Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Europa

Kitzbuhel Pool:

(this would be the most beautiful pool I have ever seen, if it was not so deathly cold.. that takes down it's impressiveness a couple notches..)

Whew this update has been a long time coming. So much has been going on.. I have been in Europe for the past 3 weeks. 2 weeks in France, a quick stop in Madrid for the WCS, and now we’re in Kitzbuhel! Alongside traveling with bikes and doing laundry, another challenge in Europe is finding internet. The veterans who have been here before are always pointing out the various wifi locations: 'this hotel is good, but they get mad if you're not a guest, McCafe is great but a bit of a hike'.. but then a wifi connection magically appeared in the kitchen of our condo! I sure hope it sticks around..
I think Kitzbuhel is my favorite place that we've been to so far. The scenery is amazing (just like Banff, as my Dad says). The little town is gorgeous with tons of cute shops to cater to the elite (as in wealthy) ski crowd, so I can't wait to check it out on a lighter day. Maybe sans my credit card.. Where we trained in France was beautiful as well, but I always leave there with the feeling of ‘oh thank god we’re finally returning to civilization!!!’
So it is nice to now be in a beautiful European village with actual people in it.

Boys loving breakfast in france, and the Font Romeu pool:



So about Madrid!
What a weekend hey!! Now that I have internet, I really want to watch the Magazine show! Relive the excitement a little ha. It was neat to stay in the race hotel with almost all of the other athletes, and to be around all the energy and nerves but not have to worry about racing myself. I roomed in the tiniest little euro-style room with Kathy Tremblay. It was so tiny that I felt bad that she had to be in such a cramped room with me leading up to her race, but in the end we had fun, and she was a deep sleeper so she didn't seem to notice when I accidentally thwacked her with my pillow while rolling over a couple times in the night.
I got to meet a few of the superstars, mostly just the one’s staying on my floor, but that was pretty cool. Alex summed it up, “she’s not racing but she’s getting to meet a lot of famous athletes. It’s like Pokemon cards- collect them all!”.
I'm too scared to talk to some of the big names so alas my collection is likely to remain incomplete.. buttttt otherwise I'm not doing too bad! I think maybe other athletes are trying to get to know Paula through me...

Since I had trained and tapered with Paula leading up to the race, I wanted to try out a 5km. The last one I had done was on smashed legs, in a hurricane (exaggeration- but it was one of those days when even the Biggest trees are getting blown around), and with the worst pacing ever, so I figured I could pull off something better than that. I just wanted it to be low key with Patrick timing me, but we needed a second Tri-Can coach to make it official. Andddd of course the other Tri-Can coach in Madrid was none other than Barrie Shepley. So the morning rolled around and my low key TT had turned into a warmup around the nicest track I’ve ever been to with Simon Whitfield, in Madrid, paced by the Worlds best pacer, Jon Brown, timed by Patrick and Barrie Shepley, and cheered on by Paula Findlay. Oh my goodness can you get any more high profile! I couldn’t believe how many people came out to support me even though they all had WAY more important things going on that day.
Too bad I sucked.
It was fantastic being paced by Jon because not once did I have to use my brain since I knew that he was Exactly on the pace I wanted. It felt smooth for the first 3 km, but then the last 5 laps got progressively worse and worse until I ended up running 2 seconds slower than my previous crappy 5 km. At first when I finished I just thought ooohhh well, guess my running is just not where I would like it to be right now. Nothing had felt particularly off, I just felt too tired to hold onto the pace at the end. But as I was lying on the grass at the finish while all the important people rushed off to do their important things, I realized that I was not recovering at all. If I had been in the finishing shoot and someone had been telling me to 'keep moving, keep moving', I would have been one of those melodramatic ones that need to be carried to the medic tent. I really could not stand up. I knew we had to get back to the hotel asap, so gradually I went from lying to sitting, and then crawling and with a couple stops I was able to pick up my stuff and hobble to a cab with Patrick. The whole walk over I was fighting bouts of extreme stomach cramping, and dizziness. I just kept my eyes mostly closed because the black haze that came and went made me feel like I was going to fall over. At the hotel I went straight to the breakfast buffet and drank a glass of orange juice and then slept on the table for ten minutes, listening to the voices around me fade in and out, and my ridiculously high heartrate pound away. Finally it dawned on me that most people seemed to assume that I was racing, and they probably thought I was having a pre-race freakout or something, so I made myself get up, drink another glass of orange juice and go up the elevator. Unfortunately the orange juice did not sit well, and I REALLY thought I was going to throw up on the other two people inside. Thankfully that passed, and I slumped down in front of my hotel door for another 5 minutes until I was able to open my eyes again and get the key out so I could flop on my bed. I knew I had to recover because there was a very important race that I needed to be at in a couple of hours, so I was able to eat a whole Lindt chocolate bar, and 3 apricots (pretty much the extent of the food in my room) and after a while I became human again. Crappy feeling human, but functional at least. That kind of a bonk hasn’t happened to me since my pass-out days, so I’m not really sure if it was more of a blood pressure, or blood sugar, or hydration issue, but I know it wasn’t normal. So hopefully my iron isn’t disastrously low or something like that. On the plus side I don’t think I could have come so close to passing out without having my run affected, so I’m hoping that I’m running better than the time showed after all.
Anyways a couple hours later and we we’re down at the race site for the 2nd WCS race of the year! I was so nervous for Paula, and I felt bad that since I wasn’t racing I couldn’t share in her pre-race misery, so she had to suffer alone ;). But then after the first amazing lap of the swim when she came out right behind Lisa Norden and Laura Bennet, I KNEW she had it in the Bag!! And did you see her get those two Primes!! Whoohoo! It was so amazing to be there!

Can't really describe how cool it is to actually be at a WCS race! Thanks again to everyone who has put me in this position. It's really a great experience to be here. GOOOO PAULA!!!!!

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