Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Seeking Inspiration

The fall has flown by and I've been busy at the gym, but not crazy busy at the gym - some lessons have been hard to learn, but worthwhile in the big picture. Sticking to 3 coached workouts in a week and then doing workouts on my own has been great this fall.

To add to this success I had a new personal best in my 500 m swim time trial and my biking 3 minute / 20 minute time trial. Haven't hit my magic number of 200 watts yet, but I'm getting close. So rewarding to do the work and get positive results. Running is improving, but still up and down. I just seem to take forever to get going, but continue to push myself.

My other favourite thing this fall, getting my braces off!! Only 4 years, 2 months and 6 days..... Celery and Turtles never tasted so good (but not together, that would just be wrong). Four years without raw celery was odd, but I hadn't really thought much about it until I had a yummy Caesar the other night and ate the celery, instead of giving it away.

The pajama factory has been up and running for another Christmas season. I think it's the last year for the big boys (22 & 19 y/o) as I'm running out of ideas - but I think they'll like the onesies' with the matching blankets this year (Superheroes rock). I'll carry on for the 5 -> 10 year olds.

Looking forward to some time away from work over the holidays and hopefully getting in some cross training in the snow. Inspiration for the holiday season has been slow this year, but I have much to be thankful for and I'm definitely looking forward to what 2012 has to offer. Great to hear that Grant is still with us, Jon is back with us, and we have 2 new coaches, Ed and Heather, at Talisman Triclub.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Ciao, Cindy

Friday, November 11, 2011

Run Light, Run Heavy

I have written ad nauseum about my lack of running prowess....
I think I have to say that compared to where I was, where I am now is lighter. If I look at my start in triathlon in 2005 this applies to my physical weight (that still has a lot of room for improvement) and in my ability to run.

I've had a really positive start to winter training this year. I'm still with the Talisman Tri Club/ETS. I love that I can train everything under one roof and free parking! I'm taking a swim/run class (Tues), an ETS bike class (Thurs), and Sat bike class (my fav), plus workouts on my own (I try for a total of 5/week). I completed a pretty solid bike time trial for this time of year. Then a surprisingly successful 1 km run time trial and a 15 min run time trial on the track. Last, but not least, a personal best 500 m swim time trial! I haven't seen an improvement in my 500 m time in ~1.5 years. I finally broke through with a new PB. I'm so happy with this!

I've learnt some great lessons in regard to consistency, intensity, and recovery this past season. And... if you don't train, you can't perform! This was brought to the forefront with the extra training that I completed with Jon (swim camp in the spring), Jack (bike camp in the spring) and tri club. I really enjoyed the running session with Grant last Sat. The group worked on several drills and one that really made me think about how my running has changed was a "run heavy"/ "run light" drill. I felt the difference in my body position, my ability to make my legs propel my body forward and how much posture affects the effort needed to run. I definitely started out as a "heavy" runner - hunched forward, shuffling, struggling with every step. Now I feel my fatigue almost immediately in a longer run b/c I revert to that "heavy" runner. I regroup and try to get back some form and carry on.

The other thing I like about the drills Grant has taught me is how they break down your stride and each drill focuses on improving that stride to become more efficient and faster. I sure have improved with Grant's great coaching. Coaching has allowed me to get over my fear of falling on my face - although Pauline has witnessed me do this too. (In my defence I was talking and running and tripped on a root on the trail.) I think that fear of falling prevented me from letting my feet leave the ground, therefore, the "fat girl shuffle" was the order of the day. Now I can think of driving my knee forward, squeezing my gluts to get a strong push off (which has eliminated a chronic calf pull), and pumping my arms to help with all of it while keeping my body tall and engaging my core. Man, running is as complicated as swimming. It's so rewarding to see improvement. I love the technical aspects of training and learning how my body can change and improve.

So, we'll see what the year ahead brings. I'm shooting for two half ironman distance races this coming season, one early and one later. Keeps me moving through the summer and getting outdoors. Loving my new bike - Cervelo RS road bike from Speed Theory, but time on the trainer means I have to get a new saddle to keep my butt happy!!

Ciao, Cindy

HMMM, in reading Jon's latest post I was sure we signed him to an exclusivity contract on coaching us and here he is coaching in Victoria. They're lucky to have him, but I wish we still had him.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I'm in Heaven.....

OK, I may need to schedule my own intervention....

Went to Speed Theory to get some Hammer Recoverite, as all my Tri/ETS classes have started and my supply is low. They didn't have my flavour of choice - chocolate (is there any other option?). As I was chit chatting with Darcy and Cam; admiring their handy work on a new nutrition display; I may have mentioned I still really want to replace my road bike, but it's hard to find a second hand one due to my short stature. Suddenly, out comes a little (47 cm XS) Cervelo RS - just my size, just my price. (Darcy is very sneaky). Well let's look at this a little more closely. It's a full carbon frame, they can put an 11/27 cassette on it, it has a compact crank, SRAM Rival gruppo, 650 cc wheel - maybe the only drawback. I can take it for a test ride and see what I think. I decide to come back Friday and take it for a spin, as it's supposed to be nice and warm out.

Get to the store and Cam was able to check me out on the trainer and make the necessary adjustments. He DID NOT need to cut the seat post down!! (Maybe my legs have grown? Maybe it's fate?) So off I go to my test ride testing area - Edworthy and up the hill. Challenged right away by 10 Ave being torn up for repaving with some yucky gravel sections to negotiate on a brand new road bike with skinny little tires on uneven surfaces - crap! made it to the pathway finally. I got passed by a guy on the pathway, then kept up with him and he kept looking back to still find me their. I wasn't so close to be drafting, but he wasn't getting away on me (hee hee).

OMG, this is a nice ride - very smooth and it absorbs all the bumps on the pathway, even better than my Argon 18 E112 and definitely an improvement from my little yellow Cannondale. I also like the way it corners, quite different than my tribike. I thought I wouldn't like the 650 cc wheels, but I didn't feel they were any different. I know when I was looking at tri bikes in 2010 I didn't like the 650's. Maybe b/c I'm sitting more upright on the road bike? The different shifting mechanism b/w the Shimano and SRAM will definitely take some getting used to. Got caught on a few little uphills in the wrong gear.

Arrive at Edworthy, shift into an easier gear in anticipation of the "evil hill" when the chain comes off. Only it's come off at the back, b/w the top ring on the cassette and the hub. I can't, for the life of me, get it out and after several tries and stopping guys for assistance I give up and call Speed Theory.... I need to be rescued, on a Friday night, and the store should be closing, not sending out a posse. (Can a "posse" consist of 1 person?) Thank you Cam for coming to help me, but of course before he gets to me, another very nice guy stops, but knows exactly what to do and unsticks the chain for me. He used a fair amount of force, so without some sort of tool, I wouldn't have been able to do this myself. I did wait for Cam as he was on the road and not able to answer his phone. Friday traffic sucks and now I have Cam stuck in it....

Cam drives back to the shop and I cycle back, rather cautiously, afraid it may happen again as the rear derailleur needs adjustment. I was very discombobulated by this whole experience, it's not my bike, it's late, I don't want to scratch it or break it and I'm afraid to turn it upside down and mark it up. Arrive back at the shop, avoiding 10 Ave, but headed down 12th too far, so made my way back in the back alleys - that was interesting, and it's not even dark out yet.

Exhilaration overcomes any sense of common sense, but - the colour is right, no new accessories needed (red, white, black colour scheme) except pedals, can use my Garmin as a bike computer, will get some carbon water bottle cages off eBay for a reasonable price . I can't pass up this end of season, last year's stock, need to make room for 2012 stock, price. I buy it immediately as someone may buy it out from under me prior to my return after 12 noon on Sat. Only I needn't have worried, since I drove home in my bike shoes, I realized I'd left my street shoes and my pedals at Speed Theory. So.... no Tri Club ride for me on Sat am without pedals on my Argon - dang, I hate missing outside rides!! Missed one 2 weeks ago b/c I had to work the weekend.

Ahhhh, I swam instead on Sat am with Alan and Pauline. Picked up my new toy on the way home + 2 tubes, and some pedals. Now I have 2 lovely bikes in my house and no garage. Good thing I'm the only one to trip over them.

Real ride this afternoon was a great success - over to Glenmore Reservoir and back (~40 km). It was a glorious afternoon and I'm liking this new bike. I will not stop riding my tri bike b/c I will continue to complete triathlons, but would also like to so some grand fondo rides too. Even the seat on my new Cervelo seems OK.

Only 1 more bike left to buy - one for India in 2013...... (oh, and some Recoverite)

Ciao, Cindy

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A new race format that I'm sure will be a hit!

I've got to talk to a patent lawyer soon...... Anyone have a name?

I've had another solid week of training in preparation for getting back into the mix in mid-Sept with Talisman Tri Club. I've been on my bike, swimming and running - all more than once this week. (oops - I did miss Thurs swim b/c I overslept during my nap after work.) I've even done some combined workouts. Which brings me to my next brainstorm!

Pauline and I made a date for a run and bike this morning. I wanted to run first b/c I'm not always too motivated to continue onto a run after a bike. How the heck did I get into triathlons? I digress..... I don't like to eat much prior to a run and I prefer to run first thing in am.... (fewer stomach issues). So we go out on our epic 45 minute run - at a steady pace, which makes it epic in my books.

Finish the run, wash the hands, decide we're quite hungry and we are, after all, looking at an uphill start to our bike. So out come the eggs, veggies, frying pan and I'm off to the races to make a yummie frittata/omelette thing. Toss that down with a glass of milk and we're ready to roll.

What a novel idea - change all race formats to include a sit down meal in b/w disciplines. I think we're onto something. We both had an outstanding bike this morning with glorious weather that we were overdressed for. Since we started in Inglewood it really was uphill to get to Springbank Rd, so I wasn't fibbing. Good warmup to get to Edworthy and the climbing continued. I even added an extra hill to justify my breakfast. I didn't swim after, but felt the possibility was there.

So, I'll see how this goes. Tomorrow planning a swim, then bike again. We'll see what kind of meal I'll have b/w the workouts..... I can't deny myself a bike ride when the weather is so wonderful. I know before long we'll be inside, so gotta take advantage of it now!

BIG CONGRATULATIONS to all the Ironman Canada starters and finishers I have the pleasure of knowing - Cathy, Gerald, Jon, Kevin, Colleen, Christine, Ang, Ari, Mike, James, Brad, Faizel, Andrea, Ted, Laren, Rick, Dan, and David. It was a tough day in the weather department and I know some people went in injured, but everyone did so well. Good job!!

Ciao, Cindy

(see you in the fall - with my new "kit" - hope it makes me faster!!)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Solid Week of Training....

Here I go again.....
I love training. I do better when I have something to train for, with minimal distractions, but life does go on.
I've had a 2 week stretch of "return to training" - the first week, getting back into things. The second week -> solid effort with 2 swims, a brick, a couple of runs and a nice ride on Sat with Gerald, Cathy and Jon - who are all competing in Ironman Canada this weekend. Thank goodness they're all tapering and I had the illusion I could still keep up to some degree ;0! They were very nice to me and let me tag along.....

So happy to be enjoying our great summer weather and I can never get enough of biking.
Feel like I'm starting from square one again with running, but I will persevere! Back to shorter runs of ~30 min, but incorporating run school, some hill intervals, so at least it's coming along. I'll gradually keep increasing my distance. Injury free is where I want to be! I need to start pushing things in the pool again, maybe next week? I even did some core work after running - but crap, I can't do a freakin' push-up to save my life.

I looked anxiously for the results of the ITU Pan Am Triathlon on Aug 21 as both Grant and Jon were competing. Unfortunately, neither had a great race, but in reading their blogs, both seem to have come to terms with their season/results. Glad to hear they are still going to stay focused and move forward. I feel for them both as I know how hard they both train. Keep the focus and continue on is a good way to live life. Learn from mistakes to make the next race better!
I'm in no way, shape or form in their league, but they set a good example to follow for "wannabe's" (like me) to follow and are generous in sharing their wisdom - which I appreciate and have certainly benefited from immensely in my own little world of triathlon.

I'll be watching Ironman Canada from Penticton at home on the computer/tracking thingy....
Good luck to all of you!! Some I know have done multiple Ironman races and lots are doing Ironman for the 1st time. My hat is off to all of you and have a great day - Cathy, Gerald, Jon, Colleen, Kevin, Christine, Ang, Ari, Mike, Faizal, Andrea, Ted, Laren, Dan, David, Rick and James.

Ciao, Cindy
see you all in the fall....

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How could this happen......

Well, it happened pretty easily, didn't take much effort at all, and hopefully won't be repeated.

I completed the Olympic distance triathlon at Lake Chaparral on Sunday, Aug. 7 - perfect weather, the lake was warm, no significant wind. I, however, was not in "peak" form! I have a million excuses, but the only thing that would have changed the outcome was training. Admittedly, I've taken it pretty easy this summer. I did OK at Wasa, had a personal best, but expected more from myself. Chaparral - not so pretty. Three weeks of vacation prior, without any significant training showed - and made me say "My worst race ever, and I hate f*%$#ing running!" But I still love my very fast red bike, just the motor needs work!

I like to think every race provides opportunities to learn.....
My nutrition continues to improve: I don't have post race muscle spasms in my legs much anymore since I switched 1 bottle from water to electrolytes (minimal calories) on the bike and just electrolytes on the run. I still have my 2nd bike bottle with Gatorade (mmmm, sugar).
Consistency must be maintained to perform. I'm always amazed how quickly fitness/endurance slides if you don't train consistently.
Biking is still my favourite part of triathlons. I want more bikes - a cross bike, a road bike, a bike box for travel. This list could go on forever.
I also saw the 70.3 in Calgary from the other side this year - as a volunteer. It was so cool to see all the pros finish. But I think it was even better to see the people I know and also train with perform successfully. Congratulations to all who finished - you're all superstars in my eyes. Inspires me to get back on the horse and commit myself again.

I did have other summer highlights with my friend visiting from Sweden for 3 weeks. She is very well travelled and I was quite proud when she told me just before heading home that she had many "firsts" on this trip - Stampede (parade, rodeo, grandstand show), Tyrell Museum and Drumheller Valley, Banff & Lake Louise for hiking, biking, bears and photos, and decent weather!

So the fall will see me back at the Talisman with the Triclub. I will not give up on running.

Can't wait to see how my training buddies do at Ironman Canada!! Good luck to all of you - I'll be watching with anticipation and excitement. You're all going to do amazingly well b/c I've witnessed your commitment, consistency and hard work.....

Ciao, Cindy

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wasa Race Report

Mulling over my performance at Wasa for the past week. Looking for the positive b/c I inevitably get caught up on my run performance....I really like the Wasa Lake Triathlon - used to be b/c the race is a flat course. BUT not this year. In retrospect, I think I liked this bike course better! Who ever thought I'd say that about hills that I had to go UP!

Had a quick trip this year with going out Sat am and returning to Calgary on Sun pm. Traveled with Gerald, Linda, & Miriam, who made a great car pool partner. We had a good laugh on arrival when we thought we were booked into the cabin (sleeps 8) and ended up in a small'sih room with a double and single bed for 4 of us. Someone mixed up the dates, but it all came out in the wash.

We all went for a swim shortly after arrival to test our wetsuits - I have a new one and I was able to squeeze myself into it and still breathe, whew. The water was a very tolerable temp, although Linda wasn't sure and decided to keep her flip flops on for her swim. We had to break the news to her that it would be a no-no on race day. Then off to Cranbrook for the pre-race meeting. This is my 4th race at Wasa and the 1st one that the race meeting started on time - thanks Charlie!
Then it was my turn to add to the adventure of our weekend. Miriam and I headed back to Wasa and eventually I said, hmmm, I think I took a wrong turn b/c the countryside is quite different than I remember. Sure enough, it only took me 40 km (Cranbrook -> Wasa = 34 km) to realize this. Jaffre is a quaint little village on the way to Fernie; with a friendly guy at the coffee shop to give directions. We took another scenic route back to Wasa and did get their after an 80'ish km detour. At least it was early. No one believed me when I tried to tell them Charlie asked us to scout a new bike course for next year.

Race morning was quite relaxed. I try not to get too hyped up pre race and was happy to see so many familiar faces from Talisman Triclub and others that I recognize/know. I did make 2 changes this year - both after listening to Felix describe his viewing of himself at a triathlon and commenting on how long he fiddled with gloves in transition - both on and off. He also said he puts baby powder in his socks to allow them to slip on/off with wet feet. So - he shared his baby powder with me and my socks and I didn't bother with gloves on the bike. I'm positive I had a reasonable transition for the 1st time ever! Thanks Felix!

My swim was mediocre.... I did "steal some water" on the way, but then felt guilty and passed the person I was stealing from. Tried it a few other times for short distances. My swim was on the slow side, but I got going quickly on the bike . I even passed people on the UPHILL! This was definitely the highlight of my race. There were 3 girls I was back and forth with on the bike - I pass downhill, they pass uphill. Jumped off the bike very happy and thought - I'm putting it in "Pauline gear" - steady and consistant for the 10km. I didn't want to stress about my pace, just try to stay steady. I had my most consistant race run ever - walked briefly (like ~15 sec or less) for aide stations to drink and then kept running. I've been trying to push myself for the last 2 km of all my training runs, but I didn't have enough energy for the last 2 km during the race.

I did end up with a PB!! I did decide no 1/2 Ironman for me this year. The hardest part of the race for me was how many people passed me on the run - I find it quite demoralizing, but just keep moving. I do feel I run more efficiently now that I've been in Grant's swim/run class, and a pottie stop adds sooo much time.... (Thank goodness Pauline and Carol were home!) I compared my bike time from Wasa 2009 (flat course) and I was faster this year on my Argon 18 on a harder course. I think the swim was about the same (extrapolated my time + 250m more) b/c 2009 was when they shorted the swim course. My run was only 1 minute faster (Unfortunately I can't subtract my pottie break...), which I was surprised about. All in all a good race. Always a similar conclusion - get better on the run.

Big congratulations to Grant for finishing 1st!! I think the consensus was a successful race for everyone - I think the majority of racers I knew had great races (Miriam - continuous run! Kim - super fast sub 3hr! Hillary - 1st tri and on the podium!). Congratulations to all the finishers and good luck on the next one..... I need to pick a "next one". Maybe Coral Springs in July and Lk Chaparral in August?

Ciao, Cindy

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Great Ride to Highwood Pass

One of my goals for this riding season is to try to ride a different route most weekends. So far 2 for 2. There's absolutely nothing wrong with riding out to Bragg Creek, and the Cinnamon Spoon is very accommodating and cycle friendly, but variety is good too.

Our group gained 1 this week. We were 4 instead of 3. One person had to work, but we'll still let her come next time ;)
What a perfect day for a ride - sunshine, good company, and 50 km uphill in a headwind => 50 km home in a tailwind! Thank goodness, or I might still be out their. I think we had 1 flat, but that got sorted and we carried on. I still struggle on uphills - I just try to keep my cadence at ~90 rpm and spare my knees, but I'm getting so much better on carrying my speed on the downhill -> uphill transition. I will persevere. Glad we went out even though we weren't able to climb the pass. There were lots of people out and about, some people were carrying on up Highwood Pass from the gate, but we decided 100km would be enough for the day. I assume they were going as far as they could b/c many were on road bikes. That's a great ride, with beautiful scenery, although the only wildlife I saw this year was a marmot....

Next on the agenda is Wasa Olympic Triathlon in BC next Sunday. I want to do well, but must confess, training has been a bit lackadaisical of late. I've got to toughen up and get on with it! Good luck to everyone next weekend. I will enjoy the experience b/c this is a fun and well run race, although I'm a bit nervous of the bike course this year as they've changed it due to road construction....
Ciao, Cindy

Now I need to nurse my sunburnt arms - so many things to organize - arm warmers/no arm warmers, suntan lotion even if you're wearing arm/leg warmers?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Everybody's Racing!!

Race season has arrived!

My friend and running partner, Pauline, completed her 1st Marathon in Calgary, May 29, 2011!! Congratulations on a strong finish right on your time goal. Outstanding. I had a great day biking/stalking her on the course with Alan, along with our signs and a cow bell. Saw lots of people I knew - great work everyone. Congratulations on your efforts today.

Grant and Jon competed in their 1st ITU Pan American Cup race May 29, 2011 in Ixtapa, Mexico.
Unfortunately Jon crashed on the bike course and was unable to finish due to an injury. Grant placed 22nd overall.
Welcome to the season guys. That's one race in the bucket, more to come....

I had a great ride on Sat out to Cochrane with some Tri Club friends on Sat. We took the back roads and did a little "hike and bike" along the way when a road was submerged - even the giant speed bump in the middle was underwater. A bit windy, but NO RAIN, so a good ride overall. Love that Cochrane hill....

Grant's coaching and "the running gods" have been smiling upon me lately. I had my fastest 10 km ever last Sunday and a short route from Talisman over to Glencoe Club to do the stairs has become significantly faster for me. YAY! I'm hoping that this good work follows me to Wasa on June 12 - my first race of the season.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I attended Jack and Ashley's Vernon Bike Camp this year. It was outstanding, with a complete bike focus this year compared to last year's camp that had tri stuff thrown in too. I really enjoyed it and learnt some great new bike handling skills - important stuff, like how to use your brakes and possibly save your own life! I'm not sure why, but I was always under the impression to avoid using your front brake to avoid an endo over your handlebars. So my love of all out downhill was quickly tempered the first day, as Vernon is not only hilly, but has some great cornering opportunities as well. Then I deduced the fact that Calgary has great rolling hills.... on straight roads that are perpendicular to each other.

Our rides were great - through scenic back roads of Vernon, some of them familiar from last year. Ashley spent a lot of time with me, mostly getting me to draft off him, b/c I was always lagging behind the group. He taught me some really fun stuff - I call it being in a "sling shot" off the back down a hill, but I don't know the proper term for it, or if there is one....
Anyway, as we're coming off a flat and into a downhill, I'm drafting off Ash and we're increasing the speed, then once we start the downhill I ride for all I'm worth and sling shot forward of Ash off the draft and out to the front, then theoretically, I allow the rest of the pace line to draft me and it's a team effort (which makes me feels good as I'm always in the draft to keep up). My Argon rocks in allowing me an aerodynamic position to fly as it's so small and close to the ground - like me (well maybe not the small part ;p).

This was working great until I was heading down a hill with Ash and encountered a sharp corner at the bottom, hence braking in order to survive (quite literally). I know the concept of high into a corner, lean into it, and out low to avoid centripetal force throwing you off the road. So my first mistake was coming in too fast and too low, then trying to slow down and stay on the road in the corner. Another mistake - trying to brake while in the corner - I started to skid (OMG I'm going to die today), let off brakes, pick up speed, brake, skid; whew I made it through. I also got a healthy scare; I'm pretty sure Ash heard my inappropriate braking (back brakes squealing). He did do a review with the group later in the ride. I would've asked anyway b/c I knew I didn't play that well.
So.... using front brakes to supplement the 30% braking force of back brakes, prior to entering a corner, is a good thing! I'm pretty sure that info will stick in my mind FOREVER.

Next day we had a recovery ride and a late pub lunch. Jack, Ash, and Alan plowed up to Predator Ridge in the late afternoon. There were no other takers, but we enjoyed a relaxing evening with a massage, swim, & hot tub.

The other fantastic addition to the bike camp this year was a massage therapist who also drove our support vehicle - Kelly Michael Schwab, RMT. He was outstanding and everyone made time for him at the end of the day to provide some much needed relief after a hard day's ride. I'm sure the feedback that Jack and Ashley got will make massage an inclusion in all future camps! Thanks Kelly.

Sat was our last big ride in Penticton. The group consensus was to take a new route rather than complete the entire Ironman Canada route. We started with an uphill climb and came around to Twin Lakes, then completed the Ironman course in reverse from their. Ash was again stuck with me, but I appreciated the company, as everyone else went UP ahead. I complete climbs, and don't freak out about them,-> spin your cadence, just not with the same power as the guys. Some day.... I was pushing my E3/4 watts the majority of the climb as Ash had his power meter and we weigh about the same. Then, what goes up, must come down!! YIPPEE!! (in a controlled way). Leanne Manlove also joined us again this year for our Sat ride. She used to be a Talisman coach with ETS and she coached me for my 1st Olympic distance tri. She now lives and coaches in Kelowna at Pinnacle Ahhh, what a great way to spend a week.

My conclusion at the end of camp - quit my job and ride my bike. Hmmm, what about the mortgage? I'll figure something out - next big event is that I want to ride my bike the length of India with Tour d'Afrique 2013. I figure I can wrangle this amount of time off compared to the 4 months to ride the length of Africa. But I'm going to do that someday too.

Now back to reality. That little break was just what I needed as I returned to work feeling much calmer. We've had a major change in how we deliver our services, which may look good on paper, but no matter how many changes you make, if you don't have enough bodies to do the work, nothing really changes.

On a nostalgic note, I sold my little yellow cannondale yesterday. It was bittersweet, as it was my first road bike and I rode it faithfully for 7 years. I think it's gone to a good home, one of the triclub members bought it for his daughter. I hope she enjoys it as much as I did.

'til next time - ciao, Cindy

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Love Affair Rekindled

I still love my very fast red bike! Especially off the trainer and outside - finally, some sunshine and no snow in the forecast. This weekend was a long time coming and I'm so glad it did. I was reading Holly's blog with longing - riding on the island with no snow for 2 days of solid training.
I feel so much better now..... I got out on my bike on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for consecutively longer rides each day. I was in long sleeves and long pants, but the point was I was out, the sun was shining, and I enjoyed the rides with minimal wind! Saw lots of familiar faces on the road and had great rides. Was pleasantly surprised at the road conditions too - hwy 22 has been swept and Springbank Rd. & Lower Springbank Rd. were in pretty good shape too.
Managed to get in a run on Monday to change things up a bit (as well as doing a very thorough cleaning of my home - long overdue), and try to remember I'm a triathlete, it can't be all biking, all the time. I made it through my whole run without any calf issues (cramping), which I attribute to poor posture when I get fatigued. I've been doing all right on the track or treadmill, but was back to square one with an outside run 2 weeks ago. Very frustrating, but I just need to pay attention and stand up.
Back to the regular workout schedule this week and try to increase my distances a bit with each workout since I'm going to go to Jack's Vernon bike camp again this May. I'll only be joining for the last 3 days, but I'm looking forward to it. I attended this camp last year and it was so worth all the effort.
I bailed on the Police 1/2 Marathon on April 17. Running in snow and slush when I flared up my calf wasn't at all appealing (as in - I don't want to walk 21.2 km). I admire the perseverance of all those who completed it. You're much tougher than me. Congratulations to everyone who finished in very challenging conditions.
Next up is Wasa Olympic Triathlon on June 12. My procrastination is getting the better of me these days as Wasa is the only race I've signed up for....
Ciao, Cindy

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Happy 25th Grant

We got a little creative with Grant's bike this weekend since it's his birthday and all....
After a challenging 3 hour workout, great yoga session with Hillary we had a fun Saturday (bike, yoga and cake). The real challenge was the parking lot; 800+ people expected at Talisman this weekend b/w volleyball tournament and swim meet. Would have been much easier to ride a bike to the Talisman to workout, but Mother Nature REFUSES to cooperate. I don't know about anyone else, but I want off the trainer!

Ciao, Cindy

Thanks for teaching my how to 2-step Grant - like everything else in my life "a work in progress" :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

All Catch, All the Time

I just had to get this out their before I got scooped by Jon or Holly. Well, let's be honest, Holly is the threat, but I said it first. OK, enough grade school antics.

I worked pretty hard this weekend at Jon's swim camp. It was so worth the effort for many reasons:
  1. Got to see Jon, and his lovely assistant, Holly.
  2. Got some more feedback on my swimming - obviously, it was a swim camp.
  3. Got to try some new pool toys - my arms are tired!
  4. Will get to see some video of myself in the pool. I can compare it to old video from tri-swim when Ken Olson did that for us.
  5. I now know how to steal your water....
Jon really focused on maximizing the "catch phase" of our stroke, which I guess is the whole point of swimming and being efficient. He had some good drills - wounded seal, sculling, 1 arm swim. (I stand corrected Grant and Ellen - the non-swimming arm is by your side - but I almost drowned doing this!)

Then we got to use some new paddles - just holding small ones in your palm with no straps and maintaining constant pressure while sculling and not losing the paddle. Big ones that covered your palm and forearm to emphasize the catch - that one was hard! Wouldn't want to do too much of it b/c it would kill the shoulders. And then the "wounded seal", which I think Grant calls "superman drill". Jon gave a good analogy for this - try to use your catch/pull to push your body up and over your arms. I'm not telling how to steal your water, but I'm going to try it at Wasa.

So, all in all, a great weekend. Jon's run school ABC's look as good as Grant's now. Jon also shared some of his day to day routines and how his diet and race preparation has changed. I don't think he has his race schedule for this season yet, but I'm sure he'll let us know when his races will be. It was so good to catch up with him and I'd say he's really getting a lot out of his time in Victoria!

I think this will improve my motivation for the next phase of training leading up to my first triathlon at Wasa on June 12, 2011. I have the Police 1/2 Marathon next weekend and I'm not feeling very prepared for it, but even if I use it as a "training run", as Dan suggested, that isn't a bad way to look at it.

I'm half way through my photography course now too - really enjoying it and am trying to get out and take some pics each week. It'll be easier now to get out and about since it's finally getting to be bike weather (for us fair weather bikers).

Ciao, Cindy

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I've just started my photography course at Mount Royal - 2 of 8 classes completed. I felt I needed a different mind set from all of my gym activity.

So.... each week the instructor gives the class an assignment - this week is "motion". Since I know Grant is a phenomenal runner, I asked him if I could take his photo while he's on the treadmill. He said yes, so here it is - Grant at 14 km/h at various aperture and shutter speeds, with the focal length (42mm) and ISO (3200) constant. See photos here. I think I know how to make people disappear......

Happy training, Ciao Cindy

(I was this close to getting outside on my mountain bike this week)

Friday, March 4, 2011

More Lessons Learned....

Still in the "middle" of training, but getting closer to race season!
It's also time to sign up for a new set of "spring" (I use that term loosely these days) classes with the Talisman Tri Club.

I learned that being a "class junkie" isn't always the best way to train. I was so excited about the swim/run class Grant was coaching that I felt I needed to do both sessions, in addition to my bike classes (2) and the workouts I do on my own. What was I thinking?
It lead to: Sat - intense bike, Sun - long run, Mon - another intense bike, Tues - swim/run, Wed - my own workout, Thur - swim/run, and Fri - total exhaustion.

Having 5-6 workouts in a week is not uncommon and I've done that in the past with comprehensive coaching packages through the ETS program at the Talisman. My error this last semester was the intensity of the workouts in the coached classes that I signed up for. It was overkill, of my own doing. I didn't have much balance, just a lot of really intense workouts that left me burnt out. This isn't good either as it's hard on this old body, and I've missed a few of my coached workouts. I'm disappointed in myself for not training smarter.

I'm going to try to have a more balanced workout schedule this next semester. I'm still going to do 2 bike classes (Tri Club Sat and ETS Tues) b/c I don't have a trainer at home and I love these classes. I'm only going to sign up for 1 run/swim class and that leaves me with time to complete a brick on my own and try to get in 2 other swims as well as a long run, tempo run.

I'm enjoying Grant's swim/run classes this semester. I feel my running is really improving and I don't do the "fat girl shuffle" so much any more (at least not until I'm tired). It sounds odd to me that I need to "learn to run", but there really is a lot to learn and Grant has been a great coach and helped me improve. Thanks Grant. I even had another person at the gym give me a compliment on how much my running has improved since I started walking on the track in 2005. This person and I deduced we had been members about the same amount of time, although she took the year off with the roof replacement. I think her compliment about made my year!

In regard to balance, I've got my photography class starting next week. I'm looking forward to that too. The other thing I've been spending too much time on is following several blogs by people that are doing the Tour d'Afrique bike race/ride from Cairo to Cape Town over 4 months. It looks amazing and hard. I want to sell my condo tomorrow and do something like this....

Ok happy training & cheers, Cindy

(PS - I have now downloaded enough songs on my iPod nano to last a whole bike class, but I think most of them were too slow... Then as they're playing I kept thinking - Oh, I really like this song, then I remembered I picked it.)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cross training is FUN

Had a great day of cross training last Sunday. Alan, Pauline, Digby (the dog) and I spent a great afternoon in Peter Lougheed Park snowshoeing into Chester Lake off Hwy 742. It wasn't super long trail, 3.5 km, but with the sunshine and a climb in, it was 1:40 in and 1:05 out. Stopped and had a snack at the lake. Beautiful, sunny day, and a tolerable temperature compared to what we've been experiencing here in Calgary. We met a fair number of people heading in as we were coming out, so we definitely timed it well....

I forget all the fun things to do in the winter when I'm always in the city. I love that there was lots snow and it was soft, no icy sections, not even crusty on the sides of the trail! A well marked trail is always helpful, but I rely heavily on Alan and Pauline in that regard. (My sense of direction is right on par with my "technical computer" skills ;p).

After snowshoeing we carried on to Canmore with a stop for coffee/hot chocolate at Mt. Engadine Lodge. We were too early for afternoon tea, but it's a beautiful location. Another time.... So a great day to be out and so much more fun than a run on the track at the Talisman.

Cheers and happy training, Cindy

(ps - my running continues to improve - yay!!)

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I'm not even joking, really.
I've had a bumpy start to my swim/run class with Grant.

First week - sea sick in the pool, what was that about? I was able to participate in the run portion of the class, but had to shorten my swim. No one wants to swim in a pukey pool... Eeewww gross.
Week 2 - leg cramps in the pool that followed me onto the track, while still "learning" my ABC's. Man, I can't seem to get through a whole class without something cramping up.
Week 3 - Success! I swam the whole swim without leg cramps after 1:15:00 in the pool. Then I got through the run too, without anything seizing up on me! YAY - best workout ever!

I think nutrition is playing a part in this.... I try to get enough to drink throughout the day (1 L water bottle during the day, in addition to: breakfast - milk & water, lunch - 2 glasses water). I'm addicted to blue Gatorade, although I do make it from powder, so it's diluted compared to bottled that you buy. I try to follow Kelly's advise - if the workout is less than 1 hour you only need water. Thank goodness all my scheduled workouts are 2 hours, I'd be in withdrawal. I'm thinking it's partly the food I'm eating prior to these evening workouts. I've now pared it down to just a yogurt and 1/2 banana.

My legs are fine with my bike classes, but I think it's because my "form" on the bike is not as big an issue as it is for me in the swim, and especially the run. My run mechanics are improving (I hope) but I really have to concentrate to use my gluts, not my calf muscles when I'm running. I've reinstated my "glut med" exercise again to keep me focused on where the power needs to come from. This is from Dave Holmes at Tower Physio and his Cycling Physio website. And you can never under estimate the value of ice post workout on your sore bits. I had my ACL reconstruction in 2004 and still have the same 2 bags of "peas for my knees" in the freezer that I use regularly, especially after my long runs.

Next on my agenda - conquer the iPod nano (I'm up to 18 songs on it at the moment and it only involved 2 phone calls to Apple support + Garrett's help so far). Also sign up for some races in summer 2011. Onward!!

Ciao, Cindy

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cindy vs. "The Computer" Part Deux

Oh joy, oh joy, I win!!! I'm the smartest computer user ever!
HA, that's a stretch to say the least, however, I am the proud user of a new Apple Mac Book Pro laptop. I have to say thanks to Garrett for setting things up, including gifting me another cable, to allow a secure connection after resetting the router. Everything seems to be OK - YEAH!

I had a good bike time trial last week in my ETS bike class with Jack. It wasn't a PB, but it was acceptable, as only 5 W off my PB from last year and an improvement from Oct. 2010. I love training. I totally psyched myself out with my time trial though. Had a little nap last Monday, prior to my bike class at 6:30 pm, knowing it was time trial night. Woke up on the sofa at 6:30 pm - totally missed the class. OK, try to redeem myself and attend Wed ETS class instead. Thank you Jack for letting me in.... I was very happy with my performance, still lots of room to improve, but definitely a great way to start off the year.

Things are going to be really busy this term at Tri Club I have Tues & Thurs pm swim/run, Sat am bike and ETS bike on Mon. Pauline and I picked up our long Sunday run again this week. The weather has improved immensely from -25'C to +3'C. I thought I was going to get eaten by a dog at one point - I don't think I noticed his tail wagging, just that he was running at us and I freaked out. Yeah, I'm a big chicken with big dogs.... At work if I'm going to a new house to see someone I'm usually pretty good at giving the person a head's up prior to my visit and I always have my big bag with me to run interference b/w me and the dog at the door. Not so lucky on the pathways.

Since I'm so confident with my new computer, I'm going to try to track my workouts with my Garmin 305 Forerunner online. I'll use it mostly for my running, but I'll try to keep track of my biking too as I use my bike computer during bike classes on the trainer too. We'll see how that goes. I'm sure there's an "app" for that if I look.

Onward into the new year. First event of the season will be the Police Half Marathon on April 27, 2011. Still trying to finalize the rest of my races in regard to Olympic and 1/2 Ironman distances.

Happy training, Grant I have my new runners all ready to go....

Ciao, Cindy

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cindy vs "The Computer" (and back to training) Part I

Monday 2:00 pm
Oh my, it never ends in my UN-technological world. OK, I finally bought a computer (and printer b/c they had a deal for a rebate for the total cost if you bought it at the same time), but I had all of it a little over 24 hours, at which point, I brought it back to the Apple Store.

My wireless router got me to step 2 after I plugged the computer in, then I came to my first impasse.... The Apple phone # people told me it was a router issue, not an Apple issue. The Belkin (router) people were sympathetic, but not only did I not know my "password", I was missing a freakin' cable. How is it wireless if you need cables? I'm not buying anymore crap and will attempt to borrow a cable to make my computer "wireless". Am I the only one to see the irony in this?

Monday 6:30 pm
OK, de-stress and head to ETS bike class, aaahhhh, I feel a little better.
I ignore the boxes and go to bed.

Tuesday 4:00 - 6:00 pm
Drop bike off at Speed Theory for full tune-up.
This is when I attempted to return the Apple, a perfect solution, unless they send someone to my house to get the stupid thing sorted. Oh no, just make an appointment and bring the computer in and they'll be happy to help me. Well I have everything right here with me, in my granny wagon, that I've just tromped through the mall with. Book an appointment over the internet...... Well, I don't have the internet do I, b/c I lost the password to the router, and that's why I need someone to come to my house to set the damn thing up! I may have shed ONE tear in frustration when I got home.

Head to the gym - run and swim..... thank God for training.

Wed 8:00 am
Pauline emails me how to "reset the router".

Wed 6:00 pm
Success! I have reset the router. I have taken the computer out of the box and plugged it back in. I just kept clicking "tell me later" until all the little icons appear across the bottom of the screen. While unpacking the box I found a black folder in the black box with little book inside (all you need to know about your mac). Reeaaally, a black folder in a black box, all matt so as not to be obvious?
I have internet, but no router, and so I don't believe I have a secure connection since my internet server is in the condo building and part of our condo fees. Hence, the need for the router and some security....

Thurs 12:00 (noon)
Email Logan to get Garrett's email or phone # to beg a "home visit" since he also owns a Mac.
Have email at home for now and some access to the internet.

Thurs 8:00 pm
Am almost finished reading the "book", but I put it down to zone out on the TV. Too cold to go to the gym! Get up courage to call Garrett. He's available Sun at 1:00 PM.

Friday 4:30 pm
Head to Speed Theory to pick up my very fast red bike b/c Cam has just completed a tune-up for me (free in the first year, as part of the purchase!) Adam also had a look at me on my bike b/c he noticed I had a bad pattern of wear on my tri bars. So he adjusted those for me too! Thanks Cam and Adam. I have this cool little link thing on my chain now too that lets me release the chain to clean it off the bike. I can clean my bike, but not so good with technology....
Fridays are gym free for me.

Sat 9:00 -11:00 am
Bike class - hurts so good!! I think Jack should have done a "pre" and "post" workout photo of us for Triathlon Magazine to show how legitimate (and sweaty) we are!

Stay tuned for an update next week.
My co-worker, Lora, has also listened patiently to my tale of woe and has offered her son as Plan B, in case Garrett can't help me. I've shed no more tears and think I may have a computer that works, a printer that works and an iPOD that works tomorrow!! Yippee
(I realize this post is quite pathetic, but again, training just picks me up and makes me feel good again - aaahhhh!!)

Ciao, Cindy

(Sat pm - pray to computer gods.....)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jon's Farewell Soiree

Hello again,

This time it's some photos from our farewell gathering for Jon, that Mike and Meagan generously hosted for all of us, to send good luck and good wishes to Jon as he continues on in his triathlon journey.
We all look so much better than we do on Sat am, or early morning swims - outstanding!

Cheers, Cindy

(control "c" control "v", I remembered and it was so much easier than trying to type all that stuff for the link - thanks Jon & Grant.)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Last Spin

Here are some photos from our last spin with Jon at the Talisman Jan 8, 2011.

"OOPSY, try the link again, I think I got it right this time....

We'll miss Jon, but still be able to keep our eye on him!

Best of luck Jon.

Cheers, Cindy