Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Our Visit to Victoria, BC

Triathlon brought us to Victoria but we left with far more. Victoria is a smallish city with a outdoor, classy style with a bit of artistic vibe thrown in.  It is really easy to get around and has amazing history and architecture.  There is clearly a British influence as many buildings have a European look to them.  There is a lot of modern influence as well, and many multi million dollar gated estates.

Great restaurants with amazing seafood.  I ate salmon, halibut and other local fish every chance I got. The beauty of the area is spectacular.  And I really mean spectacular.  It has it all; mountains, lush vegetation, trees, amazing flowers, ocean views at every turn.  Amazing.  
Can you see the hearts in my eyes?  
Looking forward to returning someday soon.  

Here is my rambling recap with coles notes at the end so you get to choose.

Thurs morning we left home at 5:30 am, drove to Saskatoon to catch our flight to Calgary then to Victoria.  Arrived early afternoon local time.  Flying is amazing!  It would have taken us almost 3 days to drive this distance.  Got checked into our hotel Cherry Tree Inn.  Just a small, family run hotel with no bells and whistles but was very close to Elk Lake where Ironman Victoria 70.3 was occurring. We really believe in staying as close to the race venue as possible.  The times we have had a long distance to drive from hotel to race was really tough.  Though this hotel was clean, affordable, had a fridge and microwave, it was very small and sparse and I would only recommend this if someone was coming to race the triathlon.  If you visit to Victoria is a holiday, stay in the downtown area not here.

It was a last minute (meaning 1 1/2 days prior to leaving) decision to rent bikes while we were there instead of bringing our own.  Haven't done this before but we were really pushed for time and basically got our packing done after supper the night before we left.  Terry just finished seeding that day so taking the bikes apart, packing them in the bags, hauling around to, through and from the airport, re-assembling then doing the whole thing over again on Sunday after the event was just too much to handle this time.  Plus, for us who are geographically challenged with limited resources, the bikes are never quite exactly the way they were when we put them back together again and there is no bike shop close by to help us out with the small adjustments.  A real pain in the butt.
So pedals were the only thing coming.  Didn't even take our own saddle, though we considered it.  Tried to keep things easy.

Had our first glimpse of downtown Victoria as we drove to pick up our bikes.  I loved the drive through China town with the hanging lanterns on all the streets.  Wish I could see it in the dark.  

Rented our bikes from a North 48 Bike Shop which specializes in bike tours.  We had excellent service with David Ley, the owner.  He wanted our measurements from our road bikes and he set up the rental bikes according to these measurements.  Not exactly like your own but at least adjusted to fit better.  Saddle did feel different and I was wishing that I brought my own, but it didn't take long and my butt adjusted. 

Loaded the bikes up and went exploring the downtown area on foot.

Fresh seafood at Earl's on their outdoor patio, a quick stop at the grocery store for a few essentials then to the hotel to settle in.  

With the 2 hour time change, we felt ready for bed early in the evening.  I knew that we would wake up super early so heading to bed sooner than usual tonight was perfect.  

Indeed, we were up at 4 am and hit the roads not long after with our runners on to explore.  Our goal was to find the easiest way to get across the main highway to Elk Lake on the other side.  We wanted to run on the path around the lake, which was the triathlon run course.  Found our way to the beach then continued to run on the path around the lake.  It was almost magical with tall, towering trees, deep and thick foliage, ferns everywhere, constant glimpses of a breathtakingly calm lake.  I loved every minute of it.  I think when we set out for the run, both of us were thinking around 4 miles maybe 5.  Finally called it at 8.  Just having too much fun.  

Cleaned our selves up and set out to explore again, this time on 2 wheels.  We took the Lockside Trail to downtown Victoria.  It is a trail that travels both streets and trail with a couple traffic lights but a mostly straight through journey to downtown.  We found a Starbucks and had our usual; 2 plain oatmeal, 1 coffee, 1 peppermint tea.  

I had an appointment for an hour and Terry went exploring.
Lunch was on the patio of the Days Inn restaurant.  It faced the harbour so the views were awesome. It is a cool corner right in the heart of the downtown area with the harbour on the west side of the street, the magnificent Embassy Hotel on the east side and the Legislative Building on the south.  

The entire afternoon was spent touring around, following the scenic road (Beach Drive) from the downtown area through James Bay and around the east side of the island.  We had ocean views 80% of the time.  

It was spectacular.  Lots of parks, 2 harbours, the ferry station, residential areas with gated homes.  Tea at Starbucks a time or two and many bathroom breaks from too much peppermint tea.

Mile 1 where Terry Fox started his journey.

We went straight to Ironman Victoria check in and got ourselves registered.  There was very few exhibitor booths set up but we checked them out and listened to a speaker talk about having a successful swim event.  

Headed back to our hotel to clean our selves up then grabbed a burger from Boston Pizza. We had an errand to run on the west side of Victoria toward Langford.  Lots more hills and rocks. The mountains of the USA seems so close, only  a few miles to the south. 

Saturday morning included another early morning bike ride with plans to go directly to the event location to drop our bikes off for the mandatory bike check in.  Breakfast was at Starbucks again though a new location.  We biked part of the triathlon bike course that took us back into transition.  Lots of athletes riding the same area we did.  It was quiet country type paved roads, narrow and rolling hills.   I realized we didn't put our stickers on our bikes.  So back we went to the hotel to sticker our bikes, and helmets. 

We walked the 2 miles back from the transition area to the hotel then showered up to go have lunch.  Bought a few groceries and decided to drive some of the bike route which went from Elk Lake, north to Sidney and along the west side of the peninsula before heading back to Elk Lake.  A very nice scenic route with coastal views.  Took a couple hours by the time we made some stops but it was perfect for some of the afternoon.  

Got everything set up and ready for the triathlon.  Pasta for supper and feet up for the evening.  I wasn't feeling so hot and was getting a bit worried about how my body was going to handle the triathlon tomorrow.  

Alarm at 4 and first thing my husband said to me was that he thought we shouldn't go to the triathlon.  There have been a couple events that have had undesirable weather conditions or other tough issues that have given us a moment of thought of not participating but never before have we seriously considered it.  But truth be told, after 10 min of discussion with the premise being that we were both worried I would get really sick, it was decided to go pick up our bikes and have our own day.  I was ok with spectating while he participated but he said it wouldn't be the same and he wanted to spend the day with me.  Couldn't argue that.  I was both relieved and disappointed at the same time.  My heart and body were both talking to me sending opposite messages.  Which do you listen to?  In the end, health is more important.  

So, walked to transition and picked up our bikes just as the triathlon was going to start.  We started biking from there, making a big circle from along the coast to the downtown area and across the harbour bridge and back up to the Elk Lake area.  It was so wonderful to bike a huge part of the day, touring around, stopping when we wanted to and just enjoying the ride as tourists.  

Can't beat the ocean view

A park nestled in a residential area

Me in front of the Legislative Building

Embassy hotel

Bell that rang at each hour and played a song

Watched a bike race event that was held right in front of the Legislative Building. 1 Km loop that these bikers needed to do 42 times!  They just whizzed by.

Late afternoon lunch- McDonald's cheeseburger each and shared a McFlurry

We came back to the downtown area to return the bikes and for supper (our last fill of fresh seafood) and overheard a lot of triathletes (also eating) about how great the course/day was.  I was so glad for them.  I hope I can come back sometime to complete unfinished business.   

Monday morning we were heading back home.

Coles notes version of Victoria - you should go!! like now!!

-very scenic and totally worth visiting
-it has the tropical plants and flowers like California but the coniferous trees of Canada with cedar trees, mountains and of course the ocean
-weather was challenging for me to dress for; hot when you weren't in the wind but needed a sweater or jacket in the wind but lots of people were wearing more "summer wear" I guess more adapted to the wind/sun hot/cold thing
-we were only there from Fri- Mon but visiting at this time of the year (beginning of June) we had cloudy weather each morning with possible mist and a bit cool 7 C with more sunny skies in the afternoon and temp around 17 C
-I took a windbreaker and arm warmers for biking and used them every time I was on my bike and only took the windbreaker off once
-we stayed close to the event at Elk Lake but most people choose to stay in the downtown area and I would also do this when I return again
-rent a bike and hit the trails; there are too many paths and too much to see to not do this
-eat the fresh. local fish -  like lots of it
-walk around downtown, the harbour is very cool, many places to window shop or spend some money, very interesting architecture and waffle shops everywhere
-didn't see an ice cream shop anywhere we were
-we had wondered if we could get by without renting a vehicle and though Victoria is only 26 kms away, it would be very difficult to just go with a bike but buses run every hour back and forth and it is an hour ride between the 2 so that is doable
-we considered taking the ferry and going either to Olympic National Park, Oregon to the south or Salt Springs Island to the north but needed another day or two in Victoria to make it work, $2 to take the ferry on the bike

 bike rental: https://north48bikes.com/

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Reminders of Our Strength

Like many other fitness/endurance/adventurer enthusiasts, I confess to loving my active wear.

If you need to borrow a pair of runners, I have you covered.  Dress shoes not so much.  It would be really hard for me to find more than 2 "dressy" combinations of clothing from my closet.
I have embraced the fact that I am a jeans wearing, hiking boots, leggings, wicking shirt kind of gal.

My favs come from many different companies.   I will try to put together a post of my favourites.   I love looking at what other people can't live without.

While we were in California a couple months ago and my husband and I were engaging in our favourite pass time-  riding south on the PCH and stopping for coffee where ever we please.  One day, I stumbled upon a new brand of active wear.  I noticed this business a couple times riding past and today was the day to stop in and check things out.

I enjoy knowing the beginning of a company and especially how the name was chosen.  There have been a lot of new and interesting retailers I have discovered in California; Coeur Sports, De Soto, Wattie Ink, Oiselle, Betty Designs, and Soas to name a few.

GRACEDBYGRIT is a company started by 2 women who wanted women to feel empowered and safe.  What I love the most though is this quote that comes directly from their website.

"Every woman has experienced that difficult moment that she thinks might just break her. How we make it through those moments defines us. We have realized that our grittiest moments give us our grace. Every woman has been GRACEDBYGRIT." 

Does that hit real close?

You hear a lot about having a mantra to get you through tough times.  I don't exactly have 1 mantra that follows me wherever I go.  Most of the time, I get my encouragement from the things surrounding me right then and there.  My GRACEDBYGRIT delicious tank helped me muster up some grit and determination at mile 18 while running my marathon last month.

Or how about Oiselle.

"But perhaps most powerfully, it's been about celebrating a sense of freedom. And thus the name Oiselle (pronounced wa-zelle). A French word for bird, it alludes to that feeling of weightlessness that most athletes know and love. That sense of flight - when the legs go fast and the heart goes free."

When I wear my Roga shorts, I remind myself when my legs are tired that they are free, not tied down and they can fly.  I see myself running with high legs, barely touching the ground as my feet fly.  I swear, I find new energy.

My most favourite tri/biking shorts are from Coeur Sports.  They are just plain awesome.  

"Coeur is French for heart & the root of the word courage. And that’s what we put into our collections and our sport. As an athlete, you know that athletic performance is about so much more than genetic talent. Its also about heart. Heart is about digging deep and being mentally tough. Heart is what gets you to the finish line when all the body wants to do is lay down.  Heart is at the center of the community and the friendships you find in sport. Heart is what makes you give back to the community that has given you so much. Everything we do at Coeur - from our designs to how we play a role in our community - should reflect our values and how we aim to conduct ourselves. "

Most miles during an Ironman triathlon need a reminder to be courageous and brave; to have heart.

These are just a couple of my favourite companies that produce awesome athletic wear that don't just perform well and fit right, but they make me feel empowered, strong, brave and remind me that anything is possible.

This is what I need to reflect on when I am in tough moments.  This is what pulls me along when I want to slow down; what helps me get up when I stumble;  and what keeps me thankful for the strength of my body and what it can do.

What are your favourite reminders of strength?

Thursday, May 25, 2017


Hello warm temperatures!😊

and I guess hello mosquitoes😞

Hope everyone had a great long weekend.  May long weekend is the official kickoff to camping in Canada.  All you lucky people that got to enjoy the great outdoors, camp fires and smores, I am so jealous!  I hope to get to the lake one of these days to get some cleaning done before summer so we can really just go enjoy ourselves when we are there.

#farming2017 has been in high gear getting our crops in the ground, harrowing, picking rocks and such and we couldn't have had nicer weather.

Filling the seeding tank with seed and fertilizer

Me taking a water break while picking rocks and boy did I need it.  

The "baby" of the family got her learner's license.  So proud of her but also sad for me for the reminder that I am getting older.

She was also involved in a huge high school drama production of "The Lion King".  What an amazing job they did and what a huge undertaking it must have been for those organizing.

This drama and farming is what conflicted with our tentative plan to attend Spruce Woods Ultra.  It was the right thing to miss the ultra this year.  Really still hope to run it sometime.  Need to get this body of mine on the right track first.

On that note, the training has still not been going well.  Thankfully, I am kinda past the point of pure and complete exhaustion.  The kind where it is so very difficult to get myself out of bed so obviously have no desire, energy or ability to do much activity.  I have had a few short bike rides and a longer ride on gravel on Sunday.  I was feeling a bit better but as per our usual, we get exploring and the miles tick along until I pretty much hit bottom.  It was a day that was meant for riding all day- warm temperature, few bugs, not much traffic, low wind and a chance to unwind and spent time with my husband.  I felt very unwell the rest of the day as a result of my overexertion though.

Love this old barn

I captured this picture on Mother's Day- who could ask for more?

Any safer suggestions on how to get magpie's to pack their bags and move out?

And finally, a really nice evening in the back yard with the dog.

With seeding soon to be complete, hopefully, I will posting a bit more frequently.  I am planning to share what has been happening to me health wise and the plan I have for the near future.  I hope that if anyone else has also been on a lost train of confusion (in terms of weird health issues) that I can share my story with the goal of helping one of you.

Have an amazing week.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Rocky's Motivational Punch

I hate to start anything out on a negative note because I am a really positive person but I need to get this off my chest.
I have been pretty discouraged.
In the dumps in fact.

The stomach infection that took me YEARS to figure out and then months to get rid of is back.
 Insert big, heavy sigh.  

This is way more complicated than a 2 week dose of antibiotics.  It affects my entire body in so many ways and takes a ton of effort in a lot of areas to get back on track.  It will change my training and affect my day to day life in pretty big ways.

I wasn't going to bring this up.  I thought I would just bide my time until things starting feeling better and my emotions were a bit more in control before I shot out a blog post.  Like who really wants to spend their free time reading a blog post about someone who is scraping the bottom of the barrel?  Heck, I don't think a day goes by that we all aren't faced with some conflict and negativity.  No one wants more of it.
I changed my mind about staying quiet about it when I realized there is more to this story than me being a debbie downer.

I have a challenge to face, a mountain to climb, a demon to fight, a wall to bust down.  And I will do it one step, one stone and one brick at a time.  With that will come a soul that will be empowered,  a new sense of awareness, more strength, courage and determination.  I will find more pieces to my puzzle.  This part of the journey might not be of my choosing but I am confident that there will be many gains along the way.

In 2016, I had the most amazing year as I could train, race and live "like a normal person" having energy, health and a body that did what I wanted it to do.  For the first time in a long time.  And it was awesome.

Some of my recent discouragement was thinking that would be gone.  I love adventures and have a few of them planned for this year and I was already mourning the loss of them or maybe what they could have been.
Don't do that. It's stupid to mourn something that isn't dead yet.  There is time and things can change.  It might not but it might.  I need to remain positive and concern myself with things coming up when they come.

Life doesn't come to us without obstacles.  I sometimes used to wish for that red easy button you see on the Staples commercials and could just push it and everything would be good, done, just how you want it.  It would be that easy.
But life doesn't always deal cards fairly and add to that a mixture of genetics, environment, stress, relationships and other factors and you sometimes get the perfect storm.
A storm that changes it's appearance steadily; to some it is a physical storm like an infection, autoimmune disorder, cancer, or heart troubles. To others it may be a relational storm that leads to divorce, estrangement, issues with your kids or troubles at work.  Or it may also manifest in an individual as unhappiness, anxiety or depression.

A few things through all this tie us as together as people;
1. we are not alone, people everywhere are experiencing difficulties (even if it looks like they have their crap together) so take strength and comfort in number.
2. we all have the same questions to answer- "Will I let this ______define me?  I may fall but am I getting back up? Am I going to remain positive and thankful or become jaded and bitter?"
3. the journey continues and our choice in how we live will influence and affect countless numbers of people

My favourite words of encouragement have always been from Rocky.

I have watched the Rocky movies years ago.  I can't remember that much about each movie and I it has been my plan to spend some winter trainer rides re-watching. It hasn't happened yet but will someday.  He can pack quite a motivational punch (no pun intended) about the tough moments in life, about choices in life and about being a fighter.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Weekend Roundup and a Weird Anniversary

Hello May! and holy mackerel where did April go to?

We had a smashing good weekend.  Had all 4 kids home together for a few hours, celebrated my husband's birthday, went on my first road bike ride this year early Sat morning, did a bit of relaxing and made a good dent in the yard/house spring cleaning.

It was fantastic to get back on the road bike again.  It was only a month ago while away on vacation that I rode it almost everyday.  In fact, I rode 500 miles in the 2 weeks while I was away.

My bike missed me I could tell.

The ride was a bit cool with temp just over the freezing mark but with little wind.  I wore gloves instead of mitts- bad decision but I survived and still have all 10 digits.  Toes got pretty cold on the way home even with toe covers  but they survived too.  I have 2 black toe nails from my marathon a couple weeks ago so maybe they are toughening up.

Hubby's birthday cake was a peanut butter cup pie.  It was the first time I made this particular recipe and I was skeptical about the filling but after licking the spoon and then the bowl, I knew it was a winner.  I will be making it again.

On the training front- I have to confess, things have been pretty sporadic.   I feel like I am just not on my feet again and recovered from my cold.  I am still blowing my nose endlessly and just feel so tired out a lot of the time.  It has been just over 2 weeks and quite frankly, I am getting tired of being tired.  I need my energy back.
I had some nice runs and bike rides but they have been easy and I have stayed pretty close to home.

I was pretty darn serious about running in the Spruce Woods Ultra held on May 13th but my daughter is in a major drama production "The Lion King" at school and they are performing that weekend so we will be opting out of the ultra this year.  I was a bit unsure about it at first but was truly disappointed when I found out the date of the drama and knew that I couldn't run.  The drama is typically the 3rd weekend in May so I had not even thought about it interfering.  Oh well.  With the way I have been feeling, sometimes things just work out the way they are supposed to right?

A couple days ago marked the anniversary of my daughter having her wisdom teeth removed.  Normally, this isn't really an anniversary to remember but later that day (2 years ago) after the extraction, she lost consciousness and suffered a concussion that has had lasting effects.  The worst of these effects has been chronic migraines.  She has had a headache everyday since her concussion and usually about once every month or so, suffers with a severe migraine that takes up to a week to break.  Interesting enough, she is in bed as I write this, waiting for the migraine to break.  It has been painfully hard to see my child suffer and have to rearrange her goals and plans for post grade 12 and her future.  We have sought out medical assistance in every imaginable way to find few answers and no solution to her headaches.  Last year alone, we travelled almost 11 000 kms to attend various appointments.  Only to really be told to give it time.
A weird anniversary to think about and when she reminded me of it the other day, I told her I didn't want to talk about it or think about it.  It was a horrible time and I still can't think of that 24 hours of stitches, ambulance rides, testing and her unbearable agony without getting really upset.  I try to forget and here she is asking me to remember.  I began to understand that in her mind and those who have also suffered injury, loss, rehabilitation or other life changing event, the anniversary marks something very special.  She has had to fight really hard.  Lots of appointments, constant road blocks and dead ends.  Not to mention the loss of friends (who don't understand), the loss of her planned future and the loss of the the joy of young adulthood.  It has been a real roller coaster.  And somewhere deep inside, she has had to dig real deep, many, many times to stay positive and upbeat, to have patience and faith.  The burden has been many times overwhelming and in her words she said "I have had a headache for 730 days but I have also been courageous, shown perseverance and been tested to my limits in those 730 days and I have survived."

So for those of you who are in the trenches and those fighting along side their loved ones- don't give up, stay strong and celebrate the victory of courage and determination.  I think I will take her flowers and a Dairy Queen blizzard tonight and tell her how proud I am of her.

Hope you have a great day!

Monday, April 24, 2017

My Happy Place

It is April 24th and it is snowing here today 😩 and it is really windy and cold and it's Monday and I am really tired from a long weekend of cleaning and moving furniture and ......

It's not only during events that I need to dig deep and show determination, be positive and thankful and take each moment as it comes.

Sometimes life feels tough and you need to say your mantra a few hundred times.

So I go to my happy place.  A spot that makes me feel free, content and alive.  A place that makes me smile.

I have a few "happy" places. Some just in my memory and some in picture form.

So despite the external factors surrounding me today, this is where I am in my mind.

And I smile😃

Recovery and What I Don't Know

Recovery is a tricky thing.  Everyone's body reacts in different ways so how do we know exactly how to recovery properly from endurance activities.
This is what I noticed, what I did and what I don't know about recovery.

-marathon from 7 am-11 (UCAN, NUUN water and a bit of gatorade)
-drank gatorade, chicken noodle soup and had a protein bar immediately after run
-slightly swollen fingers part of the day
-slept for an hour 12:30-1:30 (the real definition of tired and gross when the sleep happens before a shower)
-protein bar and water right after nap
-compression socks on the rest of the day
-legs didn't feel sore but just a bit tired
-supper of ham, potatoes and green beans

*My thoughts- I didn't drink enough water or fluids of any type or maybe it was that I was getting sufficient water but didn't have the correct electrolytes to be able to utilize the water (before, during and after event).   Probably  took in 32-40 oz when it should have been double that.  The nap was good. Compression socks a good idea but could have brought compression tights.  Should have ate more but didn't really have an appetite.

-slept really horribly the night before
-legs hurt EVERYWHERE
-very puffy eye lids and face but not swollen fingers
-stairs were agony
-walked 4 miles in the morning and 3 miles in the afternoon and walked in between while doing errands
-compression socks again all day
-less than my usual amount of food consumed but still no appetite but what I did eat was very nutrient rich (protein, good carbs, good fats)
-drank water but didn't make a good enough effort to have the bottle right by my side always
-extremely chapped lips
-early to sleep

*Bad sleep negatively impacted my recovery but not within my control.  By the evening, my legs were tired from all the walking but I am certain that walking (gentle cycling would have been better) was very beneficial to flushing out the lactic acid.  Still didn't drink enough to offset the constantly running nose and the general fluid requirements of my body.  But also still sure the balance of electrolytes and water is not what it should be.  Not looking forward to how much I will be hurting the next day

-better sleep but cold even worse
-amazingly legs not sore in the least, anywhere I squeezed had no tenderness, good range of motion, no tightness and good flexibility
-4 mile walk
-food wise same as Sat.: didn't eat much but choices were good foods

Good Recovery Tips for Me 
-nap the day of big effort
-fluid with electrolytes (I have to find the balance)
-eat within 45 min after effort
-nutrient dense food, lots of protein
-easy walking or cycling (active recovery) for next 2 days after big effort
-compression socks and tights for leg recovery
-more sleep than usual at night
-branch chain amino acid suppliment
-vitamin C

What I Don't Know
-why my eyelids get so puffy for a couple days after a big effort (has happened before to me)
-why my finger get swollen many times while I am exercising (imbalance of what specifically and how to find the right combination)
-why I seemed to be so dehydrated through the run and for days after (can blowing your nose a thousand times a day do that?) or was I over hydrated and my body couldn't utilize the water
-sometimes after a run or bike, my legs will ache, not hurt but ache; I need to figure out what they aren't getting that they need

I found this neat chart (encouraging the consumption of milk after effort) that shows the role and purpose of some micro and macro nutrients.  Thought it was interesting and gives me a starting place to find my balance.

I had hoped by thinking through what I did and felt I would be able to see what to do or not do a bit better but I still have some learning and investigating to do.

I tried Poweraide Zero when we were just recently in California and in the short 2 weeks of use, I had less swelling, bloating, aching legs etc and I did some long, pretty hard efforts many times. It seemed like it was a good choice for me to use for hydration.  I was planning to use it before, during and after this marathon but we couldn't find it anywhere in the city.  Maybe not available in Canada.  Very disappointing but will look at the label online and try to match the ingredients and their proportions.  

If you have any suggestions, tips, ideas or if this happens to you, please share.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Angry Gopher Marathon Recap

April 14, 2017

I was toeing the line at 7 am as a minority in my tank top, arm warmers and shorts.  Most people were wearing long sleeve shirts, pants, capris, jackets in some combination but a few others in shorts.  It was +8 with a cool, strong wind and a possibility of rain.  I know my run performance is hindered by my overdressing so I chose to try and dress appropriately for when I was warmed up running.  Yes that meant I would be rather cold for the first couple miles.

I was a bit concerned about the head cold I was getting and my leg had been acting up for a couple weeks, but I had mapped out a race plan for myself and was trying to think as proactively as possible.  I knew I could hold the paces I wanted.  It would come down to how things played out as the miles progressed.

I waved to my cheering husband as I crossed the start line and was off for the first out and back of 5 miles.  Not even a mile in I realized my hand held bottle of UCAN was still in his jacket pocket.  I was wearing his coat to stay warm until the start and forgot to take it with me.  Obviously, this was gong to mess up my (very professional) race plan but I figured out plan B and went with it.  I didn't need fuel until mile 6 anyway.  

My professional race plan showing directions to race start, morning breakfast, time schedule, nutrition plan and pace plan.  

Relax, stand straight, run, check my pace.  Over and over.  It is hard to get into your groove in the beginning because everyone wants to really giver.  Full and half marathoners started at the same time so a lot of different paces represented in the couple hundred participants.  

Just over 140 half runners, just over 40 full runners.

The Course:
The course started on the north side of Wascana park.  The first out and back was 5 miles in length and returned to the starting point to continue on to the second 8 mile out and back. Repeat. 


The Game Plan:
My goal was to keep my pace at 9 min miles for miles 1-3.  I was under my goal pace at each mile but not by a lot so I was happy with that.  The turn around for first out and back was 2.5 miles in.  There was an aid station w water and Gatorade.  I didn't stop. This out and back was toward and around the university of Regina.  Quiet streets, quite a few turns to keep things interesting.

From mile 3-18 I planned to pace at 8:45-8:50 min miles.  This was closer to what I seemed to be running anyway so I just kept it up.  Surprisingly as I turned the corner to run past the start/finish to start the second out and back, I saw Terry.  He ran with me a bit asking how things felt.  I told him I needed the bottle in his pocket and was glad he stuck around.  He brought his bike and was planning to ride around a bit and plan to meet me back at the start/finish when I started the last out and back at mile 18.

I was fueled up ready to tackle the next out and back of 8 miles.  There was a ton of corners in this part, some without volunteers so I tried hard to remember where I was going as I knew this loop included all the half runners so there would always be someone to follow but next loop would be very quiet.

I was feeling good at the turn around, 4 miles into this out and back.  It had been lightly raining since quite soon after starting and though I wasn't cold (though I was asked that numerous times) I was decently damp.  Thank goodness for the blister protect on the feet and body glide on the body.  
Terry then appeared on his bike, offered his encouragement and Nuun water or UCAN.  I finished my hand held bottle of UCAN and gave it to him to carry. 

 I carried on alone on the second lap of first 5 mile out and back with plans still to meet up for the last 8.  I continued to feel pretty good, held pace consistently and generally have no troubles.

And the wheels fell off:
I know any endurance activity will have ups and downs. It is to be expected to be riding waves one moment and sometimes in the next to be dragged down by the undertow.  And so it happened just like that.  Mile 16 was great, 17 was tough.  Just all of a sudden it felt like I couldn't breath, my chest was in a vise being squeezed.  I met up with Terry a mile later and was still really struggling to breath.  We kept going, hoping the rough patch would pass.  Mile 20, I stopped briefly at the bushes thinking I was going to vomit and by mile 22, I was weaving and unsteady.  I downed 2 cups of Gatorade at the mile 22 aid station, still hoping I would snap out of this mean streak.  There was emotion tucked just beneath the surface once I realized I was not going to make my goal time but now a finish was the goal, and I continued to run.

The last 1/2 mile stretch before the finish was a welcomed sight but the disappointment so strong, I could taste it.
Line crossed 4:07.
  Lap 1 time 1:55
  Lap 2 time 2:12.
Goal time under 3:55.
18 great miles pace 8:40-9:00 min mile
8 tough miles pace 9:00-11:00 min mile

A medal placed around my neck and we headed in to grab a drink.  I drank 3 glasses of Gatorade and 2 water immediately then had 2 cups of chicken noodle soup.  We sat for about 10 min then headed to the vehicle as I was now getting cold and I certainly didn't want to get chilled.  I changed shirts in the car, put on the seat heater and covered with a blanket.

Back at the apartment, I slept off and on for the next hour before showering and going out with the kids.

So what went wrong?  I have had a few days to consider this and my conclusion is 2 things.

1.  My cold was worse than I thought.  I have suffered the past couple days with a very tight chest, constant running nose, congestion, sneezing and a horrible cough.  My hope it doesn't get worse.  Running 26 miles didn't  help but considering NOTHING got me out of the rough patch leads me to believe it was something I could not control.  I wasn't mental, it was physical.

2.  From the little I have peed throughout Friday- Sunday, it appears I was dehydrated.  I thought I was well-hydrated going into it but the evidence points shows otherwise.

My husband asked what would have happened if he wasn't there for the final 8 miles?  I think he thinks I fell apart a bit because he was there and maybe if he wasn't I would have done better.  

I don't know.  

 I know my mental tenacity can improve but I also know I was very confident I could accomplish this goal and though I don't usually count seconds and minutes in my endurance events, I had a plan and was very determined. I was expecting to dig deep and I knew how I was going to handle it.  I was expecting a sore leg, blister, etc. not this kind is head swimming, chest squeezing stuff.

So all in all, I am proud of myself.  This wasn't my race to meet my goal but I did my best and being a person of faith means I know when the time is right, it will happen.  It feels to me like the things that caused the bus to lose its wheels were kinda out of my control.  Everything is a learning experience.  I yearn for adventure and I had one that morning.  

For the final few miles my husband kept repeating that the day couldn't be any better for him; a great run in a beautiful city with nice people with his woman on Good Friday.

We don't always reach our goals in our first attempt and I will be considering if I have the time, venue and physical capability to try again.  My first thoughts are to try in September (got venue and it's a good time) but I will see how the next few months go with my other events.  

Monday, April 17, 2017

I Did It and I Didn't

Happy Monday!

Marathon done!😊

But the time goal I wanted not done😞  I did my best but it wasn't in the cards.

Best wishes for those running Boston Marathon today.  Wish I could say that was going to be me next year but not yet.  Still thinking about whether I want to try again to qualify in the next few months or not.  Race recap coming tomorrow.

Have a seriously awesome day!!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Morning Before

Well, it is the morning before my run.  A full work day followed up by a 3 1/2 hour drive, hopefully a decent sleep, a 5:30 am wake up call and a 7 am marathon tomorrow morning.   A few months of base training and 14 weeks of speed work, tempo run and long runs in my marathon training.  A couple triathlons and a winter ultra bike event thrown into the mix.  I hope I am ready.

 My first stand alone marathon and probably the first race in a while, where time and pace have been so important.

The weather report for the day has flipped flopped all week long.  This is what is currently being predicted for the 4 hours I will running:

Not ideal but neither is the fact that I have a sore throat, runny nose  and a sore leg either.

I spent a few moments last night feeling sorry for myself.

And in all my self-pity and doubt I realized once again that I am focusing on the wrong things.  Of course there is a million things that can go wrong, mess up my plans and blow me off course.

I have made a decision to chose to enjoy the journey of life though.  Not just when the flowers are blooming and when things are going well but also through the rain clouds and dark skies.

This race is just one part of the trip.  Things change up our plans all the time.   It is my job to roll with it and stay focused on what I believe and how I want to live my life.

And I want to live joyfully.

So tomorrow I will take some cold medication, stuff my pockets with kleenex, wear some compression gear and run my little heart out, enjoying every moment, regardless of the outcome!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Superseal Triathlon Race Report

Superseal Triathlon, Coronado California

Sunday, March 19, 2017
We flew into San Diego on Friday, March 17, picked up our vehicle and got settled in our rented condo in Oceanside late afternoon.  Terry and I unpacked our bikes that evening and got a decent ride in the next morning to ensure things were working well.  Mine needed a couple adjustments to the derailer.  Getting a bit better at this packing and unpacking business. 
We drove back to San Diego over the bridge to Coronado for athlete check in.  It would have been very nice if we could have checked in the next morning before the event but unfortunately we couldn’t.  The drive was really nice and it was great to see where the event swim/bike/run was going to be. 

The really early morning and busy day prior just had us wishing we could have had a quieter day today.  All was good though.  We only spent maybe ½ hour at the check in as there was no expo with booths just the check in. 

Another early alarm for Sunday; up at 4 am with plans to be on the road by 4:45.  It was closer to 5 when we left;  not from disorganization as we had set our stuff out the night before, I think we were just tired.  Hard to get up.  Just over 1 hour of driving and we parked and rode our stuff to transition.  It was still dark and pretty warm +14 with little wind. 
Transition became more of a rush than anticipated as closing time was now moved to 6:30 instead of 6:45.  Our waves were 6:55 (Terry) and 7:05 (mine).  So a quick set up, tires pumped and off to find the water start.  The transition area was in a parking lot on the west side of the highway by the ocean and we needed to cross the highway by way of an underpass to get to the east side of the highway  by the harbour where the swim was.
The swim was a 1500 m swim in the Silver Strand State Beach Bay which had amazing views of downtown San Diego.  It was calm and pretty warm.  They announced water temperature was 63 degrees F (or 17 C) on race morning. With the wetsuit, it was the perfect swimming temperature in my books.
The course was very well marked with red buoys showing a turn and yellow/orange buoys to use when sighting.  It was a clockwise swim.  There was no warm up swim so going in cold was a bit of a concern but at no time that morning was I cold or chilled so I knew that would be to my benefit.  
The wave I was in was the last wave of the Olympic distance which I liked knowing there was no pressure that I would be cramped by upcoming swimmers.  Still, all it took was a couple mouth/nose full of water and I was sputtering and gasping.  After having a couple swim starts (in the past) with bits of an anxiety attack, I was fighting hard to not get caught up in one.  Telling yourself to calm down a million times does work eventually.  Anything new with a swim and I get in a fluster and this time the salt water did it to me.  Within minutes I was fighting a revolting stomach that didn't apparently like the inclusion of the salt water to race day nutrition.
But the 1 thing that up until this day has never failed me is the reminder that nothing feels good for the first 20 min.  I just needed to concentrate on getting through that and it seems my body finds its rhythm and stops freaking out.

2016 Superseal SWIM web
So my rhythm was found and it became very enjoyable.  I hated to be finished if truth be told.  You might have though I was crazy before but that confirmed it didn't it. Swim 38:38.  

I was a bit of a run to get to transition (as it was on the other side of the road).  I didn't dawdle but I did make sure I did everything the way I wanted to.  Wetsuit off, a quick dry off, sat on my towel to dry my feet and put socks and bike shoes on, helmet and sunglasses on and off I went.  T1 6:33

The bike is a glorious 2 loop course along Silver Strand Blvd.(highway 75) that offered amazing views of the ocean, downtown San Diego, the harbour and Coronado.  It was a flat course.  I enjoyed every moment.  There was so much to look at.  I passed hubby as I was 1/2 was through the first loop and he was just starting his second.  Didn't expect him to see me and he didn't. He is a heads down, game on, focused to the max rider.  We always compare experiences and the things I see that he didn't is unreal.  His time is always way better than mine though.  

I had 1 bottle of UCAN with 2 scoops of powder on the bike as well as my front xlab hydration bottle with water and NUUN.  I refilled water once at an aid station.  I also ate 1 payday snack size bar.  1:25 bike done

2016 Superseal Bike TBT 3

The out and back run was  along a paved path beside the highway.  The first quarter of a mile was along a dirt path with some sand but the rest was on pavement.  
2016 Superseal Run web

There was an aid station at the mile 3 turn around point where I drank some gatorade.  My goal was to really push it.  I wanted to hold around an 8 min mile.  It was sunny and warm but nothing crazy.  I felt like I was passing everyone that I came up to.  So many stronger swimmers and bikers and with being in the last wave, there was more people in front of me than behind me.  I was happy with my effort with the run.  51:18 

Superseal website showed just under 900 registrants so it is a really nice early season triathlon without an overwhelming number of athletes.  It offers both Sprint and Olympic distances, has amazing views, a great swim, fast bike and nice run course.
Truth is, I would never have gone in this triathon had it not been partnered with Oceanside 70.3 and though it was a bit tight arriving in San Diego on Friday and having the triathlon on Sunday and I was a bit tired, it was totally worth it and a lot of fun.  A great warm up for Oceanside.

The most inspirational part of this event however, was the fact that it is held at the birthplace of the Navy Seals and throughout transition, there were huge banners of fallen seals that were being honoured.

A lot of times I think "oh ya I will totally do ______ again" and don't take the immediate experience and appreciate every moment of it.  I think I will have more and more chances, opportunities etc.  But the timing of things doesn't always work and I am trying to enjoy every moment and not take anything for granted.  I certainly appreciated and enjoyed this event.  It was breathtaking and a lot of fun.  I encourage you to try it out if you are in the area.