Thursday, October 18, 2012

Go SuperAlex!

If you haven't already seen the RTC Guelph team's Domi, Jo & Alexander videos check em out!!! They're awesome. Races go off tomorrow, so you better know who you're cheering for. We've got a good group of West Coasters representing tomorrow too, so I thought it would be really cool if they could have 2012 videos as well. Unfortunately, I only came up with this plan today which was not enough time. Also my footage was very limited, and turns out my illegal downloading abilities suck, so here is the one and only video I managed to come up with. I'm still cheering for you Ali, Ellen, Matt, and Aaron- but heres my go Alex go video!!
Racing is f***ing fun


U23 Elite Women go off at 1:15 West Coast time (Friday)
Elite Women at 4:15
U23 Elite Men at 7:15

Jr Elite Women at 3:00 pm
Elite Men at 5:00 pm
Jr. Elite Men at 8:00 pm

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nothing to do with Lance, but a little about Biking, and Go Team at Worlds!

A couple of days ago I was bragging about how I never get sick anymore (just injured and adrenally burnt-out, but that doesn't count), so naturally I felt a flu coming on the very next day. There was no way this baby was your everyday cold- this was most definitely a flu. I spent all afternoon taking supplements, and huddling in my bed feeling sorry for myself, and trying to study but really just flipping between watching movie trailers online and trying to find awesome recipes to add to pinterest. I then spent the night too feverish, and radiating heat, and head going to explode, and throat constricting, and hurty-all-over to sleep, so I skipped all my morning classes, got up around 10:30 in the morning, and didn't feel too bad! So that was weird... I had been expecting death. While this turn of events put me even more behind in school, it culminated in the creation of these: (not that I'm behind in school... but there are a significant number of projects accumulating in my subconscious, slowly elevating my stress levels, that could have been started a while ago)
                                                        bacon chocolate chip cookies

These ARE NOT HEALTHY!!! but amazing. And every-intolerance-in-the-universe-free, but you wouldn't know it (except almonds- so you should probably get over your almond allergy).

Funny thing is, I have had zero appetite for the past few days, but for some reason not wanting to eat has made me want to be all 'top chef' way more than usual. Strange. I feel like the trend of being immobilized, therefore spending less time doing physical activity, therefore spending more time on the internet, therefore inspiring me to bake all day, doesn't bode well for when I get my knee surgery next week. 

Knee surgery probably deserves cookies though I'm thinkin. I'm excited to get it over with. It has been over a year now of IT band bursitis, and every possible treatment/strength training plan/this-worked-for-me!-regime on the planet, so I feel good about giving the ITband release a shot. I've been able to do about 3.5-4 hrs of cycling per week this fall, and while that is no where near triathlete levels of training, it has been exciting to get out on my bike regularly for the first time since before Beijing (regularly because I ride in 1hr segments). And now everyone is in New Zealand, and I can't even picture myself there I've been out of the game so long. 

Summer Climbing
Once I got over the hump, being on a break hasn't been bad though. I tried being a climber for a while, but after spending some time climbing outdoors, I then moved into the gym and may or may not have been a little over-enthusiastic and ended up with compartment syndrome of the forearms after the first week, so being a climber didn't last too long. 
Austin on the forearm destroyer

It has made me a better student though because I can allow school to become more of a priority. Turns out that I am really enjoying my research methods class, and am super stoked on doing my mini thesis.. both of which are weird to be enjoying- so I am now leaning towards grad school at some point in my life. Also, for my athletic injuries class, I've had to be trainer for a rugby team which has been quite different from anything I've ever done before. I feel terribly incompetent, but its kind of exciting watching them run right into one another.. on purpose.. piling up on top of one another, and waiting to see who gets back up while all ready to run out and stick a tampon up one of their bleeding noses or something like that.  
Quote of the away game in Washington state was, "can we stop at Krispy Kreme- I need to carbo load." Silly rugby players. But who am I kidding, pretty sure Ive heard Tri-boys say the same thing. Those cookies actually are healthy now that I think about it.

Anyways, I am very excited to follow all of our Canadians at worlds this weekend. We've got such a great group over there. I will be cheering so loudly for all of you!!! while eating cookies. 

Man, I think it's time to be a triathlete again. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I keep hearing the athletes on TV say, 'it's the Olympics, anything can happen,' I think referring to the fact that both miracles and huge disappointments happen when the pressure is on like this. Even from a spectator standpoint, you can't help but go into the Olympics dreaming of those stars aligning.

We've all crashed out of races. We've had tough swims and not made the pack. We've been beat up, drowned, panicked and then screwed up, cramped out, passed out, lapped out, or been running for porta-potties instead of the finish line. We've had penalties, flats, mechanicals. We've DNF'ed and DFL'ed. Not achieved our expectations, or surpassed them. It is all a part of racing, and we learn from it and eventually move on. What makes it more emotional is that this is THE A race. And 4 years is a significant amount of time to dedicate every second of it to just another race. The Olympics may be a more dramatic learning experience than any other (except for maybe the Olympic qualifiers), but our Olympians will be ok; they have always had to be tougher than everyone else.

This is the first time I've actually watched the Olympics. You know, woke up at 3 in the morning to watch BC athlete's prelims from the CTV app on my phone even though they'll never know we're cheering. Stayed up all night having race watching parties with the team. Cried every time our athletes won and cried when our athletes lost. Actually that is somewhat figurative because it seems to me like it is the boys here who are literally tearing up all over the place. I always get the most choked seeing the post event hugs from those who have been with the athletes every step of the way. Sheila & Adrienne Findlay during Paula's race, the mens pair and their coach.. sniff! I was actually relieved when my TV stopped working for a day because this whole Olympic thing has been way more emotionally draining than I ever imagined. Harden up Kyla Coates- nobody died!

In the end, we feel the athlete's loss, and we're stoked for their wins, but in no way are we ever disappointed in them for being world class, for doing their best, and dedicating these last 4 years to give it their best shot.

Despite everything, it really is just another race. And just like any other race you prepare to be the best, but anything can happen. Great Work so far Team Canada. In all sports!  The rest of us- we got your back :).

Monday, July 16, 2012

10 Things that are Awesome

'So you are taking the summer off?- that's AWESOME!' - Ryan Russell.

(I'm hoping that if I make this post long enough, it will bump out the annoying video.. ahem.. I mean the best video you've ever seen... from my blog, so I will try to put in lots of pictures.)

 I have finally accepted that I won't be racing this year. And I'm happy. Sunshine is good for that. Nothing makes me happier than summer. In the beginning I was fighting to keep doing my 'easy swims' with the group, but with the fatigue that I was dealing with, that meant exhausting myself trying to keep up going warmup pace. Which lead to being too tired to function over the following two days while feeling bad about how pathetic I'd become. Now, I've got a much better routine that involves doing whatever I want. I go search out somewhere fun to swim everyday, and do 2-3k how ever I like (I get way too bored to swim more than that all by myself.. 3k is seriously pushing it). I've also got my butt buster & Ab ripper strength/rehab routine, and lots of walking to keep me from feeling like a lazy waste of life. Despite glimpses of my knee getting better, it's now been 10 months since I've been able to really run or bike, but I've got a second surgery consultation booked once and for all. My team and I are doing a lot to make me stronger, and more efficient, so I don't have helplessness induced depression anymore.  And Yes, I'm going to have to wait out the fatigue, but I know we're doing the right things for that as well. So long as there is progression, I'm happy. While I haven't tried any intensity in quite a while, I really do feel WAY better than I have in a really long time. I mean, even better than before the whole fatigue thing started. Here are some things that have been awesome lately.

1) Going on trips that do not involve training or racing:

Kirsten & Gaby enjoying the lovely west coast weather
hotel room on mini Vacation with my mummer
Unfortunately, I told my mom that I wouldn't put any pictures of her up without her permission, and since I didn't get a hold of her- here are some more of me.

And a real life volcano. 

A chocolate dress. 

2) Getting to spend a little time with my parents and little brother who I never see anymore:
 Last time I got to spend more than just christmas time with them was when I broke my collar bone, so injuries are good for something.

3) Okanagan Blueberries! and Raspberries! ... just Okanagan fruit in general

4) Watching my friends and sister race:
  Sometimes I think my summer off may be a little less off than intended since I live vicariously through my twin sister. I borderline wanted to throw up, I was so nervous when they were 'in the hands of the starter'.
Edmonton World Cup- Women's Start



Cheering on the Men

Champagne mayhem 
5) Reading books (that are not text books!) until way too late because they're at the scary part, and then not being able to sleep because it actually was scary... but it didn't matter because I could sleep-in anyways.

6) ONLY Swimming Outdoors:
Thetis Lake

Beaver Lake

Stanley Park pool just out the back door from my parent's house in Calgary. Alex and I also swam in the Elbow River which is right there as well (endless pool style), but alas, I didn't think to take a picture of it. 
Not training
Joining the gang at lake Matheson. (Also not mentioned but very important: Uvic Outdoor Pool)

7) That there isn't anything that can eat you in the lakes in Canada:
As I was swimming along by myself, I was thinking about global warming and how if alligators migrated to Canada, they would probably live in Elk-Beaver lake, and at that moment I unexpectedly swam into a huge clump of seaweed and FREAKED. Luckily it did not eat me.

8) My Backyards
Walking to the Lakes from my Condo- I was like, "man I'm lucky :)"

Alex doing strength back home in Calgary

9) Chipping away at the soon to be 6.5 year undergrad:
Summer classes are only 3 weeks long baby.

10) The Olympics are coming!
So to everyone who is finishing up their Olympic prep- leave the stressing to me: I only have 10 left days to get TV!!!

Good Luck Friends & Canadians. You know we'll be cheering!

(Shoot! Didn't even come close to bumping out the video.. just think of it as my blog's background music I guess.)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

What my Olympian Friends Taught Me

Over the past few years, my admiration for athletes has faded. Athletes are not feeding starving children, stopping wars, or saving the trees.. so why is an individual's pursuit of glory inspirational?

When I was a kid, it was always easy for me to preach the benefits of sport: It builds discipline, teaches goal setting, pain tolerance.. etc, etc. But now, I sometimes wonder why I am doing an undergrad in sports science (besides the fact that I enjoy it). How does helping athletes help make the world a better place? Maybe I lost my faith in sport when one of my profs told me about another student she used to teach who "used to do triathlon for herself, but wasn't fulfilled until she switched to running races for charity." As in, 'god forbid you would do sport for purely selfish reasons' (totally unrelated, but that also happened to be my least favourite class of all time). Or maybe it was watching my brother grow up, and not sell his soul to competitive sport like I did, and not only turn out ok (well so far), but you know.. also have a childhood, a social life, and the ability to pursue a whole array of interests. Other than my summers which were pretty darn good, I think I've done a decent job of blocking most of my childhood and teenage years from my memory because they mostly involved my sister and I being totally exhausted, generally depressed from the exhaustion, usually sick, and dreading going to swim practice. I borderline sucked at swimming. Like I was a tiny bit better than completely sucking, but not much.
I'm pretty sure the early morning workouts stunted my growth.
I don't really know why I stuck with it... I mean other than because I irrationaly thought I would be a huge disappointement to my family, and forever be branded as a quitter if I stopped. I never really contemplated quitting swimming though because when I was 10 or 11 and my swim coach asked us to write down our dream goals, I wrote: go to the olympics in triathlon. And in Calgary competitive swimming seemed to be the only way to set me up for that (thankfully, I did begin to improve AFTER I finished club swimming and moved to the NTC).
Watching the final Olympic qualifier for London reminded me why athletes are inspirational, and why sport is good for something after all.
I realized that no matter what every Olympic medallist had to get through to reach that point, so so many other just as deserving athletes also had to overcome equally great odds... and failed. It's like the dumb saying that you can do anything you set your mind to. Bull****.  You are told that if someone sacrifices everything, overcomes hurdle after hurdle, that eventually they will succeed. Reality is, that for reasons within or beyond your control, you can't always do everything you set your mind to doing.What is inspiring is the attempt. To let go of self-doubts and fully commit to attempting the impossible. That is what is courageous.
Athletes (and often their support team) can never clock out and leave their work at work. They often sacrifice everything: having friends, starting families, an education, a real career, interests/hobbies, weekend camping trips, beers with friends, a real income, relationships... all for (as Simon would say) the relentless pursuit of excellence. And yet even pursuing relentlessly isn't always enough.
The best athletes I know probably don't train the most of everyone in the whole world, and probably not the very hardest either, but like those others who are the best in the world they are willing to do everything it takes to get there. Complete single-mindedness. And they don't accept mediocrity. I think the reason why a healthy Paula has proven to be such an amazing athlete is not simply because of her talent or her training, it's her incredible focus. It is not just because she is a redhead and has a higher pain tolerance than us non-redheads, it is because even when she is doubting herself, when she is unsure whether she can hold on for the win, she never ever becomes complacent. She doesn't listen to that voice telling her that '2nd place is still awesome!!' She always always fights those demons and goes for the win. Sorry for putting you on the spot Paula :).
And I think that is the lesson that I can draw from sport: to have the self-confidence to attempt any challenge or goal in life. To understand what it really means to try your best. To dream big. To never say, 'I can't'. To never be complacent. To be willing to give your everything for a goal, and yes, possibly not achieve it, but to give it a shot anyways.

So thanks for the reminder my past-Olympian, future-Olympian, and almost-Olympian friends. Triumph or Tears, you have done great things.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May Update

 Updating post swim at one of my favourite pools:

 I admit it. I’ve been avoiding the blog. I was hoping that if I waited long enough I would be able to write a positive, ‘training is awesome’, post, but I have finally come to accept that that is not going to happen for me this year. I even had to breach my 'never mention what month it now is rule' in order to name this blog: 'May Update'.
My knee might be doing better.??.  but it’s hard to tell. We are certainly working very hard at it. Unfortunately it might be time to turn to IT band release surgery. While biking and running were out of the equation for most of this year, I was happy to at least be swimming really well. Unfortunately after my first pro-lo injection to tighten my knee capsule, I came down with a weird immune response. The blood tests made it look like I had a virus, so maybe it was totally unrelated to the prolo, but either way it left me with some strange chronic fatigue that makes me totally incapable of training at anything over base effort. It came on so suddenly that I hoped it would just go away, but after over two months of taking it super easy (and last week totally off), if I am getting better it is happening very very slowly.
I know that many great athletes have had to miss seasons, and with that time they were able to correct their problems and return as stronger, healthier, more successful athletes. I think I am doing this. I’m definitely still in the process of doing this, and I have a long ways to go, but I’m really hoping to make this downtime into something positive for my career. Spend this year on a mega-tune up, spend next year not making the same mistakes as before, and then never be injured again! Genius! The only problem is that I can’t seem to completely give up on this season and move on (I'm only step 1: accept that it is May, not step 2 yet).
Worlds is practically in November, so that kills me. I have hope for November. Selection ends in August though, so it doesn’t matter how fit I am in the fall if I’m not fit in the summer. I mean if a miracle happens maybe I could race by August..,

I have been injured a lot in the last 4 years. I know very well how appreciative I am of having the ability to run, and bike, and even swim. However, I always thought that if a time came when I couldn’t do triathlon, I wouldn’t be too lost as I have so many other interests that I have put on hold while pursuing triathlon. Turns out that it is not so simple. I know how awful it is to not be able to train or race when you want to be, but I hadn’t realized how much I depended on the excitement of racing and training and travelling in the summer to make the exhausting winters of school and training worthwhile. I guess I am more of a triathlete than I thought. If I can't race I would love to be adventuring with my friends, maybe camping or climbing, but turns out that all my friends are in triathlon. I have no life! I sometimes get the occasional twinge of hate for everyone who is away at training camps and races who are having fun, and getting fast. I hate being out of shape. Watching recreational cyclist and joggers go by makes me cry a little inside despite knowing that there is always someone much worse off, and knowing that eventually I WILL get this all figured out. I will probably take summer courses, or at the very least get a job.. but what if that miracle happens! I also have a tremendous fear of losing my stroke in the pool, so taking more than a week completely off is out of the question. (After taking 2 weeks out of the water last fall, I came back not sure if I would ever be able to make it across the pool again, so I am never doing that again!)

I am not totally depressed about it all though. Watching the whole Olympic selection process that is going on and seeing all of the heartbreak, makes me very grateful that this is not my Olympic year, and very sad for everyone who, for some reason or other, didn’t make the cut. I’m gradually figuring out this being a not-triathlete. And while I do have twinges of hate ;), for the most part I have been quite positive. I live in the most beautiful place on the planet, so life is still awesome J
Spring at Beacon Hill
The Girls on our mini trip to Vancouver
Alex and AGame swimming and running at lake Matheson

Monday, May 7, 2012

Swimmin in the lake

Just came home from a wetsuit swim at Thetis. Swimming in May is awesome because not many people realize that on a beautiful sunny spring day the lake really isn't that bad (With a wetsuit. We swam approx 100m sans wetsuit and it really was quite bad), so of course we had the whole lake to ourselves. Alex and I did our first lake swim about 3 weeks ago because we had just got our hands on our new Aqua Sphere wetsuits, and everyone knows that trying out a wetsuit in a pool is just not the same. Even in April, swimming in the lake wasn't too cold once the extreme pain in your face and hands and feet was numbed out. Luckily, our suits do an amazing job of keeping water from coming in, so there was never any cold water swishing around which certainly would have made canadian spring swimming considerably less enjoyable. The craziest feature of the Aqua Sphere suit is this corset-type velcro around the waist that keeps you higher up in the water than any other suit I have ever tried. You literally don't even have to kick at all. Is this ITU legal? I can't wait to try it out in a real workout with the group and be like 'haha- I'm not even kicking!'
..Although I must admit, there is something about having a coach making you swim in a cold lake that makes it feel about 100 times less enjoyable than when you're doing it of your own free will. I may stick to swimming oyo in the lake on beautiful sunny afternoons for a while longer before letting Coach know that the lake is indeed swimmable.
                                  Brent demonstrating the shoulder flexibility of the AquaSphere Suits:

Tri-It, our wonderful partners in Calgary, sell Aqua Sphere gear (rumour has it Tri-It is (or is at least one of) the biggest wetsuit distributors in North America), so if anyone wants to get fit for a wetsuit by the most enthusiastic, down-to-earth, and supportive staff on the planet- I suggest giving them a visit. (*Note: If you are thinking of buying this season's super levitating Aqua Sphere suit either online, or on Tri-It's online store, they do seem to fit small so I recommend buying a size up.)

                                                      Alex Swimming a few weeks ago:

Whew. While I'm on the topic of super-sponsors. Big thanks to Asics for letting me be a part of the team again this year! I certainly struggled with picking out my shoes because there were far too many choices, and I may or may not have picked them based on how fast they look (which was difficult since they all looked fast.. hence 6 different types of shoes). I will be at the Peninsula Runners Oak Bay Half-Marathon Asics tent this weekend so come say Hi.

ps. Apologies for the videos in previous posts playing every time you go on my blog. I wish this didn't happen too.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Best Training Video You've Ever Seen

If you've ever done a swimming underwater contest (as in: who can swim the furthest underwater), or something like that.. you know the trick is to always go last. Because if you go last you only have to go that extra cm farther than the other guy and you win! Which is why we wanted to unveil our video at the same time as our fellow video making opponents, so that they wouldn't be able to fix up theirs after seeing the amazingness that is ours. Well our video has been accumulating dust on Vimeo for a while and we've decided that the boys might want to use some Tucson footage, or spend some time over reading week fine tuning theirs, so to even the playing field we'll risk giving them that extra cm. Here's our Maui Video #2.
Please re-watch as many times as you like :)
(suggest clicking on the HD button & pumping up the volume for full epicness ;)


Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Riding Bikes
Ocean Swims

Pretty View from the new house

Alex started a video-off with the Ontario Boys. Or maybe the boys started it when they saw that Alex was not in a video-off with Paula.

Boys are good at making non-competitive things competitive too.

Like when Alex and I were 3, and we would get our nightly glass of milk with a straw. We would stare each other down, start sucking our milk as fast as we could while taking precious seconds every once and a while to yell- 'it's not a race!!!!'. Point of the story is: the boys don't know what they just got themselves into.

You see, while having a disaster of a camp is not ideal training-wise, at least I got to be a very dedicated team filmer. Not to say my filming was any good.. (you try taking good shots with 3 different people's cameras on the go), but I think we got some pretty hawaiian footage, and stepped up the video editing a lot (That was a heads up for the guys). Prepare yourselves for an epic, 'better-than-the-boys'-video' training video folks.

As for my disaster of a camp.. it was really just a series of unfortunate events (that I mostly take responsibility for, but some of it was bad luck.. or fate.. I really do think the hawaiian gods or training gods or someone was trying to tell me something). Knee that was good over christmas re-flared up, then I developed tendonitis in opposite ankle (in the pool!), which got better in time for me to sprain it. When finally I got to the point where we decided that I need to take a couple days of complete rest, I woke up on rest day #2 and spontaneously developed a killer infection in my elbow that took me out completely for a good week. It was quite painful. They thought that it was likely a staph infection, so I couldn't fly home early as we had been discussing in case it took a turn for the worst. So while the antibiotics were doing their thing, I dedicated myself to my video-making.
When you're injured, you often hear, "don't worry it's just december", or,"it's only january". Unfortunately, "it's february" actually IS worrisome if you are hoping to race in March. My not-training camp forced me to finally change my mindset. I'm not going to worry about racing in March anymore. If it happens awesome! If not.. well Worlds is in October, so far now I suppose I can say, "It's february". Back in the water the past couple days has felt gooood.

.. hopefully the boys will finish up their video soon.. pressure is on.

Waterfall at fancy hotel by the beach
Bike Riding
Paia Town: Big doggy in a little car
Awesome Outdoor Shower on the second floor of our house

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Maui Update

We went out for a fun ocean swim this morning. We saw lots of fish and a couple turtles, nobody got eaten by any sharks, and Jo and I practiced our body surfing for a bit. As we were leaving the beach, we heard that Sarah-Anne had won Patco in La Paz! The news was so exciting that some
humpback whales just off shore started jumping. Seriously! We saw about 5 whales jump right out of the water.

So nature loves you too Sarah!

It sounded like a marathon travel day(s) to get to La Paz, and killer race conditions, so to have Sarah-Anne, Brent, & Kyle finish on the podium (and Kathy Tremblay in 4th) despite all of that was great news! I would have suffered in that heat for sure had I been there.

Alex and I came to Maui off of a wonderful christmas break. Biking was aggravating my knee in the fall, so I just ran, swam and skied while I was home, and by the end of the week at home I was feeling healthy and ready to get fit.
(swimming in radium hot springs)

Unfortunately, despite a third bike fit, biking still seems to be bugging me a bit, which makes running hurt, so once again I am back to taking some legs off time. Hopefully it will be short lived. Swimming is going well, and there is no place I would rather be to be focusing on strength, flexibility, recovery and future injury prevention.

My goal coming into this camp was to get some bike and run fitness, but I have now changed my goal to becoming indestructible, and will let the fitness come when I'm ready.

Cheers to the beginning of racing season 2012!
(girls at the beach)

(Alex at fish market)
(View just outside of Paia)