend.  Contrary to popular belief, I did not actually turn 24. In fact, I’ve officially jumped into a whole new decade, an entirely new age group.  When I confessed my real age to Will, the look of abject horror on his face was pretty priceless. Almost worth the price of my confession, I’d say.

You’d think he’d have figured out that I wasn’t 24 when one of his pals said to me “oh, so that means you graduated from high school 5 years ago?”

photo 4

Busted.

Anyway, we filled the weekend the best way we know how: with sport.

Sport #1.  A 6 year old boy’s birthday party.

Happy belated, mon amour.
Happy belated, mon amour.

 

Ok, so while this isn’t “technically” a sport, when it was over I felt as tired as if I’d run 2 marathons. Clearly, I did not fuel properly.  Maybe I should have backed away from the MnMs.

The noise level was on par with that of a WWF match (I’m guessing here, having never actually been to one).  A recovery session was required by all.

Dyslexia at its finest
Dyslexia at its finest

Sport #2. Terry Fox Run

The most important run of the year.  I’ve done it every year since living on the West Coast and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.  It’s very, very important to me and my kids know it.  They are starting to feel the same way.  Granted, we don’t go far and some of the kids ride bikes, but we are out there supporting a very good cause.

Sport #3. Defeat the Duffey.

Sure, let’s pick an afternoon where it’s 30C to ride straight uphill for 65 minutes.  Fun!  It was hard and I loved it.  But damn if Paul didn’t win for the 3rd year in a row.  I have no idea how that’s even possible.  I’d call him a cheater if I could figure out a way that cheating is possible.

Celebrations continue this week as I am in  Maui with a group of the best friends a girl could ask for.  Far be it from us to plan a trip without a race, we’ll be starting the Maui 1/2 marathon on Sunday.

At 5am.

In the dark.

I haven’t run a quick step since Challenge Penticton.  This ought to be interesting.

I’d post lots of pictures of what we’re doing here, but that would just be cruel.

Aloha!

Ok, fine. One.
Ok, fine. One.
Race Report, Racing, Running, Travel

April Fools Run

We arrived at the start line with plenty of time to warm up and each of us had a good game plan in hand.  Unexpectedly, the pack took off quickly and almost immediately splintered.  Everyone was feeling strong but we all had different goals and clearly, there were some of us who were better trained than others for this kind of event.  After taking an early lead, 2 of the 5 us started to flag and had to take shelter. The finish line seemed further and further away and, personally, my stamina was failing me.

Eventually, our group reformed and we were all able to finish together and compare notes.

Oh wait… that’s not Sunday’s run report… That’s Saturday’s shopping report.  Damn it! I always get the 2 mixed up.

Anyway.

April Fools Run.  Right.  The “real” purpose of this Mom’s Gone Wild getaway!  And by wild I mean we went shopping without any kids, had dinner in a adult restaurant, sat in a hot tub without anyone hanging off my neck and I was asleep by 9:21pm.  The shopping destroyed me. 5:45am sure comes quickly when you are in a cozy hotel room… 

I’ve never run this race before but it’s quickly found itself at the top of my “will do again” race list.  It’s a pretty course, it’s hilly, it finishes on the ocean and there were almond croissants at the finish line.

The long and short of my race went something like this: warm up; start.  Go up.  Go down.  Turn right.  Go up.  Go down.  And down some more.  Then down really fast.  Then up again.  And so on and so on until I crossed the line, wheezing, in Sechelt.

I am pleased with my run. 3rd place in my AG secured me some funky mug to bring home for the kids to fight over!  (Let’s go ahead and clarify that my time was leagues behind the winner and runner-up in my age group.  And that’s ok!  Those are some very fast ladies).  It didn’t rain and I very nearly PR’d.  Guess I shouldn’t have wasted all those precious seconds high-fiving the volunteers.

Oh, who am I kidding.  I totally should have.  It’s more fun that way.

I have decided that the key to my success is stuffing my face continuously the day before (which also happens to be quite fun).  That and running without a watch.  And not overheating (no photo evidence available of my translucent legs).

And chasing down some guy dressed as the GingerBread Man.  I mean, I’ve been beaten by Minnie Mouse before but the GingerBread Men?  Oh hell no.

 

 

Biking, Kids, Pemberton, Racing, Running, Travel, Triathlon, Whistler

Ironman Canada from the sidelines

So, you’re doing Ironman Canada.  Good for you.

You’ve lovingly convinced/dragged/coerced your loved ones/family/friends/crew to join you for the fun.

As a good, caring and unselfish triathlete, you aren’t going to force these fine folks to sit around in your condo or hotel room and watch you lie about with your legs up the wall while you sip your endurance beverage of choice out of carefully labeled water bottles, are you?

No, you are not.

This is a world-class resort with a lot of things to do and explore.  Let’s be good people and send them out the door with a list of things to do while you rest up in those recovery boots, shall we?

The Kids

I’ll be the first to admit that I love spectating at Ironman.  Sure, there are some boring bits, but those are squished between frantic moments of running around the course, cheering, admiring, eating, crying, coaxing, taking pictures and plotting an eventual comeback.  My favourite thing to see, however, is kids cheering on mom and dad.  They make cute posters, wear dorky matching shirts, scream at the top of their little high-pitched lungs. One day, I’ll be that mom with her kids screaming at her to move her ass. But then, they fall asleep.  Everywhere.  In strollers. On a patch of grass.  In a restaurant chair.  It’s awesome but also makes me feel bad for them: don’t they want to be doing something else?

It’s going to be August which means it’s going to be hot (probably) which means – LAKES.  Hit the lakes!  There are at least 3 fun beach parks that will keep those little people in your life occupied for quite some time: Rainbow Park (the start of the swim course, so perhaps not the best choice closer to race day), Lost Lake park (rent a bike and pedal your way out there, it’s the way to go), Alpha Lake Park (again, use the Valley Trail to bike out there).

Speaking of bikes, put those little suckers into bike camp.  DFX camps are awesome and they’ve turned my kids into confident little terrors on 2 wheels.  Arrange (ahead of time!) a bike rental for getting around town.  There are tons of places to rent and most rent Chariot trailers, too: perfect for hauling picnics, gear and tired little people.

The Municipality here offers a lot of day camp options if your offspring aren’t keen on bikes.  Smear on the sunscreen and kiss them goodbye.  They are in good hands.

If you want a night out (which, yeah.  I know.  Not before race day!  But maybe you’re like me and don’t think that having that 1 beer will ruin your race so you’ll go for it), call the fine folks at Babysitting Whistler.  They’re priced like that because they are good.

There are so many activities that you can do with your kids, too.  The Adventure Zone, Zip-Trek, Rafting, Bungee Jumping (if you’re that kind of parent), Yoga, Swimming, Bounce (if it’s raining which it won’t be), the PEAK 2 PEAK, and tons of playgrounds.

The bottom line is this: if your kids claim that they are bored while they are here, someone’s doing something wrong.

Your ironmate

 (Editor’s note: Worst moniker EVER.  If I called my husband my “ironmate”, he’d divorce me on the spot).

Moving on.  I could go the usual route and write something like “treat your lady to a day at the spa bla bla bla” but WAIT.  Not all who do Ironman are MEN.  This is an equal opportunity blog.  Ha.

So yeah, there are spas, of course.  The Scandinave happens to be spectacular.  But adult-folk can do lots of the same things I suggested for the kids.  The mountain biking in this place is amazing.  If you are keen to learn the bike park, go for it.  Listen, I get that it looks insane and totally intimidating and super scary but there really is something for everyone (and if my 4 year old rode it last year, then so can you).

Golf.  I hear there’s good golfing around here.  I personally run out of steam at 7 holes, but if that’s your thing there are at least 6 courses for you to get frustrated at between Squamish and Pemberton.

If you’re a runner, let me be the first to encourage you to bring your trail gear and explore our valley.  The trail running here is second to none and you can thank me later for telling you to go.  In fact, why don’t you race, too?  The 5 Peaks is the day before Ironman and a perfect excuse to get up the mountain.

If your person wants to cheer you on, well that’s just awesome.  The swim start is at Rainbow park and, unless your fan club has a bike, I’d advise against going out to the start.  Rather, have them stay in the village, enjoy a coffee and watch you and 2,499 or so of your friends fight for open water on the big screen in Whistler Olympic Plaza.  That way, they can enjoy some village time while you pedal your heart out up and down our hills for the next 180 km.

(Editor’s note: Oh yes, you know I’ll be writing my own personal review of the bike and run courses.  Maybe the swim and the transitions too, if I’m feeling particularly detail-oriented.  Wait!  Maybe I’ll GoPro the whole thing!  Actually, no I won’t.)

The bike will be tough to spectate – but let’s be honest, isn’t it always?  Apart from coming into and out of the transitions, your personal cheer squad is going to have to find a way to get themselves out of the village without getting stuck in traffic and/or impeding the race.  Unless they can pedal their way out there?  I’d stick to cheering the run course.  Which is going to be awesome!  With shade!  Pull up a lawn chair, crack a cold (non-alcoholic, of course) one and yell till midnight, at which point you can come and join me for some teary-eyed cheering at the finish.

Before and After

If you can, come to Whistler a week before to experience my favourite event of the summer: The Slow Food Cycle.  It’s a week out from race day – surely the 35-ish kilometers you’ll have to pedal aren’t going to hinder your race prep, are they?

Load up the bikes, the kids, the trailer, bring some water and sunscreen, leave the lycra at home (I beg of you), slow down and enjoy being part of something that will surely be the highlight of your visit.  Trust me on this one.

If you’re sticking around after Ironman, or visiting before, get out of Whistler and explore a bit!  Pemberton has some great trails, a perfect lake (or 2) to chill at, Mile One, Blackbird Bakery, and so on and so on (I’ve bragged abotu these places before… I’d send you to Squamish but all I really know about Squamish is where to ride and I’m sure you can figure that out on your own.

There’s so much more I could share, but really it’s up to you to make the most of your time here. Get out here and do it!

And for the love of god, start waving to each other on the bike.  It’s just rude not to.

Family, Kids, Travel

Tales from the road

Alternate blog titles:
-WTF was I thinking;
-wow, this is further than I thought;
-“hey, it’s only 36 more miles to Mexico!”

Well, we made it.

Road trip chronicles: day 1

I set the bar pretty low in terms of successful touch points for day 1: no puking, minimal crying, no getting lost and not eating every single snack I pack. Day 1 = success!

Liz sent the following recommendations:
Driver picks music: moot point as the raining was pounding down so hard at we couldn’t hear it anyway.
Don’t eat at chain restaurants: does eating at White Spot before we left Vancouver count?
Pit stops/pee breaks by majority: no. I force peeing on everyone except Will, who enjoys peeing once a day on I-5 in rush hour traffic.
Do something that bores the kids: wait till I bust out the adult audiobooks.

We made it to Eugene, crashed out.

Day 2:

More rain. Goal: California, maybe as far south as San Francisco. Reality: get stuck in a decent snowstorm near Ashland, OR and end up stranded in Yreka, CA due to the fact that California highway patrol closed the freeway. Follow ST’s rules and eat at the Purple Plum. Terrible. But! Our hotel has a 10ft square pool, so woo! Holiday!

Day 3:
Hey, wow – rain! More dangerous drivers in moderate snow but we make it almost to San Luis Obispo before the truck breaks down in a gas station parking lot… Long story boiled down: gas up, car won’t start, call a tow truck, get towed to a GMC dealership, Jay fiddles with fuses and voila! Car starts. 2h45 we won’t ever get back. We load back up and mission to Ventura.

Day 4. San Diego and thank god for that.

More to come, provided we don’t kill each other. 2 days till Noel…

Oh – to my friends who called me out for popping up on social media when I said I was. Taking a break: thank you. I’m sticking to it now. I’ll post this but I’m not checking up in anyone!

Update: dec 24th. Rain!

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Day-to-day life, Family, Kids, Travel

Packing up and logging off…

Tonight, we head to Vancouver to begin our Christmas road trip.  We’ll have an early Christmas dinner with the family and in the morning we’ll load up the kids and our gear and start heading south…  I’m equally excited and nervous about what this experience will bring.  I’m looking forward to seeing new places, being with the family without too many domestic distractions and seeing the sun.  I’m nervous about being in the car for so long and I hope that we haven’t built it up too much in the kid’s minds.  Time will tell, I suppose.  The goal is to make it to San Diego by Christmas and then meander our way home in time for school in January.  I plan to take lots of pictures and write updates on our journey, so stay tuned.  That is, if I’m not in some kind of road coma.

The self-imposed cooking challenge is now officially over.  While I wouldn’t rate it as a complete failure, it wasn’t a complete success, either.  I did manage to stick to my plan of 2 new recipes a week, and I think that I’ll continue to do that when we come back from this trip.  However, I failed to fall in love with cooking.  I think it’s time to face reality: cooking and I will maintain a healthy respect for one another, but there ain’t gonna be wedding bells anytime soon.

What will 2013 bring, I wonder?  I’m not one to make resolutions but I’ll admit that I want to set some new goals and challenges for myself in the coming year.  I’ve already committed to 2 races and I am pondering what else I can challenge myself with to fill the calendar.  I think it should be the “Year of Yes”: time to try new things and say “yes” to whatever comes my way.  And I’ll admit that I am not at all sad to see the backside of 2012.

I’m planning on ending 2012 by taking a break for news, social media and digital distractions in general.  On this trip, it’s time to re-connect with my family, rest and re-charge.  I’ll bring a notebook with me and actually use a pen.  Time to shut off the noise for a while.  Digital detox!

I’ll leave you with some recent pics.  See you in the new year.

photo 5-1
2010 stomping grounds…
photo 4-1
Renewing an old love. I hope to do as much of this as I can this winter
photo 3-1
Winter weddings are fun! And so is pink champagne.
photo 2-1
Bridey! Can you guess her blog alias?
photo 1-1
Despite the lockout, I am quite certain the NHL won’t come calling anytime soon.
photo 3
Riveted by the school Christmas concert. The worse the performance, the louder the applause.
photo 2
Winter is fun
photo 1
These are unnatural. I’m not sure what to make of them, except that my toes miss each other.