Thursday, November 27, 2008

Shanghai Surprise

This must be the longest week in the history of the world. I even took a flex day yesterday and didn't go in to work, and it is still only Thursday today. Nothing too exciting has been going on here. Oh wait - they have brought back the cheap toilet paper in our office building. You know the kind that is so thin it is transparent, it feels like actual looseleaf paper, and rips off one square at a time because it is not strong enough to unroll like a normal roll. Consequently you have to manually unroll the paper over and around the roll until you get the desired amount, just like those TP dispensers they had back in grade school that were locked and didn't roll a full turn so that the troublemakers could not unroll the whole roll and clog the toilets. This proves to be somewhat time consuming, which right now isn't really too much of a problem, with me not being busy and all (at work). It should be assumed that one who has enough time to spend writing about the woes of toilet paper probably has a fair amount of time to spare in the first place.

Running has been going well. It is very strange that I have been feeling great during my runs this week, when I am clearly out of shape. Funny how that happens. I signed up for the Hypothermic Half marathon on March 1, here in Edmonton. For some strange reason this race fills up very quickly, and there are actually two of these races (the other is Feb. 15), each with an early morning and late morning start. Typically the weather here in Edmonton is nothing to be desired during that time of year, hence my confusion with the sell-out of this event(s). Last year I did this race on March 2, and the temperature when I awoke was -28C with the windchill. Hopefully this year it is milder, which makes it more enjoyable. I am doing this race again so that I can beat my time on the exact same course, not because I enjoy the bitter cold.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


It appears that the people of Edmonton seem to forget that they live in Alberta (where we have winter each year), as soon as the first snow occurs. Yesterday, we awoke to a mere 1cm of snow and slippery roads due to the freezing rain that fell overnight. Traffic was a nightmare and I ended up in my car crawling along for an outrageous 90min commute to work, due to the bumper to bumper traffic. I finally arrived at work at 10am, an hour late. It is scary to think of what will happen when it actually gets cold and we get our more typical snowstorm!

I came across this piece of news yesterday in the Journal and was quite dissapointed, to say the least:

Those passengers considered morbidly obese may now be given an extra free seat on domestic flights. Are we as a society no longer going to discourage this preventable condition? This decision does not promote healthy lifestyles and fitness, but instead tells us that it is okay to be morbidly obese. Is obesity a disability? In some cases, maybe. But right now there is talk of making a change to list severe obesity (those with a BMI of >40; normal BMI should be between about 19-25) as a disability in legal standards. This is not a move in the right direction - we need to instead try and turn the obesity epidemic around, not encourage it.

On the other end of the spectrum (well, maybe halfway down the spectrum at this point), training has been off and on. I ran for 40 mins on Thurs, on the treadmill. I am definitely out of shape, and I am okay with that! That workout was enough to get me motivated to start running more regularly. This will start today! I already swam this morning, and I will probably run for an hour this afternoon. It is time to start the run training and begin my quest to become a fast runner!

Here are a couple pictures at my sister Alice's place last night - it was her birthday yesterday and she had some of her friends over for drinks before heading out to Suede Lounge for a few cocktails. I copped out on going out to the lounge, and was home at midnight (I was tired and wanted to get up early for swimming this morning).

Hugo is back home and already back to his usual self, even with his 'lampshade' on:

These pictures were taken in order, and he seems to have gained more energy each time!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lazy days and 'lofty' goals

These days I have been struggling with finding the motivation to exercise or train. It has been a little over 3 weeks since my race and since then I have not really done a whole lot. The plan was to take a nice break and not worry about training for awhile. Done and done! However, a lot of the time lately my good intentions to go running have instead been re-shaped to look like me sitting on the couch, channel surfing, and eating chips.

I have made a small goal for myself for this week - some form of a workout every day this week. It is all about stepping stones. Monday was full body weights and abs, yesterday was a 2300m swim (my plan to run did not pan out), and today will either be a run or the extreme fitness class (or I might be a little crazy and do both).

Poor Hugo is going in tomorrow for neutering. He is not going to be happy with us. Geoff is taking him to the dog park today in order to burn off some of his energy. We took him to the park on Sunday and he ran non-stop, at full speed, the entire time we were there. He was quite tired that evening!

Something random and funny that I realized at the end of my race season this year - I didn't get any flat tires this year, in training or in racing. I hope that doesn't mean that I am soon due for one!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Greetings from La Crete, AB - Population 7

Here I am in Northern Alberta, where winter is already in full swing. I am here for work to perform an assessment on a claimant who lives all the way up here. La Crete is a quaint little town about 800km north of Edmonton. The trip here was not without its drama. The case of equipment I had to bring with me for the assessment turned out to weigh 115 lbs (think of the size of a bike case and then add about 75 lbs), and when I called the airline yesterday at 6:30pm to check if there were restrictions (I know, I should have been more organized and checked into this earlier), they advised that it was not guaranteed to get on the plane, and that even if the 18 seater plane was not full they could not guarantee the bag.

Geoff helped me (thanks to you babe!) and we found out that Greyhound had a bus leaving at 11:45pm that night to High Level, which is where my plane was landing. The lady on the phone said that we had to be there before 8pm in order to ship the case. It was 7:15pm and the station was on the south side of Edmonton (about a 30min trip). We scrambled and left immediately. Geoff was speeding like crazy and we ended up in luck, arriving just before 7:45pm). I paid for 'Priority' in order to have the bag shipped out on the next bus and then had to remove 20 lbs from the case as it was much too heavy. Done. The extra 20 lbs of equipment would go in my suitcase.

I was so relieved it had all worked out and that I wouldn't have to attempt to manage that monster of a bag on my own at the airport the next morning, along with my suitcase, my laptop, and the other smaller bag of equipment. The flight this morning was easy, and it turns out there were only 11 people out of 18 seats, so maybe the bag would have got on after all. My relief was short-lived, however. I arrived at the Greyhound station in High Level in my rental at 11:45am. The lady there said the bus wasn't in yet but that I should come back at 12:15pm. I came back at that time and guess what - the bag wasn't on the bus! They said that it 'probably' would be on the next bus, which wasn't arriving for 24 hours. The equipment would be useless to me at that time as my flight home leaves tomorrow at 5:15pm. I nearly freaked out but decided to just drive to La Crete and complete the initial portion of the assessment, and wait for a call from Greyhound.

Luckily, it turns out to not be a HUGE worry as I figured out during the hour or so drive to La Crete that I can make do with what I have in the smaller case - which contains sufficient tools for me to do an accurate assessment. Disaster narrowly averted.

I am looking forward to going home tomorrow as it is a lot warmer than it is here! Last time I checked it was -9C with windchill and there is a whole lot of snow here. I am thinking that I should just bring that damn bag to the airport and see if it will get on the plane, if not, then maybe I'll just bury it in the snow somewhere here and claim it was stolen?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I love my bike...

But the time has come to move on. We've had some good times over the past 5 years, and some bad. Most of the good times came during this past year when I finally learned how to bike!

I am soon going to be upgrading to a new and improved machine (Cervelo P3). It will be nice to finally upgrade to a carbon frame! This good old aluminum frame has certainly done the job but I am excited to see how the carbon frame will ride. Tom at Way Past Fast was kind enough to add on a few nice upgrades to my new bike. I'm not a huge gear geek so I'll be happy as long as it looks nice! Also, I have never ridden a time trial bike so that will be interesting as well. I will be keeping my old road bike as a back up for training and the occasional race, depending on the course. I'll probably get the new bike in the next month or so... pictures to follow at that time!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Extreme Functional Fitness

Perseverance is failing nineteen times and then succeeding on the twentieth try.
-Julie Andrews
On instruction from my coach I am supposed to continue my break this week and not do any swim/bike/run. I did actually swim on Tues, and I plan to swim Thurs, just for exercise. Yesterday I decided to make use of my dormant gym membership and I went to a class from 7:30-9pm, Extreme Functional Fitness. It was a really fun class and a great way to get exercise other than the usual swim-bike-run. It consisted of anything and everything - sprints, agility drills, lunges, squats, circuits, push-ups, sit-ups.... all I can say is I am sore everywhere today!
Also I have been enlightened to the fact that I have absolutely no strength or speed! Endurance - no problem! But me trying to do 50 push-ups in one session is another story! I haven't done a push-up in ages, and then I do 50 (but I wouldn't call most of them complete push-ups). I didn't have a problem with the Burpees or sit-ups, though. This was a super-hard class but I will probably be back for more next Wednesday. I'm not usually a big fitness class person but right now I am trying to branch out and explore new ways of doing fitness. So far it is fun! I have not run since the race on Oct. 26 and this is not a problem for me! I will probably start doing weights again soon. On Monday I am going with Geoff to a Yoga class for runners/triathletes! Should be fun and hilarious at the same time!
Nothing else new and exciting to report here. Back to work for me!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

What did you do with your extra hour?

I used it to catch up on sleep. What a lazy weekend this has been! Yesterday I did a whole lot of nothing, just worked a bit on some reports for work and took Hugo for a walk. In the evening I went out for a few drinks with my friends Bonnie, Robert, and sis Alice. It was fun! I only had a couple drinks and was home relatively early.

Geoff is away this weekend in Calgary attending Part 2 of the triathlon coaching course and it has certainly been quiet without him here, although Hugo has been keeping me entertained! He loves the weekends when there is someone home to play with him non-stop.

I have not done even a scrap of exercise since the race last Sunday. I was definitely thinking about going for a run yesterday, but the thought did not actually become an action. Today I really should get off my A$$ and do something, if for no reason other than I have been eating WAY too many mini chocolate bars and they are being stored on my hips. That's the one thing that sucks about the off-season - losing your fitness and gaining a couple of pounds! I plan to get back in the pool this week, swimming about twice a week. Running will be my main focus over the next few months, in hopes that I will magically transform into a runner! Unfortunately I will no longer be able to run on the trails near my office after work as all my runs will now be in the dark - damn time change! The bike will remain in its new spot for a little while longer - in pieces in the garage.