Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Try Everything

Good Morning
Heat wave in LA for the World Series and winter has said hello here on the Canadian prairies.  Don't you love the unpredictability of the weather!

Today's agenda was making homemade Borscht Soup.  2 big pot fulls using fresh beets, carrots, celery, cabbage, onions and dill.  Lots of cutting and chopping but it sure tasted good.  Lots to put in the freezer for the winter.

I am doing some last minute packing for an event we are heading to tomorrow.  We are driving to Grand Forks ND to attend the END TOMBED and END TRAILS events on Sat and Sun.  12 hours of biking on Sat and 12 hours of running on Sunday.  We attended the END TOMBED event last year and you can read about it here.  Finished 8 laps and the goal was 10.  Hoping this year I can pull off the 10 laps.  Going to be riding a more suitable bike and have a better game plan as well as a light for in the dark. Weather is supposed to be around 0 - 9 C so should be nice.  Had my fat tire bike at the city last weekend to get my tubed tires converted to tubeless.  Fastest 5 lbs I have ever lost!

Changing gears a bit- with having 4 children in 6 years, I have seen my share of animated shows.  Disney everything around here for awhile.  I thought maybe as the kids got older their love for those types of movies would give way to real life type shows.  BIG misconception.  Lots of animated movies still showing over here.  Truthfully, great messages in these shows.  Oh of course there is always a villain but isn't it refreshing in today's world to somewhere know that good always comes out on top?
On the way back from our camping trip this past summer I was driving and my daughter was riding shotgun, playing her 50 million favourite songs from her phone. " Try Everything" by Shakira was one that instantly became my favourite too.  This was less than a week after completing Ironman Canada and I was still high on mountain air and ironman love.  But I was also reminded how important it is for me to have goals, dreams and plans and to keep challenging myself, putting my feet at the starting line and striving to achieve these goals even if it means getting shut down, run out of town, falling on my face results.  Keep trying.
Watched the movie Zootopia a week ago and loved the song even more.  If you have not seen it, kids or not, watch it.  At least watch the video clip below for the song.  I bet you will enjoy it.

Had to also include the lyrics- motivating and positive.

Try Everything
I messed up tonight
I lost another fight
I still mess up but I'll just start again
I keep falling down
I keep on hitting the ground
I always get up now to see what's next
Birds don't just fly
They fall down and get up
Nobody learns without getting it won
I won't give up, no I won't give in
Till I reach the end
And then I'll start again
Though I'm on the lead
I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail
I won't give up, no I won't give in
Till I reach the end
And then I'll start again
No I won't leave
I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail
Oh oh try everything
Look how far you've come
You filled your heart with love
Baby you've done enough that cut your breath
Don't beat yourself up
Don't need to run so fast
Sometimes we come last but we did our best
I won't give up, no I won't give in
Till I reach the end
And then I'll start again
Though I'm on the lead
I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail
I won't give up, no I won't give in
Till I reach the end
And then I'll start again
No I won't leave
I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail
I'll keep on making those new mistakes
I'll keep on making them every day
Those new mistakes
Oh oh, try everything
Songwriters: Tor Erik Hermansen / Mikkel Storleer Eriksen / Sia Kate Isobelle Furler
Try Everything lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company

Well on that note, get off the couch and go try something.  Have a great adventure!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

My Happy Things #1

These happy moments are things might be things I am digging right now, events that are happening or a past memory that is on my mind.

Our treat after Challenge Peneticton's 34 C 1/2 Ironman  triathlon.

Vancouver, you took my breath away!

Lunch with my guy at Jericho Beach. 
Ironman Canada- what a day!

River fun

Supper in the field with the kids and Grandpa and Grandma out visiting from the hospital.

A family pic before the 3 older kids left for school.

Apple pie making day!

An easy Sunday morning fat bike ride with my husband.

Walking in the backyard, enjoying the fall leaves.

Spent 15 min in 12 ish C water helping get the dock out at the lake.  So peaceful.

A Thankful Heart

I have missed this little cyber space of mine.  Posting, blogging, journaling, expressing myself, making connections.  Corny but true.  My whole social media life has taken a ride in the back seat the past while.

Change, going with the flow and adapting have been front and center.  This September was the first time in 13 years I have not returned to the classroom (as a teacher).  This change has been on my mind for a couple years and this past June, the decision was finalized.  Many reasons for this and it didn't come easy as anyone who leaves a steady job they enjoy can atone to.  But it has been the right choice for me.  The simple story- I just couldn't be superwoman anymore.  A leap of faith, scary and some fumbling involved as I find a new normal.  I am planning to pick up some teaching days when things around the farm right now so I won't be entirely out of the classroom.

So my office view looks a bit more like this these days.

Using straight cut header to combine wheat

Using pick up header to pick up canola swaths

I'm certainly not the clean up hitter but have been promoted from pinch hitter to being on the batting list full time.  It has been different.

I had full intentions of sharing a few of my frustrations on how long it has been since my last post, complain about my internet that doesn't seem to work with MY computer, whine about how exhausted I am -

but I won't.

Compared to the people who have endured terrible hardship and have lost everything in one of the many hurricanes, compared to those who are recovered from injury and those who lost a love one after the horrific shooting in Las Vegas, compared to the troubling incident in Edmonton Alberta and compared to my aunt and cousins who are just down the road, grieving the sudden loss of my uncle yesterday -

 there is a bigger picture and it doesn't have anything to do with my small inconsequential inconveniences.

In a few days, Canadians will be celebrating Thanksgiving.  Despite the difficulties we face and the turmoil in our communities or countries; we are blessed, we have many things to be thankful for.  

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I came up with an idea for Thanksgiving Bags to anonymously leave for our neighbours. (I'm pretty sure none of my neighbours read this blog!)  We will be putting these bags together in the coming days and plan to deliver them on our bikes (no noise) very early Sunday morning (like 4-5 am).

So, in tough times I am choosing to do what I always do to get me through.

 Run, trust and do good

and then repeat that tomorrow.  

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Quick Catch Up

Oh my gosh has it ever been a long time since my last post!  Vacation, training and races, lots of catch up when I got home then moving 3 kids off to the city.  So just a few words about each as teasers.

1. Vacation was a 2 week, 25th anniversary trip, with only me and my guy to British Columbia.  Lot of fun in the mountains and by the ocean: 2 of our favourite places.  No kids for about 9 or 10 days- I love my kids but it was heavenly.

2. Races kept us busy for 3 weekends in a row.  A tad bit ambitious I know.  Maybe common sense missed me when it was being handed out.  Maybe even a bit more unbelievable is the fact that we didn't really taper for any of them but swam, biked, ran, hiked everywhere and anytime we wanted to.  So hard to let an opportunity to explore pass me by.  Challenge Pencticton for a half ironman triathlon the first weekend followed by Ironman Canada then Spoke 'n Hot Grand Fondo.  Race recaps for each of them coming soon.

3. Catching up.  Funny how the weeds in my garden didn't go on vacation like I did.  Nor did the grass stop growing or the house stay clean.  I always think it is a good thing I have a mental break from the everyday when I go away.  A bit more vigor and enthusiasm to handle the challenges when I return.  We also took over a rental house from my in-laws.  A lot of cleaning, painting, removal of trees etc.  I am pooped just remembering everything I did.  No criticism intended to anyone in terms of cleanliness but man it sucks to have to clean up someone else's grime, grease, dirt and junk.

4.  Kids moved to the city.  We have always tried to get the kids settled in the city mid to late Aug.  Later than that is really busy for us on the farm and it is so much nicer to get the moving out of the way a bit earlier.  A weekend of loading, hauling, unloading, cleaning, organizing, more cleaning.  But it is done.  Normally, in my part of the world, school in the public system as well as most post secondary starts the beginning of September usually after labour day weekend.  Now we can get home and concentrate on the start of our farm harvest.

Have a great week, enjoy some sun and laugh.  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Training Update

Happy Monday!

Another wonderfully sunny day here in the Canadian prairies.  I'm in the process of packing the camper to head out sometime in the next couple days.  2 triathlons in the next 2 weekends.  Hubby and I getting away for a bit without kids was our anniversary plan.  Always makes me both excited and nervous at the same time.

Nailed the last long ride of the training plan this past weekend.  Didn't nail my hydration/nutrition plan though.  Big bonk that took me almost 20 miles to get back on the good side.  But I covered the 100 miles I wanted to, it was hot and I needed to find a way to pull myself out of the bonk.  Lots learned and experienced.  And as always, lots of mental hurdles to overcome.

My goal is always to empty my hydration bottle every 1- 1/2 hours.  It has a combination of Generation UCAN Hydration, HydraMag and BCAA powder.  I also planned to empty my nutrition bottle of Generation UCAN Superstarch 2x for the ride.  I had a banana, peanut butter honey sandwich and quest protein bar.  So what did I actually do and what would I do differently?
I didn't feel like eating before leaving in the morning and I should have had something.  Terry ate some overnight oats.  Should have had some too.  I also needed to get on the hydration right away until the first stop almost 2 hours into the ride so that bottle was empty.  I didn't eat my sandwich until the 1/2 way point and that was also too late.  Needed that second stop sooner.
I did bring along a cooling cloth for the back of the neck and it worked awesome.  It really helped me from overheating during my slump.  It didn't get me over the wall but it did keep things from getting worse.  We stopped 4 times to get water/bathroom.  I did eat at each stop but needed to have had more right from the beginning I think.  I should have also had a gatorade at our last water stop.  I think that would have helped also.

Still planning to get 1 last long open water swim in today or tomorrow.

With my health being so uncertain the past couple months, I wasn't sure what to expect or hope for going into these next 2 weeks.  I felt like I turned a corner to the good side about 10 days ago and so far it has been holding.  For the first time, I have felt like being able to race both these triathlons is a very good possibility.  I use the term "race" very loosely.  In some ways, I am better prepared this year than for the ironman last year and in other ways, I feel less prepared.  I do feel very confident though that for me, I am better a bit under trained than over trained.  My energy is good, obviously there will be tough moments mentally; this is Ironman Canada which has 5000 ft of elevation change.  My ride on Saturday was 3000 ft, pretty good for a prairie ride.

My goal is what will always it: enjoy the journey.  Savour every moment and not wish time away and not let what is before me get the best of me.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Dear Diary

Anyone else out there want to confess they kept a diary like me when they were younger?  I found those old diaries years ago in a box of my old stuff and tried to read some.  I repeat tried.  It was painful.  The melodramatic ups and downs of teenage-hood of who was being rude to who and what guy was looking especially good or bad that day.  I lasted 5 min.  Decided to burn those books.  They served their purpose I guess in the younger days of getting my thoughts and frustrations out but they certainly seem to have no purpose anymore.

Today's diary version looks a bit different.  Most nights, just after I have crawled into bed, I reflect on my day.  I have encouraged all my kids to do the same.  In your heads I say to them start with "Dear diary, today I ........"

I have grown to love this 2 min conversation with myself.  There is so much to gain and I am appreciative of how it has centered my thoughts and made me grow as a person.

Last night, this was my conversation with myself.

"Dear diary"
What a fantastic day today!  Warm breeze from the lake blowing through my window and a gentle early morning 1/2 hour rain to lull me back to sleep a bit longer.  No regrets that I wasn't on the trails somewhere running or biking, I am thankful to be up getting breakfast ready saying good morning to all the kids as they got up.  So much fun to sit on the dock all together eating our breakfast and shooting the breeze.  The lake was perfectly calm.  I am thankful we have a cabin.
Had a great swim then just soaking some sun.  Swim feels good after the gravel bike ride yesterday.  Legs feel good and that makes me happy.
Hard to not get too sad about the fact this is the last time our family of 6 will be together for awhile.  Precious moments.  I am so thankful for these times with the kids.  They are supposed to move on,  take life by the horns and find their paths.  I just miss them.
Said goodbye to some friends of ours from out of town, here visiting.  I had a blast last night at their cabin (invited for supper).  Friends like this, where you see each other 1 time a year and can pick up so easily where we left off- those are great friends.  I think the dull ache in my side today was from so much laughing last night.  Good pain.
And speaking of pain- today is the first day in a long time that I haven't had pain in my stomach.  My ongoing fight with the intestinal infection and now just this week, a bladder infection has made for constant pain and discomfort.  I am frustrated with my physical barriers, of being tired, of being in pain and most of all, of feeling I will not get past this and get better.  The weight mentally feels overwhelming.  But today, I feel so much lighter and happier mentally and physically.  Worried it will not be like this tomorrow but thankful to have a reprieve today.  Thank goodness I haven't also had my period this week:)
Reminded of how precious life is while visiting Terry's mom in the hospital this evening.  She is so weak and secretly, I can't imagine how she will ever be able to go home.  Home is such a safe place for all of us.  I have to think of things to do or bring her to keep her spirits up.  Also found out Terry's uncle was in emergency dealing with some difficulties after an accident he had a few weeks ago.  Internal bleeding is never good.  And on the congratulatory side, I marvel at another Aunt and Uncle and their celebration of 60 years together.  His health has been really poor for a few years and yet has persevered.
My list of things to do tomorrow runs through my head:
people to call
emails to send
things to do
kindness to share

My internal diary entry once again fills me with gratitude.  I am thankful that despite the fact things aren't always going the way I want them to go, I am undeniably blessed.  There are so many hurting people and the trials don't pick and choose only some.  I need to take care of business items, daily chores but more importantly, I am once again confirmed with the decision to love and take care of those around me.  Touch others with kindness, enjoy every moment and live fully no matter the circumstances.  I think ahead to the camping trip my husband and I are taking together in a week to celebrate our anniversary and I am filled with excitement with the adventures we are going to have.  The desire to live a life abundantly and overflowing is all my eyes can see.

I know having teenagers and young adults means they have their own ways and thoughts  and there is a good possibility they think their dear old mom has rocks in her head, but I hope they have the "dear diary" conversation with themselves and look at the day with gratitude and thankfulness and then choose to live the next day with purpose: to not waste time nor take it for granted.  

Remind me to sometime share with you my "food analogy for dating story" that is a popular eye roller among the kids around here.  

A Big Weekend with a Surprise

Big weekend in triathlon training in our house a couple weekends ago.   A few days later and my legs were still screaming for mercy.  Actual, my butt might have complained louder.  It's was a toss up.

Rain, rain and more rain meant a 6 hour ride on the trainer on Friday morning.  Hmm.  I found the first hour hard then I seem to settle down and get into a rhythm and the final hour was also tough because I was sick of being on the bike, didn't want to watch anything or do anything except get off.  But at least the last hour has the promise of a job completed.  That feels good.

Watched 2 of the early Kona Ironman videos; 2005, 2006.  They are about an hour and a half long each, were very interesting, totally captivating and engaging in their entirety.  The age group coverage matched the pro coverage and the stories of so many athletes and their cause was very motivational. At times I found myself pedaling faster with motivation and other times, I was fighting back the tears.  People crossing the finish line get me every time.  Especially the story of Jon "Blazeman" Blais who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease and competed at Kona 5 months later to then return the following year in a wheelchair to cheer on Brian Breen, who was carrying the torch of awareness for ALS.
If you want to read about his story click here.

During my 6 hour ride, I consumed 4  bottles (20 oz each) of electrolytes (Generation UCAN electrolyte mix with 1 scoop of HydraMag).  My goal is 1 bottle in 1 1/2 hours.  I also used UCAN superstarch 4 scoops in a 24 oz bottle.  I mix the lemon and pomegranate flavours together.  I also had a cookie dough Quest bar, a banana and a 1/2 p b and honey sandwich on flatbread.  I drink and eat mostly to thirst/hunger but I do try to take 3 mouthfuls of the UCAN superstarch every 45 min.

Oatmeal with nut butter for recovery as well as a 26 oz bottle of phytoberry and another 26 oz bottle of HydraMag through the next couple hours.  I was tired and legs were a bit sore, but I seem to get sore muscles after an effort and then the next day feel fine.  Just over 90 miles in that 6 hour effort.  On the roads, I think it would be very close to 100 but the trainer is a hard workout in my opinion.

Saturday morning was another trainer ride, still raining.  I wanted to get 50 miles in and anything more would be a bonus.

Good ride.  UCAN superstarch, UCAN electrolyte with HydraMag and a Quest Bar in just around 3 1/2 hours.
Watched a lot of House Hunters on HGTV.  Did some reading and time passed.

Got gussied up Saturday night for an evening out with the kids to celebrate the many achievements in the past few weeks.  Wallet was lighter, belly heavier.
I so badly want them to remember the moments and not take things for granted.  I want them to have memories of suppers together like this to remind them that we care and support them and want them to know how proud we are of them.

Sunday started with a 2 1/2 hour run on the backyard trails.  Wore my hydration vest with my usual UCAN electrolyte/HyraMag mix and UCAN superstarch for fuel.  Day was beautiful: sunny and warm.
Plunked myself down in the river after to soak my legs.  Water was cooler than I thought it would be and my feet hurt for a little while- you know that brain freeze kind of hurt when they are really cold. But I got used to it.
The surprise part of the day came a few hours later when our youngest daughter insisted that we go driving with her (practice for getting her license) and when we returned, our driveway and backyard was filled with vehicles and friends and family.  The kids had planned a surprise anniversary party for us.  Our anniversary wasn't for another 10 days but with the kids jobs this summer, it would have been very hard to coordinate something closer to the actual date.

25 years- yep and he still makes my heart beat faster.

I am NOT a real party kind of girl.  To be honest, wished the marriage would have started with an elopement instead of the big shin dig that it was with 300 guests and me on display.  So if the kids would have asked if we wanted a party, I would have most certainly said absolutely no.  But in reflection, having a few of our closest friends and family over to celebrate with us was kinda nice.  Thank goodness the majority of people invited (extended family and other acquaintances) couldn't come due to another event.  Sounds bad but is the truth.  I was really happy with the small gathering.

It was a beautiful day, especially more so with the bad weather we have been having so we spent the evening sitting around in the backyard just enjoying.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Things I am Loving Lately- Food Edition


I wanted to share with you some of the things I am loving lately in the food/supplement world.  I am all about building my body stronger and keeping my immune system healthy.  But I have a budget, like everyone else does and I want to enjoy what I am eating/drinking too so nothing too expensive nor ugly tasting.

1.  Progressive's Phytoberry is the grand slam when it comes to building the immune system.  I mix 2 scoops full and put it into a 28 oz Popeyes bottle (where I buy phytoberry).  It has a delicious berry flavour and mixes in really easily. It is totally my jam.  Can't get enough, can't say enough good about this product.  After hard training sessions, I always hydrate with a couple bottles of water with phytoberry.

"PhytoBerry is a highly concentrated berry based whole food supplement that is loaded with natural antioxidants. Featuring over 40 high ORAC value fruit concentrates, phytonutrients, essential fatty acids and herbal extracts, PhytoBerry is specifically designed to offer whole body antioxidant® protection. A single serving has the equivalent nutrient content of 6 to 8 servings of fresh fruit."

2. Brain octane can be mixed into anything.  I have put it in my oatmeal, in smoothies, my husband uses it in his bulletproof coffee and I also add it into my water/phytoberry mix.

"Brain Octane is your go-to fuel source for performance.  Brain Octane is naturally found in coconut oil in small quantities, and we concentrate it to provide you with the purest energy source possible. Brain Octane rapidly provides mental and physical energy, powering your day by keeping you satisfied and free from food cravings. Add it to your daily routine, and experience the state of high performance.
As soon as you consume Brain Octane, it is rapidly absorbed and changed into ketone bodies – providing instant energy to the brain without breaking down glucose from sugars or carbohydrates. Brain Octane produces 4x the ketone energy of plain coconut oil, and also supports healthy digestion and immune function.
Experience the power of using quality fats for fuel, keeping you full and focused for hours.
Contains at least 10x the (C8) Caprylic acid (14g) per Tablespoon as in one tablespoon of Coconut oil (1.4g).(+)"

3.  Moxie HydraMag is a very soluble, smooth, fresh and light tasting beverage that can be used before, during and after exercise.  It's pomegranate flavour is amazing.  It can be added to your favourite electrolyte mixture or used by itself.  I use it mostly after I exercise and I have most certainly noticed an improvement in my recovery in terms of muscle tenderness/soreness and energy right after and the next day.  
I am an ambassador for this company so go order some for yourself and use code LB15 to save 15% off your purchase. 

"HydraMag® is formulated specifically for endurance athletes, and any athlete or individual questioning their Magnesium intracellular levels.  Magnesium enhances exercise performance via increasing glucose availability in the blood, muscle, and brain during exercise.  HydraMag® is a strategic solution for increasing your magnesium intracellular levels.
Intracellular magnesium deficiencies contribute to; leg cramps poor digestion, low energy, tight muscles and twitchy eyelids."

4. Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate is added to anything and everything; smoothies, oatmeal, water/drink powder, warm beverages.  Anything.  It does not congeal but mixes in smoothly although it does take a little more shaking to incorporate it into water.  I also use this after hard workouts to give my body more amino acids to make me strong like bull😉  I usually buy this product through Amazon or Iherb as it is easier for me in Canada.

"Beef Hydrolyzed Collagen is the unique combination of amino acids in concentrated levels that can promote healing and conditioning over other proteins especially for bone and joint health care. This low molecular weight protein is easily digested for healthy enrichment in minutes after ingestion. It will not congeal because it has been hydrolyzed for quick assimilation and improved hydration to the connective tissue. Collagen is important to nitrogen balance, now considered an anti-aging product as it supports age related cartilage damage, and collagen loss."

5. Sambazon Acai Powder delivers all the benefits and taste of acai in the convenience of a powder.  I have tried the Sambazon frozen packs to make my acai bowls but they aren't the easiest to find nor transport with long distances.  Instead of the frozen acai packs, I either freeze the almond/coconut milk in ice cube trays or use more frozen strawberries and blueberries.  Just thinking about it is making me crave one.

6. Quest bars- oh boy.  Chocolate chip cookie dough and I have had a passionate love affair for more than 2 years and it doesn't seem to be fading.  It is such an easy thing to grab as a snack or for whatever.  It is always in my back pocket of my bike jersey on bike rides, always have 1 in my purse and usually in my desk at work also.  The taste is so much like cookie dough but isn't too sweet.  It is soft and some people say they put their bar in the microwave for a few seconds to really soften it like an out of the oven freshly baked cookie.  My problem is that I love it so much right out of the package, I can't wait the 20 seconds for the warming process.
And along the line of bars, I also included the One bar in salted caramel flavour.  It is really good also though nothing yet has outshone the Quest.  It does make for a nice change and is my daughter's bar of choice.

7.  I LOVE hemp. In everything, all the time, straight up and this Hemp Granola has totally hit a home run.  Granola typically goes on my yogurt and since dairy and I are on a brief (I hope) hiatus, I wasn't sure I should even buy this.  Holey cannolie- ate it right out of the bag.  I tried it a couple times on my morning oatmeal and it was very tasty but gosh darn it tastes good right out of the package.   I found this product at Costco.

8. This product is also a Costco purchase- Coconut Clusters.  Coconut, chia seed, pumpkins seed goodness.  A addictive but satisfying snack.

9. Nuts for Nature Seed Butter has been a nice addition to my morning oatmeal, in homemade protein balls, in a smoothie or in a sandwich.  It has a nice mix of flavours of cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds and chia.  Mild and tasty.

That's the countdown of my 9 most popular favs right now.  What's yours?

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: