Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Later Dudes

Buon Giorno amici!
We're leaving for PEI tomorrow morning. 6:50 à l'aréoport babeeeeee! Je suis Stoked. Well maybe not so much about the 6:50 am part, but that's considerably better than our other option: 5:30 in the water before heading to the airport. Thank goodness my 5:30 day are over! (man! I love our program/coach who doesn't do 5:30am swims)

Good day today. I'm thinking I'm going to be ready for this one. The swim went well this morning- finally managed to hold 1:11's and 1:12's again (the 100's were on 1:45 for us jr.s though, so we had more rest than usual). I didn't feel like I was catching a lot of water, and I was definitely over-compensating by kicking way too hard, but to be back at 1:11's felt good. That's right where I want to be so that I can start improving from there.
Us juniors ended up doing our ride trainer style because we wimped out due to the rain. But in the end I think it would have been good to get outside because other than the wetness it seemed like a pretty nice morning.
But that's ok- spinning gave me some time to re-think my making peace with pain theory. I thought before that you could only fully accept and work with the hurt in the pool. Mostly because of the lack of gravity in the water I guess. And because the pool is where I've had the most experience (hurtin and not hurtin). But thinking about it, I may have almost made friends with pain on the track before.
So now I think there may be a point in any sport (or aspect of life even?) where you can feel the pain, accept it, and not ignore it necessarily, but let it support you in a way that you are able to focus on more important things. Allowing the pain to exist, but not hinder you in any way. I'm pretty sure making peace only really happens when you're dealing with hurting for quite a while though. I've definitely never experienced any friendliness in anaerobic work that's for sure. Still think Hard Fast stuff is pure fight.
But maybe that's just why I'm not much of a sprinter. hmm more to think about I guess.

Run today felt good. I didn't think we'd be doing a track work today, so during warm-up I turned to Christine and said- wow I feel pretty fast today. I wish we had a track workout! (probably the one and only time I've ever said that in my life..). And then we did! The seniors looked like they had a pretty brutal set of 4x 2km. We ended up going down to ice before they finished, but it looked like everyone was flying- so good job team.
So I guess that means pour moi:
swim felt good?- oui!
bike felt good?- oui!
run felt good? - oui oui!
= ready to go!
Well minus being packed.. guess I better go rescue the laundry and get on that.

Later Dudes!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Reasons why I still haven't cleaned my room.




aaaaaahhhh summer is going by too fast! 
It's funny, sometimes I think "man if I wasn't doing triathlon I could be going on so many adventures.." I think I would try to find the coolest summer job ever. Like a backpacking, or mountain biking tour guide in Jasper or something like that. I used to think tree planting was cool, until I learnt that it isn't just hippies who are trying save the world who do it- that mostly people do it because it pays so well. So maybe that wouldn't be my thing. I like to think I'm hardcore, but I'm probably not a 'months living out of a tent planting all day' type girl anyways. Would be cool though- to save the world. 
But anyways- point of this paragraph is that even though I always wonder what I'd be doing if I didn't have to focus on training and racing all summer, each summer is defined in my head by the races I did. Even the brutal one's that ended in the hospital are still great memories- what fun trips!  Lets see... so far we've had Tucson camp which was pretty cool because I've never been anywhere like that before.  Mexico...Very fun. Training and racing in Vancouver, and Quebec.  Leaving for PEI on wednesday, and Kelowna after that..hmm this summer has been pretty neat after all. 

I can't remember if I've already mentioned my adventuring list but I found all these rocks for climbing within half-an hour of where I live that I really want to check out. So I wrote a big list of how to get  to all those places. Climbing is tough with triathlon. Usually the plan is to go Wednesday nights, and Sunday nights because the day after is usually lighter trainingwise. But we can't go wednesday nights if there's the wednesday night crit, and no climbing the week before races! Soooo we've only been to the gym once, and Stevo's secret rock once recently, and none of my adventures have been checked off! I probably won't have many more chances before Kelowna to get out, but oh well it doesn't get very cold in the fall here, so we'll have plenty of chances then. But still summer is going by too fast!
That's not to say we haven't gotten any exploring in. Last week two of my bestest girlfriends came out to visit us (because we weren't able to go home this summer). One of my friends, Steph, will be moving to Australia in like a week! Yikes too soon! And Elise goes to school in Toronto, so she'll be leaving soonish too. So it was really great to see them again even just for a little bit. We did the trip up to Sombrio. Amazing Amazing beach in the rainforest. We had a pretty great time. Miss you girls- keep rocking life. Too bad I couldn't hang out with the trackie BFF before she heads off for West Virginia :(. You keep rocking life too!

It's also funny how at the beginning of the summer all the cool things I wanted to do were at home, but now there are so many thing I want to do here too. (I'm really terrible at transitions, so it took me awhile to accept that this is where I live now. But I'm glad that I finally have because I like it here. And I don't think I can qualify for 'living in Calgary' status anymore if I'm only there a total of 20 days a year..). So now I have a huge list of all things I'm going to do on my two weeks off at home. And a huge list of all the things I'm going to do here. So please Summer- slow down a little bit! I've got too much racing, and backpacking, and climbing, and wakeboarding, and sailing, and tubing, and cabining, and visiting, and partying left to do! Wow when you list it off like that goes to show- life's pretty good. 

Great racing to all the buds at trackie Nats in Abbotsford, and swimming Nats in Calgary.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Peace

Something happened in the pool today that doesn't happen quite so often. The set was 8x200 best average (with some 50's kick after 4) on 3:10. (the boys and Christine on 3:00) It was one of those sets where you look at the board- blink a few times- and can only think, "You have got to be kidding me!" 8!?!
Well today I reached a point that I have only reached in the hardest of the hard swim workouts.
Me and pain made peace.

In sport pain is what tests us, limits us, fights us. Because it is usually a fight. 
Our Will vs. our Body. 
Body says stop, but the mind says go. Of course there's a lot more to it than that- there's pride, and confidence, and attitude, and competitors, and supporters, and coaches yelling at you... but those are just the extra challenges and bonuses thrown into the body vs. mind battle. 
I was thinking about it, and in a set such as 400's best average on the track, hill repeats on the bike, or 50's best average in the pool, pain is 100% the enemy. Each repeat is pure determination to make to the finish despite the big brick wall of lactic acid, and muscle fatigue in the way. 

Well in sets like today's sometimes something different can happen. You're going as hard as you can, and then the brick wall drops out of nowhere. oooohhh ouch. It's now a struggle. legs and arms are so heavy, burning, aching... The pace you were holding no longer seems possible. And still 6 more fast 200's to go... 
It's too much to fight through, so there's nothing to do but make peace. 'Hello pain, I know you're not going anywhere, so work with me? - k lets see what we can do together." 

I'm not sure it's possible to work together with that level of pain in any other sport. It HAS to be a fight when running or biking because if you give into it at all your legs would just collapse under you, or your bike would tip over or something. But in swimming, with your body's weight supported, the pain is just as present, but there's nothing to stop you from continuing your forward motion. 
So I gave my body's weight to the pain, and focused on fast swimming. It was a good set. 

Training like this is so crucial to racing. Because in race situations when there is so much more stress and pressure than in training, you can look back, and say, "ya I've hurt this much before, or more, and I survived, and I can do it again, so nothing to it but to HTFU." I think there's going to be some good racing coming up. 

Good day today. Core, hard swim, nice base ride, nap, hard track workout, ice, and now sleep. 

PEACE!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

hills and hammerfests

It's been a little while since I last wrote anything here, but that has definitely not been due to a lack of things to write about. Rather I have had SO MANY things to think about recently that I just haven't been able to organize it all enough in my head to be able to write it down! I think all my recent thoughts will organize themselves in time, and I'll probably share them later- if they turn out to be any good. For the time being I thought I could just write down how I'm feeling and stuff since I have way too many words in my head to sleep right now anyways. (last night I had way too many words bouncing around too, but in my stubbornness I refused to admit that I wasn't going to fall asleep and just pretended to be asleep for like 2hours instead..) So how am I doing? hmmm.. um I'm hungry. But I'm also too tired to care so I'll ignore that. And I'm super tired, but not really sleepy.. hmm what else??
Well I did have a pretty good training day today! I think it's finally coming along. In the last little while I've realized that we enjoy what we are good at and dread that which we aren't very confident in. I was dreading almost all my swimming and biking workouts. And then one day last week( I think it was saturday) I realized that I was ready to start enjoying myself again. For some reason I woke up, and knew that I was done with training badly. And it's gone pretty well since then. 
In the lake swim today I mostly kept my stroke together, and finished really hard, so I was proud of myself there. Nice run, yoga, And then in the crit tonight I finally did it!!!! I stayed with the pack!! THE WHOLE WAY!!! All us girls did it this time. The boys had strict instructions to attack from the first corner and to keep attacking throughout the race. I knew that would reduce my chances of staying in the pack to basically zero, but I decided to give it my best shot. On the first lap I refused to get stuck at the back going around the first corner like last time. That helped a bit, but I still had a huge hammerfest to catch up to the guys after the turn. But I was still in. A big hill- and still in.  Then a sharp right turn at the bottom of a huge hill, another hammerfest but still in!! 
After the first lap we passed Patrick, and I was so excited I yelled "I'm still in!!!'  He told me to stay in. 
I think all the guys thought I was really really weird( most of them laughed at me), but you see I've never managed to stay in the pack for a whole lap before, so this was a pretty big breakthrough for me. I actually felt really good the whole ride. I think that's probably because Sharpie, and Scotty up front were doing all the work while I stayed in the middle, but by the end of our 11 laps I was still feeling pretty good. I betcha I could have out sprinted all 'dem boys up the last hill, if a) I could have gotten through the pack to the front, and b) if that wouldn't have been an incredibly low thing to do. Haha I don't think any of the guys would have been very impressed if I had done that after sitting at the backish middle the whole ride. That was the last of our crits this season, so I'm glad to have ended it on a good note. Crits really are a lot more fun when you're actually in the race rather than just biking around and around by yourself for 30(ish) km.  
In the fall I'll have to decide whether to run cross with the Vikes, or have a stronger biking focus. If I choose the biking then Stevo says there is supposed to be a ton of cross- biking races to do. So I'll have to see!
ok now I'm sleepy. Night. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Le Reportage du Race



Alrighty here comes the race report. Finally!! I'm pretty sleepy right now, actually really really sleepy right now, but I figure that if I don't write it soon PK is going to come hunt me down. 
So I'll just do it now. 
And I also figured that since the main purpose of triathlete blogs is to display to le monde just how obsessed us triathletes are with training and racing and triathlon stuff, that maybe I should throw my race report in here too rather than just in my workout log. Y'know just to spice up my usual 'random thoughts, observations and reflections' type of posts. 

Gatineau Race Report:
Well it wasn't a complete disaster... there were definitely disastrous parts, but there were some ok parts too. I suppose it was a learning experience. I'm getting pretty damn tired of learning experiences though. My goal for this year is to have one race (ie. nationals would be good) where I learn absolutely nothing! deal. The big positive for this race was that it was pretty hot (27 and humid I think), and not only did I not pass out- I didn't even feel like I was going to pass out. Good Stuff. Big Thanks to Carolyn Murray for helping me figure all that hydration and nutrition stuff out :)

We started the race waist deep in the lake. There was no official placing at the start line, so PK told us to try and get a place as close the the left as possible because that was what had worked best for the boys who had left 45minutes earlier. It seemed like most of the girls had the same idea though because the left side was super cramped. I found a spot in the middleish left side of the field, but as I looked around I realized there were only weaker swimmers and 'people I had never seen before in my life' type swimmers around me. Which meant no feet. No good. 
Alex and I went back to the far left side, and decided to start our own second row instead. That turned out to be a really great decision I think. From the start I had Marianne right in front of me (she absolutely killed the start), and Gaby to my left. Gaby and I were fighting for Marianne's feet, but I was getting pushed farther and farther to the left and finally had to give my spot to Gaby. 
I don't mind that though because I trust Gaby to stay on feet more than anyone in the world. She is so tough- I knew she would hold on. So I stuck on her hip. Well tried to stick- I was working really really hard to stay on their feet the whole way. I wasn't feeling super smooth, and my legs were really tired. I stayed with Marianne and the leaders right up until the last 100 meters when everyone started swimming in different directions. My goggles were all foggy, so I couldn't really tell which people to follow, and at that point I needed to harden up and sprint to the finish, but in my panic I ended up just thrashing my way to the end, and came out of the water about 8 seconds back. 
I came to the mount line with Gaby, but my elastic broke on one of my shoes, so I spent a couple seconds trying to flip my shoe around. Gaby got a little bit ahead, and then we both stood up to hammer the first bit of the bike. Her hammering was a lot a lot more successful than mine. I stood up to go, but my legs were feeling the swim too much to actually go anywhere. And while she caught up to the girls ahead, I was stuck in no mans land waiting to get caught by the pack. The pack caught me pretty quick, and boy were they quick!!! This must be why them Quebecians are such strong bikers- since they race with the Elites all the time, they must get used to really really fast biking. I was working really hard, but I could have stayed with them I think- if I hadn't messed up. I was focusing on not being near the back going around the corners, but on the second lap we were coming up to a 90' turn, and I was right at the back. I wasn't too worried though because it was a pretty wide and easy corner. I was wrong. Stuck behind two ridiculously terrible corner turners, a huge gap formed between 5 of us and the pack. As soon as we could get around the terrible corner turners, Alex and I got up and hammered to try and bridge the gap. But we weren't strong enough. In the end we got caught by the second pack of girls, some of whom had swam over a minute slower! I was pretty frustrated. I remember thinking- what's the point of killing myself in the swim only to end up in the second pack anyways! 
We finished the bike 2 minutes back from the leaders. 2 minutes! from 8 seconds!!!
And then I just ran. In the last 2km I pretended I was doing the brick workout that we had done in Sydney with the 2km runs off the bike. And went as hard as I could. I didn't feel very fast, but I just tried to pass as many people as I could. My run split ended up being pretty decent, but I think if I had been racing somebody I would have been quite a bit faster. In the last 300meters there were two elite women ahead of me, and I had to dig pretty deep to pass them, but I did, and then all of a sudden Gaby was in front of me! So I sprinted past her too (which is terribly unfair because she is injured right now, and hasn't run in 3 weeks). And finished 7th. sigh.  Buuuuuuuuuutttt I forgot to step off the timing mat, so the results say that those last few girls I passed actually beat me. Woops. 
so what I learned:
a) run completely over the timing mat, all the timing mats. 
b) never ever be at the back going around corners
c) harden up better those last 100m in the swim
d) I need to work on my hammering on the bike, because right now I don't have any hammer. 

la fin

ohh and super huge congratulations to everyone else this weekend!!! Lets see Kerry 15th in her first ever World Cup, A-Russ dominating the World Cup scene too despite the heat, Stevo and Sarah-Anne- great racing in Geneva!, Sharpie and Jeff absolutely OWNED the boys race, and brought home the moola, Gaby for her amazing strength and toughness in that swim and bike, and of course Christine who managed to stay ahead of the whole field on the swim and bike, despite the fact that the bike was one of the fastest I've ever experienced!!!  big wow! 

Race Pace and Hill repeats

oh man I am really tired right now. I'm not really sure why... we were super fortunate in Gatineau to not have to race until 1:00 pm, so we never had to time adjust, and got to sleep in until like 9 every morning! got to love that. But regardless I am really really tired right now. I was struggling in the bike workout today. We had a pretty tough ride, and Alex and I were the only girls (other than christine- but she counts as a guy when it comes to cycling), so that made it rough. And my head was hurting a lot, and my legs were too sore to work, and I kinda suck at biking as it is, and I'm a really tired right now. So as you can probably tell I was having an 'I don't really want to be here' type of workout. I was trying so hard to have a good attitude though! I was biking up the observatory borderline mental breakdowning because I was hurting and sucking so bad, and I was like " seriously Kyla- it is a gorgeous day, it is so pretty here.. ooooh look at that pretty butterfly! Can't you just harden up, and enjoy the day?" But I was too grumpy to listen to myself. 
Then after the second Observatory repeat I came to the realization that I was a lot more upset by the fact that I was having a crappy workout and doing a really bad job, then the fact that I was hurting a lot. So I decided that I would just have to stop having a crappy workout. And I did :) For the most part anyways.. I stood up from the back, and hammered past Christine and Brooke to ride up the Observatory with the boys. I ended up getting dropped obviously, but I stayed with them longer than I expected to. The last hill repeat was a big blow-up fest, but I tried. So that was good. Coming down the Observatory hill Aaron must have slid out, because I came around the hairpin to find him on the pavement. That was really scary, and I hope he's doing ok. After that I didn't feel like complaining about having a headache anymore. 
Get Well Soon Buddy!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Gatineau

Bienvenu a Gatineau!!! (sorry-can't get accents to work on this computer).. I'm sitting in my petit hotel room right now- freezing to death because we just had an ice bath party. It's very nice outside though. I think it's supposed to be 28 degrees tomorrow, and we race around 1 or 2.. (I should probably figure that out), so it's going to be hot hot racing!!! Which reminds me that I should be hydrating right now. Except that I left my gatorade in Gaby's room when I snuck in to steal this computer. dang. Tomorrow is our first Junior Canadian Series race of the year, so it should be pretty exciting. After I got back from being sick at home, I've slowly been gaining my fitness back.. unfortunately the key word here is slowly. Before Worlds I was easily holding 1:10's best average long course in the pool, and lately it's been a struggle to hold under 1:15's, but it's coming along, and I know that even if I don't feel ready right now, I'll be ready for nationals at least. So I'm just going to have fun with race, and use it to get me back into racing mode. And I know that even if I feel slightly unprepared for this race, it can't be anywhere near as unprepared as I was for all my races last year. At least this year I know I can finish ha. But other than actual fitnesswise, the race prep is going quite well. I've Iced and stretched/yoga'd, and massaged with A535, and bought compression socks, and painted my nails, and did legs up the wall, so hopefully tomorrow will feel good enough. Good luck to the Sarah-Anne, and Stevo in Geneva, Scotty in Squamish (I think it is), Kerry and A-Russ for some world cup racing in Europe!!! And all the juniors here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A lesson

...just something I was thinking about....Sometimes the heroes who you expect to offer truth and guidance don't always have the answers. And the love you expect(or perhaps hope) to find from friends and family isn't there, or can't be there. Then what are you left with? Nothing?
No- it's still there. The love and truth is still there- it's just hidden. Hidden because it is unappreciated and overlooked.
An offhand comment from someone I usually forget to listen to made me think so much more than many of the discussions I've had lately. And the love can be found so easily- if you take the time to notice.
So thankya to all everyone and everything that are always there, but too often forgotten.

Friday, July 4, 2008

My thought of the day:

I climbed a mountain, and ran along trails, and camped in the wild, and swam in lakes, and jumped off cliffs, and rode my bike for hours and hours in the sun. And in the rain. I visited far away places. I carried my snowboard as far as I could into the backwoods. I danced to music, and watched the stars. I painted pictures. I won races. But for some reason all those experiences could never gain the title of being 'the best experience'. 
Because the best experiences were when we climbed a mountain, and we ran along trails, and camped in the wild, and swam in lakes, and jumped off cliffs, and rode our bikes for hours and hours in the sun. And in the rain. We visited far away places. We carried our snowboards as far as we could into the backwoods. We danced to music, and watched the stars. We painted pictures. We won races...

It took me 17.5 years to understand that.

Not everybody needs a lot of friends. But I think everybody needs friends a lot. The real one's-who can make you happy to be you, and share in your happiness because in turn you make them happy to be them. I find these kinds of friends to be pretty rare- maybe that's why it took me 17.5 years. Chris McCandless left society, his friends, and his family to discover truth and happiness on his own- in the wild. But the majority of his memorable experiences were the one's where he met new and special people. People who changed him, and were changed by him. No matter how hard he struggled to find happiness on his own, it was hopeless because what he needed, but didn't want to accept, was the help of others. 

" Happiness only true when shared"- Christopher Johnson McCandless

Thanks friends- for all the experiences, and memories, and adventures. And all the experiences, memories and adventures to come :) .  


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

some adventuring




 It's cool to be able to spend summer in a new place because I'm just discovering all the things you can do out here. And there is still a lot of exploring to be done.
I wish I had written more regularly/ at all in the past few days because there were so many stories... but that's ok. I can still try to gloss over them.  Friday was hooottt. High 20's for sure and we had a sweet brick workout out in Sydney. 3x { 10km bike + 2km run( max effort)}. It was pretty painful at the time because my legs were still feeling Wednesday's ride, but really fun because of the amazing weather. We had finished swimming, biking and running by 4:00 which gave us the whole afternoon free! And it was definitely a 'lets do something fun tonight' type day. We ended up at a really great organic type restaurant with some good buds and then wandered down to the harbor to check out the Tall ships. The boats weren't open to tourists by the time we got there, but we managed to slip onto the first dock really easily. I just like the pirate boats best. The second one was exponentially trickier, and our climb over the big fence, into the bushes while dodging security guards ended in frantic, 'abort mission! abort mission!'s. The third dock, although it was well guarded/fenced wasn't very tough to explore. So we got to see all the boats!! minus the big one behind the bushes. Stevo went back with Jas the next day, and totally out-did our previous Tallship exploring by managing a full afterhours tour on the biggest boat. 
I think I decided on the best place to sit/sleep on those boats, if ever I manage to stow away on one. 
Saturday was another great summery lake swim/ride. Alex figured out that she could ride with no hands, so that meant I could too- so we both managed that for the first time ever!! Except I got dropped at the end of the ride while I was practicing, and the pack rode off without me, and I got pity claps/cheers from a couple passer-bye's. sigh... 
And then some chill rooftop chilling and sky, and city, and harbor watching. (except the getting on/off the roof was a little bit less chill).  Sunday, Alex and I went farther 'into the wild' then ever before, as we explored more up-island/west island than we've ever been, and helped Kirsten, Scotty, and A-Mac set up a sweet beach camp. 
Then last night we experienced Canada day Victoria Style! Wow. Calgary definitely needs to get it's Canada day act together. K'naan was great. Alex has a couple videos posted on her blog- check that out! 
It's just about Velodroming time. (I've never been on a velodrome before, so should be interesting). And then I've got this great big list of some sweet outdoor climbing places to check out around Victoria, so hopefully we'll be able to cross one of them off the list tonight!