Thursday, October 28, 2010

Business is Business

This post is going to be very different from my normal ramblings of training, traveling and playing. I just can't help myself though.

WTC's Ironman Access program.

I love how fired up people get - I'm not one to always put what I think out there, but why not; In my opinion, I think there is a little bit of over-reaction to the WTC announcement. It is a business afterall right? While I'm sure that we would all love to believe that the entire corporation that build the Ironman empire and Brand are out there just to support our athletic endeavors, that just isn't reality.

We all have jobs, we all have dreams and most of us build a career to well, make money. I"m not saying that's the only reason people do their jobs, but in the end how many of us work without the idea of a paycheck? Just sayin. Ironman has build such an amazing Brand that as much as we all bitch and complain about the overpriced races and products, have you yet to see a race NOT sell out, or no line in that finisher's gear tent the day after the race? Yes, I'm calling myself out here as well.

So think about this. Apple has how many products right now that virtually do the same thing with a few extras and multiple sizes? Multiple versions of the iPod. An iPod "touch" that does basically the same thing as an iPhone. Heck, download skype and you can even use it as a phone. When ATT got the exclusive contract with the iPhone, how many of you "boycotted" Apple because it wasn't fair that only ATT clients could enjoy the product? How many of you spent a couple hundred extra $'s to break your Verizon contract so you could be one of the cool kids with the latest technology. Again, props to ATT. And, don't even get me started on the iPad. A giant iPhone. So, who needs your $400 iTouch when you can get the $500-$1000 iPad? I bet it can even fit in your MAC Computer bag?

And yes, I would love all the above but I am in a contract with my blackberry (with ATT) and it works just fine for me thank you very much. my contract may or may not be up in less than a year and I bet I get to get an even NEWER and COOLER version of the Iphone then!

GO APPLE!

Aren't there a lot of service related businesses that offer "VIP" type programs as well (credit card, airlines, etc). No one is saying you HAVE to pay the $1000 to get into a race. If you don't agree with it then don't sign up for it. Truth be told we all know to ensure you get into an IM race. You register as soon as it's available. I have never had a problem getting in (CDA 07, 08 & 10), and for Canada this year I waited until February and did the community fund where half of the money went to Charity. A win win in my book.

Anyway, just my opinion. And NO I will not be signing up for the Ironman Access Program. On that same note, I'm not saying I support WTC's program, but I'm pretty sure this isn't going to end my Ironman branded race career.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Stenholm 100 Ride

This past Saturday Shane & I joined some people from our tri club to meet up with other cyclists for a charity ride, The Stenholm 100 Ride. The plan was to meet at the gym and ride up to the start, about 7 miles. The loop was described as a 100k/62mile RIDE, not race. While we all know that people get in groups and ride quickly turns into race, I knew at least Shane & I could just take it easy if people decided to take off.

We met at the group ride start and I was shocked at how many people were there - maybe a few hundred or so. The police went through some rules, but notably the one we all caught on to was the "it's not a race and we will be pacing the group no faster than 20-21mph." Ugh oh, this was gonna be a LONG day. If you've ever done a big group bike race you know that lead packs push in the upper 20's for an average, faster on the downs, but not much slower on the descents. The good thing with this logic is the group splits up and you aren't stuck in such a huge, dangerous peleton if you are a strong rider.

We started the ride shortly after 8am and I have to admit my nerves were a mess. Being around hundreds of riders so close together and not trusting any of them made me very uncomfortable. It did remind me of my bike crash in this year's El Tour de Phoenix, and I was not in a good place. I did my best to stay to the outside of the group and if anyone around me seemed too wobbly I would get in front of them. Every time the group seemed to be picking up pace and I thought maybe we could break up a bit, the police would force the front to slow down which led to all sorts of shouts and braking and a whole lot of trying to stay away from other riders.

The first sag stop was around 25 or so miles and the police led the group into a parking lot so it wasn't really an option to go on. Since the ride was led by police escorts the support also stopped. We had a group of about 10 or so riders from our club and we all started talking about how dangerous it was and came to the conclusion we all wanted to just head out on our own. We didn't mind stopping at the lights and not having the escort. I was completely relieved to say the least.

As we headed out on our own I noticed right away it was going to be a tough day. We were with some VERY strong riders, including our local pro. The group immediately started pacing in the mid 20mphs and I was hanging on to the back for dear life. When you have been playing around for 2 months at a leisurely pace of 17mph for up to only 2hrs, 24mph on a false flat - draft or no draft is HARD. My legs were on fire and my HR was soaring.

I may or may not have done some complaining.... or teasing some of my friends for trying to kill me, but when all was said and done I held my own and survived. We ended the ride with about 68miles averaging 20.1 even after a slow first 25miles! I'll take that any day. It was a beautiful day, great group to ride with and even though we didn't stick to the organized ride, we still all donated to the cause. A win win in my book.

It's just another example of getting out of my comfort zone, riding 30miles more than my longest ride in 2 months and hanging on with the big kids. I know things like this make you stronger both mentally and physically so I'm going to make it a goal for the next year to do things out of the box. Get out of my comfort zone and just "try." Who knows, I might just surprise myself one of these days :-)

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm a wanna be runner, A.K.A - a swimmer, I guess

"What goes around comes around, just like a flip turn". ~Author Unknown
I just kinda thought that was a cute quote :-)

A lot of triathletes fall into the sport after starting out with just one of the three; swimmer, cyclist or runner. I have no idea the actual supporting data, but I would put my money on the fact the majority started out as runners. We get injured or bored, or in typical Type A fashion, need that next challenge.

I fell into the "injured" category of runner turned triathlete. After a solid 3 years of IT band injuries than another yearish of post surgery & rehab, I was forced to retire my "I am a runner mantra" and focused a lot more on training for triathlons than stand alone running events. Sure, I've dabbled back & done a couple of marathons, but each time I think I'm going to get back to my running roots, by body disagrees and sends me every imaginable sign as to why I should cut it out. Of course every time that I hear about friends having successful marathons (my bff from high school just did her first marathon, ROCKED it & we were texting about doing one together while I was basking in HER runner's high) I get that itch to get back out there, but I'm hoping to stick to my senses for the most part!

Being one of those injured peeps so much I definitetly spent my fair share of time in the pool. Thinking back, I don't think I enjoyed it nearly as much then when it was more of a last resort because I couldn't do anything else than I do now.

It's hard to explain how I feel when I'm swimming. I'm not sure if it's the free feeling of not actually connecting to something like foot to the ground or clipped into a bike pedal, but the gliding across the water, weightless.

I use a watch with lap splits to remind myself where I'm at in the set because I can lose count in a set even as short as a 200. I think about goals and remember fun times. I forget about the "to do list" or sad times and just kind of lose myself in the moment.

Don't get me wrong, not every swim is like this. There are times when I'm killing myself to get through a set or want to shoot myself thinking about staring at that black line for one more minute, but I think with everything we do these moments are expected.

I also think that I, as well as a lot of other people tend to favor something that they are good at. While as much as I wish I could call myself a true runner, when I look at my results, especially in a triathlon it's clearly not my strongest point. I work hard at all 3 of the disciplines, but sure enough I keep coming out of the water strong, hang tough on the bike and get chased down on the run :-)

I'm not the best swimmer and it certainly isn't EASY for me, but I've worked really hard to get where I am and can honestly say how much I love it. So, if you ever hear my complaining about getting into a cold (or hot) pool, just tell me to shut up :-)

Cause swimming. It's my yoga. So why would I choose to branch out and take up something that just doesn't make me feel happy? Sorry Coach.... I'm gonna be a tough sell on this one. Maybe if I learn to do something new like say, the butterfly....I can ignore the request to do yoga?


Namaste :-)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My kinda "Yoga"

Yoga. It's chasing me. It's taunting me. No for reals. Ever since my coach put it on our schedule a few weeks ago (again let me remind you this was suggested to help with Shane's breathing issues while swimming in open water). And even before that. I swear everyone I know is a little Yogini. Heck, even my last boss when I worked for a big corporate conglomerate was a yoga teacher. She was very.... zen.

We still haven't made it to a real class. We haven't said we WON'T, but truth be told neither of us are all that motivated. There was one day we were gonna go, under one condition; one of our friends who knows all about that yoga stuff go and hold our hands. That one person may or may not have ditched us, but wouldn't let me blame her for not going. I think her response was something like "you have two arms and two legs, it's not my fault." Touche'.

I still blame her for my yoga downfall. I had every intention in the world of going said day, but anyway.. I'm moving on. And I still love HER. :-) And she totally knows that all that is just an excuse to make myself feel better for not "man-ing" up and going.

Shane & I finally broke down and borrowed a DVD from another friend who also loves Yoga. Come to think of it, I think about 99.9% of my friends love it. There must be something wrong with THEM. Last week in Mexico we picked a day, put the DVD in and tried it. I swear to you I tried to keep an open mind about it, but I'd be lying if I said that I was pleasantly surprised. Now I know a DVD isn't the same as going to a real class. And from what I've heard a class is all about the instructor as well, much like a good spin class I assume.

What I can say is that I did that whole damn hour of YOGA. I tried everything there was, and I'm sure looked like an absolute fool doing it. I knew I was going to be sore after only 20mins when my hamstrings were screaming, and sure enough I was. I also laughed my way through the entire hour. I'm sure it was the cheesy guy telling me to breathe and focus and and and....

LEST YOU THINK I FOUND MY ZEN.

With all that said I do have to say that I'm not denying the benefits of Yoga. I know some girls who are crazy strong and crazy lean and I'm pretty sure a lot of it is due in part to Yoga. They love it, they feel better when they do it and the results are clear as day. And well, who doesn't love the Yoga clothes? Just saying.

So what do you think is STILL popping up everywhere? Little reminders that I didn't give it a fair shot. Random emails from the Village about yoga classes. Two days in a row little pamphlets were left on my doorstep offering free yoga classes. Although, to be fair Shane found said pamphlets so I think they were really for HIM.

I'm not saying I'm never gonna do it, and never gonna love it cause I have a rule about that "never" word, but for now.. let's just say that while some find their ZEN in Yoga, I find my ZEN in swimming. And, why do something that you don't enjoy just because?

Swimming is my Yoga, but I'll save that talk for next time (even though it was actually my intention to write about my love for swimming in this post).
P.S. That image above... that is like the only pose I could do, but I nailed it :-)

Friday, October 1, 2010

TGIF?

My mind has been all over the place lately. That said, I'm pretty sure this post is going to make absolutely NO sense AT.ALL. You've been warned. Is it too much time on my hands? Mid life crisis? Not that I think being 32 (no I do NOT age myself up even if it's almost my birthday) is mid life... Can you actually have a "mid" life crisis at 32? Hmph.

So, Mexico was a lot of things. It was closure, it was peaceful. It started out sad and way too emotional than a certain dogmom cares to be, but of course it was just what we needed. It was also different in a whole lotta ways.

One of our nights "out" (don't misunderstand the meaning of "out" as we were still bed at 9pm EVERY NIGHT) was just off. We went to one of our favorite places and the vibe was just weird. Then we went to another place for a beer which resulted in a near death experience (slight exaggeration) when some guy dropped his "$450 Armanis (Armani = $5 Mexico sunglasses) just as Shane was walking past him and CRUNCH. Of course the guy was not a LOCAL, but a rude American who wanted to act like a complete JackAss and well, pretty much ruined our night... Which also happened to be the night we were celebrating Shane's birthday.

But anyway, moving on.

Then there was some drama with our house/co-owner. No need to go into details other than saying that he is pretty much a complete IDIOT (Shane has another name but I choose not to use cause it gives me the heebie jeebies). Anyone wanna buy half of a great house in RP? We would LOVE to get rid of him. Just sayin.

Of course, in the end it all ended up fabulous as we stayed an extra day and had the entire beach to ourselves. Which makes for one happy Bubba dog.

Oh yah, that also reminds me of the random Americans on the beach one day that brought there not so polite Pug with them who decided to run away from them and come over to me and try to PEE ON MY CHAIR. Let me just say that Baxter had something to say about THAT.

Anyone noticing a theme here yet? A lot of people are terrified to go to Mexico right now. All I can say is that for as much as we go we have not once had any problems with the locals, the only problems we've ever had or noticed were from you guessed it, Americans.

Ok, back to moving on. And back to the too much time on my hands random thoughts ALL THE TIME and here's one for you that I have been meaning to blog about FOREVER but then I forget.

Biggest Loser's Alison Sweeney. Don't get me wrong. I love the girl. Of course I was a fan of Days of our Lives for YEARS. She was a crazy biatch on the show, but she's fantastic on Biggest Loser. However, what I can't for the life of me figure out is WHO THE HELL IS HER STYLIST? Every time I watch that show, for some reason I come back to the same thing (ok, she's had a couple of "hits") what the hell possessed her to wear that? For instance, last week was a big one when I noticed she actually had on "Michael Jackson-esque" gloves with a weird Jane Jetson metalic dress/top/or coat thingy. It was just WEIRD.

I know, who am I to judge. I wear workout cloths every day and sometimes can't remember the last time I did my hair or put on makeup. But, in my defense I at least KNOW what looks good. Just sayin.

And off that soapbox.

So, I think Baxter is enjoying being an only child. He's taking to it quite well, actually. He's never actually been by himself before and it's almost brought him back to his "youth." It's hilarious and cute and I'm loving it.

I'm really liking the word LEST right now. Not sure why, or what put it into my head but I'm digging it.

So, after IM we had a conversation with our coach. A recap of what we did well/what went wrong during the race. At that time it was a little over a week past Ironman and we were feeling pretty darn good. No more soreness or fatigue. Truth be told, we were actually FIRED UP. Ready to get back at it. I mean, why not? I do really love the training and being outside and active and I was missing it. Of course I have finally gotten a little bit smarter after several years of injury and not resting, etc... Hence having our coach keep us on a schedule which actually is for 2 completely different reasons. 1. Took keep me from hurting myself and 2. To keep Shane motivated :-)

Now, our coach...smart lady she is said that it was ok that we were feeling good now, but she was basically starting us over. We would stay active, etc but there is no way to make this last. We would start back up in December or so with the "real training" as she calls it, but that eventually that "feeling REAL good" thing, yah it wasn't gonna last.

SHE WAS SO RIGHT. I am sore right now from an embarrassingly slow HOUR bike ride and a 30min 9min mile paced run. Said workout was only 5 hrs ago, and I'm sore. I guess feeling crappy now is a whole lot better than feeling crappy in December, or even worse in March when the fun really starts.

So, I have that going for me.

Have I mentioned how cute Baxter is? Just sayin. Almost as cute on a daily basis as he's going to be on December 11th when he gets to do his FIRST OFFICIAL race. Oh how I wish he could have done this race about 4 years ago when the little bastard was so fast he could have WON the damn thing. But still, he's gonna be about the happiest dog in the world to be at a real race, full of girls to flirt with and people to run down. That's MY boy. If I only had have his competitive spirit, and charm....

When is my Ironman appetite aka tapeworm going to go away?

And another thing. A good thing actually. I can't stop thinking about how many REALLY good people are out there. I supposed this shouldn't be something that I think about only in bad times when people really come thru, but always. However, I just can't express how much all the fantastic things people did, said & expressed over the past 2 weeks meant to Shane & myself. Awesome. And, of course Baxter too as he made out like it was Christmas with the toys and goodies.

So again. Thank you, for the bottom of my heart.

And as if things couldn't get any more random in this blog I'll leave you with this.

"What do I want to be when I grow up?"

HAPPY FRIDAY!