Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I am a walking pharmacy

I don't know what was worse last night and through the night too, the insomnia or the headache. As I was pondering this as I lay in bed this morning, the phone rang and it was my trainer Dirk, checking up on me. Told me not to train today and not just today, but the rest of the week (geez, can't keep anything secret with this blog!)

Anyway, feeling considerably tired this morning, I spent almost all of it on the phone trying to figure out car stuff, car insurance settlement, new car insurance, appointments with doctors, physio, health insurance ... blah blah blah. Not a way to spend a headachey morning.

Ran off in the afternoon to deal with transfer of ownership of my total loss to my insurance company. I had the Parking Goddess on my side today. By the time I made it downtown, it was already mid-afternoon. There she was, right where I needed it, a parking spot. And I didn't even have to pay for it since the parked cars were misaligned and my rental car fit into that little empty space. Cool.

Went and picked up the paper work. Got a little lost getting to the license bureau but made it there, and lo and behold! Parking spot right where I needed it again, and with lots of time left on the meter. I walked over to the office and then it suddenly hit me - an epiphany ... "I'm going to change my life!" And *bing!*, I decided that even though I am in lots of pain and don't know what's going to happen with me and financially, things could be better (total loss of car and not being able to work because of pain will do that to you folks), I decided that I was just going to *make* things better myself. First of all, I thought about how I will meditate to help alleviate some of the pain. I used to meditate lots at different points in my life for various reasons, including pain management.

I got to the license bureau and took a number, #24. The counter was at #11. I sat down and barely had enough time to make a few calls before they called my number! I don't think I waited more than 10-15 minutes! This is usually an hour wait, folks!

Then I went up to the counter and started telling the young woman why I was there, transfer of ownership, blah, blah, blah, real business-like and taking out my documents, totally distracted by my desire to just get through all the car red tape, and then I heard a really friendly "Ça va bien?" I looked up and saw the warmest sincerest smile and instantly felt incredibly rude. I apologized and said hello. The woman and I proceeded with why I was there, and realising that I had had an accident, asked me how I was, and I really felt that she cared ... So I told her I wasn't feeling too well and gave her the details of my accident. Then she told me that she too had been in an accident, but was luckily not hurt at all. Her compassion and gentleness were soothing to my accident-frayed emotional and physical self. I gave her my blog address, and though I didn't get her name, which I regret, I hope she is reading this:

"Thank you for today, for brightening it with your inner beauty and kindness, with your smiling brilliant eyes and your delicate pretty face. :-)"

It sure made the epiphany moment even more wonderful!

Anyway, I then drove back to Complexe Desjardins and was just about to pass where I had parked previously, and wow! The car that had taken my parking spot when I left pulled out, so I took it back. Had to put in 50 cents in the meter this time, but heck, I was going to make it back to the insurance office before they closed to pick up my settlement cheque. Yay!

So, next stop ... the pharmacy where my doctor called in a prescription. I was thinking as I was driving, "I'd like to find parking at the top of this street by Mont-Royal 'cause that would be right by the bank and the pharmacy," and then I see a car pull out and there again the Parking Goddess shows me her generosity. Uber-cool.

It has been a good omen day.

I get to the pharmacy, get my drugs, and drive towards the car rental place, stop for a fill-up, and make it just in time. The clerk gives me an invoice that will get covered by the insurance company and I read "12 days" at the top. I can't believe it has already been that many days, and in fact, it's actually 13 since the accident. Wow.

Alright, I do as Dirk tells me to do tonight, sit and rest my head, relax and watch some television (horrible programming tonight!) I count how many medications have gone through my body today, all to help deal with pain ... 6 or 7 different ones, lost count ... oops. Don't worry, certain ones I'm allowed to take at the same time, and others I waited the appropriate time frame to try another type. I certainly won't overdose and in fact, can't stand taking this much medication. And the worse part of taking all these pills is that the pain is still there, just the edge is dulled so I can function and take care of "stuff".

Tomorrow, I get my car! And she'll get some edge once the roof racks and snowboards are added ... Can't wait until the kids see her ... :-)

Monday, February 27, 2006

Someone please come crack my back!

Tried to do without medication today. Stupid mistake. Headache only got worse, along with my neck and back. I feel like if I just cracked a whole bunch of vertebrae, I would feel better.

Well, I gave in later this afternoon after a few hours of looking at a certain hatchback with my ultrarunner friend Grommit and took some codeine. Then just now, decided to down one of the last anti-inflammatories of my prescription. I thought my headache was getting better, but even my little desk lamp is bothering me. I had hope :-(

Anyway, good news is that I was able finally to feel like I got some sleep. Alarm went off this morning, I felt tired as usual but I said, "Let's give it a try." I shut my eyes and back off to la-la land I went. Yay ... rest!!

Went to the pool tonight. Caught up with David. Well, actually he caught up with me ... ha ha! I felt someone stroke my feet at one point, like he wanted to catch them and there he was! Finally starting to get more comfortable in the pool again, not a long swim, just 35. min. I miss the intensity of a good run though, sniff, sniff, but I don't plan any running for another two weeks. Just swimming this week, and perhaps a bit of the stationary bike. Mr. SB will be happy to see my return.

I miss my tri group. I miss my pre-accident health. I miss my headache-free head. I miss my paid-for Ford Escort wagon. Back to monthly payments ... sigh :-(

But the new car is COOL and it's this colour :-) My kids will love it, especially since I will be able to put all the snowboards on the roof rack.

Sorry if I've been sounding gloomy and whiny on this blog recently, folks. I'm actually much better than where I was a week ago, both physically and emotionally. I only recently stopped shaking from the horribleness of it all ... I'll be back to my old self soon enough. You bet your bottom dollar! And those who know me, know how stubborn and headstrong I can be!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Coming to terms ...

... with my reality ...

I wake up with a headache and go to sleep with one too, though it's bearable, most of the day. I feel alright to do most things, but was told by a friend that I'm not standing the same and again got told that my eyes don't look the same. I'm not trying to lift anything heavy, lest I hurt myself more. I still can't sleep properly and dread going to sleep because of the insomnia. I wake up almost as tired as when I went to sleep. My back hurts right now as I write this since by the end of the day, it locks up and feels worse. My neck still makes a funny sound when I move it, an icky grinding sound and it's still difficult to touch my chin to my chest or look up at the ceiling, but heck, I can shake my head if I don't agree with you ... well, I'd have to do it slowly though ...

I run out of medication soon but yay, I have a new prescription! I was hoping I wouldn't need it, but will I have a choice?!

I have to cram car shopping tomorrow and try to figure out funds that I don't have to get another car. I think I have to return the rental car tomorrow (darn it!) as I will be settling with my insurance company. How does one shop for a car when one does not have a car to get out to those bloody far car dealerships!

On the other hand, I had a great day in the pool today, short and sweet, just a half hour. Did a bunch of laps with less effort than yesterday, feeling stronger and more comfortable, and had fun playing tag with the kids too.

This week will be a return to semi-training, and hopefully swimming every day. Woohoo!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

It's a matter of perspective ...

I almost feel conspicuous being able to walk around, looking like everyone else, no physical evidence of having been in an accident recently ... I almost feel guilty ...

I asked for advice about my accident on my running forum a few days back when I was still in the midst of my agony and my head was going to explode ... Nice to have the support - thank you kind people. Some incredible stories there. I even got e-mailed a link to a whiplash e-support group. People sure have it rough in the States with insurance and stuff like that. WOW. And though the damage to my car is pretty horrible, besides not dying, I am lucky that I did not break any bones, especially my neck!

I think my saving graces were:
  • I knew there was nothing I could do to change hitting the truck and the guard-rail so I just gave in and let it happen (= not tensing up)
  • Because of my IM training, I am in great shape, and my body is used to a fast recovery
  • I am incredibly flexible naturally (double-jointed) and have a solid frame - I am sure the "average" individual would have strained, sprained or snapped something

So here I am again thanking my lucky stars ... again. Sometimes I feel like I cheated death, or cheated those who came out of accidents worse than I have. Some take months to recover, some still have pain after a few years. I'm hoping to start easing back into my daily training starting this week (don't worry, not at full capacity!) Perhaps I'm speaking prematurely and this headache will never subside completely and my back and neck have still to see even worse days, but I am crossing my fingers that this is the start of my return to true normalcy ...

I went swimming with the kiddies today, just a 35-min. dip in the pool. I did a whole bunch of laps. I feel like I've lost a lot of fitness, or perhaps I'm just a little tense and wary exercising again. M, a new friend who works the pool knew right away that something was off - she could see it in my face, so I told her my story, and then another M whom I haven't seen for a while jumped into the conversation as he passed by. He said I was lucky. My son Toulouse asked why I was lucky. I told him it was because I didn't die. He didn't understand the importance of my words, but that's alright. I never went into detail about my accident with the kids nor showed them any pictures. They just know I'm taking it a little easier because I hurt myself in a car accident and are excited about getting another car.

Another reason to thank my lucky stars ... my children were not with me when I crashed ...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Um ....

Well, the temptation was too much for me today ... not too cold, and fresh powder ... The kiddies and I went snowboarding! Alright, before anyone chastises me, I took it really easy and didn't fall, well, except once when Gustav and I tumbled over one another getting off the chair lift, and the only injury I suffered was a little twist to my healing sprained ankle (ouch!) But it's alright now ... really!

For those shaking their heads and saying "tsk, tsk, tsk", snowboarding is actually quite a smoooth sport when not done maniacally, and the head doesn't move much either. Just had to make sure I didn't wipe out, and I didn't!! Tomorrow, we'll see how I feel but it sure was nice to get out in the fresh air finally ... Anyway, I had to take advantage of the rental car that the insurance company was allowing me. Next week, it'll be gone ... sniff, sniff.

Headache = almost gone (yay!)
Neck, back and shoulders = more tight than sore
Morale = Finally feeling BETTER
Insomnia = still there darn it! But let's see what happens tonight ...

One thing about driving on the highway today and seeing the 18-wheelers ... I think I know what saved me from being wedged under it during my accident - the spare tire that's kept in the middle just before the back set of tires. Though I don't feel as nervous driving as I did a few days ago, it's still freaky thinking about what happened, and especially today, being on the highway for the first time since the accident. Your life can complete change in a few split seconds ...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

My headache is nothing now ... comparatively ...

Hey there folks ...

Feeling oh so much better today! Still have a headache, but it's just a little one now ... nothing like that doozer that I've been having for the past week. (Alright, I confess, I took some codeine today.) Neck and shoulders are much better too, still a little tight and painful, but better. Saw the doctor today and she said everything I'm feeling is par for the course and to be expected ... just have to be patient. Will be getting some physio starting next week.

Last night, I still had insomnia again ... ugh. I'm really not used to that. I'm the type of person that usually falls asleep as soon as my head touches the pillow and I pull the blankets up around my neck ... Let's see what happens tonight ...

Went for a little dip in the pool tonight, tried a little of everything and did a bunch of half laps (the middle divider was up, darn it!) Did some flip turns too, but ended up half drowning during one of them so I think I will leave them for another day when I've healed more. It was fun to play with the kids. So good to be back in the water again ... it gives me hope ...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

If I'm lucky tonight, I may fall asleep without a bout of insomnia ... :-)

I listened to G and got hands laid on me again tonight ... by Maurice Alarie. He's my massotherapist and is absolutely AMAAAAZING !! Thank you Maurice for relieving some of that horrible tightness and pain ... my headache, back and neck feel much better. He used hot stones during part of the massage and it was sensational - you have to try this!

Now for a good night's sleep ... wish me luck! Hopefully the Healing Fairy will come visit during the night and I won't have to dread waking up with the same headache again ...

In response to your concerned comments ...

Yes, yes, called the doctor yesterday but could only get an appointment for Thursday ... my head still hurts ... onto day #7 and it SUCKS!! I don't feel any less tired or better than I did yesterday albeit the sleep I got. This healing process is miserable ...

You're all welcome to come over and massage my neck and shoulders and head ... :-) ... please?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Day #6 of my headache ... ARGH !!!!

Back and neck felt sorer today than the other days. How frustrating! My headache is killing me still, though it is much less intense right now than it was last night when it made me nauseous. I was actually able to concentrate better today and was a little more productive which boosted my morale. I'm on the road back to my old self.

Was getting ready to go out for a relaxing swim when Dirk, my trainer, called. He forbade me to go swimming and told me to bite the bullet and allow myself to rest properly ... My training was to go lie on the sofa and rest my head and watch some television.

Did I go swimming? No.

Did I rest my head and watch some television? Um, no ... but my friend R came over later on and did a little "laying of hands" on me, well not quite, since his hands never really touched me but were just placed close by. I don't know what he did but when his hands surrounded my head, it alleviated some of the pain and pressure. Fantastic! It felt hot around my head as he transferred the pain from my head into his hands, which he would then shake out from time to time as the pain accumulated there. Thanks R!!

Monday, February 20, 2006

I have a valid reason ...

Wanted to swim tonight but the headache that I've had all day (and basically since the accident) had reached intolerable. Yes, I've had this lingering headache and it's been affecting me in waves of bad to worse ... Add to it nausea and and a low-grade fever and voilà! No training today!

I actually went to the pool late this afternoon hoping to get in some relaxing laps. I found it strange that there was no one in the locker room but I changed anyway. I heard a woman calling out things so I went to take a peek. The overhead lights had been dimmed and the lights in the pool had been turned on. The water had this magical luminescent feel to it and it was beautiful and serene. I found out quickly that the pool was in fact closed to the public and it was a master's class for juniors. It was quite adorable to see four lanes of children from 9-13 all doing the same drills. It felt so out-of-this-world, almost like I was spying on a group of pixies! My motherly instinct kicked in and I felt so proud!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I just called my mother ...

I told her I didn't have a cold. She asked me what was wrong. I said, "I had a car accident." She exclaimed in her broken English, "Car accident !!!" and I felt her heart jump out of her chest. We talked for a bit and I calmed her down and told her I was alright now. I wanted to cry because I really miss her and told her I wish I could take care of her every day. She forbade me from going to visit her if there's any snow or ice on the road, and especially with the children. I agreed.

I feel better now that the accident is out in the open and my mom knows how much I want to see her. She told me that it's enough that I am calling her often and she knows I love her and would be with her if I could. She told me she loves me too. I have a super mom.

The Need to Normalize

Life is still incredibly surreal for me, and the accident felt like it happened only yesterday, though it was already a few days ago. You may see me smile in yesterday's photo of me by my horribly damaged car but the stark reality of my emotions is quite the opposite and I see and feel Thursday's incident over and over again in my mind and in my body. I can still smell that unpleasant burning odour of my car and have no desire to drive anywhere these days. I need to stay close to home ...

When will it stop? I did some reading on the Net about post-trauma feelings, and this is all quite normal and expected as a reaction to a life-threatening situation. Now the need to normalize is imminent and pressing as I feel like life is still dangling by a thread ... have to climb back up it and find the safety of my web. Comfort foods, comfort friends, comfort habits ... trying to normalize and collect my strength to deal with the repercussions of the accident.

I know I should be ecstatic that I survived the crash at all, and I am happy that I am alive, but honestly, I would have rather that it never happened at all.

My mom thinks I have a bad cold and that's why I haven't gone out to see her (I had told her vaguely that I wasn't feeling well) ... She's actually quite worried about me and is trying to take care of me long-distance. I know I need to tell her the truth but I don't want to scare her - she has enough on her plate right now, including trying to heal from the chemo and even trying to eat.

I have very happy memories about my mother and cuddling up to her tummy while she studied English or read in bed. At times when I've felt sad or upset, I have remembered this feeling and it always soothed me a bit as I imagined my mother comforting me. How I wish now that I could be holding my mother and stroking her head in my lap, willing her cancer to go away. I should have been in Toronto this weekend taking care of her and the disappointment in my not being able to do so is overwhelming.

So yes, I am trying to normalize and make things alright again or at least decent, put things back into the right perspective ... I went swimming today, not too long, just 45 min. Didn't feel like my usual cardio was there, but it felt nice to have my head float and less tension on my neck. Unfortunately, now that I am out of the water, I am back to that dull pain in my neck and shoulders and my head weighs a ton again ... sigh.

There was a woman in the pool that "freaked out" about my having kicked her while passing her with my breast stroke. I hadn't even noticed so I probably barely touched her. She told me that I shouldn't be passing her. (Geez, people can starfish float faster than she was going with her flutter board but I refrained from rolling my eyes or making any commentary on her lack of speed - may we simply pass please?) Even with my apology and subsequent explanation that things like that happen unfortunately when we all share the lane and need to pass, she got all defensive and offended. She obviously didn't like the idea of sharing. Poor selfish pool woman ... sad, sad ... what I really wanted to tell her was, "Lady, there are more important things in life, don't waste your time ..."

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Makes you think a bit, doesn't it?

My friend T drove me out today to Les Cèdres where they had towed my car. We looked on the way there for signs of where I had crashed my car; I was scared to see it but we couldn't find the spot.

This is what we saw when we got to where they towed my car. My heart started pounding really quickly and I wanted to break down and cry but I didn't want to make T feel uncomfortable. Anyway, I was wearing mascara and didn't particularly fancy looking like a racoon, so like a tough Ironwoman Wannabe, I sucked back the tears. I truly realized at this moment how lucky I was to come out of the accident so unscathed ...

Here's a 360 tour of my car:

I thought I had crashed it before the turn-off to Toronto and Ottawa on the 40, but the tow truck man told me that it was on the 540, just after the turn-off and before going onto the 401. T and I looked again for "the spot" on the drive back to Montreal, but still couldn't find it ... In fact there was very little guard rail anywhere and I am lucky to have had the fortune to have crashed into one, stopping me from being hurled into oncoming traffic where I would not have had a chance ...

My neck and upper back hurt less today and my head still felt like it weighed heavier than it should, but overall, I'm doing FINE. Eric, the nurse at the hospital, told me that it would be good to go for a swim, and I think I might try that tomorrow. Three days no training for me ... that's a record.

I'm ALIVE !!!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Good thing I wore clean underwear ...

I never made it to Toronto.

In fact, I never made it past Valleyfield, QC. The kind ambulance attendants drove me to Valleyfield Hospital.

I wasn't driving quickly though I was in the passing lane. We were all going well under the speed limit and I remember even just a bit earlier while driving in the middle lane looking at my speedometer and seeing 60km/hr. Though the weather was horrible, the road up to that point had been alright, a little snow build-up between the lanes, but that was all, so what happened next took me totally by surprise. It is incredible what can happen in a split second.

My car veered suddenly to the right. "Oh my God, I'm going to have an accident!" Biggest problem with the sudden loss of traction was the 18-wheeler that was right beside me. I turned my steering wheel a little to the left to try to bring my car back to the centre of the lane but there was nothing I could do as I was on ice. "Oh my God, I'm going to hit the truck!"

My car ricocheted off the truck and then went off the highway and across the field. But it did not stop there. My car continued and I saw the divider come up quickly and all the traffic on the other side of the highway. "Oh my God, I'm going to crash through the guard rail!" My kids, my mother, and the fragility of life popped into my mind.

I felt the impact and everything went black. I don't remember the air bags going off and don't know if I ended up blacking out, but I remember feeling movement. The next thing I remember was lifting my head a up a bit and seeing the deflated airbags. My car had come to a stop. A man who had seen the accident from the other side of the road ran over to me and opened the door. He asked me if I was alright; he asked me what my name was. I was in shock and totally disoriented. He called in the accident right away. Other men came over and asked me things too and how I was feeling, if I was hurt anywhere. I could hear them but I could not answer. My face was burning and I wanted to move my body but I felt paralyzed. I didn't feel too good.

Then it hit me that I had just had a really bad accident and I was still alive, and I started to cry really hard. There was a strong burning odour and I could see the smoke/fumes coming up from my hood and wondered if I should get out of my car - was I in danger of an explosion? I turned the motor off. I could hear myself finally responding to some of the questions but I could not stop crying and I could not get out of the car. I tried moving my legs eventually and was happy that I could. The truck driver had parked a little ways ahead and had come over to see me. I was impressed that he had done so ... I could see his truck in the distance and it meant that he would have had to cross the highway on foot to see me. He was happy to see that I was fine. Everyone was happy to see that I was fine.

I was crying so hard. My face, neck and shoulders hurt, but all I could think about was that I wasn't going to be able to see my mother that weekend and I rememeber trying to tell everyone that. She had just had her chemo treatment in the hospital and needed help and company at home. I thought about my kids and how sad it would be if they lost me ... I wondered what injuries I had and if this accident would impede my training and day-to-day activities ... I thought about how in the heck would I pay for another car on top of my other debts.

Most of all, I thought about how life is so precarious and how we all hang by a thread. I tried to say this to the men who were there at the scene but I didn't have the words in French. I just cried and cried and cried. I heard many times "Elle a très peur." (She's very afraid.) The SQ (provincial police) came; the ambulance came; the tow truck came. I didn't have a clue how many motorists stopped to see if they could help, but I know there were a few of them including the first one who was there within seconds of my accident. I never got his name and wish I could have thanked him for calling in the accident and getting me help.

François, the ambulance attendant worked hard to calm me down. Thank you for your smile and your gentleness and for putting up with my crying. The nurse, Eric, at the hospital reassured me that it was normal to feel so emotional after an accident, as he had been involved in one recently as well. Léopold, an elderly patient in the emergency ward with brilliant blue eyes, was very kind and told me that the sweet Jesus and God were watching over me. He tried to make me laugh and told me about how mischievous he can be. The hospital took x-rays soon after my arrival. No broken neck, just a little sprain, whiplash. No internal injuries either. Thank goodness.

My friend Janet came to pick me up and drive me home - I am thankful that I was able to reach her as she was just about to leave when I called ... When I got home, I had some tea, and called my mom. I hadn't told her that I was arriving that night since I had planned to surprise her and call her on the way when I knew moreso what time I would arrive. She could hear something in my voice. I told her that I wasn't feeling well and that I wouldn't be able to go visit her that weekend. I told her that I had a problem with my car and I would have to get another one. There was no need to worry her - she has gone through enough recently. I'll tell her when I get it all settled. I tried to relax by watching some television but with all the drugs in my body to fight the pain and inflammation in my neck, back and shoulders, I fell into a deep sleep that lasted 12 hours. I was exhausted.

It's a day later now and I'm feeling a little better, not as much in shock and less emotional. I'm still sore and still really shaken up emotionally though. It's one thing hitting a truck, another thing hitting both a truck and a guard rail and spinning out. And I walked out of my car. I am alive. I cannot believe I am alive. I have to say this again ... I cannot believe I am alive. My car could have gone under the truck but was stopped by what I think was the spare tire hanging off the side. My car could have smashed through the guard rail to be T-boned by a passing car. I only have minor injuries and hope they go away soon. I'll have to ease up next week on the training, no running, probably no cycling, just some swimming once I start to feel better. I am happy that no other motorists were involved; no one else got hurt. And I am especially happy that my children were not in the car with me.

A = starting point

B = impact point into truck

C = impact point into barrier

D = final position

I have no idea what happened between C and D ... spin out? My hood was all bent out of shape. My front windshield was cracked. I didn't get a chance to see the damage to the front or right side of my car, but I am sure it was not pretty. I looked at my car before I got into the ambulance. The back windshield had completely shattered.

Even though my neck, shoulders and back are sore, and my face is a little swollen, scratched and bruised ...


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Oh that dastardly snow!!

I want to go to Toronto today to visit my mother albeit the lousy weather. She could use the company and is only now just starting to regain a bit of energy from her chemo last week and is in less pain. I can actually hear her on the phone now. I know what it feels like to not even have the energy to speak above a whisper as I have too many times been in the hospital myself, but never for anything as serious.

So please say a little driving prayer for me today folks as I battle the snow and rain but hopefully not freezing rain. I'm going to try to be inbetween both cities when it happens and hope it doesn't fall inbetween ...

Lots of technical drills this morning at my tri club swim ... good stuff, interesting, and I'm sure it will all help me. My flip turn is getting better and I am sure I am shaving at least 3 sec. on every lap just with that. Good, good ...

I'm afraid to see my mother. I don't like to see her sick. I hate more to see her suffer, and I am sure you all feel the same way about your loved ones ... Wish me luck ... I hope I will be able to cheer her up a bit ... My gut tells me I will have to fight being reduced to a puddle of tears on the floor though. I have to stay strong ...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Did I count correctly?

Something about my couch is evil, PURE EVIL. I lie on it and I am out like a light. I should have bought some uncomfortable badly-made couch from IKEA or some other big line-production store instead of my synthetic down-filled one with luscious and very soft micro-fiber finish, well something like that, can't remember the exact specs. It came from Atmosphere on Mont-Royal, one of my favourite furniture stores, and was made by some small and distinct Quebec manufacturer. Quebec designers are #1. Hmmm ... if I only had more money ... I am like a kid in a candy store there ...

Needless to say, I missed my tri swim tonight. When I woke up, I opted for a swim in the local pool. After two breast stroke warm up laps, I told myself, "I wonder how long it will take me to swim one kilometer." And off I went. 40 laps and 38 flip turns later (skipped only 2 of them), I arrived at that distance and the clock said 19+ minutes ... then I realized that this pool is short a meter and a bit, so I swam another lap and came back. So let's say for argument's sake, (you here with me Dirk?) that I swam one kilometer in 20 min. Not bad for this wannabe Ironwoman who only really started swimming in November ... :-) Chops, you reading this?

Interesting how small the world is ... I met this guy T through MEETinMONTREAL last week and lo and behold, when I had to pass by my kids' school today, there he was. He's starting up an after-school sports program for the kids ... cool.

Now it's time for dinner ... where are those Kitchen Elves when I need them? I want the gourmet fixin's ...

That was a great nine hour nap ...

Drove Dirk to the airport yesterday morning, sniff, sniff ... Then I took David on a mini-tour of the city, up to the lookout on Camilien Houde and around the Plateau and then downtown. Ended up in Old Montreal for a little walk - Bonsecours Market is really interetesting! Go check it out ... all sorts of artisans and artwork.

We then went for a long swim session, about an hour and 45 minutes at a local pool. Practised my drills, including some that Dirk had given me, and then at some point, I told myself I would try swimming more than 50m at a time and do some continuous swimming ...

How cool! I relaxed my hips and stomach area and kicked slower, and for the first time, I felt comfortable in the water and was able to continue the bliateral breathing without wanting to huff and puff from exhaustion after two laps! I have no idea how many laps I went, but I just kept on going, probably because I was afraid this was all my imagination and if I stopped, I'd realise I wasn't swimming but just dreaming. I then added a flip turn at the end of my last bunch of laps and didn't drown! I was even able to find that same comfortable rhythm again ... Wow, I think I'm onto something ... maybe I have a chance at this 4k Ironman swim ... there's HOPE!

Went out for some great Thai food afterwards at Phaya Thai on Guy, I love that place, and came home, totally beat and totally full. I told David that I needed to lie down for a little bit first before we head out swing dancing. So I lay down on the couch, and that was that until this morning at 7am.

Ahhhhhhh !!!!! I needed that sleep :-)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What an evening! Now I can sleep!

Just a quick note as I will have to be up early enough to get Dirk off to the airport. After getting back home late, spent a good bit of time talking to him about cool fund-raising ideas that could also involve the athletic community. Hmmm ... it will be interesting, but first let me tell you about ...


Not as well attended as I would have hoped (it's a Monday!) but way more fun than I could have ever imagined! Changed the concept - everyone got both a lock and a key - a true mingles party. It was hilarious to see the horde of excited people gathered around the "Lock & Key" table where they would go when they made a match ... like a shark feeding frenzy ... Within a minute of receiving their new lock or key, people would be trying it out already with the others who were still waiting to put their name into the draw again with their own match! Give us a cool game to play and we are suddenly children again! A definite must-repeat event, that's for sure!

Special thanks to Karina Club Lounge for hosting this event, "Timeless", a fantastic band who got everyone dancing, and all my other sponsors (they were many!) An especially huge and gracious thank you to Geoff Brown for all the hard work he put into my website. Big hugs and sincere gratitude to my hard-working volunteers without whom I would not have been able to pull this off ... Dirk, David, Allie, David, and Geoff. I am lucky to have you as my friends (thank you universe!)

By the way, that yellow thing you all got in your sponsor "loot" bags ... that's a portable frisbee ... try it out :-) and enjoy.

Monday, February 13, 2006

If they bake it, they will come ...

Sunday night cake party went well ... five friends showed up to say hello to my friends from out of town D & D. Sorry folks, this is going to be a really boring entry but just wanted to say:


Now that that's done, let me tell you ... I've been BUSY! Only training has been on increasing my stomach size and also swimming with the two D's (and two very happy kids). Dirk sometimes swims underneath me like a dolphin to watch my stroke. He is actually surprised at my technique, that I haven't already drowned ... just kidding. He told me that I'm better than he thought I would be. We've now working on a few things to improve and also flip turns a wee bit ... more news as I progress with my drills, etc...

Oh yes, almost forgot, the two D's and I ran on the mountain this Sunday morning, 11k and joined up with some of my CoolRunning friends :-)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

B-E-A-T !!!

Why am I writing at this time? Because I fell asleep cuddling my son on THE COUCH last night getting him ready for bedtime. In fact, both of us fell asleep. Maybe falling asleep on the couch is a genetic trait?

Been up for a while already getting ready for my big event ... LOCK & KEY ... What a day!

Got my pool time in, albeit short ... but it was sweet! Did some drills and wondered if I could repeat yesterday's glory. Using the pull-buoy and just doing arms, I was able to get across the pool in 15 or 16 strokes. I thought, "way cool", then I tried it just regular crawl, and you know what?



Yup, I was able to repeat it easily enough. So I figure, this being a pool that is a tad short of 25m, being just under 24m, means that I could probably get across the pool in 16 or 17 strokes. And that is a heck of a huge improvement over 24. Still don't have the endurance nor the speed, but I figure that will come. I'm just happy that my technique is finally getting me across the pool more efficiently.

Flip turns ... practised them a whole bunch of times. I have to learn not to shut my eyes as I somersault forward. I'm so afraid of that wall. Makes me think of kickboxing and when I have to block a punch. My automatic reaction is to shut my eyes, fearing the worse, but in this case one can't because you need to see to hit back. So I figure I have to learn to do my flip turns with my eyes open so I can reorient myself faster. I can feel it already, I'm going to be "good".

My guests are arriving today ... it'll be CRAZY in my little house! I still have all my event stuff strewn everywhere!! AAAAGH!!!!

Friday, February 10, 2006

I found my tuque!!

My son found it rolled up in one of my car blankets, and I am one very happy camper this morning, except for my measly two hours of sleep combined with what also will be a frantic day of running from sponsor to sponsor. Aaaah, event coordination ... there is always the chicken-with-no-head part closer to the event, and that's where I'm at right now. Add in kids, two out-of-town visitors, training, being coached for the first time by Dirk, my trainer, and a cake party on Sunday. I have a million things on my to-do list, and swimming this afternoon with the kiddies is one of them. I'm going to try for that 18 strokes per lap thing again ... see if it wasn't just a fluke ...

My head hurts ... Codeine is my friend ...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Wow, what happened overnight?

The sleep gnomes must have come last night and sprinkled more of that Esther Williams pixie dust on me or something ...

Went to my tri club pool workout this morning and expected to do my test today (# laps in 10 min. continuous swim) but couldn't. Eric my coach didn't make it because of a clock malfunction, so we floundered a bit at first, like fish washed up on a beach. Then a beautiful wave, Anne-Marie, came up onto the beach and carried us back out to the ocean and we were all happy. Some of the swimmers did an unofficial 1000m test, and I got some really good tips from AM who is really something to watch swimming ... talk about grace. I want to be just like her!

Good news is that I reduced my stroke length across the pool from yesterday's low of 22 to an even lower 18, and this, I was able to repeat many times! Thanks AM for the tip about stretching and "piston action" - increased my glide incredibly!

Next step ... the flip turn. But first, glug, glug, glug ... practice makes perfect, right? Yeah, that is if I don't drown first ...

Eric showed up at the end of the workout and he and Roman and I went for coffee. Eric is a many-times Ironman and competed Elite. His Ironman marathon times were sub-3. Do you think if I hang around him enough, I could pick up speed by osmosis?

Roman, who is diabetic, gave me a book about the disease and showed me his blood sugar gage. He is a sweetheart and is concerned about my diabetic mother. It's so difficult for me to take care of her from a distance since she is in Toronto, but it will be easier knowing more about what she can do to help herself. Roman is a 66-year old retiree and gets out to every tri club practice and is quickly improving, getting into shape ... Kudos to him for getting out there and doing it!

How many people less than half his age just sit on their butts and make up excuses?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I lost my favourite tuque today

I trained with my Tri team tonight in the pool. My coach had me counting strokes and told me to go slower with the arms. Alright, got it down to 22 strokes for one length of the pool. Got a ways to go still, but even going from 24/25 to 22 was something! Felt like I understood something tonight ... and that glide is finally coming along. Guess those drills are good for something! Yay! The advanced swimmers got tested today. Had their 1000m timed. One of our best swimmers did it in 16min. 47 sec. Wow. And she is a girl :-)

Went to my car in a rush 'cause I had a huge blind date tonight with MEETinMONTREAL for a French conversation coffee get-together. Yes, I felt surprisingly shy at the beginning! Me!! But I started warming up more when I realised that my idea of strip poker as a group activity was well-received. Somehow though I don't think the moderator of this social group would go for this activity if I posted it, and neither for the "If you can spell it, he can do it" Scrabble game. Where has the sense of adventure gone?

So I lost my favourite tuque somewhere in the pandemonium, and it so nicely matched two of my jackets. It's interesting how we can get attached to things so simple. After the social outing, I went back to where I had parked by the gym and looked everywhere. I was hoping that someone had found it and put it on a parking meter like how I put lost gloves on fence poles. No luck.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The days all merge into one ...

Type type type.
Think think think.
Call call call.
Talk talk talk.

The LOCK & KEY fund-raiser is getting closer and there are still so many details to take care of ... If I didn't have to sleep, I wouldn't. Will have my kids back this weekend as well as two friends staying with me from out of town ... D. from New York, and Dirk from Florida.

Swim swim swim, 40 minutes.
Spin spin spin, 45 minutes.

Dirk e-mailed me my "real" training schedule starting next week. How do I fit that in with kids, visitors from out of town, these social functions, and travelling to Toronto to visit my mother?

Got a nice cheque today ... Being a half-clad slave girl on the film "Spartan 300" has its advantages. I will have enough to buy some sport gels ... and pay rent :-)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Oh, I've gained weight!

I had to estimate the weight of some magazines today for shipping purposes, but didn't have enough of them for the scale to give a read-out, so I had to jump on with and without them and note the difference.

Ugh, how depressing. Well, I guess that's the price I pay for being such a mesomorph. With all this training, I've been bulking up, and even the other day, someone who hadn't seen me since December asked me if my shoulders had gotten broader. Well, I can't wait for all that heavy duty running and cycling to slim me down again!

All I did today was kick-box, but it was a good cross-training workout that lasted a little more than an hour. Should have been stationary biking too tonight, but got caught up in phone calls. With the fund-raiser drawing closer, I've been trying to reach out to my friends and invite them all ... just been too busy recently to get all the invitations out!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Can prudishness be a hindrance?

Met my friend TurtleBoy at his gym today. We had made a deal. I would run on Mr. TM beside him and he would visit Mr. Pool with me. First glitch, after TB's wake-up call, I fell back asleep, so that by the time I arrived at his gym, he was just finishing up his 18k run while I was just starting my ditsy little 5k. No matter, TB was patient and did stretches to keep me company.

I still can't get used to how boring and unnatural running on the treadmill is. I never feel like I own it, but rather it owns me. It's not at all like running outside, where I am my own master and free to go where I want and run however fast I want.

We went for a dip in the pool afterwards. Since this gym has been around a while, the pool felt like a throwback to the 40's ... very interesting, even had starting blocks off which racers would dive ... Swam for 45 min. at a pretty leisurely pace because I had had a hard swim workout the night before. Worked on my glide, which is finally coming along, I think. The ends of the pool came quickly though as the length is only 25yds., about 18m.

In the changeroom, I noticed a woman putting on mascara. She had been in the pool and was still in her bathing suit with a towel wrapped around her middle. I wondered if she had even taken a shower ... she probably had but just kept on her bathing suit.

Her locker was right by mine and we ended up getting dressed at the same time. It's interesting how different everyone's comfort level with nudity is. For example, there I am with everything hanging out ... what, so I've got just a few minutes of complete nudity - who cares! And there she is, her bathing suit half off, her towel still wrapped around her, her sweater already over her head and her shoulders and she's trying to put on her bra, but unsucessfully as it is twisted in the back. How cumbersome! All this because she's afraid to show even a smidgen of her naked bust. I wanted to offer to help untwist her bra and reclasp it, but was afraid she would be offended that I had even noticed her half-naked back.

She ducked into an empty part of the locker room and rearranged herself.

My question: How do people who are this uncomfortable about revealing their naked bodies deal with physical intimacy? I'm not knocking it, I just don't understand it at all ...

Alright, here's another observation. I just can't imagine the need to wear make-up when working out. There were several women who were wearing or putting on make-up in the locker room. This particularly poshe gym even has a room filled with vanity counters and mirrors. Maybe I'm just too much of a hard-core jockette. Or maybe I just don't have enough "pride" about my appearance ... Hmm ...

TB stuffed me full of great Chinese food after our workout. I knew I was satiated when I went to the Chinese bakery afterwards and stocked up on all sorts of desserts instead of the usual meat buns I like to get. And instead of being a good girl and making it to my spinning class, I headed home with the intention to cycle outdoors.

Got home, looked at my couch, and said, alright, just a little nap ... zzzz ... zzzz ... zzzz ... zzzz. Yup, four hours. Guess all that training I've been doing is catching up with me ...

Now my guilty conscience is thinking, should I go for a midnight tryst with Mr. SB? Stay tuned tomorrow for the update ...

Perspective ...

I thought about what I had written last night ... it's strangely ironic to think that my mother and I were "rejoicing" ... perspective can be an interesting thing ... Cancer victims rejoice with every 1% chance higher they can elevate their chance of survival ... and I rejoice with them.

Please continue your support of research into cancer because it has been proven to increase survival rate. I know. And my mother knows.

My tired body is now off to the gym to meet a friend ... I'm a little late zzzzzz, but heck, I've got three sports to do today ...

Saturday, February 04, 2006

I got some AMAZING news tonight!!

I just spoke with my mother and she had some good news for me ... the doctors don't think she will need a liver transplant after all, which increases her chances of survival incredibly!! I don't have the full scoop yet, but tonight, my mother sounded better than she has for a long while and we are both looking forward to many more years for her ... Everyone now ... cross your fingers and say:

"Mei, you're going to be fine!"

Nothing like the power of positive thinking ...

Alright, have to head to bed since I've planned a ludicrous training schedule for tomorrow. And you know what? The time you see for this blog entry is not the real time ... I don't change the time often, but I didn't want to be chastised ... again ...

Tonight's swim = not bad, not bad ... I thought I was rubbing sleep out of my eyes this morning, but maybe those Sleep Gnomes took pity on me last night and sprinkled a couple of grains of that Esther Williams pixie dust on me. (Should I leave them a note asking for the full body powdering?) I started getting a rhythm, albeit a strained one, at different points during my swim.

Swam around cones today for an hour using the perimeter of the pool. What an experience ... no wall to push off, going round and round, people's arms and feet everywhere, bodies colliding, especially around the cones where I almost got "run over" too many times. My coach Eric told us to take advantage of drafting ... that principle might work for the others but their regular stroke is my fast one, and that pace, baby, I ain't gonna try to do 20 X around the pool (equals 40 laps or one kilometre) Just not drowning is enough work for me, never mind thinking about speed. SLOW and EASY I say!

Big question is how much chlorinated water can one drink before becoming ill? Eric told me to leave some for the others. He also made a comment about how my running will get better with the swimming ... you bet your bottom dollar sugar! Witness, the Hell-Hills run last night ... I did not have to curse once!

Alright, time to turn in ... I dare you to take a wild guess at what the real time is ... person who guesses within 5 min. wins lunch on me :-)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Sink or swim ...

Whoever came up with that horrible expression should be hung upside down by their toenails and left in the hot midday sun for an hour or two.


Alright, had a bad swim tonight, 'cause frankly folks, I felt like a ROCK!! Yeah, maybe I was getting across the pool here and there, but what happened to the oxygen content of air, did someone just magically cut down the ratio? Or did the YMCA pool suddenly climb 1000 ft. in altitude?! Whatever, I just couldn't get comfortable in the pool. Maybe I'm still recuperating from my hard day yesterday ... maybe I'm just a lousy swimmer, which is more likely the case. Days like today, I ponder my decision to do this Ironman. Sigh.

But then too, I have days that I can't even seem to run 2k without wanting to go back home and call it quits. I've actually had many of those days and am in awe that I've ever done a marathon, period!

Maybe I should just let go of today's horribly long 40 min. swim. Maybe I should just go make some supper. I'm hungry. Maybe I should just go into the kitchen and hope that the Food Elves have taken care of me and set up some gourmet candle-lit meal. Maybe I should ask the Swim Gnomes to come during the night and sprinkle some of that magic Esther Williams pixie dust on me too.

Alright, I'm going into the kitchen now ...

Um ... I fell asleep ...

After only two hour's sleep, I woke up bright and early to make my 7am swim practice with my tri team. Good workout, lots of drills. We finished off with a relay sprint of 100m, 5 on each team. Fun but ouf! hard! First lap was great ... I was flying! We won't talk about the other three.
Meetings, meetings, meetings all day long.

Got home finally to have enough time to gulp down a snack and head out for my Coolrunning Hell Hills run. Unfortunately, everyone bailed out on me, but this did not deter this Ironwoman wannabe as I head off for a solitary but powerful little run up and down the Westmount hills. I even added some little bits just to spite my Coolrunning counterparts ... ha! I am woman, hear me roar!

Swim of 1 hr. + Run of 1 hr. 10 min. = Great training day!

Got home, took a bath, ate supper, then relaxed on the couch for a few minutes waiting for J. to send me stories to edit ...

Now, eleven hours later, here I am wide awake, story has been edited and sent back, and I am typing away sharing with you :-) Good morning!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I'm sitting here in a towel

Why? Because I went to check my e-mails right after my bath and lo and behold, there was an article from Asianwave that needed editing, RUSH! I looked at it, thinking I would get back to it later, then I don't know ... here I am 40 minutes later, the article is edited and I'm still sitting here in my towel.

So instead of getting dressed, what do I do? I do the Good Wannabe Ironwoman Blog Thing and write today's entry. Good thing I'm active when I finally get out of the house. I spend hours in front of my computer at home sometimes. Today it was to work on my fund-raiser, make calls to sponsors, and also write another article for Asianwave. Seems that I'm getting more involved with this writing stuff ... Hmm ... Do I like to write? What do you think?

Well, ran to the pool and back tonight. Nice evening for 40 minutes of running, crisp and refreshing. Some spots were quite slushy though, like the corners of the streets and I felt weary for my ankle as I have stopped wearing my brace when I run, trying to strengthen my ankle, you know! Pool workout with my tri club was still difficult, tiring. I asked Eric, my coach, how he thought I was doing and he said "Fine, it's coming along." What I really want to know though is "When will I get there !?!?"