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Wine n Dine Half Marathon!

Well those of you who have been following along with Facebook or Twitter will know that the Wine n Dine Half Marathon took place last weekend and it was glorious! This race was super exciting for me. Not only did I get to run with a bunch of my old friends, but it was a DISNEY RACE!! Which of course is my favorite type of race. We all know Disney knows how to put on a show, well they certainly also know how to put on a race!! This particular race is the finale to a magnificent event that Walt Disney World puts on in Epcot, called the Food and Wine Festival. Food and Wine is pretty much the greatest festival ever. They have booths set up all over the World Showcase from different countries and you can taste different food and beverages from each booth as you wander around the park. They also have live entertainment almost every night, this year some of the highlights included Wilson Phillips, whom I did not get to see, and Hanson, whom I did indeed see!! This magnificent event goes on for just over a month and culminates in the Wine n Dine half marathon!!! The race begins at the Wide World of Sports and goes through both Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios before ending in Epcot with a giant party and much exultation! I have been looking forward to this race for months and I’ve been training hard. I did, however, have a few trepidations.

1. Running outside!! I’ve been training strictly on a treadmill for the last 7 months. How am I going to react to running on real life land, have I been training g hard enough? I try to vary my treadmill incline and speed enough to mimic land, but maybe I didn’t train correctly or enough.

2. Temperature!! I spent the last 3 months in the Baltic, training in the cold, how will my body react to the high temperature and humidity of Florida?! Especially with all the signs proclaiming ‘EXTREME HEAT WARNING!! STAY HYDRATED, THIS MAY NOT BE THE WEEKEND TO RUN YOUR BEST TIME’

3. Time!! This was a night run. Start was 10pm. Sure I do training runs that late, but my entire race history, be it marathons or triathlons, is all morning. I know how to prepare for morning races, I know how my body reacts, nights races are a whole other ball game, I’m not sure how best to prep.

So I went into the race, not expecting much, but expecting to do the best I could do. As expected, the first 3 miles were the worst. I always fight through those. Between mile 2-3, a ruthless cramp almost crippled me, but I ran through it. I love running outdoors. After the amount of discipline I’ve developed to run on a treadmill for endless miles, it was like a vacation to run outside, so many things to look at, so many people to race!! Turns out I didn’t do so badly in the training department. Once that pesky cramp worked itself out, I ran like there was no tomorrow. I felt amazing and turns out, I ran my best time ever! 2:05!! And I had a blast!!! Great success!!! And at the finish line, not only did I get a massive giant medal, but also a glass of wine!! Best. Race. Ever!!!!

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To Swim or Not to Swim

Well, being a gym rat is going quite well actually, I’m getting into a comfortable groove of running/biking/weight training in the guest gym. My schedule is actually ideal for training. I work split shifts so I always have time every day to go to the gym. We don’t ever work all day straight, there’s always a break! I really feel like I’m getting so much gym and self improvement time, it’s amazing. The only thing missing is swimming. Of course, swimming is the component that I have to work hardest on to keep up. My current solution has been to swim back and forth along the beach when we are in ports with a close beach. Which is at least 2 days a week. Sometimes I can’t get off the ship, but I’ve been making do! One thing that I can’t get enough of right now is the eucalyptus steam room and dry sauna on the ship. The wall opposite to the door is actually a massive floor to ceiling window that looks out onto the ocean. There is nothing better after a workout than sitting in the steam room and staring out at the ocean. It’s heavenly!! I’ve also discovered napping!! It’s amazing!! How did I live without naps before???? Does anyone out there have any advice for me in the triathlon department?? How can I maximize my gym workouts to keep me in shape while living on a cruise ship all winter (pool swimming is out of the question, crew aren’t allowed in the guest pools, originally I thought maybe I could do some pool running)??

Isla Roatan, Honduras. My floating home on the left!! Wanna race to the ship??

Goofing off with a co-worker in Roatan!

 

Tough Mudder

I know you’ve all been eagerly anticipating the Tough Mudder update and I’m ready to give it to you. First of all, I ADORED the atmosphere I found in Whistler during the race weekend because it was full of like minded people who are also into racing and health and the same things I am. Myself and my team stayed at the Westin and loved every minute of it. My friend works for them and took very good care of us while we were there. The challenge itself was amazing. I adore the idea of it, lots of teamwork, and for a good cause but also very physically and mentally challenging. For those who don’t know about it, this race is known as possibly the toughest race on the planet. It’s intense and painful and so awesome.

The official Tough Mudder Vancouver video came out today, check it out!!!

Tough Mudder Whistler

I’ll post more photos later!! I managed to hang onto a disposable camera for the whole challenge, so I ended up with some great photos!

 

The Cankle

I have been a little absent for the last few weeks and I’m sorry about that….partially it’s because of an injury and partially I’ve been away. Let’s start with The Cankle. No matter how hard you try to prevent injuries as an athlete, it still happens. I work so hard to prevent injuries while I’m racing and training, and I very rarely injure myself during a race. However, two weeks ago, while walking back to my car with a coffee on my way to work, I tripped. Possibly on the air, possibly on an invisible cat, possibly on Doris Gravlin (don’t worry, she and I are friends, I’ve worked at the VGC for 5 years and we are very close.) Whatever it was, I flailed and sprained my ankle so badly that I was advised to not bear weight on it. This happened four days before Tough Mudder, which I wasn’t planning on missing. And I did not. But anyway, after this little mishap, my ankle swelled to a RIDICULOUS size, so much that I began calling it The Cankle, and making people do it’s bidding. Check it out…..

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So that’s The Cankle, and somehow the Cankle and I managed to run 18 km with 25 obstacles. More on that later. For all the other athletes out there who are cursing me for racing on this ankle, don’t worry, I’m paying for it now, but I’m stubborn and couldn’t not race. Sooo please forgive me, I’m a bad athlete, I don’t know how to rest.

Inspiration

In my spare time I like to keep an eye on what the triathlon gods are up to, and one of those amazing humans is Craig Alexander! In this series of videos by triathlon.com, they look into a bit of Craig “Crowie”‘s training days, 8 weeks away from Kona! Just an amazing athlete!!

 

 

 

 

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!)

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.

ZOMBIES!

Ok, I’m just going to throw this out there…I’m SO ready for a zompocalypse it’s not even funny. I actually spend a fair chunk of time planning exit strategies and looking for weapons and just generally being prepared for the inevitable zombie takeover. When it happens, just follow my lead, I got this!! And while we were running the other day, Matt and I decided that we should start a running group where half the people dress like zombies and chase the other half, because what better motivation is there to run!? Anyhow, I swear I’m going somewhere with this. Apparently I’m not the only one with zombies on the brain because check out this run!! Run for your lives is a 5km obstacle course complete with ZOMBIES THAT CHASE YOU!!!!! They have them all over Canada and the US, however there is one in Washington on august 4th that JUST SO HAPPENS to fit right into my race schedule. It’s fate!! Go check out this race, their website is pretty rad….even better, you can actually sign up to BE THE ZOMBIES!!! Which, lets face it, I’m probably going to do.

Happy training!!

You can’t win EVERY day

A really big part of training and racing is knowing that sometimes you just aren’t going to win. It took me a long long time, and many broken bones to realize that! Today was one of those days. Davey and I went out for a run this morning, and we were both tired, I forgot my comfy running shoes so I got a massive blister…just an all around fail. So we changed our plans, ran some stairs, did some pushups and called it a day. It was just one of those days. You can’t win every day! But just because we lost today doesn’t mean we can’t win tomorrow. Plus we ran stairs and did pushups so it’s kind of a half win.

However, you know who IS winning?? My new baby horse friend Kosmo. I say baby because he’s green and untrained and turning 4, but when you’re picturing him, don’t picture him little, he’s actually quite large. He’s just the sweetest thing ever. Yesterday he went lunging in a saddle for the first time and he was so well behaved!! I’m very excited to be working with him, he’s going to be such a wonderful project. There’s something amazing about working with green horses, you really build a very special bond.

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