Showing posts from 2009

What a year!

As 2009 winds down I find myself reflecting on a lot. There were so many highlights – I really don’t know how I am going to top it in 2010. I entered some open water swim races – all in the name of getting to Ironman.  Competed in some bike races and even won a silver medal at the provincial Time Trials again in the name of Ironman.  One of the best treats was applying for and getting accepted as a sponsored athlete by Nathan. If anyone had told me I would be not only successfully complete Ironman but also be a sponsored athlete I would have laughed so hard – but it just goes to show you that with hard work and eternal optimism you can achieve anything you set out to do.  I am still amazed and very curious as to how far I can push.  So what is up for next year – plans – so many plans. I am back to leading half marathon clinics but I am also in talks with my riding coach on how to go about getting certified to teach/coach beginner triathletes. We are going to sit down and lay out a

When did you become a runner?

As we proceed through another running clinic and I meet lots of new runners I am constantly asked when did you become a runner.  It is a tough question for me to answer because honestly I became a runner at the age of 9 and then took a LOA before I came back full time at the age of 32. I have always loved sports and particularly running.  When I was 9 I happened to transfer to a great school in Manitoba and joined the Cross Country team - it was love at first run.  The coach was amazing and inspired - I wish I could remember his name.  We would run 2x a week after school and then in the winter we would train in the mornings doing laps around the gym which would bring us to the spring and track and field.  I just felt free.  In Grade 6 our coach decided that we were such a great group of runners that our goal would be to run in the Manitoba Marathon - we would train all year and on race day we would run 4 miles.  Back then the Manitoba marathon had buses every 2 miles starting at th

Splish Splash

Living in Vancouver has lots of advantages especially at this time of year.  The big thing is little to no snow but it is called the "wet" coast  for a reason.  The rain is here and is not going anywhere for the next 3 months.  I am up to riding 3 times a week again at a minimum  - Wednesday rides with the club, Saturday mornings and I have been riding to work at least once a week.  It has been very wet  and I find myself chanting to myself Coach Larry's words - Do when others don't and you will be able to when others won't!   It came in very handy last Wednesday doing hill repeats on  one of our local mountains in the ice cold rain and wind.  After the 2nd hill repeat Coach told us to go home!  I don't think he actually expected that we would be there (only 4 of us showed up) and came out on his Vespa just to make sure no-one was out there.  SURPRISE - we are hard core!  This week thankfully Coach Barb has told us to ride on the flats.  I also was able t

Getting back into it

I know, I know I have been remiss in posting.  First off Ireland & Northern Ireland were amazing - even with the emergency room visit and being sick for 4 days after.  We have to go back because I did not get to see even half of what I wanted to. fort on Aran islands built in 200 bc Kylemore Abbey  built in late 1600's Giant's Causeway  - one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. STUNNING The day after the marathon we caught the bus to Belfast to spend a few days with Joe's family and do some sightseeing in Belfast.  The first night we got there his parents had arranged for a family gathering/party as his brother Jim and his family were over from London, it was Jim's 40th a week prior, and to celebrate Joe and the rest of us being there.  It was a typical Smyth gathering with many, many, many people there - June and Pam fit right in, it was going well and then all of the sudden I did not feel so good and starting get sick - this went on all night and I kept

The one I should have walked....

Well the last race for the year is done - Dublin marathon.  Mixed emotions to say the least. This is the race I should have walked - I said I was going to walk it, I should have walked, I did not walk it. Overall though I am satisfied - not my best showing by far but I got the bling and the shirt and # 5 under my belt.  The weather was absolutely amazing - actually regretted wearing a long sleeve shirt under my Nathan Jersey it was almost too warm.  As predicted Pam was the healthiest of the 3 of us.  June bug was totally siezed and was struggling with walking let alone running.  The plan was we would all start out together and just enjoy the day - no pressure, nothing to prove just get the bling and shirt. Absolutely amazing to see over 10,000 people at the start line and spirits were high.  We had on our Irish for a day pins and shamrock tattoos.  We finally met our other girlfriend Hazel just before the start and we were off.  It took us about 8 minutes of walking to get to

Next stop Dublin Marathon

I can't believe in only 4 sleeps I will be on a plane with June Bug, Pebbles and Joe to Ireland to run in the Dublin Marathon.  The last 7 weeks since Ironman have been a little frustrating in that I was very sick for about 3 weeks and did not really get any runs in because I did not want to get pneumonia or bronchitis.  Fortunately I was able to get  some good rides in but still I had to be cautious.  Just when I thought I was clear to train I got a good solid week in and bang I started to get a cold again so the last week I have dialed it right  back in an effort to be at the very least healthy for the race if nothing else.  I was not planning on PB'ing but had hoped I would  be more prepared than I feel I am.  So with that being said I will just play it by ear - really I did my race for the year and this is just the swan song.  June-bug is also hurting she did the Victoria Half last week and wrenched something in her back so that she can barely walk let alone run. We are

Never take a ride for granted

Yesterday was the 1-year anniversary of my bike accident. To celebrate I got out Isis and went and met the gang for a great ride out to Steveston and back. The weather was absolutely amazing and the ride was great - I love riding with the group and the feeling of freedom. I love to see people turn as we go by in our jerseys - 10 - 20 of us side by side in perfect formation as we all take our turns at the front and then peeling off smoothly. When we got out to Steveston we broke into groups and rode pace line again it just felt good. My bike recovery has been great - I feel very strong. The running legs are taking a little longer to come back but that is to be expected. When we all first met up one of the guys in our group came up a smidge late and said he had been hit by a car on the ride over. He was on the road and there was just he and the car -a two-lane road I might add - and the car bumped him. He is a very experienced rider and said he wobbled but was able to keep the bike

Carpe Diem

Finally, after being sick for the past 3 weeks I was able to go and get my Tattoo for Ironman. This design and tattoo mean a lot to me because it was such a journey and continues to be. I did not want the same old, same old. I did want the M-dot surrounded by a Maple leaf but I wanted it on the horizon of a road signifying the journey. I knew I wanted the words Carpe Diem because it is about siezing the day/moment and I think, at least for me, is an essential part of why I do these races and the 3 figures to represent each sport. It is hard to tell where it is by the photo but it is on my right leg just above the knee on the IT band - a little bit of irony because my right IT band/hip have given me so much grief over the last 10 months but also practicality in that when I run, ride or swim the tattoo will be visible but it is covered during work hours. Also I did not want it on my back, calf or ankle for a host of reasons but mostly because I want to show it when I want to show it.

Ironman Aftermath

I would like to say I was back at it right away but not so. The mind and legs were good to go but the stiff neck the week prior turned out to be a very, very, very bad sinus infection that hit me full force on the Labor Day weekend. Not such a loss since it was pouring rain all weekend but frustrating as I need to get ready for the Dublin Marathon at the end of October. This weekend I felt sufficiently recovered that Special K and I headed out for a "SHORT" 10ish er 16 ok closer to 19 km"ish" run. Really great since it was the morning after the Ironman Celebration party so we were both feeling a little rough... The run went okay but by the end I was feeling it - we kept the tempo nice and easy and did it in just under 2 hours. Sunday I decided that my lungs were feeling a little rough so best to go out on the bike. Met the "Zimich" gang and Barb quickly told me that I was to take it easy. Of course - who me - easy is my middle name! We headed of

Can you do Ironman?

Can you do it? Of course you can just believe. Believe – always believe. Just over 8 years ago I walked into the local Running room store and signed up for my very first half marathon clinic. I was a smoker and overweight. 4 days ago I became an official Ironman finisher at Subaru Ironman Canada. I am not going to say that I did not believe I could not do it because WHEN I registered it never occurred to me I could not do it. I am also not going to say that I did not have doubts – after the accident I was concerned but I was blessed to have surrounded myself with positive people who told me that the dream was not over – I could still do it – so I continued to believe – I just changed my expectations. To do Ironman you MUST surround yourself with positive people and believers. You must be willing to work and you must respect the distance – it is serious business and it is a commitment. A commitment to yourself, to your training partners and your coaches. You need to decid

The Adventure of a Lifetime!

Coles notes version - just call me Ms IRONMAN!!! 16:21 and some change. For those ready for a long and hopefully good read - grab a wobbly pop (I know I have) a comfy cushion and settle in - story time is about to begin boys and girls. There is sooo much to talk about but I will just cover day of the rest will be in another post with some pics. The alarm went off at 4:30 am and I was up like a shot - another great sleep - thankfully I am pretty much naracaleptic (?spelling?). Kettle on, bagel buttered, OJ poured and yogurt opened. Tylenol 8 hour taken breakfast eaten. Bottles out of fridge in appropriate bags and clothes on - 5:20 out the door. I felt ridicuously calm - on the drive in as we made the last turn Joe cranked IRONMAN by Ozzy Osbourne on the car stereo - it made me smile. I hopped out of the car gave him a kiss grabbed my bags and headed off to the special needs trucks. The energy was amazing - wow I was at Ironman. After I dropped my special needs bags I he

not much left to say

this will be my last post before the race and in the end there is not much left to say. I have been a little paniced because yesterday I woke up and my neck was siezed and I could not turn it at all. It it is still pretty sore but I went to the doctor and had some xrays done and he says it is just a stiff neck so I am on some anti-inflammatories and no exercise for the next few days. In the end it is probably god's way of ensuring I am rested up. Today I was walking the dog and we were in the trails by my house and there was a bench and a really beautiful song on my IPOD and I decided to stop and sit down and just think about next Sunday and it was surreal I just felt this inner peace and calm and I just knew I am going to be okay - that I was being watched over and to not worry I would be okay. Coach Barb also called and we talked and she said it is stress and I need to remember that this is just really another day - that it is nothing new for me that I have been doing t

114 Miles of hope 26 miles of truth.

Marathon runners have a saying – 20 miles of hope – 6 miles of truth. The 6 miles (32 km mark) where you find out what you are made of. Where physically – if you have trained properly and hard – your body can do it – your mind will try to tell your body it can’t and thus 6 miles of truth. You find out who you are and what you are capable of. If I extrapolate that to the Ironman I guess it will be 114 miles of hope with 26 miles of truth – aka the marathon. Am I ready – I believe so – and that is the most important part – I believe I am – Actually I know I am. The only thing left that I can do is continue to work on my mental game – the last piece of the puzzle and likely the most important. So to that end – at the end of each day starting last week and continuing up to race day – I have been taking time to sit or lie in a quiet place and envision myself on race day from waking up and getting dressed to starting the swim. I visualize each part of the course (or imagine what

Lucky number....

Bib number #2482 - wow it is really going to happen! Gulp Only 12 more sleeps.... S

This better be allergies…

The past few days I have not been feeling fantabulous – a little achy, small headache and scratchy throat. I however, as I get older, have developed more and more allergies so it can be hard to tell if it is due to those or not. Plus I do take public transit a lot - always a crapshoot since there are some folks out there that never learned to cover their nose/mouth and insist on gaacking over everyone! I have decided it is allergies but just to be safe I am dosing up on Cold FX and drinking water with lemon. Only 17 days to go – I do not have time for a cold.

Time Trials- I really like them – Squirrels not so much

For the third time this year Coach has had me register for a Time Trial race. It is a little intimidating to show up to these races where the riders are obviously hard core roadies. From their fancy tires to their army ant space helmets. There are very few women that are there and the ones that are there you can tell they were born mounted to a bike. For those that have never ridden a time trial it is basically an individual race – you against the clock on a set course. You ride in time trial bars or for us Triathletes our tri bars which automatically outs you as a newbie and a dreaded triathlete. Fortunately our coach(s) are 2 of the most respected road racers in BC and so we are tolerated. This race was 40km out in Squamish and it was the first time I have started on a ramp inside a trailer. I was more than a little anxious and freaked. To start in a time trial – someone holds your back tire/seat and you clip in. They count you down and release on 0 and you pedal

Taper time....

27 days and counting - the panic attacks are starting to come and i am sure they will increase in number and intensity s ground zero approaches. Mostly I am just doing what I have been doing for the past 8 months - taking it one day - one workout at a time. It seems to have worked so far so why change it. I have officially moved into the bubble - will explain more later... Mostly I am focusing on the positive thoughts and visualization. I honestly believe that I have done everything I can in preparation. Am I ready? I believe so. My longest ride was this past Sunday - just shy of 6 hours. I headed out from home early so I could go out to Iona and ride the headwinds before meeting coach and the group for our speed/interval workout. The interval workout was great - my legs were burning and coach pushed me harder than ever - we did 30 sec, 30 sec, 1 min, 1min, 2/2, 3/3, 4,4 and back down same intervals. Brutal but necessary. As coach said to ride fast you need to ride fast - s

Yes I am still alive.

Wow it has been a while since I have posted ! Too busy training and such. Since the last time I posted I have been carefully playing with my nutrition/electrolyte needs to get it right for race day. Mixed results but I think I have got it figured out, more on that later. Did 2 races during the last 2 weeks : the 3km Kits Swim Challenge and Escape Velocity’s WarpSpeed Time Trial. So it has been busy. The Swim went well – at least from my perspective – I was calm , I finished and it was in about the time I thought I would do – I would prefer a little faster but it is what it is and I feel confident that I will finish the Ironman swim. I am hoping for 1 hour 40 min but in the end the goal is to finish it and get to the bike before cut-off which I now know I will do. I did the swim in 1 hour 31 min for 3 km in very choppy water! I felt like I was in a washing machine but when I came out I was not exhausted and more importantly I did not panic or freak out at the start or whene

Headwind – Oh how I love you!

Yes you read the title right but more on that later. This weekend I went up for a whirlwind trip to the interior – drove up Friday night, fell into bed at mom’s house and was out the door by 6:30am Saturday. Got to Penticton and was in the water by 7:30”ish”. While donning my wetsuit I was talking to some other ladies that were heading out on their bikes and asked distance and they said just under 2000 metres to the boat and back. The water was gorgeous, felt like a warm bath. Mind you compared to the last 2 weeks of swimming in the Pacific anything feels warm! I did the loop twice practicing all the things Peter and Trevor my OW coaches have been working on with me. I was thoroughly calm, felt relaxed. I loved my “bouy” while sighting and really enjoyed watching the fish swim below me. I thought that was neat. Total distance I am going to say 3200/3300 metres and time was and hour and 21 minutes so I am tickled by that. Will do a few more long swims but it felt good to k

Eternal hope and god speed for your journey.

This is probably going to be a bit of a rambler as I have been pondering this for a few days and I guess my initial shock has dulled. A beutiful and talented lady that I had the distinct pleasure of coaching through her first 2 half marathons and someone I consider a friend if only in the Sunday run/facebook sense of the word has been diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. She is 29 years old. I had the pleasure of watching her mature and evolve as a runner. It was wonderful to watch her complete her first full marathon this spring under the careful guidance of my close friends June and Cory who coach the Full Marathon clinic. I was so proud of her. She recently got married but her facebook updates over the last couple of weeks gave me pause and while she never directly said it I had a sinking feeling that she was about to begin a new journey. I sent her a note this week and she confirmed my suspicions of breast cancer. In my past career I worked with Cancer patients at a

Zen in the water

Tuesday night I had my first open water session of my 4 week course with Peter Scott - AKA Seahiker. He comes highly recommended by Judith and Cindy and well I need to get a handle on the panic attacks I have in open-water. I will be honest I was a little skeptical during the first session - they had us lie back and float to prove we could not sink. Then they had us lie face first - again can't sink then they had us dive down to the bottom - see you pop back up. Okay get it. He also showed us relaxation techniques - let your neck completely rest in the water so you are not using energy for that and drag your hands so you get a feel for the water. Got it. Yesterday I did the Sasmat Canada Day swim - I was in the 2km swim. It was a success in that I felt completely calm at the start and throughout the race - I thought about all the things he said - relaxing the neck, dragging the fingers, feeling the water. Check, check and check! Time not so good 54 minutes - my sl

Bringing up the rear

Yesterday was the annual Cypress Mountain Hill Climb race. The whole club was supposed to ride it but the green goddesses had to cancel due to work and other life commitments so that left the Amazing Miss M and me to represent the recreational womens "tri" section of the group. Miss M is faster than I am - she is actually where I was last year before the accident so I had a pretty good feeling I would be bringing up the rear. Coach and me talked briefly and she said just go hard and treat it like a training ride so that is what I did. They started the Cat 3 and 4 women with the Masters I was able to hang on to the group for about 300 metres (LOL) and then they dropped me like a bad habit. I was able to see Melinda until we reached the first look out about 5.5 km up and then I lost sight of her as well. My total time up was an hour and 4 minutes to get up 10 minutes or so to get down. You would think I would feel pretty bummed about this but honestly I don't

What do I want to be when I grow up?

I work in administration but I am a trained nuclear med tech who has not actually done that for over 16 years. I enjoyed the Nuclear medicine but being a casual on-call did not pay the bills or put food on the table so I went into office administration. However over the past 2 years I have come to realize I don't want to do that anymore- well that is not completely true - I like some parts of it but other parts I don't. Currently where I work is OK - I made a major change 7 months ago mostly for $$ reasons and am regretting that decision more and more. There were other reasons but the main reason was $$ and I knew they could not pay me more where I was. I loved the people and the actual work gave me purpose this position not so much. Plus I work with someone who is a lot like me and it has been a little eye-opening and unsettling. This person is great at their job, efficient, accurate, focused but they are also abrupt, intense and impatient - it is like walking on eg

Juggling all the balls

Well I got through the weekend none the worse for it and only missed one workout so feeling pretty good about that. Friday I had to be up and at the hotel to set up for an all day section by 6:45am so I did not get commute to and from workout on the bike in. I was able to get my endurance swim in before I headed off to the stadium to help set up the Kids Zone tent for the next morning at the 24 Hour Relay of the Kids. Pretty sure I must have counted laps wrong because I did 2500 m (or so I thought) and when I hit my timer at the end it read just under 51 minutes?!?! does not seem right but hey maybe a miracle did happen and suddenly became faster. One can certainly hope so! Saturday I had to get a 2 hour run in so I got up at 6 had a bite to eat loaded shower stuff and clothes for the day in the car for Joe to take to the stadium and ran down to the Stadium from the house. The run felt good and leg only started to ache around 1.5 hours and then I started to struggle with the


While I am now a sponsored athlete - YEAH TEAM NATHAN - I am not able to retire from my full-time day job just yet... When I signed up for Ironman I went in with my eyes wide open about the time commitment that would be required and that I would have to learn to compromise - not one of my strongest suits at the best of times. I am a by-the-book kind of gal - if coach says ride for 3 hours and gives me zones I will do that workout as precise to time and zones as possible and I hate having to adjust or change anything but I am learning because more importantly I need to get the workouts in. The next 2 weeks are going to test me to my limits as we have family coming from overseas tomorrow and I have a long standing charity event that I have volunteered at for over 10 years this weekend. My brain almost friztes out when I try to figure out how I am going to do the workouts, play hostess, go to work and do the charity event. Something is going to implode - I am just not sure what.

Staring my nemesis in the face

After the weekend and a volley of email exchanges between coach and myself we have agreed that I need to become more comfortable in open water race situations. So to that end I have registered for 2 open water races and 2km, July 1st and a 3km on July 25th. Just thinking about them causes my anxiety level to rise which is silly because I know how to swim and am perfectly fine in a pool so I am frustrated that I get so nervous in open water tri races. If I am just swimming in the lake or ocean I seem fine just seems race situations I get freaked. I don't know if it is not being able to see the bottom, or the thrashing of the group around me or what. I swam in lakes and rivers all my childhood - you could not get us out of the lake as soon as we were given the all clear by my grandparents, me and my sister were down and jumping off the dock and playing in the lake until we were called for lunch. Once we got the all clear after lunch we were back in the water and sometimes

Holy Head winds Bat Man!

I wish I could say I crushed the Boy and PB'd Oliver this weekend but it was just not to be. Last year 6:46:31, this year 7:05 on the nose. Now for the post race analysis – Coles notes version – HOLY HEADWINDS BATMAN!!! Swim - last year 51:13 this year 54:13 which now when I look at it I feel better - I had a panic attack. I thought I had started at the back like last year but after 10 or 15 women swam over me it became apparent I had not. This caused me to panic a bit nothing like having your entire body and head shoved under water again and again - I have never been through it - heard stories - and I can confirm I do not like that! So I flipped on my back for a couple of minutes to calm myself down. Once my breathing slowed to normal again I flipped over and made it my mission to spot a yellow cap and pass it. I take from this that if I had not had my moment I would have actually been faster – so something to work on for Ironman. T1- I wanted to improve on this beca