Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The egg on my elbow is gone and I can swim - yay!

By the time I got to sleep last night, my head was pounding. No wonder ... good little blow I received. Got a really good night's sleep, though listening to the storm kept me up a little while ...
Maybe it was the low barometric pressure today, but I felt sleepy all day. Still had some remnant headache too ... but I think I'm just sensitive because of the concussion. In fact, I haven't been telling any of you, but my post-concussion headaches are not yet gone, just incredibly diminished but at least not the want-to-throw-up type that I was having the first two months after the accident. These are just twice-weekly headaches that I get that last from one to three days. You might be thinking, "Oh, that's horrible!" I'm thinking, "What a RELIEF!" Huge difference to what I had before and at least these can be calmed by pain-killers.

Anway, back to training ... I was supposed to meet a runner friend and cycle together on the Gilles Villeneuve Race Circuit but it started thunderstorming. Bummer. So I took a long nap instead after supper. Yawn!

Got up and was a good girl and forced myself to the pool, though my gut told me, "Stay home and vegetate in front of the television!" 200m warm-up followed by 8 x 175m, 20 sec. recuperation after each, just like Dirk wrote in my schedule. The pool is not quite 25m, so feeling that I "cheated", I followed this by 2 x 50m sprint just for fun and before I got time to do a few cool-down laps, I got booted out of the pool. 10pm closing time. Awww!

I couldn't believe how hungry I was when I got home. I saw Dirk online and mentioned that I wanted to do some spinning later because I missed my bike work-out but he told me to go to bed.

My Ironwoman instinct is feeling guilty for missing out on the scheduled ride today, but my gut is telling me, "Go to bed!" Hmmm ...

Zzzzzzz ... Night folks!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I've officially joined the Club !!

I went for an hour cycle up by the north shore to warm-up before my tri club cycling practice. It's funny, I was pulling away from a light and a cyclist in the other direction quickly pointed out to me to be careful, the police were ahead. Did he think I was going to speed off and then get a nasty ticket? Did I look like a racer? Cool ... so I didn't take off as per my usual kick, and didn't get any ticket. Just cruised by the police on their horsies who were eyeing all the cyclists and then when I was sufficiently past them, off I went ... zoom!

I came up behind a woman cyclist on a hill and when we continued, she started pointing out stuff so I said, "Aha! She knows what she's doing - she's done this before." So I figured this as an invitation to draft. We only went a couple of km's together but it was good practice to get over the freak factor of riding so close to someone's back wheel.

Lo and behold, that's the first thing we worked on in my tri practice. Erik, the coach, took the dozen or so of us out to the schoolyard again and had us practice drafting. Around and around we went. I did real well up to a certain moment until we started riding by three's ... around the corner yet again we went ... We were told to not slow down for the corners because of the accordion effect.

I didn't slow down, but the person in front of me did. I shifted my tire over a bit to avoid hitting one tire, but suddenly found myself beside another tire and I knew in that split slow-motion second that there was nothing I could do to change what would happen next. I cried out, "Sh*t!" and down I went, bringing some others with me.

I've always wondered whether I would unclip if I fell. Now I had my answer. The peloton wasn't travelling fast ... only 10-15km/hour since the schoolyard was so small. Still enough speed to hurt when thrown from your bike! No road rash though. Someone's knee broke my fall when I hurtled into it with my face.

My eye hurt a lot. My contact lodged elsewhere in my eye but eventually floated back. My head hurt. My elbow hurt. Oh, I would for sure have some good bruising. After I checked out okay, and found out that no one else got hurt, the inevitable question, "Is my bike okay?"

Freida was a little mangled, but it was easy enough to turn her handlebars and seat back into position - whew! Erik said I was a real cyclist now. Story over ...

Off we went for a cycle through the cemetary. Erik made me ride with him in the front. We started climbing and it got very quiet. The pack had fallen behind. Let me just say a few things about the path we took:

1) I have never seen a hill so steep in my life. It was a veritable wall in certain spots.
2) Good thing I have decent brakes (for the descent).
3) I have a fear of not being able to unclip fast enough when my bike is at a standstill (i.e. like it was when I hit "the wall" and had not downshifted in time because I hadn't known it was coming)
4) I want to conquer this climb one day - GRRRRR!!!

So all in all, I spent about 2.5 hours on my bike, though I don't think I covered a load of mileage since we weren't travelling so fast as a group, especially not on the climb! But I'm getting used to being on my bike for longer periods, which is good.

Question is: with my sore elbow, will I be able to swim tomorrow? Arnica is my friend. She got rid of my black eye too.

I celebrated my first crash with a cyclist buddy over some dessert. I told him about how I felt like a fake cyclist but how all the other geared-up cyclists wave to me. We had an epiphany - it's not a "hi, how are you?" wave, it's a "you've got the gear" wave. And so I do. I mentioned that maybe I should start wearing lipstick or something so I don't get mistaken for a guy. He said not to worry about that ... male cyclists can figure it out and think that any female on a bike is "hot".

Irish Bailey's Cream on the rocks is delicious!

I couldn't get to my blog last night. Was out enjoying the beautiful weather catching up with a buddy on a terrace downtown. Ahhhh ....

Anyway, here's what I did yesterday:

I went to my tri pool practice and found out it was sprint night. Ugh. We started with some drills that were foreign to me, and even more foreign since the coach had written their names in French on the board. Try translating an unknown word into an unknown drill. Yeah, right ... I struggled through translating them into water. I actually ended up doing better with the sprint intervals. Better in that I understood what to do, not better as in speed, which I have a proficient lack of.

With my swimming and as with my running, I don't like that huffy-puffy-I'm-going-to-die feeling. 'Cept with running, there is no chance of drowning.

Made it through 50 min. of swimming. Yay!

Off to home afterwards followed shortly afterwards by a 45 min. run around the neighbourhood. I wasn't too sure what would happen and almost gave up not even a half kilometer into the run - my quads were hurtin' from Sunday's long run which is double what I've been averaging recently in training. Serves me right for not following the 10% increase rule!

But I am tenacious, and as my quads started loosening up, I started gaining speed ... and it felt GOOD! Made me feel STRONG!! ROOOAARRR!!! I am IRONWOMAN!!! Besides which, I felt obliged to follow the program that Dirk, my IM trainer lovingly worked so hard to put together for me. I finished off with three sets of 30 sec. sprints and walked one minute recovery in between each.

Dirk, was I supposed to jog for recovery?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Originally, I had planned to run the Ottawa Half Marathon ...


- I cycled 2 h 40 min. in the heat, close to 65k (?). I ate a really cool gel that tasted like jello and also a Quaker soft oatmeal bar. I love those. I ran out of cranberry juice so mixed white grape juice and water together with a pinch of salt. Ick. I added some orange juice and it made it taste "better". Still ick, but not unlike Gatorade or other sport drinks.

- I followed the cycling with a short 35 min. swim ... just drills and technique. Not my favourite thing to do. I have to think about which drill to do next and count laps and am always asking myself if I'm doing things correctly. It's so much easier to do this in Tri practice with my team.

- One of the swimmers that I see often enough at the pool commented on how much I've improved and we started talking technique. He appreciated my pointers ... imagine, me giving pointers ... ha ha ha ha ha!!


- After only 3 hours sleep (worked late last night and felt wired so stayed up to work, then couldn't fall asleep as I was thinking too much about future races), the pretty Kneejerk woke me up as planned. I asked her to call me back in 20 min. and unfortunately (ugh) she did.

- She ran over to my house and shortly afterwards, we did a very slow 21k run to the mountain, up and around the top then back down. She dropped me off at home and then finished with a 24k run at her house. She was in fine running form. I was not. My fault though - I didn't have enough sleep to recuperate my legs from Saturday's cycling. It was hot outside.

- I took a much needed nap before supper and felt like I could have continued until tomorrow morning! I ate like a voracious pig today and squeezed in social time with friends, which gets scheduled in waves when I feel I need to depart from hermit/training mode and "catch up".

Cycling Gripes

If you are a motorist:
1) Please do not honk your horn to warn me that you are passing. You scare the heebie-jeebies out of me and all that's in my head is that you are about to hit me and just want to warn me. If this is indeed so, it is already too late to warn me and there is nothing I can do to avoid your hitting me. If you are not going to hit me and plan to go around, then do just that, go around. I know I am on a road. I know that I will be passed by vehicles. You are not the only one.

2) I cannot move farther over to the curb than I already am. My racing tires are oh-so-much thinner than yours and for some odd reason, when I hit that pothole, broken-up asphalt, manhole cover or sewer, I tend to get a flat tire. You don't.

3) You can honk all you want but I cannot magically jump the curb over the grassy section, past the sidewalk and suddenly find myself on the cycling path. There is a reason why I am not on the cycling path at all times and principally it is because I am trying to cycle at 30 km/h and I tend to go just a tad faster than the kids with training wheels and bike trailers holding babies.

If you are a roller blader:
1) That line in the middle of the bike path separates two lanes of traffic. It is not the yellow brick road. Please do not act as if it is as I cannot pass your flailing arms or legs on either side.

2) Please do not roller blade beside each other. Two sets of flailing arms and legs are even more difficult to pass. And yes, when you see oncoming traffic, please stay within one lane.

If you are a pedestrian:
1) Please look before you cross the cycling path. You would not cross a busy road without looking ... or perhaps in your particular case, you would.

2) Please do not loiter and hang out with your friends on the bike path. It is especially difficult to go around if you are a group taking up both lanes or even walking two or three abreast.

3) Please do not allow your children to play or run around by themselves on the cycling path. They may not know the danger involved but you should.

If you are a cyclist:
1) Please do not cycle beside someone unless you are prepared to move out of the way of oncoming traffic. I do not want to have to shout at you last minute to pay attention. I also do not want to have a nasty collision or have to stop so suddenly that I fly over my handle bars or wipe out and break my collar bone or get a concussion. One concussion was enough during my recent car accident and I'm still recuperating.

2) Please do not allow your children to stop horizontally across both lanes or loiter with their bike while you are stopped on the side to chat with your buddies. No one wants to run into a child accidentally, especially me.

Friday, May 26, 2006


Day off today ... YAY!!


- swam 3k freestyle non-stop - slipped into the pool and just kept swimming. Felt good ... like a stroll in the park :-) I concentrated on relaxing and keeping my form ... technique, technique, technique ... 58 minutes!!!

- ran DA HOOD with my Coolrunning Montreal friends - 14km. This is what we lovingly call our Camilien Houde run. Average incline on this 1.7 km stretch is about 8.5%. Ugh. And it was hot yesterday. Always a challenge ... and especially good for the mental strength. There is an incredible sense of victory every time I reach the crest and I want to ROAR!!!

Astrid Benöhr totally rocks!

Astrid Benöhr (born 8 October 1957) is a German endurance athlete.

Her 1997 world record in the quintuple ironman (about 74 hours for some 19 km swimming, 900 km bicycling, 210 km running) is more than 2 hours less than the men's world record.

Her 1999 world record in the deca (ten-fold) ironman (about 187 hours for 38 km swimming, 1800 km bicycling, 420 km running) is about 5 hours less than the men's world record. Her total time of 187 hours included some 8.5 hours of sleep. (That's 8.5 hours sleep in less than 8 days!)

She also holds the women's world records in the double, triple and quadruple ironman. In 2001, at age 44, she became world champion in the triple ironman, finishing before the male world champion. She has also won women's world championships in the double, quintuple and deca ironman.

She began to run in her twenties, to aid her efforts to stop smoking. She started collecting ironman titles in 1987, working without a coach to this day. She is a housewife and has three children, born in 1980, 1981 and 1985.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I think my watch is broken

Ahhh, slept in this morning and got some good zzzz's in after yesterday's workout. Before heading off to the pool, I decided to squeeze in an errand. Big mistake. What I thought would take 15 min. of course took an hour. Ugh. Well, no swimming. By then I was hungry so I decided I to eat lunch.

Of course one can't go out cycling right after eating, so I started doing some work on the computer, then there were calls to make to arrange things, etc., etc. Wow, I'd better get my butt out there!

Only managed to slip in about 35k of cycling, a measly hour and a half, before I ran out of time - I had supper and theatre plans. Originally, I had planned an hour swim and a three hour cycle. Something must have gone wrong today - the minutes on my watch went by way too quickly. What happened?


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I go done it all today!!

Got woken up by the lovely Kneejerk at 6:30am today. I'm going to miss her when she moves south of me and is no longer in close neighbour vicinity. I suppose I'll still be able to run with her but will have to hike my car over to her place ... but the advantage is she lives by the Mont-Royal so the scenery will be prettier. Oh, disadvantage is that it would always be hill-running. No bother - she's still one of my fave running partners 'cause she gives me wake-up calls and slows down for me :-) So I ran a slow 10k today - an hour.

Managed to squeeze in a 40 min. swim today inbetween my commitments. Not bad. Tired though, like how I felt during the run. But after a short warm-up, I managed a 1 km swim followed by lots of faster laps and some cool sprinting at the end. Felt powerful! Yay! I haven't been able to swim since last Thursday.

Then a painful physio session with nifty heat pads at the end. Excuse me, do you think you could wrap my whole body in those, please? I think my physiotherapist wonders how I'm able to do all this training with this much injury still ... sheer will power, babe ... mixed in with some stupidity too.

Tri group bike ride. Erik, the coach, took us to a schoolyard to practice moving in a peloton. It was really hard at first, but got easy with every lap. We all got a little dizzy but bonded as a team. I'm still afraid of cornering. EEK! Then after the practice, two of us climbed Camilien Houde. It was faster and easier this time (still real hard though) and of course, I was out of breath at the top. Made my way down on the other side of Mont-Royal out onto Cote-des-Neiges then into the neighbourhood behind UQAM, a French university, to do a few much smaller hills. Just love those downhills though. Braking is a little scary though ... Total bike session = 2 hours.

So almost 3 hours training ... not bad. I felt fatigue in my legs from yesterday's hard cycle though! I will sleep well tonight.

Monday, May 22, 2006

It's friggin' freeeezing out there !!

I should have been more disciplined today but I wasn't. After a late breakfast, I had told myself that I would go out and do a super long cycle to make up for lost cycling on the weekend. Then I started picking stuff up in the house and tidying up, you know what I mean - PROCRASTINATING. Of course there were a few calls to take care of too, and then replying to some e-mail.

It didn't help that every time I checked the temperature from Environment Canada it said only 7 or 8 C. Winds gusting to 35-40km/h. I looked outside my window and watched the tree branches bending from the wind and told myself BRRRRRR.

I wanted to wimp out but my friend M. said to me on the phone, "Isn't there some mental aspect to training outside in the wind and cold when it's real tough?" She was right. I stepped outside and told myself, "I should get some fresh air, " but then promptly reverted back to thinking about hoisting my bike on my trainer and watching a good flick or two in the warmth and comfort of my own home. Then I heard that little voice in my head, "But it's so much more fun to cycle outside and it's finally not raining. You had worse conditions at the triathlon and you survived." Argh.

So I got dressed warmly and out the door I went for a 2h+ ride out in the horrible cold and wind. I thought it was going to downpour suddenly a few times what with how the wind kicked up. I almost regretted my decision to cycle outside when I hit the headwind by the water on the North Shore. It seemed to go on forever, but at least I was on my way back. My knees started hurting from the cold and extra effort to pedal, though I was spinning quite quickly. My feet were already frozen 15 minutes into my ride.

So I'm very happy to have gotten outside today for my ride. Thank you M. 53k done. Wish I could have done more, but today's conditions were nasty and I came home almost a popsicle.

I wanted to go swimming tonight, but it being a holiday (Happy Victoria Day everyone!), the neighbourhood pools were closed and the nearby YMCA pool had "water problems". Drat!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A must see!!

The Evolution of Dance (click this link!)

Alright, this link has nothing to do with training, but it made me laugh. Actually, none of this long weekend so far has had anything to do with training ... 'cause there hasn't been any! And our half hour piddle in the pool today doesn't really count because I was having too much fun. Anyway, I hate doing "half laps". I showed the kids my neat-o flip turn though ... and oh! My son swims almost as fast as I do ... ugh, have to change that ... LOL!!

Dropped the kids off at their father's and then cleaned up after supper. Afterwards, I thought that before I go out for my run I'd call back my friend David from New York whom I met at a dance convention way back I don't remember when. He's a swimmer too!

Thought we would talk about 15 min. or maybe a half hour max, and then I'd go out for a 20k run or so (felt inspired by my Coolrunning colleagues). Blah blah, blah ... alright, maybe only a 10 - 12k run now ... blah blah blah. Boy it's nice to catch up ... yes, yes, I remember those hamburgers on the BBQ I made last time you visited, David, yes, they were delicious! Blah, blah, blah ... oh, well, maybe just a short 5k to move the legs ... but it's dark, and cold, and rainy outside, and OH! I'm hungry!! Great talking to you, David.

I heated up some left-over spaghetti from supper and nixed the running idea. Better to get a good night's rest. And so I did, as I promptly passed out on the couch right after my bowl of pasta, milk undrunk. Zzzzzzzzzz....

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Saturday's training ...

Nada ... some things came up and I don't have to tell you .... na na na na na na ...

Just kidding, just one of those family emergency days that crop up in people's lives from time to time. But everything will seem better after a good night's sleep.

Hoping to get back on course tomorrow with a run and a swim. What happened to the cycling? Where did it go? Ohhhhhhh! I didn't do too well this week!!! OUF!!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Those precious moments ...

Today I should have trained but the kids had a pedagogic day that the parents were informed about only just earlier this week - surprise! I had timed our activities today to take us to the pool during the family hour at the nearby pool that had one lane of lap swimming but we were too busy in the video store choosing our "rainy day" films. Scrap that swimming idea ...

After homework and supper, we watched a hilarious film made by the Wayan Brothers called "White Chicks". It's one of those films just to be watched and enjoyed ... Don't think about it too much or you'll ruin the fun. My kids and I laughed continuously at how ludicrous it was.

Last night, while browsing on the net, I came across almost by accident a cover of a song first sung by Diana Ross - "Theme from Mahogany". The lyrics of this song and the honesty of the musician's voice and of his interpretation stirred me.

Mr. Justin Roberts, thank you for sharing your wonderful cover of this classic song with us.

(hint: this is a link, folks ... click on it!)

Yes, today I should have trained but sometimes one needs just to take a step back from the rush of things just to breathe and laugh and love. Anyway, I was enjoying the moment too much cuddling and laughing with my kids on the couch ... such a shame it would have been to set up my bike and trainer and then cycle.

So many things happen in life and before we have time to take it all in and realise what it all means, can mean, or will mean, time has already happened and those moments are gone. Who knows what the future brings or what the answers to our lives are? We only know right now, and if we are conscious that we are breathing and alive, then we are lucky indeed. Everything in life is transitory and sometimes we just have to believe in hope and faith and love, believe that the universe will bring us to a better place inside and outside ourselves ...

Just be true ... and hang on tight ... xoxo

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I'm a tired girl tonight ...

Went for a swim midday before heading into the office for a bit. My timing sucked today. Because of last night's late night, I went to bed too late and feeling like I needed sleep more than to run at 7am, I wimped out on my friend KJ when she gave me my wake-up call at 6:30am. Fell back asleep quickly and slept like a baby until 11am. I would have slept all afternoon, but work and training beckoned.

Got home to eat lunch at 3:30-4pm. I had thought about squeezing in some cycling, but then ended up on my computer instead telling myself I would run at the end of the day. Lo and behold, yet once again, I did not watch the clock closely enough and got in my run too late to do what was on my schedule. Oh well, I still got in a 34 min. run, 11 min. short of what was called for in today's "program" of 3 cycles x running 3 different speeds during each cycle. Does that make sense to you?

Told myself I would cycle to make up for yesterday's lack of it. I'm trying to make up for lost training! Well, at least I got the yesterday's swimming in today :-) Now I'm tired and my wacky schedule has caught up to me. I need a really really good night's sleep. No school tomorrow, meaning I will not have to get up early to drive the kids to school, yay!

My inspiration ...

I didn't train Wednesday at all. I received a call from my talent agent late Tuesday evening telling me that I had to go to Toronto for a commercial audition. I've been trying to avoid that traveling back and forth to Toronto actor thing for the longest while. I tried it at the beginning of my career years back and didn't like and I didn't think I'd like it this time round either.

But I still went. Audition was ... um ... okay ... but how would I know?

Best part of the trip was making a special pit stop on the way back to Montreal. We were a mini-van full of hopeful actors, tired from the traveling and the stress of an audition in another town where we're not familiar with the faces nor the procedures. I asked everyone if we could pop in to see my sick mother but didn't expect them to all say yes, as I knew they were anxious to get back home.

I felt nervous while we fought our way through rush hour traffic to get uptown. I wanted and needed so much to see my mother but was afraid of what I would see. I had only called her after the audition to tell her of the surprise visit. She sounded happy that I would drop in, if only for a brief while.

We got to my mother's and I rang on the doorbell. I hadn't seen her since last year as my last attempt to visit in February resulted miserably in my horrible car accident. My mother answered the door and I saw her sweet little face smiling at me, so happy to see me. So funny, my mother is such a mother. She asked me how my neck was and asked me if I was alright, if I had money for food (she knows it's been difficult).

I told her I was fine. I looked at her bald little head from the chemotherapy, stroked her face and then took her in my arms and held her and told her how much I loved her. I apologized for not being to stay longer as I had come out with my actor friends and they were waiting for me.

We didn't have much time but chatted a bit. My mother happily showed me the information she had received from the hospital regarding her diabetes. It is a wonderful program where she is learning about her disease as well as learning how to manage it better with diet and proper monitoring. It made her feel good to be treated so well by the hospital folks as well as know that there there are people out there that really care and want to pay attention to her needs.

I saw a little stack of hats. All my mother's, to hide her little head when she went out. She explained each one to me ... this one was from my sister, but when it got wet, it got cold ... so she bought another one that would keep her head warm when it rained. Then she showed me a flowery sun hat. She didn't really like this one but it was inexpensive and comfortable to wear inside and out.

My mother was happy that some stubble was starting to grow back. She said she was ugly. I looked at her and told her that she will always be beautiful and that I loved her. I was all made-up wearing my long hair loose and also wearing 3" heels, feeling behomothic. I thought about my Ironman training and realized how striking the physical contrast was between us. How unfair it was. My mother and I used to be the same height when I was a teenager. Now with age and disease, she had gotten smaller and I could feel her frailty in my arms as I held her again. I wanted to give her some of my hair so she wouldn't feel so ugly. I wanted to carry her across the finish line with me at the Ironman, transferring some of my strength to her and wishing only that a miracle cure existed.

I told my mother that I would have to leave as it was a long drive back. I hugged her and told her again that she was beautiful and that I loved her. I told her I'd plan a trip out soon to see her and I would be able to stay longer. And then I said bye ... but then she did something that surprised me. She put on her little flowery hat and came outside with me, anxious to say hello to everyone.

I introduced everyone to my mother and with a wonderfully joyous face, she thanked them all in her broken English for allowing me to drop in on her. I hugged my mother and started crying again, and afterwards, N. came over to give me a hug and told me not to cry. I knew that my actor friends understood the importance of my visit. My mother waved to us from the front steps as we drove off, a sight that I had grown accustomed to seeing with every visit.

My mother is my inspiration and I am grateful for her existence and her love.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wet, wet, wet !!

Finally got a decent night's sleep last night ... aaahhhh! 8 hours, not a whole lot but way better than what I was averaging for last week. I could have slept longer, but alas, I had a busy day ahead of me and lots of stuff to do.

Finally got to train at the end of the day - 1.25 hours bike. Met some guys from my tri group to cycle in the rain. We climbed Camilien Houde, the hard way up our little mountain, Mont Royal ... it was hard, but worth it! I put my bike into the smallest gear to spin faster, but realised soon enough that I needed more gears to make it easier but didn't have any, so I had to stand up. Got up to the top without stopping - what a sense of accomplishment! I confess ... I've driven over this way in my car several times and been in awe of the cyclists who climb this - it has always intimidated me. But at the end of our big loop, I was ready to repeat the climb but it was late and getting even darker ... I'm looking forward to more hills! ROAR!!!

Then when I got home, I took a short 10 min. break to change clothes and make some calls. Then back out into the pouring rain to run 45 min. Dirk had told me that my legs would lose that heavy elephant feeling that I had when I upped my cycling and he was right. No heaviness - my legs actually felt light and springy considering the climbs I had just done on my bike. I feel like I'm actually running faster too! Finished off the run with some intervals as per my new nifty training schedule.

I quickly wolfed down some amazing gels at home that taste and feel like jello (thanks again, Dirk) and off I went to the pool for a quick half hour swim. Boy was I glad to finally get home to eat some supper at 10:30pm. Famished!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Some days I just don't feel like it ...

On the training schedule Dirk gave me, I was supposed to swim an hour to an hour and a half. Ugh. After my very painful physio appointment, I made an early supper because I was starving. And of course, I had to have a cup of tea after. My mistake. Me and my very full belly looked at the clock and said we're never going to make it to swim practice on time. So I told myself that I would go later ...

Later came and later went until it became almost too late. I felt warm and cuddly inside my house, and it was dark, cold and rainy outside ... OH! I dragged my lazy butt over to the neighbourhood pool.

There are days that one just doesn't feel like training and tonight was one of those days. The fatigue and lack of sleep from last week as well as the late night from G.'s 50th B-day party Sunday caught up with me, and without the adrenaline rush of Saturday's race, I felt like I was swimming V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W-L-Y. I wasn't actually that slow in comparison to the others though, with the exception of the super slim Mr. Zippy whom I watched underwater to try to figure out his secret. I don't get it ... his legs seemed to be flailing everywhere! Hmmm ...

So just a very long 45 min. swim for me tonight ... ugh. Had to force it, but it's done. Going to bed early tonight, finally.

How does one define "cross-training"?

To all the mother's out there ... hope you had a happy mother's day yesterday!

Smoked meat with the kids was excellent, yum, yum, though not entirely the most healthy food. Where did the day go? I finally got around to doing the much needed yardwork, raking, adding soil, fertilizing and seeding - it took a few hours! No time left over to train, darn it. I had just enough time to bake a birthday cake, wash up and head off to a friend's 50th.

Amazing party. Delicious catered buffet, amazing desserts (c/o the party guests :-) , live music, stand-up comic, and dancing, dancing, dancing ... I had a great time, but obviously not enough sleep since I had to get up super early after last night's festivities. My feet actually hurt right now. Argh ...

So my question is, does heavy gardening and dancing count at all in my training? No? Alright, alright ... yes, back to regular training today, albeit the grand lack of zzzz's ... I think it's nap time now ...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

There's a first time for everything ...

I am a TRIATHLETE!! A genuine certified triathlete!! Woohoo!!!

Alright, yes folks, I had my first triathlon this miserable, cold, rainy, windy Saturday morning. It was nice. I received three wake-up calls from my CoolRunning buddies. So nice to have their support.

I quickly tried "not to dawdle" and finish prepping for the race. Sprint triathlon held on Ile Ste-Helene, Montreal. 750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run. When I arrived shortly after 8am, the line-up for registration and bib collection was long, and only got longer. I still wasn't at the entrance into the building at 8:30. Only got in around 8:40 and had to stand in the rain until then.

I got dressed into my triathlon suit (the nice blue one that Dirk gave me - thanks, Dirk!) I had no clue what to do next or where to rack my bike. We were supposed to have a general briefing at 9am but no one knew where. So I asked around and found out what to do with my bike and racked it like a good wanna-be triathlete. I tried to prep my clothes and shoes and was happy I had brought all sorts of extra plastic bags as I lay everything down by my bike. My neighbours were a brother and sister and we ended up hanging out a little bit and made each other laugh, which was great for my nerves.

Finally, we were told that the briefing was to happen, and in my tri-suit, barefoot, I made my way back around to the pool, the long way since they hadn't opened the gate yet. Good thing I decided to keep my polar sweater on ... it was FREEZING!! The pavement felt like ice.

I heard nothing during the briefing which was basically a bunch of very wet athletes crowded around someone trying to scream past the first three rows of people but not succeeding. The sound of the falling rain drowned out the voice. I still didn't have any more information than before, but at least I knew what pool we would be swimming in.

We waited and waited in the cold and rain and wind. The first wave warmed up in the pool. It was heated to 22-24C but the air was frigid above it. No "Get ready", just a gun going off BANG! and off they went every 5 seconds in all 8 lanes. We had to wait for all the swimmers to get out of the pool before the second wave (me!) could go in. At one point, M. and I were so cold, we went to the bathroom to heat up our bare feet in the sink. Ah! My feet were so cold, the warm water made them hurt.

BANG! and off we went. I swam fourth in my lane. 50m pool. I tried to do a few flip turns but couldn't get the proper coordination to do it without losing too much breath - I was too nervous! I got passed once then ended up passing two other people and got out on the heels of K., the girl who was beside me when racking my bike. OUF! It took two attempts to get myself hoisted up and over the ledge of the pool which was at least a foot above the water. Is it my imagination or based on K's time, I did a 14 min.+ 750m swim? But unfortunately I took forever at my first transition - but I wanted to be warm! Getting dressed in the rain wasn't easy. And my hands were so cold, I had trouble putting on my gloves.

Off I went to the cycling portion. We entered the Gilles-Villeneuve racetrack at a certain point that after 5 times of going around, I was not able to recognize when it was time to get off the track. I shouted out "C'est où la sortie?" but the volunteer did not answer so I thought it was a bit further. And it was a bit further, almost 4k further, as I horribly realised when I went around for my sixth loop. OH!!! All that extra energy expended battling the wind again!

I finally figured out how to get off the track and back to the transition area. This time I was a bit faster and just had to change shoes and headgear. Off I went. My legs felt alright, better than the last brick I had tried during the week. And it was STILL raining, making the running course a jungle of puddles and mud. Completed the 5k in 24:16. I probably could have pushed it a tad more, but I never felt like I knew where I was going and almost veered off in the wrong direction a few times. I did the second loop and was directed finally by a knowledgeable and helpful volunteer to veer left to the finish.

There was a lot of mud again and I watched the path as I ran to avoid the worst of it. Then I heard some people screaming to go left. So I moved to the left of the path. The screaming continued. Good thing. They meant for me to leave the path and go left on the grass to the finish line. It's so great that this was so clearly not indicated on the running path.

So that was my race - cold, wet, windy, late and super badly organized - but EXCITING!! I'm happy with my race speeds, can work on the transitions now that I know what I'm doing, and will try to be more observant of the course instead of counting on volunteers. And heck, any other triathlon stands to be a piece of cake compared to this one ... and I'm already planning for the next one. Oh, I've created a monster here!

Time to hit the hay - I've had way too little sleep in the past week and Dirk will have my head. (But I did have a good 2-hour nap this evening!)

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there! I'm taking my kids out for smoked meat ... yum :-)


Nada. Zip. No training. And it felt good.

Nonetheless, I was really busy and had a work engagement that evening. It ended much later than I expected and by the time I got home past 1am, I still had stuff to prep for the next day, including looking up the start time of my first triathlon the next day!

Yippy yay, by the time I got enough stuff prepped, some food into my belly, and myself all prepped for bed, I got less than 3 hours sleep. Of course though, part of this was due to nerves ... just lying there thinking about the unknown of the next morning ... EEK!!! Dirk, I hope you're not reading this.

Don't get between a man and his banana bread ...


Yet another busy day and another audition as a singing co-worker. Cross your fingers for me. I tell you, it was hard to get up this morning for the audition because of the late shoot Wed. night that actually took me past the wee hours of the morning.

Training - swam for an hour on a pretty empty stomach. Practised swimming faster and lots of flip turns. I realised that I can't do them as well now and will have to work on it even more. Because I've gotten faster at swimming, I'm coming up to the end of the pool faster therefore, my timing is now all wrong! Grrrr! Boy was I hungry when I finally got around to eating lunch at 4pm.

Then went for a Hill Run with my running group but just missed the only member who showed up. So he and I ended up doing different runs in the same neighbourhood and only found out later that evening. I did an almost 50 min. run up Atwater Hill and amongst the rolling hills of Westmount. Fun ... good steady pace.

Spent the evening with my friend B. with whom I swing dance. I made some banana bread for him. I love to bake!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I'm burnt!

And to top it off, I have my first triathlon Saturday. Sprint distance - 750m swim, 20k cycle, 5k run. Hmmm ... not looking forward to braving the SPEED (cause I'm really slow, you know), cold, rain, and wind. Gusts from 30-50k/hr. ARGH!!!!

I'll give you Thursday's & Friday's reports and also my triathlon report later this afternoon when I get a second to breathe (and maybe NAP!!) I have worked just way too many hours this week and have sorely not gotten enough sleep, and not by choice!

Wish me luck ... I'll need it to stay coherent enough to crawl over the finish line properly.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Yet another no training day ... sigh ...

Even though I got 7 hours sleep Tues. night after the shoot, I was still beat when I got up in the morning. Rush, rush, rush all day long ... too much to do, too little time. Got all prettied up this afternoon for a photo casting then went straight back home to eat a snack and get my stuff ready to hit the set of "Le Septième Round", a Quebec teleseries.

I'm back! Short night. Only 8 hours. I'm ready to go to bed now. Very happy that we didn't finish at 5 or 6 am. Whew! I'll get 5 hours sleep tonight if I play my cards right and get ready NOW. Off I go!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

My eyes are getting droopy ...

Up at 5am after 2 1/2 hours sleep. Ugh. 11 hours on set, same busy exhausting conditions as yesterday's shoot (club scenes). Then I took my lovely bike, Freida, out to the Gilles Villeneuve race track out on Ile-Ste-Hélène (or is it Ile-Notre-Dame ...). It was so intimidating watching all the other cyclists race by ... would they be able to tell that I'm faking it?

Cycled 8 laps = 32k in about an hour or so. Then I threw my bike into the car quickly and changed my shoes so that I could run around the track. I think I did close to 5k. Whose legs were those? I think they felt so heavy and slow due to the difference of how fast they feel when I'm on my bike. My feet hurt - ouch those bunions! Started feeling better around 2k into the run and was able to run more normally ... and then started picking up more speed right up until the end. I don't think I did too badly.

Drove to the YMCA pool and swam for 45 min. 16 warm-up and drill laps, followed by a kilometer swim, then 4 cool-down laps. 60 laps in all.

I was surprisingly not that hungry when I got home ... too exhausted I think. Made some soup with noodles and ate some waffles. Carbs, salt, sugar. And of course a nice cup of tea. Not the most nutritious meal, but heck, I made sure to eat well all day in anticipation for today's 2 hour + training session ...

Monday, May 08, 2006

Just another day ...

Slept a whopping hour last night then got up to go to the set of "C.A.", a new Quebec series, for 5am. Argh. It was a very very very long day and very very very busy. Club scene - dancing, standing, laughing, talking, flirting ... without making any noise or any music (except to give us the beat). Hot and humid inside with all the special lighting and bad circulation. Lots of dry ice to bugger up the contact lenses and make our throats dry, as well as lots of drinks that we couldn't really drink. Oh yes, and lots of high heels, 3 - 4" stiletto ones even! I had two thoughts: 1 - HOW? and 2 - WHY!?!? I wore sensible 1" comfy sandals and was really really happy with my choice when we finally finished our day of shooting almost 14.5 hours later.

I had packed my swim stuff in the car, but obviously, missed my team practice. Plan B - eat supper then get in an hour of swimming. It was already 9pm by the time I finished making and eating supper and I lay my head on the couch for a "few minutes".


No training today ... too tired ... and I still have things to do to prep for my 6am call time. This is going to be a week from hell and I hope that I will be in shape for what's coming up this weekend.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Wow, that weekend just FLEW by!


Played in the pool with the kids for around 25 min. I would have done some laps, but it was just crazy in the pool ... all sorts of visiting kids from other neighbourhoods for some volleyball tournament. Of course, some were in the only lane available - were they doing laps? No ... just being annoying. There were too many kids just not listening to the lifeguards and doing stupid things. Sheesh!

It was nice to have that feeling of water around me though ...

My kids were happy when they found out I had picked up the other two films in the Matrix series, so guess what? This weekend was a Matrix Fest - what better thing to do on a rainy day! Matrix is really good to cycle to ... the kids didn't even mind the noise of Freida, my bike. There are lots of action scenes with cool music to get one really pumped up. I figure the kids would be happy if I did that more often, wouldn't you say so? Got in almost two hours of cycling with a short break to start supper.


I guess mini-golf doesn't count as training but it was fun! Though I've never liked the pressure of finishing up the hole quickly since there are people waiting for you to finish ...

Went swimming afterwards and tried to play several times with the kiddies but they "dissed" me since they had found their favourite pool toys and didn't want to "share". That's alright ... I got to do almost a half hour of half lengths in the pool and a whole bunch of flip turns. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to get the most forward movement with my arm in the water - what should it go exactly?

Went for a late night run with an acquaintance, T, whom I found out today runs 400m competively. Argh. I don't know him too well but had told him that I would run with him one day. I'd forgotten how much he's built like a gazelle with his long thin legs.

So we set off and I felt surprisingly good. Kept a faster pace than I'm used to for this distance when I train but everything felt right, and I had no problem talking. Ran 12k in about 1:05. Not bad, not bad at all, but I really have to do something about this tight right hamstring which has been hurting for the past week and change. T & I picked up the pace at the end, and I kept thinking, don't trip, don't fall, watch your sprained ankle, don't turn it! Woohoo ... Good run!

After some stretching, I got on my bike for a hour and tried to watch Grey's Anatomy. But T preferred to chat with me ... Arrrgh!!! Oh well ... Season finale's next Sunday, and I ain't gonna miss that one for sure!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Nothing seemed to want to go right ...

I went swimming yesterday right after I dropped off the kids. Figured it would get me a head start on my already busy day. I had done about 10 warm up laps or so, then started what I thought would be at least a 2k swim. Nope, only got as far as 500m as I got kicked out of the pool because the "free period" was over. That's alright though since I had stuff to prep for my afternoon meeting.

So what I thought would be an hour or so meeting downtown took over three hours and by the time I got home, it was already 5pm. My planned 3 hour cycle in yesterday's beautiful weather was a write-off. I grabbed my almost dry swim stuff and rushed off to the pool. Got in a solid half hour of freestyle laps and lots and lots of flip turns then dashed off to pick up the kids.

Then I was supposed to cycle last night after the kids went down. Nope. I lay down on the couch. My mistake. I lay down on the couch, and that was that ... ZZZZZ ... I got a much-needed 11 hours of sleep though :-)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Dirk rocks!

Finally got to train at the end of the afternoon. I had originally planned on a 16k run from my kids' school to the mountain. Today's weather was superb.

But then as I was getting ready, I noticed Dirk on-line and said hello ... How horrible! An inattentive motorist almost ran him over! He hadn't even bothered to look when Dirk approached him on his right. As Dirk told me, Miami motorists pay attention only to other cars, and not to cyclists or pedestrians.

He tells me he'll be alright ... he fell on his chest and left knee and also received a gash on his right calf. He'll have to take some time off training because his knee is definitely injured ... Ouch! I'm just happy he didn't have a worse injury.

By the way, yes, these are some pics of Dirk, my trainer, good friend, and 22-time Ironman. He's an incredible guy!

So after speaking with him on the phone and making sure he was alright, I realise that now, I obviously have a lot less time left. So I tell him, "Well I should try to get in at least a 10k." He says "10k minimum, no, 11k". (By the way, I can't believe he still believes I'll be able to pull it off ... you know, an Ironman ...)

We continue talking, and I think, "Well, I would have enough time if we didn't like chatting so much." I finally make my way to my start point for today's run.

I had a good run nonetheless. I decided that what I lacked in distance, I would make up in intensity. Ran 40 minutes at tempo pace with 15 min. warm-up and cool down. So 55 min. in all. Probably got in close to that 10k, but definitely not 11k (sorry Dirk!).

I'm not a huge fan of tempo running, but I figured it would be good for me to work on a quicker turnover and lifting the legs a bit higher in the front. Today, I had to breathe pretty deeply, none of that easy-breezy-let's-have-a-good-chat pace that I really love. I had to work!

Tonight, I watched ER and the news while I cycled for 75 min.

There's a British woman who's 63 who decided to have a baby with her husband. They're both in good shape and have already had children so understand what parenting is about. There are those against it. I don't see anything wrong with it. Yes, the child's parents will be older, but heck, how many men father children even into their 70's? Didn't Clint Eastwood have a child? How many children have parents who don't take care of their health, do no exercise, smoke, drink and don't eat healthily? How many parents neglect or abuse their children? Who are we to say?! Besides, death can come at any age, not just old age ...

What's your opinion?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Flied lice, how yummy!

I wanted to cycle today but it was another rainy day. Anyway, I had tons to do this afternoon. Where does the time go?

Later on, I ran off to meet up with KR, a wonderfully vibrant friend of mine since she wanted me to meet her group of friends. I sat down at the table and everyone was super friendly. I told them I couldn't stay long since I had to go to swim practice but was instantly served a "Flirtini" anyway ... oooooohhh! Alright, how could I resist?! Glug, glug, glug and a bit of interesting conversation later, out I dash already late for my practice. But not before having a few words with the owner of the restaurant - looks like I may have found an interesting venue for my next "Lock & Key" fund-raiser for the Canadian Diabetes Association ... I'll keep you posted!

Swim practice: whole bunch of sprints and faster swimming ... argh! Maybe I shouldn't have had that martini, right? Out of guilt, I stayed into the "free" period to get in some extra work on my technique. Seems like I work on improving one area and lo and behold, I lose it in another - I'll get the balance right one of these days ... Felt good to be able to swim faster than most of the swimmers there, not that I'm competitive or anything, just nice to know that the technique I've developed so far is actually getting me somewhere. Total swim time = 1 h 40 min.

I rushed home and was ravenous. Good thing I had some left-over white rice and know how to make it interesting and delicious.

So with a full belly, I intended to get some work done on my fund-raising since I have a huge deadline looming and I am 2 months behind schedule. And then afterwards, thought I would cycle a little bit before hitting the hay. Nope, did neither since I ended up talking on the phone for tooooo long.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

It's raining, it's pouring, the Old Man is snoring!

Ahhhh ....

Got 11 hours sleep last night. I think I needed it. My friend Kneejerk woke me with a 6:45 am call to run with her but I told her that I needed sleep more than a run. I was happy to learn that she decided to head back under the covers too ... Meaning ... that we got to run together after she finished work!

10k in the pouring rain. Good thing it wasn't THAT cold. Still needed gloves though and I could wring out my clothes when I got back. Don't you just love that feeling of stepping accidentally into a puddle and having your foot soaked with frigid water? NOT!

Boy was I happy to wolf down last night's leftovers when I got home and dried and dressed. Then off to the gym to get my bike adjusted by Erik, my tri group coach. I managed to slip in a measly 20 min. of swimming before the pool closed ... better than nothing though. I notice a big difference in my swimming when I am more often in the water, even if it's for short periods. Last week, I didn't swim for a few days and actually felt that I had lost some of the "feeling of the water".

Well, I'm ravenous so I'm going to go eat a hot bran muffin! Yum!!

Monday, May 01, 2006

I just knew it ...

There is a great bike route that I take along the north shore of Montreal going east. I could even go off the tip of the island if I wanted to, but haven't cycled that far ... yet! It's really beautiful and serene and right by the water ... not too many cars either. Really crappy roads at times though (that's when my spare inner tubes become handy.) Takes a while to get to this route though. First I have to manoeuver through too many intersection lights, traffic, pedestrians, slower cyclists and small streets to get anywhere where I can start picking up speed, but it's worth it.

So I'm cycling along, there's a little headwind, and all is peaceful. I'm trying to figure out the distance I can cycle in the amount of time I have, since obviously, I have not allotted enough time for the orginally planned 70k. I'm thinking about how I have to get back in time for physio at 4:30pm and then afterwards how I have to go to swim practice. A thought pops clearly into my mind, "A test ... Erik is going to make us do a test tonight."

I make it back home at 4:20pm with only 51k completed. I would have loved to have done more ... time passes by so quickly on a bike when the weather is gorgeous! Especially when I am no longer having "saddle issues" like before. I change and wolf down a bowl of cereal and a banana. Off to physio I go!

One word for today's physio - OUCH!!

Then off to buy some grass seed and dirt for the backyard in the 15 min. I have spare time before my swim practice. There was a Harvey's at the Home Depot ... I drooled ... I wanted some French fries ... yum. But heck, Turtleboy stuffed me silly yesterday and I had enough food still left in me to keep me going until supper.

6:00pm: Pool practice starts with 300m freestyle warm-up. Alright, I can handle that. Then Erik announces that we're going to do a 750m test in preparation for the upcoming sprint triathlon in two weeks.

What did I tell you !!

Great, just when I have lots and lots and lots of energy left after cycling. My time? 16:33. Would have been 16:28 had I started at the exact same moment as the first wave had I known I was in the first wave. Erik complimented me on my flip turns (woohoo!!) Then cool down ...

So not a bad day's work out :-)