Monday, June 27, 2011

Long workout...

Our Rev3 Half Ironman Triathlon is in two weeks - July 10th. We have done quite a bit of running, a little swimming and couple longer bike rides. We haven't done any brick workouts - so no combination of any of the above...until yesterday.

We decided to give it a dress rehearsal and see how ready we are for what's to come. We did this last year too, before our half ironman at Pacific Crest. It makes for a long day, but it is actually fun and I was looking forward to it.

It turned out to be a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky all day long! We started down at the pond at 8 am. We swam two big loops, probably about a mile. We got out of the water and got onto our bikes. The plan was to ride far and end up at home, then run far and end up back at the pond to get our car.

We headed out on the bike down towards Frenchman's Bar. The Rev3 course was changed just last week, so now instead of hills, it will be FLAT. We wanted to simulate this, so we went to the flattest place we know and rode two big loops. We saw so many people we know out for a ride! It was really fun.

We went about 50 miles, a little more. I was feeling tired towards the end and was dreading a 12 mile run. Once we got off the bike, I felt better and was ready to enjoy a run. I was out of electrolytes in my water and I didn't have any more at home, they were all in the car, down at the pond.

It was really warming up, actually starting to get hot as we headed out on our run. I made a change in our proposed course so we could get down to the car sooner and pick up some electrolytes! I was glad we made that change because on the way to the pond, we saw two more familiar faces!

We got down to the car, refilled our bottles and headed out on the path. We were at mile 4 only 8 more to go. Along the path we ran into some more friends! Our friend Jo was out walking her dog - the funny thing is that we had seen her out on a bike ride earlier in the day. She asked what we were going, we told her and she just laughed.

We kept running along the Salmon Creek Path. This path has been flooded over for months now and we were really looking forward to it being all dry and open. Turns out, the water has risen again so the trail was impassable a few miles in. Trevor and I decided to head back to the car, that would make our run about 9 miles and that seemed like a good distance!

We were both satisfied that we were ready for July 10th. We had swam, biked and run for a very long time (6 hours total) and we both felt just fine. Yes, we were tired and yes, we were ready to be done, but we were still having fun. The dogs were waiting for us at home and we had massages scheduled for later in the day, so we wanted to get home.

We made it back to the car, drank our recovery drinks and wandered down to the pond. After a short little walk, we got in the car and headed home.

This day really reminded me of our Ironman training. Last summer, all we did was long workouts - swims or bikes or runs or all of them together. Honestly, I miss that. So today was a great day. I love that I got to spend the entire day with Trevor doing these things that we love. THAT, is a great day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


So...I don't think I've mentioned this, but we are training for the Rev3 - half iron distance triathlon in Portland on July 10th. That's just two weeks from this Sunday. The last two years, we've done half iron distances (1.2 miles swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run, we've trained for 16 weeks and I've documented all of it. This year, things have kind of gotten away from us and I would say we've put in a solid 4 weeks of training. And with 2 weeks to go, that would mean we've put in a solid 6 weeks of training! The funny thing is that I have a few other friends who are in the same boat!

The course was supposed to be really challenging and hilly. That was a big concern for me. I was feeling really unprepared. We did our first long bike ride last week - 44 miles of hills and I felt pretty good. So that helped. We did our first open water swim last week, about a mile and I felt pretty good. That helped too, but the swim is in a river - half of it down river, the other half up river. I was concerned about swimming against the current. I wasn't super concerned, but it was in the back of my mind. I'm not worried about the run (knock on wood). I figured it would take me about 7 hours to finish and I was really just wanting to have a good time.

On Friday, I got an email that said the venue had been changed. So, the hilly, challenging route with an up river swim, has now been moved to a different part of town. The swim is in a small calm lake, the bike and run could not be more FLAT. I will admit, I was a little relieved about this, but I was also disappointed because that route will be so boring. Its along Marine Drive - that parallels the river, but goes by the airport.

I have gone from wondering how I will do on the hills to wondering how my ass will be able to stay in my saddle for 3 hours and how it will feel to have no opportunity to coast! I do expect my time to be quite a bit better than if the route was hilly.

The bike and run courses are out and backs, so I will get the opportunity to see all my friends who are there doing the event too!

This weekend we'll do our first swim/bike/run workout. I am excited for race day. Its funny how my perspective on an event like this has changed. Before Ironman, I would be so anxious and scared about it, now it seems like just a fun day of swimming, biking and run with all my friends!!

July will be so "fun"

Monday, June 20, 2011


The Vancouver USA Marathon was yesterday and I feel like I ran it 10 times, but I didn't....I was the volunteer coordinator and I have to say, that was much more difficult!

A year ago, I was invited to be on the Race Committee and then asked to be the volunteer coordinator. I work with the volunteers on our events, the most I've ever had was about 70. For this event, I had over 250 volunteers between water stations, course marshals, Finish area volunteers and people to help at the two day race expo. It was overwhelming and there were many moments when I wondered why I ever agreed to take on this task.

I spent the last month putting together a list of volunteers and all the locations where I believed I needed them, only to find out last week that I needed more. That made me panic a little. Volunteers can make or break an event like this and really, once they are out on the course, I have very little control. If you know me, you know that "very little control" over something is my worst nightmare. I am a control freak. I admit it.

I poured over my list of volunteers and my list of duties. I scheduled and rescheduled. Every time I thought I had it right, I would find another place where volunteers were needed. I always have lots of communication with my volunteers, that way I can get a feel for them and where they would best fit into the event.

After it is all said and done, I think I did a good job of putting people in the right places. There are some volunteer jobs that are awesome at an event like this (ie. handing out medals at the finish line) and some that aren't as glamorous (ie. staffing the recycling stations), but every job has to be done and my volunteers did an amazing job. Several times, we had to re-position people, move them around and people gladly went to where we needed them.

Over the last few days, I have actually gotten emails from people thanking ME for letting THEM volunteer. That's pretty awesome.

Trevor helped out too - he was in charge of the lead bikes. He is the best volunteer! He will go and do whatever needs to be done and doesn't even have to be asked.

We were short a few places, I could have used about 20 more people, but I think we did pretty good with what we had. I am glad its over, I don't want to do it again. I feel exhausted as if I had run the marathon, but my body isn't as sore!

This event was a huge success and I really look forward to running it next year!

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Rod Tidwell

In the movie Jerry Mcguire, Tom Cruise plays Jerry Mcguire and Cuba Gooding Jr plays Rod Tidwell. Jerry is a sports agent who has lost ALL of his clients...except Rod Tidwell. All of Jerry's hopes and dreams are resting on Rod.

For the last 4 months, I have been training my first actual paying individual triathlete. I have coached groups before for sprint or olympic distance triathlons. I have coached groups of runners and walkers for marathons and half marathons. I have coached Trevor for half ironmans and a full ironman. But I have never had someone pay me to put together a program just for them. Until now.

I have confidence in my coaching ability. I know I put together a good program, I know that I am motivational. I know that I am good resource for all things that come along with training. But you can't teach someone to have heart.

About half way through training for her first half ironman, my athlete ran into an injury and took a couple weeks completely off. Most people would have given up, my athlete did not. She keep a good attitude and never thought it wouldn't still be possible.

Trevor and I have been joking that she is my Rob Tidwell...the only I have and if I can't get her to finish, well, will anyone else ever trust me to train them? Much better to be 1 and 0 than 0 and 1, right?

Last week, she came to see me before she headed out of town for the event. I saw alot of myself in her. She was nervous and just wanted to get started. She has questions and concerns. I gave her my best pre event advice. She hugged me and said "I couldn't have done this without you". I said "you haven't done it yet, tell me that after you cross the finish line".

Saturday was the day. I tracked her all day, her girlfriend emailed me updates. I think I may have been more nervous than her! I was concerned about her injury coming back to haunt her. Watching her times, it became clear to me that it had, she was taking a little longer than planned.

Finally, at 7 pm, I got the email that she had finished and she was hurting. I was SO relieved. About an hour later, she actually emailed me and told me she started to cry at mile 3 on the run when the pain started. That means she went 10 miles in pain. She finished. She did not quit. I am so incredibly proud of her. Even more proud than if she had finished in her goal time. Its the tough days that make us better...that teach us who we really are. Then she said "I couldn't have done it without you".

As a coach, that is the best compliment. That's the idea of a help you do something you didn't think you could do on your own. She's already signed up for another round of training, for another half ironman. And I am her coach. I love that.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Looking back

I was just talking to Trevor and he said that I should do a blog post comparing us at our first triathlon to us now. I went back and read my race recap from our very first Sprint Distance Triathlon in August of 2008. You can read that here

Reading it now makes me laugh. To think that I was so afraid of a little triathlon! When I am talking to a beginner about triathlons or coaching one of my athletes, they will say "Yeah, but you did an Ironman". I always tell them about my first triathlon. I completely understand the feelings that many beginners have about these events.

Here is the picture of the bikes we rode that day, our mountain bikes:

And our bikes now:

I remember at our first triathlons, I felt like such an amateur because of the bikes that other people had. I thought they knew it all and must be super fast and confident. As one of "those people" now, I can tell you....anyone can buy a nice bike - it really says nothing about your abilities!!

My first sprint took me an hour and 56 minutes. My last sprint triathlon in July of 2011 took me an hour and 23 minutes..I've improved quite a bit!!

I still remember how afraid I was that day. I remember because I am still that afraid before more of our events. I haven't overcome the nerves. I feel like that first triathlon was really the day that I showed Trevor that I will not quit. These days, he always tells me that he knows I won't quitting never crosses his mind. It crossed his mind that first day, but I didn't quit and now I have become that kind of person. I love that.

I think it also really showcased the reasons that I love doing things with Trevor. Everything is better when he is there. Its fun because we do it together. We both experience it individually and then compare our experiences together. It was also the day that we caught the crazy bug. We were hooked. Now, just three short years later, we've done a full Ironman, two halfs and are training for another half.

The last line of my race recap from that day says: "YAY....the first of many I suspect."

Yes it was....

If only in my dreams.

My sweet Gussie has been gone for about 8 months now. There isn't a day when I don't think of him and miss him. I still can't believe he is gone. Last night, for the first time since he passed away, he came to visit me in my dreams.

It was a strange dream, I don't remember all of it, but I remember some. In my dream, Gus was missing. We couldn't find him in the house and I decided to go looking for him. At first, I thought of looking in one direction and then I decided to go another way. As I walked along a path, I saw him curled up under a bench. He lifted his head and saw me. Then he came running to me just as he had every day while he was alive. He was not young and healthy, instead, he was as I remember him towards the end - older and frail, but happy. I bent down and he jumped into my arms. He rubbed his face on my face and I buried my nose into his soft, fluffy fur.

It was so real - the feel of the fur, the sound of purring and the smell of him. I don't know what else happened, but when I woke up, I wanted to go back to sleep. I wanted to hold him and touch him and love him for one more minute. The other cats were all asleep around me. I petted all of them and told them that I loved them. I also told them I had just seen Gussie.

I miss him. I really really miss him and wish I could see him again. For now, I'll have to settle for in my dreams.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ride like the wind...

Since I crashed my bike on August 19th of last year, I have only ridden my bike one time - that was Ironman Canada on August 29th. The bike crash really shook me and made me very afraid to ride. I don't remember being afraid of crashing during Ironman, I was more afraid of my injured arm swelling up, so I didn't have time to think about crashing!

Over the winter, I tried NOT to think about the crash. Every once in a while I would be out running and would remember it - I would feel sick to my stomach. It haunted me. It haunted me because of how bad it was and how bad it could have been. I knew, eventually, I was going to get back on my bike and I would need to work through that a bit.

We had planned our first ride for last weekend. I got our bikes all ready to go. We had never really unpacked them since Ironman - the front wheels were off and they hadn't even been wiped down. Saturday morning came and it was pouring rain, so we put the ride off until this weekend.

This morning, it was a beautiful, sunny 60 degrees and we headed out for a 30 mile ride. I commented to Trevor that I never used to be afraid to ride. He reminded me that I have always been afraid to ride. And he was right. I have never been afraid of crashing, I've always been afraid of cars. I am very aware of what goes on around me, of cars coming up to intersections or coming behind us. Hitting a rock and crashing? Not something I worried about. seems to be ALL I worry about.

The route we chose for this morning was the same route we rode on that day back in August. The crash happened four miles from home. I wanted to get past that point on the ride. I knew I would be okay after that. I told Trevor that I wanted to go nice and slow.

We geared up. We pulled out our sunglasses that had been packed since Ironman. Mine still had suntan lotion on them. I put on my armwarmers, the same ones I wore for the entire day at Ironman. I had washed them, but they still smelled like lake water and suntan lotion. It really took me back to that day - one of the best days of my life. I started really looking forward to our ride.

She's all ready

We headed out. It was the strangest thing, I was reliving that last ride. I remember it was an overcast, cloudy day. It was our last long ride before Ironman. 120 miles was the plan. We started way later than intended. We were zipping along Fruit Valley Road, headed out to Vancouver Lake. Last summer, they were doing a bunch of construction on that road and so there was gravel always on the pavement. We passed the Frito Lay plant. It was Tuesday and so it smelled like Tortilla Chips. Tuesday must be the day they process those because every week when we rode past there, on Tuesday, it smelled like that. It didn't today, but I was remembering how it did then. We came around the corner and were at the place that it happened. It was on a bend and being there today I realized how lucky I was that no cars were coming behind me. It was a bit of a blind curve and a car would not have seen me on the ground.

Trevor was behind me and was obviously reliving it too because he mad a screaming sound....mocking the noise I made when I crashed. I love him for that. We slowed a bit to pay tribute to the place where our summer took a crazy turn. Then, we put our heads down and kept pedaling.

I felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. I felt free. I wasn't afraid anymore and I realized just how much I love to ride that bike. It was brand new last year and it suffered only minor damage in the crash. It still has some scratches on the gear shift and pedal. I felt sorry for this bike of mine....sitting in the garage all winter long, all spring long...wondering when it would get a chance to ride like the wind again. Today was its day. I look forward to a summer full of riding...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Learning to say no

I have never thought of myself as the kind of person who has a hard time saying no. I would always hear people say "I just don't know when to say no" and I thought that was the most absurd thing I had ever heard. Fast forward to today. I have got to learn how to say no. I just have to. I am so overwhelmed with obligations to other people that I find myself totally exhausted.

I think the problem is that I say yes, when I should say no and then I care way too much about the things I have said yes too. I agree to be on a committee, only to realize that I am the only one on the committee who is willing to actually do the work. I find myself losing sleep and worrying about something that I have volunteered to do, something that really has no bearing or effect on my life, something that is not life or death and doesn't even matter that much.

When you own a business, it seems that everyone wants something from you. I don't know if people think it means you have all kind of free time and money to give, but that is how they act. At least once a week, we are approached to do something or be a part of something. That is great, really, it is. Its nice that people think of us, but if you cannot say is a problem.

I think I finally reached my breaking point a while back. Lately, I have actually told people "I'm not able to help out right now, I am spread too thin. I believe you have a worthy cause and wish you lots of success". Translation - "No".

About a year ago, Trevor told me that I was not allowed to volunteer for anything else. He commented that everytime I went to a meeting, group or organization, I came back with a job...a job that didn't pay.

In some way, I enjoy all the things I have volunteered for, its just too much. I am going 7 days a week right now and I need a break. I have one last major obligation - that will be over by the end of June. After that, I will be an expert at saying NO. I have learned my lesson and will put that knowledge to good use. Enough is enough.