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Chasing a Moment

So, during my race the other day, I had a lot of time to think. People often ask me what I think about while racing, especially during the long runs. It varies, I think about a lot of things, but during this particular race, I thought about why I race. I love triathlon, it’s fun, challenging, scary, an adrenalin rush, and it makes me test my limits. I find it a very interesting balance of preparedness and living in the moment. We spend so much time training, planning, preparing and generally working so hard for these races and then once you get there, it’s the ultimate living in the moment experience. When I’m racing, I feel so alive. From the sound of the starter horn, to the chill in the water, to the pack of other excited athletes all around me, to the aching in my legs while struggling up a big hill, to the beads of sweat traveling down my body, I am 100 percent in the moment. And once that moment is over, there is another moment to make the most of, and that new moment is all encompassing. Triathlon, to me, is stringing together a series of perfect and imperfect moments to make one amazing event. And when it’s over, all I want to do is whatever it takes to be stronger and faster for the next race. That is why I race. I race for the non-stop adrenalin, and the feeling like I might either die or conquer the world, once I make it to the top of the next hill. Triathletes are also some of the funniest, most insane (in a good way) people I’ve ever met. It’s nice to be surrounded by people who don’t look at you like you’re crazy when you talk about how much you train. Obviously there’s a few duds in the group, but that’s just the nature of human beings. During a race, you can always count on endless support and camaraderie from your fellow athletes. At the end of the day, I think we understand eachother, and that we are all chasing the same string of perfectly flawed moments that make this sport so amazing.

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Shawnigan Lake Triathlon

Just got home from the first tri of the season!  Huzzah! What a delightful time! I raced the Subaru Triathlon Series in 2009 and adored it, I’m so happy to be at home for the summer, and to have a chance to race this season again! It was also the first tri I ever did, so it has sentimental value for me! It was at Shawnigan Lake! It’s a beautiful lake and it was an amazing day, weather wise. The water was chilly, but not too cold, I was pretty happy to have my wetsuit tho. The bike is VERY hilly, so the ride is challenging, but also amazing. The scenery is just stunning!! I ended up with an overall time of 1:37:28 in the sprint distance, which isn’t too bad for the first race of the season. I love racing because it really shows you what you need to work on. I always feel re-focused after a race. I need to do more swimming in open water, that’s for sure! There’s a big difference between pool swimming and lake/ocean swimming and sometimes I forget that. So, moving forward, lots of open water swimming. My knee didn’t think running was fun, but it never really does. I have lots of thoughts to share but I’m currently in a bit of an endorphin haze and need to stretch. More later.

Oh, PS. another perk of open water racing when it’s still cold is that you can go hang out in the water when you’re done instead of having an ice bath! (that’s what I did today!)

Roll it out

So, for those of you who don’t know me, I’ll just throw this out there, I’ve had a lot of injuries. A LOT of injuries. Too many injuries. With injuries comes a host of professionals who teach you how to heal and how to prevent future injuries. One of such wonderfully amazing people is my physiotherapist. He taught me one of the most important training/recovery lessons I’ve ever learned. Roll it out. Foam rollers are your best friend. With athletes, there’s certain muscles and tendons that take a serious beating and are under tons of stress. Now I know we all are aware of the importance of stretching, but rolling muscles out with a foam roller is seriously the best thing you  can do for sore body parts. The IT band is a perfect example of something I constantly am rolling out. It attaches both to your outer knee and the front of your hip and when it’s tight you can really feel it, and that tightness can lead to more injuries. Just stretching alone never seems to properly get it, but roll on a foam roller up your outer thigh and I promise you will feel 100 percent better, or at least 98 percent better.

See, look how happy she is…and I bet her IT bands feel GREAT!!! So that’s what I have to say today….sore muscle? Roll it out!! Pain in the knee? Roll it out!! Hip flexors killing you? Roll it out!! Hurt feelings? Roll em out! Well, that last one might be tricky, but you get the point.

Training with Dogs

Well, I have totally recovered from the half marathon. I stayed off the knees, had several ice baths, iced my knees lots and stretched plenty. And also consumed ALL the glutamine. I didn’t run all week, but I did swim everyday. My first tri of the season is coming up in 10 days and I’m so so so excited. Anyway, I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce a very important new friend that I’ve been training with the last few weeks and whom I’m growing very attached to! His name is Copper and he’s a red doberman puppy (well he’s almost a year old). He belongs to my friend Mike, and I’m fortunate enough to be able to bring Copper with me on my adventures. If you haven’t trained with a dog friend before, it can be very rewarding. First of all, training with a buddy of any kind can be very beneficial, you don’t want to let you training partner down and wimp out. Even if it’s a puppy! Copper and I go on mountain runs, and run around Elk Lake, and generally cavort. Now, if you’re going to train with a dog, there’s several unspoken (and spoken) rules that we all must follow. So here for you all is my list of tips and things to remember when training with animal friends in public!! Caveat: Keep in mind, I do not claim to be an actual dog trainer, but I am experienced with animals.

1. Know that your dog will come back to you when you call him/her. If you’re going off-leash (not allowed in some places), make sure that your dog will come back when you call him. If it’s your personal dog, this is a little easier as you are the one who’s training him (if you aren’t prepared to train your dog, don’t get one….at least not a big one), as Copper isn’t my personal dog, I made sure before we went on our first adventure, that Mike told me his call word, and that I had treats. As soon as we got to the mountain I made sure to call him to me several times, and gave him a treat so he knows that I’m his human for the day. Now that we know eachother, I don’t worry at all about him running away and coming back because I’m confident that he comes when I call him.

2. CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR DOG…this seems like a no-brainer, but really, there’s nothing worse than stepping in random dog poops. Be considerate of the other people using the park/trail/public area, bring bags and clean up your dog’s poop.

3. Be aware! Especially if you have a big dog, be aware of other people’s feelings. Even though I know that Copper is the sweetest dog alive, not everyone knows him, and not everyone likes dogs. I like to call ahead if we are approaching strangers from behind and say something like ‘friendly dog sneaking up behind you.’ Or if they see us coming, just saying ‘he’s super friendly’, or something like that. I find that especially with Copper, there’s a bit of a doberman stigma (even though they are the sweetest dogs), and even if you aren’t afraid of dogs, seeing a random large dog running at you full speed can be unnerving. Get a dialogue going with the people around you and you won’t run into problems. In the same vein, if you know that your dog can be funny about other dogs, or people, or bikes, or horses, make sure you prepare him appropriately if you see one of those things. If I see a family with a bunch of little kids I have Copper sit beside me and let them pass, not that he would do anything other than run over and sniff them, but small children are easily frightened and I would hate to be the cause of a child’s fear of dogs!

Those are my three big rules for harmonious training with a furry friend in tow! Since it’s practically summer here on the west coast, I plan on being outside as much as possible with my new friend!

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Ice Bath!!

Well, I had myself a lovely ice bath yesterday! It really really helped! My knees feel so much better. Now, granted they still hurt, a lot, but they aren’t nearly as swollen as I expected. Today, I’m staying off my feet, this morning I swam 600m with a foamie between my knees and hand paddles to hep me work on my upper body strength for swimming. But, as promised, here’s a little video of me and my ice bath. Enjoy!

 

Stay Hydrated!

Well, I just got home from running the Oak Bay Half Marathon. It was several different things. It’s such a beautiful run, being along the water a majority of the time. Mostly it was long. My knees aren’t a big fan of running that far right now, which is really my own fault. When I was living in Banff I was really focusing on my running and I got to be in really fabulous running shape. Which I am not now. I need to focus more on running more often. However I ran it in 2 hours 10 mins, with dying knees. I’m not super pleased with that but also not upset about it. Overall it went quite well.

I have to just address one thing about racing. I’m totally one of those people who throws full cups of water all over my face during a race. Some people might do this to cool their heads/bodies. But for me, this is for two reasons.

1. I’m just not co-ordinated enough to run and drink from a paper cup at the same time. Seriously. It’s just splashing all over me because I can’t manage to drink and run without covering myself in water.

2. I’m afraid that if I stop to drink, I may not be able to start running again. You know, you get that running groove on and don’t want to interrupt it.

So really my solution to these problems is to throw the cup of water in the general direction of my face and open my mouth and hope that I catch some. So if you ever see me or someone like me throwing water on their face, remember this, because maaaaybe that’s what’s going on.

So, I’m currently curled up on the couch, soon I’m off to ride a horse and then go for a bike ride! At some point in there I’m going to do something that I haven’t done since I was a gymnast. Have an ice bath. I’m feeling inspired by a post Triathlon Obsession wrote about it and I know it’ll make my knees feel better. Wish me luck!!

I’ll leave you with a lovely shot of the ocean that I took this morning on my walk to the race start!

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Climb On

I will just preface this by saying that I ADORE rock climbing. I used to climb a ton, daily actually, before a shoulder fracture sidelined me for a while. When I lived in Banff I was able to do a ton of climbing, both indoor and outdoor and it’s something I always come back to whenever I can. It’s one of those things that you can always pick back up, especially if you have your own gear like I do. I really enjoy both the challenge and the upper body workout. When I’m really training hard for triathlon, it’s nice to supplement that training with something super fun! For your local climbing gym, just google it! For the Victoria area gym that I go to, check out CragX

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Elevate Me

So, a few of my favorite bloggers have been posting about nutrition today and it got me motivated also post about nutrition. Now, I am a fairly complicated eater, not that I’m picky, but I’m a lactose intolerant celiac. Yup. It’s just as annoying as it sounds. One thing that’s really great is that racing and training diets are fairly easy for me to follow because my regular eating habits are pretty much exactly the same as a racing diet. The one thing I find quite difficult to do is get enough protein. The only meats I eat are chicken and fish. With the amount of excercise I do, I’m pretty much constantly snacking on something to keep my energy up. One of my favorite things to snack on that I always have on hand are Elevate Me bars. I have about 8 in the glove box of my car right now. If you haven’t heard of them, check them out! It’s a locally founded company from Vancouver, and the bars are just fruit, protein and awesomeness. Best of all, they’re gluten free!!! AND I just noticed that they made a new breakfast bar snack. Of course I ordered some, I’ve gotta try it! For those of you who are still confused as to exactly what a celiac is, check out www.celiac.com for a little clarity!

My deep dark secret

I have to come clean. I have a secret. It’s embarrassing, and sad. And I’m going to tell you it right now!

I don’t

know how to

change a flat bike tire.

RIGHT!!!!!! I can’t believe I just threw that out into the universe but it’s true. And embarrassing. I’m the worst triathlete EVER!! See the thing is, all my friends that I ride regularily with all know how and keep telling me they’ll show me when one of us gets a flat. But we never get them. They get them if I’m not there, and I’ve never gotten one. I live in fear that one day, during a race, I will get a flat and be stuck crying in the mud on the side of the road because I can’t fix my own bike tire. So, as a general rule, when things perplex me, I head out into the world wide web searching for answers. I found a video that de-mystifies the changing of bike tires and hopefully will stop me from turtling and crying when faced with such an obstacle in real life.

Sh*t Triathletes Say

There are so many of these videos out right now and this one totally made me chuckle.

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