Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Baby pics

Here is Hugo trying to beat up his big bad blue baby bed.

He got a hold of Geoff's wallet and went after not the credit cards but the leather wallet itself. I guess he hasn't learned just yet.

Tired out from all his shenanigans, and cuddling with his new hippo, which has since been ripped open and the stuffing slowly oozing out.

Some random thoughts for the day:

- I was thinking of having a 'puppy shower', you know, instead of a wedding or baby shower. I have been to countless numbers of wedding/baby showers, and have spent countless amounts on them. I figure it's time I had one of my own, but not the traditional kind. Everyone is invited, and gifts are not required.

- Why does my brand new car have Braille on the steering wheel controls, the console controls, and the window/door lock controls? I understand that in this day and age things are to be politically correct, but should the visually impaired really be driving? I'm not trying to be rude, but it makes you kind of worry.

- I am happy to report that the situation regarding my work woes has been completely resolved as of yesterday. Now I can again look forward to going to work in the morning and enjoying my job.

- Why are we expected to tip just about every profession nowadays? At my massage therapy clinic they now have a tip button on the interac keypad. I am not a cheap person but it seems to be getting a little out of hand. And it makes you feel awkward when you don't leave a tip. Obviously at a restaurant I always leave a tip for good service, but now you are expected to tip taxi's, hair dressers, nail manicurists, coffee baristas, and the like. But massage therapy? This is a form of healthcare treatment and I don't feel tips are appropriate. Do doctors and dentists get tips? Soon we are going to be expected to tip cars that are stopping to let us cross the street.

- Sometimes in order to see the rainbow you must first endure the rain...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Go Canada!

What is going on? We had zero medals the entire first week of the Olympics, and all of a sudden we have 17! Wow - way to go Canada! We have surpassed the medal count of Athens, and there are still at least a few medals expected to be won in the remaining days of the Games. All of the critics were saying during that first week how this was going to be the worst Olympics in history for Canada - boy did the Canadian athletes prove those nay-sayers wrong! GO CANADA!

Another medal for Canada in the men's triathlon (silver) - a very exciting race to watch!

This week for me has been a struggle for many reasons. I am feeling over-fatigued and exhausted, not sure if it is from work or simply the racing and training of the year catching up to me. Probably both. I feel like I need an extended vacation or even simply a leave from work - there are some things going on (actually people) that I am getting really sick of and I am at the end of my rope of patience. This has got to stop! I prefer not to be more specific as this is a free and open blog so anyone could be reading it!

I am pretty sure I am going to do the St. Albert sprint race next weekend, but this could still change. I haven't done a sprint tri in a while, so it would be fun. The plan for this weekend is to do some biking and running, and a swim or two (hopefully 2 to make up for the swim I skipped yesterday due to feeling tired and unmotivated). I really need to clean the house this weekend, too, bring on the fun!! Speaking of fun, tonight I am going out dancing somewhere with Bonnie and her nursing friends to celebrate her birthday and turning 28. Happy Birthday Bonnie!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

A good day of racing

Yesterday I raced in the Lake Chaparral Olympic tri in Calgary. It was a great day for a race. The weather was beautiful (hot on the run though!), up to 30C and no clouds. The race venue is also awesome, it is in a lake community in the south of Calgary. The race course was also good although each discipline was long!

Geoff and I drove up to Calgary on Friday evening, and once we arrived at our hotel (Travelodge), we decided that we were going to stay in another hotel for Saturday night. I'm not usually that picky, but the hotel (or motel I would call it) was pretty raunchy and not too clean. We had (well I had) decided to cheap out and take the $100 per night room when booking. I was worried that there were bed bugs and other scarier things. We managed to book a room at the Carriage House Inn (a couple blocks away), and it was well worth the extra $60. After doing my easy 15 min run the next morning, we checked out and got the hell out of there.

Race morning I awoke after a terrible sleep (maybe 4 hours of sleeping - tops) feeling surprisingly good. I did my race warm-ups and got ready for the start at 8am, which ended up being 8:15am. The water was so warm there was no need for a wetsuit. The swim turned out awesome, I got out fast and dropped the pack in the first 200m, finding myself all alone out there, which I prefer most. I felt really good the entire swim, and built a lead of just over 1 minute on the next gal! Swim was a bit long, my time was about 21:24 and it was definitely a sub 20 swim for me. They announced just before race start they had added $100 primes for swim/bike/run, so that was a sweet bonus.

I really enjoyed the bike course - it was 5 loops of about 8km with a good uphill, many tight and technical corners, and a left turn near the end of a downhill. The first lap was awesome as I had an escort motorcycle leading the way for me (the course was a bit confusing), and I felt like a PRO! On the second lap a woman passed me and I stuck with her, ending up passing her again on the flat section. On the 3rd lap, the eventual race winner went by and I was unable to keep up with her. Also the pro from Australia (Rebecca Preston) passed me during this lap, and I tried to keep her in my sights. She got away, though, and I just tried to maintain a good pace. I felt awesome during the whole ride. Bike time (including transitions) was 1:12 (3rd fastest overall), and the bike course was about 41km.

I came off the bike in 3rd place and started the run. I didn't feel awesome on the run and wasn't able to hold it together the entire time. It was a good pain-fest and I suffered through some sharp stabbing stitches in my upper trapezius/lateral neck and in my ribs, which leave me short of breath. I had to slow my pace due to this. The run turned out to be about 11km!! There was no need for it to be this long, it could easily have been accurate, and what's more annoying is that the course was advertised as being 9km!! I was expecting to run around 40mins and the time just kept ticking along! My run time ended up being 50mins. The fastest woman ran 43:57 or something. On the last stretch I was passed by the woman who had originally passed me first on the bike and was unable to keep up. I ended up in 4th overall (less than a minute behind 3rd place), and just out of the prize money. [I am hoping that there is a slight possibility that perhaps the first place female may not get the first place prize money (there was a trip given away for first place amateur), and also I am hoping that perhaps the Pro may also not be eligible for prize money in that race??]

They did not hand out the awards after and instead advised they would be mailing out the cheques, so maybe I will get a surprise and get an extra cheque!

Final time was 2:24, which really isn't too bad considering the course was long. I am very happy with my race even though I didn't feel great on the run. I enjoyed myself out there and pushed through the pain and didn't give up.

Next up - I plan on doing a sprint on Sept. 1 in St. Albert, which should be a fun race!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Things you simply can't look cool doing

In an effort to add a little humour to this blog, I am creating an extension of the list of things you cannot possibly look cool in doing (this topic was started some time ago on the Sonic radio morning show in Edmonton). Feel free to add to the list anything you might consider applicable.

- Standing by while your dog is doing his business on a busy street corner with cars driving by, then having to pick up said business in a plastic bag while cars continue to drive by.

- After doing your business in a porta-potty, walking out of the porta-potty and past the huge line of people waiting for their turn to use it.

- J-walking across a street and getting stuck on the median halfway across the road, and having to wait (until it is clear) on the median while cars drive by.

- Stumbling or tripping when wearing any type of heels (this can apply to men, too). This applies even more if you actually fall down. This would also apply even further if you are not wearing heels.

- Choking on food or drink while in a restaurant or anywhere else in public for that matter.

Those are all my contributions for now. My brain is fried as I am sitting in an office with heat coming out of the vents and it is 29C outsisde.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Crashing and burning

I have been having a rough past week, with a lot of negativity surrounding my mood and my training. I had a tough time in my bike workout on Wednesday, just over a 2 hour ride with some hard 10 min tempo intervals. My hips became really sore and tight partway through the ride and as a result I started to lose power. My lower back also tightened up and was really sore during the last 30 minutes. This is strange as I have not made any changes to my bike position in a long time. This happened again on Saturday during a 90 min ride (which was followed by a 30min run off the bike). Luckily it is not an issue when running. Rather, my issue during running since Thursday is that my legs feel dead and I feel out of shape. My back is still feeling tight and sore.

I have decided (well Geoff' idea) to scale back my planned workouts for the next few days in order to attempt to regenerate and hopefully get back on track for racing next weekend. I am in trouble next weekend if I feel like this in the race. Tomorrow I have a chiro appointment for ART (I had one this past Tuesday and feel like it really didn't help me much) and then a massage. I will probably just swim after those. Tuesday will be just a swim, and Wednesday just a bike workout.

I am thinking that perhaps my body has not responded well to the change to the half ironman training mid season and now the switch back to an Olympic distance focus. Next year I am going to focus firstly on the half ironman and the Olympic distance races second.

Hopefully this upcoming week is better. I am taking Friday off work which I am really excited about because during this negative funk I am also annoyed with certain aspects of my job. I get really irritated with a certain employee in my office and also the air conditioning unit is broken and has been deemed un-fixable by the 'repair-man' who came out Thursday to fix it. This past week it was over 30C outside for a few days, and the system is so ridiculously broken it does not turn off, even though it is switched to 'off'. It actually blows warm air through the vents, so it is a frickin sauna in there. The thermostat reader was as high as it could possibly go, at 29C. Not an ideal work environment. I brought a fan from home (used when on the treadmill or indoor biking) which provides a miniscule bit of relief. It is supposed to be hot again later on this week, and I don't know if I can handle sitting in that furnace for even one more day. Don't get me wrong, I love love love the hot weather for training and everything else, I just really don't like it when hot air blows through the vents all through my office and I am sitting there disgustingly hot in my work clothes. Something has got to be done this week about it!

Anyway, on a more positive note - here is sweet Hugo yesterday, waiting for Geoff to come home, and looking a bit like a frog with his legs splayed behind him.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The calm before the storm

This has been a very relaxing weekend for me, filled with some solid workouts. I have really enjoyed having the extra day off (today) and could get used to such a schedule. Saturday was a 90 min ride with the first half into an extreme headwind (honestly I was riding at about 20km/hr, that's how slow it was), with the second half into such a tailwind I almost felt uneasy riding in my aero bars at some points (going nearly 50km/hr). I also did a 45min run later on, with 20min at tempo pace (5km pace in this case), where I went super-hard and felt awesome.

Saturday evening I went out for dinner to Lazia with Bonnie, Robert, Robert's friend, and Geoff. Amazing food! I had the jumbo shrimp and scallop and surprisingly there was room for dessert (creme brulee - yum!). It was nice to get out for dinner and I really love this restaurant. Everything there is good (I am not joking).

On Sunday I did a 60 min run as a negative split/build run, followed by 4 strides at the end. I felt amazing during the run and felt like I was running really fast. I have no idea how to gauge my speed, though, and am unsure of at what kind of a pace I was running. I don't use a heart rate monitor nor a GPS monitor. The important thing was that it felt fast. I was very pleased with how this run turned out.

I saw the new Batman movie last night. While I did fall asleep for a short portion during it (in my defence it's 2.5 hours and I was really tired), it was quite good and I came away from it with a memorable quote: "The night is darkest before dawn...". This made me remember back to several nights ago when I was pulled out of bed by Hugo's cries to go out at 4:30 in the morning , wanting out to do his business. I took him out and sat down on the deck, waiting - it was a beautiful morning, just before dawn, very calm, very peaceful, and very quiet, and I couldn't help but think to myself 'what an amazing time of day to be up'. Of course, I do not plan on really ever being up at this hour voluntarily but it was a nice experience nonetheless.

Tomorrow is back to work but a 4 day week which is awesome! Also, I plan to take next Friday (Aug 15) off, which means the next week is also a 4 day week! And that Sunday is the Lake Chaparrall triathlon!

Friday, August 1, 2008

The enjoyment of running

I feel as though I am pretty much recovered from the half ironman. Yesterday I did my first run since the race. I changed into my run gear at work, and drove to the Capilano Bridge and parked near there. I ran on a new route on a beautiful trail alongside the river, filled with many large hills, and loved every minute of it. There is a vast amount of undiscovered territory in the river valley here in Edmonton. We are really lucky to have such a trail system in this city and I plan to take more advantage of it. My run yesterday turned more into a focus on the enjoyment of running as opposed to a training session. This route will definitely become one of my regulars, just for the sheer enjoyment of the beauty and challenge of the trail.

I am also excited to get out on my bike this weekend and look for a new route to ride. I get sick of the usual routes (really only two) that I ride on from St. Albert, and my goal this weekend is to find a new one! It is possible I may even get to do an open water swim workout on Saturday at Summerside - that would be amazing!

My next race is in 2 weeks (Lake Chaparral), and I am really looking forward to going at full speed for an Olympic distance race. Should be a competitive field due to the prizes they are offering - I am excited to see what I can do and hopefully dust off the competition!

This weekend is a 3 day weekend - whoo hoo!!! I really feel like I need a bit of a break from work and even one day at this point will do! Wouldn't it be nice to just work part time and devote the extra time to recovering and training?