Friday, December 31, 2010

"I'm up and I'm down, I'm in and I'm out"......

.... Is it bad to quote Katy Perry in a tri blog? Or does it just show I don't necessarily have great taste in music? I do give Jon and Paul endless hard times in their music choices during spin classes. You need the right song though.... It can't all be about "Barbara Streisand", as Jon accused me of having on my iPod. I quickly corrected Jon - I don't have an iPod, or an MP3, or a cell phone, or a computer. I have a digital camera now, but usually can't get it to download onto my borrowed computer.... Oh, oh, I must confess - I recieved an iPod Nano for Christmas from my Dad - thanks Dad. I still have to set it up - I'm going to download Barbara's entire music catalogue. I've decided I will be buying a computer too; an Apple something or other and by the end of Jan.

Up and down - end of term bike time trials -> disappointing not just once, but twice in December (ETS & tri club bike classes). I usually seem to peak in Dec with my time trials, but not this year. I don't think I missed a class the whole session, but I didn't perform when I needed to. This brings me down. Improved a little on my 500 m swim time trial (10 seconds) - I'll take it! Still not great but at least moving in the right direction.

I need to stay positive since I had lots of rest over Christmas as it was very quiet and spent with friends this year. We celebrated with family early b/c my Dad and his wife were out of town with Lise's family this year. Logan, Gavin and Kirby (Gav's girlfriend) really liked the housecoats I made for them this year. Haven't heard from the little ones about pj's, I'll assume they were OK. But really, what little kid gets excited about clothing under the Christmas tree anyway. I think I get more satisfaction creating the pj's.

I'm "in and out" of sync with my body... Some days lots of energy and ambition, other days not so much. And this is still "the middle" in the big scheme of training for a summer race season. I'm trying not to get too wound up about training and what I'm doing overall. I'm a little undecided about my tentative race schedule at this point. I'll probably complete the Police 1/2 Marathon in May; I'm definitely doing Wasa tri, and the new Grandfondo ride in Penticton - Axel Merckx (158 km); but now I'm undecided about which 1/2 Ironman race I should complete.....

I'm starting the new year on a good note though - in spite of a stupid sinus infection/cold, I participated in the 5 km run/walk Running Room Resolution Run tonight. I walked it b/c my head was going to explode if I tried running. I had the pleasure of walking with my friend, Carol, and Digby, (the dog). This was Carol's first foray into an organized race and I'm thrilled that she finished with a smile on her face!! Glad I was able to share the triumph with her. I thought this was the one run I'd beat Alan though b/c he's had a sore foot. Dang, I missed my opportunity.

I must try to stay "up" and "in" (sync) as I head into the new year. It has ended on an "up" note with the Resolution Run and so I will carry that momentum forward with me into 2011....

Happy New Year!

Ciao, Cindy

(Anyone have a kleenex? I like the ones with aloe in them - so soft for my sore nose)

Monday, December 6, 2010


Haven't been blogging much of late, but I have been busy. Busy for Christmas! This starts in November for me because I like to make my Christmas gifts. They're not elaborate, but I really enjoy sewing and since I have 7 nieces and nephews (well 9 actually, but Angela and Amy both have kids now). I start my little "pajama factory" in November when Fabricland has a huge 50% off sale. I can't refuse a bargain, and I have a "one stop shop" for everything. I go their repeatedly though, which can be as irritating as a mall in December. Make a list for crying out loud...
The pajama tradition has been around for some time - Logan is now 21! (Angela and Amy were little when I was a teenager, so I don't remember if I made them PJ's, but I do remember making the occasional fancy dresses for them). The boys graduated from PJ's to sleep pants and then silly boxer shorts. Now the next generation are on the PJ tradition.... I wasn't sure if this was a good idea or not, but when Logan said - "I thought that was our thing Auntie Cindy" and I explained the little ones need the tradition too, he was ok to share. So the girls (Meagan 9, Gabrielle 7, and Claire 1) get a new pattern most years and I use the same patterns for Josh (5) and Ryan (4) as I used for Logan and Gavin at that age. I try to get everything done before December as most of it needs to get sent in the mail.
So..... that's what I've been doing. I have kept up with all my classes at the gym, but my independent workouts have suffered. Not getting in my runs - partly due to weather and the fact that the track at the gym is closed, so only getting 30 minutes on a treadmill is just irritating. I need to toughen up and get back outside. I took a break when Alan and Pauline went to Clearwater and that was my mistake, then the weather excuses started, then had to sew, and on it goes. I have been doing a good job of excuses though - just read this latest blog!
I do have some good news on the swimming front though. I think I've "got my arm back". Somewhere in the early fall/late summer, I lost all my speed and form, especially with my right arm. Then Jon pulled me out of the pool one morning and got me to reposition my arm - make your "elbow pit" face down as you initiate your catch. What's an elbow pit you ask? - bicipital fossa, inner elbow, or Jon speak = elbow pit. I feel my lats working now instead of killing my shoulders, so I think it's helped a great deal. I'm not really noticing much with my speed yet, but I feel more efficient. Thanks Jon (I gotta get my monies worth out of him before he heads west to Victoria in January).
Now that my gift making is completed I can get back to running. This will be good b/c I've signed up for the Resolution Run on Dec 31. It's 5km and you get a great jacket (I hear). So Pauline and I will get going again and Alan will be done in half our time, but it'll be fun. Since I also like to bake and will be getting that done in the next week - the majority for family and friends, that will keep me busy too. I'll get back to my routine and fit my baking in around my workouts.
I'm looking forward to the new year and have picked my classes for the winter session - swim/run on Tues/Thurs evening, Sat am bike, and an ETS bike on either Mon or Wed night. I love training and Grant has a lot of work ahead of him with me and my running. I'm going to get my monies worth out of him too!!
I'm not looking forward to seeing Jon go though :( But it's so cool that he's going to the National Training Centre in Victoria, BC in January - London 2012 here he comes....
I'm sure Jack will find a great replacement, but will he/she know how to "breathe through their legs"? Jon's not gone yet, so I'm sure he'll continue to work on that with all of us....
Ciao, Cindy

Saturday, November 6, 2010

"Before and After"

I love "before and after" decorating shows on TV. No bad news, no one incapacitated, no loss of life (unlike the evening news)..... just a change for the better and a process to get their.

However, there is a middle to get to the after, once the before is established. (Hmmm, sounds a bit like "who's on first").
Anyway, I feel I established the "before" in my previous blog, and set my goals to achieve the "after". Now I'm in the middle. Middle is hard! Middle can be a long time. I'm anxious for the after and with TV shows, I often watch a couple at once, so I don't have to get too involved in the "middle", but time things with channel surfing to get all the afters. Middle in my current state has no alternate channel - I'm it. I have to establish the process and follow it to get to the after that I want. I'm finding this a challenge at the moment. It's early in the training season and I know it won't all be perfect training, but I don't want to get derailed by frustration either.

My current challenges are - my swim is not great; I've lost form with my right arm, for whatever reason, and am so slow. I'm not sleeping terribly well these days - I think that's due to peri-menopause. (Dang, I'm only "27", so I don't know why that's happening). I may have to resort to speaking to my Doc about that one. Hard to get in my workouts when I'm almost comatose some days. This bugs me to no end as I hate missing my scheduled workouts (swim x2/week and bike x2/week). My weight is always an issue blah, blah, blah....

Now I have to adjust my process a bit to continue to my after. I'm going to make a concerted effort to get in my scheduled workouts, even if I'm sleep deprived. Missing workouts may even be part of the problem - not enough activity to tire me out in a regular day, therefore, leading to a restless sleep. These are established workouts and with the support of coaches and fellow athletes, all I have to do is get myself out the door! Because I'm a member of the Talisman Tri Club I have my coached workouts - which means I have assistance to improve my swim stroke and get back in the groove. My bike workouts are also coached and progressive, so again, just get out the door. I love my bike workouts, so this isn't as much of an effort. My running schedule has been a bit scattered, and my weight training workouts a bit inconsistent.

The other thing I must consider is getting back to Physio. This should help with my swim stroke as I think I'm having issues with my neck that are causing problems with my arm - numbness, not so good...

To finish on a bright note - my running is going pretty well. I'm working on gradually increasing my time without intervals. I've been increasing my time about 10 minutes a week (roughly a 10% increase) for 3-4 weeks, then a recovery week. I'm going to continue that for now. Pauline and I often have negative splits on our long run! I'm slowly chipping off seconds on overall pace - YEAH!!

To get to the after, I must go through the middle, there are no real short cuts and there is no remote, only 1 channel to chose from - ME....

Ciao, Cindy
(I'm going to take a nap now ;p)

Good luck to Alan, Ari and Andrea at Clearwater Nov 13!! GO TEAM! We'll be watching online.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What's going to happen in 2010-2011?

I'm always impressed and have alot of respect for the coaches at the Talisman - both ETS and Tri Club. My first exposure to coached workouts in cycling was with Jack VanDyk and Paul Robertson (and subsequent ETS/Tri Club coaches) at the Talisman. I've been hanging around their since 2005 and I've had the pleasure (and pain) of seeing my own success under the tutelage of the ETS Comprehensive Coaching packages, ETS bike classes and Tri Club classes. Having said that, I read Jack's most recent post on the Tri Club blog and thought I'd apply his recommendations to set out MY performance goals for 2011.

SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely)
  1. I want to complete a 70.3 triathlon with a "6" in front of my finishing time at my goal race in August 2011.
  2. I want to run a half marathon (during this 70.3 triathlon) around 2:15 during my goal race in August 2011.
  3. I want to weigh 20 pounds less at the start line of my goal race in August 2011.
  4. My races for 2011 will be Wasa (June); Olympic distance in July (Kelowna?); and a 70.3 (Calgary?) in August.

Train More

I'm going to do more structured training with my running this year. This will involve improving my base/technique and then gradually working on my speed/efficiency. I'm going to focus on my base and technique through the fall and add in speed/intervals in early 2011. I'm going to keep a better log of my training so I can see my progress. I'm going to continue 2 bike sessions, 2 swim sessions, 2 run sessions, 2 weight sessions per week through the winter and ramp things up in early May.


This is where my Talisman Tri Club membership comes in.... I have coached sessions in swimming, cycling, and running. I have the ear of coaches who're always willing to share their knowledge, as well as gleaning info from my fellow club members. I've said before how valuable time in the hot tub can be after swimming.... Technical practice is going to be in all 3 disciplines throughout the year b/c I have lots of room for improvement in all 3 disciplines! Cycling is my favourite, and I love my new Argon E112 tri bike, but my weakness is running.

Dial in your nutrition

Even though I didn't lose additional weight this year, I still feel successful with this b/c I didn't GAIN back any of the 50# I've lost so far. I have had a slow, steady weight loss journey in that it was lose, maintain, lose, etc. I will probably always struggle with my weight. I love to eat and will exercise to manage my weight more willingly than watch what I eat. This only takes me so far, so I do have to manage my eating. Having worked with Kelly Drager (Registered Dietitian) as part of my ETS Comprehensive Coaching packages she has given me good objective data to look at in managing my eating - getting enough calories to sustain me with the workout schedule, while still allowing for healthy weight loss. (Like replacing 5 fruit servings a day with 2 fruit and 2-3 more veg servings). Keeping a food diary helps me to be accountable to myself.

Recover Better

One of the biggest improvements in my nutrition in the past year has been my recovery meals after intense workouts. I started to use Hammer Recoverite after workouts longer than 2 hours. I mix it up and bring it to the workout with me, so I have it right after a workout (getting the recommended carb/protein ratio of 3:1 within that 30 - 45 minute post workout time frame). I sleep better, I can do another intense workout the next day, ie: long bike Sat and then long run Sun, and find my energy level is greatly improved. This along with my "go to" snack of 4 dates and 8 pecans to have throughout my work day have been some of the "good habits" I've developed. I will continue to try to get that 4-6 servings of veggies each day. I like veggies, I have a hard time convincing myself to prepare them!

Strength and Core Training

Again, this is something I've taken advantage of at the Talisman. I'm a bit of a "class junkie" and I've participated in alot of the strength training sessions offered through ETS and Tri Club. I have added it to my fall training program (off season) as an independent workout. I try to get in a core workout after my runs. I'm also focusing on my shoulder external rotator muscles b/c I'm having a tough time in the pool getting my "catch" to be consistent.

Train with Others

Refer to admission above: "class junkie". I know all the coaches of ETS and Tri Club; I show up pretty consistently, although the early morning swims can be a bit of a battle, often with some sort of internal bargaining being undertaken with myself at 5 am; and I know how to "smack talk" and "throw down the hammer" now! One of the other advantages of the classes are getting to know others who're about your level to work out with once we're able to get outside in spring/summer/fall (summer, was there a summer this year?).

Train Alone

This isn't my favourite part of training, but I probably run most on my own. If I'm on my own for biking I often do a brick over at Edworthy or hill repeats at Edworthy (then it becomes known as that "evil" hill at Edworthy). Evening bike rides in the summer are great too.

Get Tested

This hurts!! I think the worst time trial I've done was a blood lactate running test. I thought I was going to die and get spit off the end of the treadmill at the same time. I think we all dread bike time trials, but I've done enough of them to know what to expect and do try to push myself on them. I think I have my "little pieces of paper" from all my time trials since 2005. I try to remember to put the dates on them. I like to look at them every now and then and see that objective data and how I've improved over time. Having objective data and TACX trainers for measurable workouts makes alot of sense to me. I know "perceived effort" has also been validated in studies, but objective watts to train in your zones has made me a stronger cyclist.

Hire a Coach

I have completed 3 ETS Comprehensive Coaching packages at the Talisman (2006, 2008, 2009). They were totally worth the money. The workout plan was taken care of; it was centered around my goal race; it was progressive with my input on what my goals were. The coaches used objective data from blood lactate testing (bike or run); and it took into account my life. What life? - all I do is train (eat, sleep, swim/bike/run, repeat).

The bottom line for me is: I really enjoy triathlons. I like the sense of accomplishment I get out of finishing a workout or a race. I have met great people and feel I have gained great mentors (Alan and Pauline especially). Talisman pretty much has all my money, so it keeps me out of the mall - too bad I didn't go for a workout instead of test driving cars (....but that was the off season).
Happy training..... Ciao, Cindy

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

GOOD DECISIONS VS. BAD DECISIONS (or sometimes, just impulsive decisions)

Before I update my blog.... (my internet has been down for about 2 weeks - ggrrr)

I want to congratulate all the great athletes that I have the pleasure of knowing and who completed Ironman Canada in Penticton 2010:
Paul B. Dan B. Dorrie F. Kathryn J. Robert P. Kelly R. Ross S. Ari S. Brad S. James S. Greg S. Faizel S. Ted T. Ted C. Jack VD. Max L. Darren A. Leanne M. Ron. and Mike K., who completed Ironman Coeur d'Alene in June.
You are all amazing athletes and have put in the work to have great outcomes - outstanding!

Also congrats to Jon and Grant on the Subaru Banff Triathlon - you are now 1 win each, when will the tie breaker be???

As I continue into the fall, I've kinda "fallen" off the training regime. Good intentions most days, but not always so great on the follow through. COLD weather as an excuse for not being on my bike - bad decision. But I've been keeping up with my running - good decision. I'm now running 70 minutes continuously (with some negative splits!). Not really doing much in the pool - bad decision, but I've started doing weights and core workouts - good decision.

When it comes to gym/physical activity stuff I seem to make pretty good decisions most of the time, substituting one workout for another, that's the beauty of triathlons, the variety of training. For me this a big part of why I've been plugging along and steadily improving since I did my first tri in 2005 - see, good decision.

The start up of fall classes in ETS bike and Talisman Triclub swim and bike classes are going to be painful with time trials (skipping workouts - ouch, and bad at the same time). I'm going to be paying for some bad decisions come October.

The other bad, or rather "impulsive", decision I made this month involved my love of impulse shopping/buying - 2 pair of shoes on sale is one thing.... New vehicle on impulse, not necessarily a good or bad decision, just not one that should be made on impulse!

It started with working a weekend with only 1 person to see in the morning, but then being on my pager, "available", for the rest of the day.... OK, a new dress and pants at Cross Iron Mills, not so bad. But I still had the rest of the afternoon to kill. Why not just go test drive a new car? Off I went, but I didn't like the SUV I test drove. OK, that took care of Saturday, Sunday dealers are closed. But by Tues I thought I should go over to Toyota and test drive a couple of vehicles. This is when it all fell apart. I've owned/leased 3 new Toyotas since I graduated from University and have faith in their reliability. I also drive for work, so need a reliable car. So in the process of not doing enough research on my part (IE - looking at used car prices, not just the "black" book price) and making ill thought out comments to the salesman after he takes a quick call from a customer looking for a used car, "Well, sell him mine!" And he DID (well, let's be realistic, I DID). Oh crap, now I really do need a vehicle b/c I don't think my job description allows me to cycle house to house each day. So in my parkade is a lovely RED 2010 Toyota Rav 4. It's the 3rd Rav I've owned, so I think that was a good decision. Impulse car shopping - BAD decision. Matches my new red bike - good decision. (I think that makes 2:1, good:bad.)

I must develop new decision making habits that involve no BIG decisions unless you sit on them for 24 hours. Lesson learned, I hope so..... but I do love Red!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Some down time...

My "down time" has been interrupted with obsessing about the 70.3, specifically my running....

My run predicament has been in my thoughts alot. I want my run to be as strong and consistent as my bike. I don't really stress about the swim, in fact I find it quite relaxing during the race.

I think I've developed a "run plan" since I had a chat with Grant on the pool deck last week. He made some good suggestions to work on - try to improve my running base throughout the winter without too much focus on speed, and try to do this by decreasing my intervals, to the point of getting rid of them. In the new year, work on speed and getting my time down. I think this will help me focus through the fall & winter. I still need to work on my form and efficiency. I'll have to talk to Grant more on these topics. Incorporating "run school" into my workouts will help with my technique. Not only doing "run school" (ABC's) but applying the techniques during a run. Definitely a work in progress.

Between all the obsessing, I have taken a break for the last 2 weeks. Finished up my swim classes with the Talisman Triclub last week, rode my bike out to Bragg Creek last Saturday and today. Yesterday, Pauline and I went for a short run (damn stairs, my legs are sore, again!) and an even shorter swim. Has that been a break?? Other than that, spending time at home and providing my condo with a little TLC has been good.

Taking a break from training is always interesting for me. I love taking classes, but when I'm away from the routine I think I need to balance things out a bit more. A few years ago I signed up for a "drawing for the totally intimidated" class. It was interesting and a nice break from the physical side of things. This year I'm going to try a photography class. I still don't own a cell phone, but I did buy a new digital camera before my trip to Europe in June. Slowly draggin' myself into the 21st century.

The other thing I'm going to focus on and change are my eating habits - mainly lunches. I eat out at restaurants for most of my work day lunches. Not only is this expensive, it's not always healthy. I'm trying to pack my lunch at least 2 of 4 days each week. I don't want to go cold turkey, I like the social aspect of the group I eat out with. But I also know that I pack a much more nutritious lunch compared to what I order off a menu. I'll have to work hard on this. I can easily be persuaded to leave my lunch in the fridge and give in to peer pressure. Wish me luck.

Ciao, Cindy

{Off to use my foam roller, I love my foam roller, it feels so good, it's my friend, (I am not convinced)}

Saturday, August 7, 2010



Relaxing by the pool, Mojito in hand, blue sky, sun shining..... (Oh, don't I wish)

I have been relaxing this last week since I completed my 2nd Half Ironman in Calgary (Viterra 70.3) on Aug. 1. I had a great race, although I didn't quite make my goal of 1.5 hours faster than last year - I was 57 minutes faster than last year. I can live with that.

My "Top 10" list of improvements:
  1. I liked the change in start time/swim wave this year. My swim went well in calm waters and I relaxed into a steady rhythm.
  2. I took a surprising 4 minutes off my swim = 39:24.
  3. I was much more consistant on the hills on the bike and transitioning from downhill -> uphill.
  4. I missed the tailwind from last year, but was even happier to not have to deal with a headwind instead!
  5. I nailed my nutrition on the bike and didn't have to stop at any of the aide stations.
  6. I gained 18 minutes on the bike = 3:25:01.
  7. My legs were pretty solid coming off the bike -> run; I maintained my intervals of 9 minute run, 1 minute walk and carried my nutrition with me. 3:08:54 = 35 minutes faster than last year.
  8. Didn't have to deal with constant leg cramps, but I did get caught at km 15 with leg cramps as I forgot to keep up with my electrolytes. Had to walk km 15 -> 16 as a result.
  9. I was able to keep a positive attitude, especially on the run, b/c I watched all the people I passed on the bike pass me on the run, with words of encouragement. The volunteers were great!
  10. I finished strong and was able to run across the finish line = 7:26:05 (57 minutes faster than 2009).

With every success comes "lessons learned" to improve on the next challenge....

  1. I need to push myself harder on the swim.
  2. I need to keep working on hills on my bike - 3:15 would be a better time.
  3. 200 Watts on the bike this year!
  4. I need to run faster! My run time needs to match my swim and bike efforts (ie: another hour faster on the run).
  5. I need to improve my efficiency on the run - is there a run coach in my future?
  6. According to "others", 7+ minutes in T1 is still excessive. Can I help it if I need dry feet in my socks/shoes? (T2 was a little better.)
  7. Continue to try to lose weight - this will make ALL of it easier.
  8. Continue to encourage others and feed off this positive energy.
  9. With steady improvements on form/technique, perhaps the need for Physiotherapy and Massage Therapy will decrease. This will allow more money for races!
  10. Continue to love the training. (I think I've got this one).

I also want to say I was in awe of Jon and Grant. They had amazing finishes. I wish I could've seen their race (I was a bit busy) - congratulations to both of you and good luck in Kelowna!

Next up - cheer on the people I know heading into Ironman Canada at the end of August.

Ciao, Cindy

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Thank you for Physios (Dave Holmes at Tower Physio) and Massage Therapists (Christine Leslie at Chiropractic Performance and Sport Centre).

First "hiccup" after my long run on July 18.....
Pauline and I did an 18 km run, all was going well (10 min run, 1 min walk intervals) until the last 1.5 km. Then my right hip started to ache. I thought - "Oh, you're just tired and we're almost done anyway."

Next day, not so happy body. Had a massage booked and thought, that'll be the ticket to settle things down. Major muscle spasm, even after massage. OK, I think it may be more than soft tissue if massage isn't settling things down. Panic call to Tower Physio and I was able to get in to see Dave. Diagnosis => likely irritated and inflamed hip joint, there's hope for me and I think Dave saw the terror in my eyes. My race is in 10 days!!

More physio and massage treatments (not on the same day though) and I feel ready. Hip is settling down, water running this week, swimming as usual, and biking is OK. I'm confidant I'll be "race ready" on Sunday.

Second "hiccup". Check the "final" athlete's list for the 70.3. Hmmm, my name's not there? Check the old Visa statement as I'm positive I registered in January. Nope, no charge on my Visa either. OK then, get out the Visa and register for the 70.3. WHEW!!! I have a confirmation email, so I assume I'm in. Had an email today from the Race Director - late registration so no package pickup until Friday. Better late than never. What would I have done if I went and no package for me? Who cares?! I'm in.

Good luck everyone - think good karma thoughts for me and my hip...

Cheers, Cindy

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Oh my, I didn't anticipate this would happen, just like that....

Before I left for Europe in early June I sent my little yellow Cannondale to Drumheller with my nephew Logan so he could train for our team triathlon in Canmore. I had just had it in to Cam at Speed Theory for a major tune-up. It was ready to go.

Logan did a fine job riding the little yellow bike in Canmore, with the seat up high, as I watched. I was proud of both of them.

These past weeks since Canmore, I've been on my "very fast red bike" (Argon 18 E112) and the little yellow bike has been in the storage room. This morning I thought I'd take it out for a spin b/c I was going for a leisurely ride with my training buddy, Pauline. We had to change our route near the beginning of our ride b/c we suddenly were getting swallowed up in a "sea of pink" by "The Walk to End Breast Cancer". A little crowded....

So we redirected ourselves out to Chestermere, via the pathway. We completed a 50 km ride and it was beautiful - sunny, hot, deserted. As we headed home, on a sore bum, sore shoulders, and a slower speed than I've become accustomed to (dare I say that out loud?) I realized maybe I didn't need to keep the little yellow Cannondale? Could it be? Was I ready to say, "Goodbye old friend?" Yup, I think so. I love my "new red bike".

My little yellow Cannondale is going to go up on eBay. It's a 2002 Cannondale "Warrior 700R", frame size small (~49 cm) with a Polar CS200 bike computer with cadence and heart rate monitor, Profile Design tri-bars and 2 water bottle cages. I'm not sure of the price, but I hope I can find a good home for it.....

Funny weekend for me and bikes. I felt like I had a stable of horses - all needed to be exercised. Saturday was a nice ride on my Argon 18 tri-bike, Sunday morning was my Cannondale road bike, and Sunday afternoon was my Trek mountain bike, which I consider "my commuter" bike.

All bikes accounted for and decision made. Any takers?

PS -1 week to Calgary 70.3, the count down is on.....

Ciao, Cindy

Monday, July 19, 2010


An addendum to yesterday's post....
After talking to the Tri Club coaches, the advice given is -> keep building and not too much of a taper since I had a 3 week break - ie: get on the bike! OK then, I asked for the advice, so I'll do my best to keep up my killer hill repeats and running/brick workouts this week.
Gotta go, I'm busy.
Ciao, Cindy

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Being back from vacation and back to training has been a bit scary these past 2 weeks. It's hard not to psyche myself out at times. After Canmore, I thought things would just fall back into place. I had a few days to acclimate myself prior to my return to work and training. What I didn't expect was some lingering jetlag? or just sheer exhaustion?
Swimming my first 2 weeks back has been disappointing. It's hard not to compare yourself to others, and I know I shouldn't, but I was discouraged to be passed by my lane mate in Talsiman Tri Club morning swims. Could I lag that much in 3 weeks? Apparently so... OK, never mind what your neighbour is doing, just get on with it. This person has been training hard and reaping the rewards - they deserve it. Jon and Grant (coaches extraordinaire) will help me work on improving my efficiency - thanks guys. I'm going to put in the work and make an effort too.
Biking hasn't been atrocious - I love my "new red bike" - it's very fast, and I love getting on it. A few challenging rides weren't necessarily the issue, it was the "3 hour nap" that progressed to not getting out of bed until the next morning that was scaring me - acckkk, do I really need 12 hours of sleep? I haven't been feeling "sick", so I guess it's just my body telling me to rest? My concern is that I had 3 days last week like that. Not really sure what that's been about, but I hope it's out of my system.
I'm going to end this post on a positive note.
Since I've been "well rested" I had a great bike on July 17. I repeated the previous weekend ride - 2 loops of the first 1/2 of the 70.3 course (1 loop forward, then reverse = 96 km); added in a convenient "recovery soak" in Ghost Lk post ride; nailed my nutrition on the bike; did a short run off the bike; and finished the day off with a healthy post ride meal and dinner that evening.
A good sleep led to the group run on July 18. I had so much difficulty last year getting a long run in the day after a long ride - I just didn't have the stamina. This year my recovery nutrition (immediately after a workout - Hammer's Recoverite, and a healthy meal at home) has improved immensely and I think that's been the biggest difference. Granted, running isn't easy for me, but I do enjoy it for the most part now. I still struggle with my longer runs (thanks Pauline for putting up with me), but I don't fall apart until farther in now....
I'm going to stay positive, complete some shorter, more intense workouts this week, then taper into the week before the 70.3 (where I'm going to be 1.5 hours faster than last year!)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Team Cold Blooded was successful...

It was fun to complete it with Logan (my nephew) and Kunda (who stepped up when Gavin had to work). I keep telling those kids not to grow up - too many responsibilities.....
View pictures here

Since they're both new to triathlon I showed them "the ropes".

  1. These prairie boys (ie: non-swimmers) live in Drumheller, so I picked up our race package on Sat am, and printed off the "Athlete's Guide", which I do read, especially if it's a new race/venue I haven't been to before.

  2. We had a pre-race meeting (review/pack gear), a light dinner at home in Calgary on Sat night, then headed out to Canmore. They slept all the way, which was good b/c I headed out east on Hwy 1 initially. Since I forgot the paper with the hotel name and address on it we went to the Tourist Info in Canmore - they're open 'til 10:00 pm! (See, you can be blonde and resourceful). We then went to scope out the venue and drive the bike course - this map is included in the athlete's guide, along with swim location, T1 & T2 locations, bike course description & map, and usually run course too. We should have discussed pre-race apparel - early mornings are cool and I seemed to be the only one with a coat and long pants; hat and socks wouldn't have been out of place either....

  3. The first thing they were really excited to hear was how early we had to be up and on our way (6:00 am compromised to 6:15 from 6:30) and be at the venue by 7:00 am. This cut into "texting" time that evening as we turned the lights out early - I'm sure they had their phones going under the covers though...

  4. Race day! Arrive at the Nordic Center - set up transition area, get body marked (race # on arms, age on l calf, distance on other calf ("O"lympic vs "S"print) get timing chip, listen to pre-race meeting info (mandatory).

  5. They had assigned spots in T1 so we racked the bike, set out the brightest, ugliest towel I own (pink floral), noted the bike rack row and # of supports b/w the end and our spot to find our bike after the swim. Bike helmet on tri bars with sunglasses and gloves; on towel - race # on race belt, bike shoes/socks ready to go, nutrition (gels, honey stingers, bottles - (2) gatorade + water) on bike.

  6. Wet suits are fun to put on - "Body Glide" looks like deodorant, but goes on your skin to ease the "tight spots" for a more comfortable wet suit fit - neck, shoulders, front/back of armpits, wrists, thighs, ankles and makes getting out of the west suit easier too. Then we have goggles and swim cap (race issued and mandatory to wear). Get in the water about 15 minutes prior to your start - warm up, adjust goggles, GET FACE WET/HEAD IN WATER!

  7. Out of water after swim, undo wet suit on way to TI/bike, strip off to waist, then remove goggles and swim cap (need 2 hands free to get wetsuit 1/2 off and run at same time).

  8. Review order of getting going on the bike - helmet on & done up, exchange timing chip (L ankle) so if it gets loose doesn't catch in bike chain, sunglasses, shoes/socks, gloves, race belt with # on backside, run out of transition to "bike mount line". Follow the rules on the bike course to avoid penalties. Count your laps or use your bike computer to keep track of distance, thank the volunteers along the route.

  9. Back to T2 after bike - rack bike, then helmet off, exchange timing chip & race belt - # on front of runner, change to running shoes, hat, sunglasses, hydration. GO! RUN! Remember to thank the volunteers on the route.

  10. Cross finish line victorious - hands in air, crowd cheering, it's all good.

  11. Get the t-shirt, enjoy the free post race meal (it was yummy at Canmore), and stick around for the awards & "swag" (you usually have to be present to be eligible for a door prize). AAAHHHH done! Bask in the glory that it's over and you survived.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A New Take on Bikes and Function...

Ahhhh, vacations are the best form of rejuvenation.
Now, if I could eliminate jetlag, all the better. We'll see if I have to use it as an excuse as I complete the Olympic distance triathlon at Canmore. Should be fine, I'm doing the swim on a team with my nephew, Logan, who'll ride my bike; and his friend, Kunda, who will do the run. The other nephew had to work.... (Nope, jetlag wasn't a factor and our team did just fine. Nice job boys.)

I did a pretty good job of keeping up training (mostly running) while away for 3 weeks. Interesting to run in a new place when English isn't on the street signs -> solution, only turn left or right and viola you are back to where you started. This actually worked in Finland! I can really relate to others who say running is so portable and easy. I found I was able to fit it in quite easily every second day in the am prior to activities for the day. I know if I had left it 'til the end of day I would've been whining -"My feet are tired". I had my Garmin 305 with me and it picked up satelites wherever I was.

Sweden focused on biking. I traded in my usual 20 gears for 3 on "cruiser" rental bike #32. I had a hard time braking, b/c it was pedal backwards. I was skidding my back tire just like a 10 year old! Rode my bike to IKEA; changed my friends flat back tire; road around the waterfront in Malmo. Put in about 150 km on very flat terrain with great vistas and interesting architecture over the course of the week. Saw some interesting "art" a bike in a "tea cosy"?

Had a few swims/saunas in Finland and swam in an outdoor 50 m pool in Sweden on a gloriously sunny, warm day.

I even got in a few runs in Ireland. Now that is dedication b/c there is good craic their that can certainly take over from training. Met some interesting people at my friends wedding - a marathon runner and another girl who did triathlons. They seem to be better at the "after workout" socializing than we are. I like their attitude - they have a favourite "post workout" pub that they go to! They are so into "sexy Itlaian" gear - Wilier bikes, Rudy project glasses, and the list goes on.....

Now I need to get refocused as Calgary 70.3 is only 4 weeks away! Canmore will help with that. Wish me luck....

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Spring training

Spring training started with a great camp May 4-9 in Vernon, BC hosted by Talisman ETS and Tri Club coaches Jack VanDyk and Jon Bird. Hard work, but really fun to ride new routes; have a focus each day/ride; support vehicles (ie: "Tour du France" - thanks to Jack's parents); add in some swim and run/hike options, and we covered it all. We also rode ~120 km of the Ironman Canada course. I have conquered Richter Pass (and it's likely the closest I'll ever get to Ironman, beyond spectating). I hope this camp is offered next year - definitely worth it. Check out these pictures from the camp.

A group of us have ridden the Calgary 70.3 Ironman course. I had my first flat tire EVER! This includes 7 years of riding my road bike. I had great difficulty getting the back tire off - thanks Don. As everyone gathered to watch me, Alan took over and finished, thanks Alan. I can do this - I've had tutorials from Cam at Speed Theory more than once. I proved this to myself the next day when my newly changed tire was flat again. I had no audience, and it took me forever to change the tire (like 20 minutes), but I did it. In my own defence, it was the back tire and a new tire and very tight on the wheel. Always good to practice this skill to get an idea of how hard it is to get the freakin' tire off the wheel, then on again.

The "tool kit" I carry on my bike includes - minitool (various sized allen keys), extra tube, 2 or 3 CO2 cartridges (16 grams = ~100 psi), CO2 cartridge dispenser (keep CO2 cartridge unattached to dispenser until it's needed), teeny/tiny patch kit, tire levers (2 or 3), a few dollars and the little carry case that attaches under my seat on the bike and holds all this stuff. I don't have a chain repair tool, and I don't know how to use one either.... I don't own a cell phone, if I'm on my own I borrow my Dad's so I can call in the troops if need be. Usually, I ride with others and someone (usually everyone, except me) has a phone with them. What, no duct tape?

I try to do hill training on a week night at Edworthy park - I can easliy ride their from home and it provides a good warm-up and cool down. I affectionately call it "that evil hill". There are always familiar faces - everyone smiling as they tell themselves "I love hills". My goal this year is to pass at least one person on that "evil" hill.

Onward to an open water swim at Sundance Lake. Thanks Chris - I notice you didn't get wet again this year.... It was cool outside and beyond COLD in the water. Jon and Grant made no bones about jump in and swim! They can be so demanding. I wore my very flattering "neoprene bonnet" along with a wetsuit. Getting that thing on is an adventure/workout in itself. Don't be afraid to ask for assistance from your fellow athletes in getting it done up - if you feel like you can't breathe, pull the body up higher. Impact Magazine (May/June 2010) has a good article about getting into a wetsuit.

My next hurdle is too have some sort of focus while in Europe for 3 weeks. I will have some pics of some great running spots in Finland, Ireland and Sweden. Although, I think I should have been training to increase my alcohol tolerance as I'll be attending a friend's wedding in Ireland!!

Cheers, Cindy

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I love my new red bike!

After much deliberation, test riding, and visits to multiple bike shops in Calgary (who knew I'd be on a first name basis with so many young, knowledgeable guys!), I took the plunge...

With the expert advice and assistance of ALL the SPEED THEORY staff - I finally chose an ARGON 18 E112 Triathlon bike. My trusty, little yellow, Cannondale road bike has served me well since I purchased it in Feb 2003. It has some major miles on it, but I was ready for an upgrade.

I love my new red bike.

Choosing a new bike is a process - these are some of the questions I asked myself.....

What is my budget? - include extra for helmet, pedals, computer, possible saddle options, water bottle cages, clip-in cycling shoes, basic repair kit, gloves... the list can go crazy, but some are essential (helmet & pedals). Go for the best components you can afford within your budget.

How much riding do I do? Up to x 3/week through the winter on a trainer (5 - 6 hr/week), and ~7-8 hr/week in the summer.

What is my primary focus? Triathlons and road riding, 150 -200 km/week through the summer.

What are my goals? GO FASTER! I love going downhill as fast as I can to make the next transition uphill less work - Talisman ETS and Triclub coaches know of what they speak! I'm not a "light weight" (although I've lost 52 lb in my 5 years of training - and kept it off), so I do have an advantage on the downhills and really work on the uphills.

My gearing (crank set on the front and cassette ratio on the back) also needed serious consideration. All my test rides included that "evil" hill on the south side of Edworthy Park. I went up and down that hill on a Cervelo P2, Trek Madone 5.1 & 5.2, Cannondale Synapse, and finally the Argon 18 E112. The conclusion was definitely a compact crank set (50/39) on the front and an 11/28 cassette on the back. This meant I was able to give up my "granny gear" (3rd ring on the front), but still not die on hills, or worse - get off and push. The 11/28 cassette is a new option available this year from Shimano. The crank set numbers of the front rings (50/39) refer to the number of "cogs" on the ring, same goes for the 11/28 - smallest ring has 11 cogs and each successive ring has more cogs on it with the biggest having 28 cogs.
Bike frame size/wheel size. My Argon 18 E112 is an extra small frame (I'm 5' 2" tall). All of the bikes I test rode were either 47 cm or 48 cm frame sizes. This limits options in regard to wheel size on some models. For example - Cervelo has a 47 cm frame, but only fits 650cc wheels. This is not an issue/disadvantage, but I have been used to 700cc wheels, so I wanted 700cc wheels on my new bike (really a personal choice). The fit of the frame is what's important. Many manufacturers have frames that are "women specific designs" (WSD), but I was able to be fitted on the Argon 18 E112 extra small frame without any problems (OK, they did have to cut the seat post down even more for me). Argon 18 doesn't make a WSD frame, but I did get a carbon frame!!

Bike fit. I did spend time with Adam Redmond of Speed Matrix. He also works out of Speed Theory. He did a complete bike fit with me using the Retul Bike Fit System. It was amazing. I had my Cannondale bike fitted about 3 years after I purchased it and what a difference it made - not only in comfort, but also in the power I was able to produce, so I knew from past experience how important this component is. Adam is a Kinesiologist with a specialty in Biomechanics, so I had great confidence in him. The "Physio" in me likes the science behind the fit process.

I've had my lovely new red bike for almost a month. I did fall off of it on my first ride outside - "OH MY GOD, I DIDN'T SCRATCH IT, DID I"? No, my butt and my knee saved me, but I see my new carbon water bottle cage is a little "scratched" - oopsy. I was so anxious to get a new bike because I was heading out to Vernon with the Talisman Triclub/ETS for a 4 day bike camp May 4-9, 2010. I think I drove Jon nuts for the 2 months prior to this - is the bike here, did you get it in yet, blah, blah, blah. But it arrived, I had a fit with Adam, and I rode it for 4 days straight ~400 km total. I completed a time trial and NO ONE physically passed me! (There were lots of the "big guns" who were faster, but I was first one off and everyone else went in 1 minute intervals and I got to the finish point just in the nick of time!) This was the highlight of my week - that bike is very fast!

Onward to a great summer of training!

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Bit Of History....

Upon reflection on my first blog entry, I thought it was pretty boring.

So, I'm going to try again. Like most triathletes, I have a background in sports - mine was figure skating (grades 1-11); I also worked as a Lifeguard; (Oh, and I was in swim club in grade 3). Sport has always been in my life, and I think that's what led me to Physiotherapy as a career. I'm a bit of a late starter, as I graduated from U of A in 1994 when I was 30 - a "mature student".

I've always been drawn to individual sports, so triathlon has been a good fit for me. I enjoy the camaraderie of training and mutual support, but ultimately, it's your race. The other thing that brought me to triathlon was the variety of training - always something else to work on if you're "wounded". It's the variety of the 3 disciplines that has kept my interest since I did my first sprint triathlon in 2005 - Stanley Park, here in Calgary.

The lead up to that race was rather traumatic for me. My mom was diagnosed with Lymphoma in April of 2003 and passed away in Sept. 2003. Our family is very close and I was especially close with my mom - I lost my best friend. The other thing that we shared was genetics - apparently there is only so much weight the females in the family (ie: my mom and I) can lose; she lost 60 lb while sick - I gained 60 lb! Hmmm, an emotional eater - do ya think? Then a family ski trip resulted in a torn ACL, MCL, meniscus and a chunk out of my femur - shouldn't have been skiing in the 1st place (refer to 60 lbs above). Now I'm definitely the "physio who needs physio". So the crash was Christmas 2003, surgery was June 2004, and rehab continued until about Dec, 2004. My knee made a great recovery, but I really needed to reevaluate my lifestyle. All that weight doesn't come without it's own issues - high blood pressure, high cholesterol, borderline diabetes, always tired and lethargic.....

Enter the Talisman Centre. My dad gave me a gift of a 1 year membership in Jan. 2005 and some personal training sessions. I signed up for a bunch of Endurance Training Systems (ETS) classes - I especially love the bike classes. They make so much sense to me - get objective data ("evil" time trials on the bike) and train yourself throughout the year to those zones and watch the numbers improve as you produce more watts and get stronger. I worked on my running, swimming and biking throughout the winter/spring leading up to Stanley Park in the various classes I signed up for. To be realistic - I started at the bottom, literally. I couldn't run 5km, but I could certainly walk/run 5 km. I knew I would do OK on the swim (750 m) and bike (20 km), so off I went. I finished the race and loved it. I was 2nd last (... not last). My nephews couldn't quite see the accomplishment in that, but they're young (and skinny) - what do they know about fat girls? I knew I wanted to continue this sport. I love the training. I love my bike and everything is moving forward.

I have continued to increase my knowledge in talking with other athletes, (hot tub after swimming is so worth it), coaches and just learning by doing. I find it's a great community and supportive of the newbies/amateurs. I will probably have to wait until I'm in my 60's or 70's before I ever see a "podium finish" as an age grouper, but I might just be stubborn enough to hang around that long. So the journey continues and I'll keep adding to my blog as I learn more about the sport of triathlon because fellow athletes/coaches continue to share their knowledge (plus, I ask alot of questions). I want to share a perspective from a dedicated athlete's point of view, even if I'm not an elite athlete!

Cheers, Cindy

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Welcome to my new blog.

Hi, my name's Cindy and I'm a triathlete. I did my first Sprint triathlon in July, 2005 after having knee surgery to repair a torn ACL in 2004. I decided I needed a significant change in my physical health after this surgery because I was grossly obese! I've been a spectator at triathlons and thought I'd like to give it a try - I'm a pretty good floater, I can ride a bike, and I can walk 5 km. It's all in a straight line and shouldn't aggravate my knee and I needed to get moving. I was off and running (well walking fast...) and I completed my first race. I was hooked and had started losing some weight and feeling better. I spent a lot of time at the gym and signed up for a lot of classes - swimming in the early am, weight training for triathlete's, cycling for endurance athletes. I was becoming a class junky, but really enjoyed the training and still do. The next season I hired a coach and continued my classes. 2006 - first Olympic distance (running's getting a bit better, down 30 lb.); 2007 - 3 races; 2008 - 200 mile cycling event (Seattle to Portland in 2 days) with 9499 other riders (down 40 lb); 2009 - Viterra 70.3 Ironman in Calgary (hit 50 lb weight loss). 2010 - Viterra 70.3 Ironman in Calgary (1.5 hours faster than last year).