I'll be posting all my workouts here...well, maybe not all. But if you're interested in following what I'm doing feel free to read and/or join me!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Back from Hokkaido

Did do as much as I had anticipated on the trip. We only (shamefully) took the bikes off once to ride oround Rishiri Island right before leaving Amy in Wakkanai for her BEE ride. The ride around the the island was just under 60km and it took us the good part of an afternoon to do it. We started off in a nasty head wind on the north side of the coast on a bike trail that lead us to a flock of gulls straight out of a bad Hitchcock scene...there were birds flapping everywhere, except for the dead ones that littered the path. Amy rode over one that was already injured, Kirsten was in front getting the worst of it I'm sure. It was a little hairy to say the least. Not long after we got out of that little nightmare the pathway ended and we had to ride the main road around the rest of the island. Not that that was a bad thing, plenty of shoulder room for us. We took frequent breaks after big hills, watched some surfers, stopped at a volcano with a lake which had been taken over by tourist booths selling flowered flavored soft ice-cream and took pictures of a temple gate near the end of the trip. It was a sunny day, pretty warm and we were all worn out by the end of it.

We did manage a day of canyoning and white water rafting on the second day of the trip. Lots of fun. But when K and I tried to to a hike on our last day, we were foiled at every turn. Seems all the hiking trails have been closed due to typhoon damage. We sat in an outdoor onsen right on a lake instead...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Riding in Hokkaido

Well, as long as the bikes stay on the roof rack...

Sista K, Amy and I are Hokkaido bound. Amy starts her ride accross Japan on the 29th and we're all going up together so K and I can see her off. We are hoping to get a few good rides in, the main one being on an island off the north tip of Hokkaido just before Amy leaves.

I haven't been on my bike since the triathlon. The main reason is because we've had non-stop rain all week. I've been taking my car to school since I've been emptying out my desk all week.

I probably won't post this week, but will try to keep track of our mileage. We'll also be doing some rafting and hiking as long as the weather holds up!!!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

swimming in the sun

The pool in Kurobe, where I swim, is an 8 lane 25 meter pool surrounded by windows on 3 sides.
I usually swim in the late afternoon or evenings so there isn't much sunlight left by the time I get there. Besides, Toyama prefecture is a cloudy, rainy prefecture so there isn't much sunlight in general. But yesterday the sun was shining brightly when I got in the water at 5:00. The pool becomes a different world when this happens. The water is bright blue, and you can see clearly to the other end. It kind of feels like swimming in an outdoor pool. I love it.

My first swimming memories are from the outdoor pool at home in Grande Prairie. We used to go down to Bear Creek Park (now Muskoseepee Park) and swim there in the summer. The season's short in GP so the pool usually opens the long weekend in May is closed by September. I vaguely remember taking swimming lessons there, but what I do remember clearly is swimming with my Dad. The pool is L shaped with the short part of the L being the shallow end. I clearly remember him teaching my how to glide off the wall. I know I wasn't very big at the time because my younger brother wasn't with us (if he had been big enough I know he would have been there because he's part fish and it was extremely difficult to keep him away from water), it was only me and my dad. I remember the smells of the chlorine mixed in with the summer smells of trees and grass. Over and over again we pushed off the wall in the summer sun. It's a simple memory, but one of my favorites.

Warm up: 700RIM (only 100fly) 400kick
200 scull/swim
400 kick no board alt 100fly/100breast
200 swim

my left shoulder and my left ankle were not feeling up to par today. oh well, the sun was great.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

the aftermath

not that bad really, but the chaffing is driving me crazy!!!

"the" blister

My number on my flabby arm.

The following pictures are lunch!!!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

stiff and sore, what a great feeling

Warm up: 800RIM 400kick

4x200 IM alt full stroke and kick on 3:30 focus on long strokes and turns

400pull long and strong

200 dolphin kick, breath every 6 kicks

Was feeling anti-social today, so I got out early -blah.

Right calf is totally cramped up, I've been trying to stretch it all day. I need to get back into a stretching routine, I'm lazy.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Back to normal...

I needed to stretch out today, I could feel the muscles stiffening. It's a holiday today and raining which means to pool was cho-crowded (very).

Warm up: 800RIM 400kick

8x50 scull/drill
4x100 pull
200 kick

Race Day!!


It's over and done with. The stress of it all, washed away in the hot bath I enjoyed Sunday night.

Like I said, 5:00 a.m. comes early. Sunday was no exception. I had prepped everything the night before in hopes of not disturbing Omi too much when I got up. Well, that was blown right out of the water (water being a key word in this adventure...) when I couldn't find me car keys...seriously.


My first thought was, "This is a sign. First your bike inexplicably breaks, it's pouring rain, and now you've locked your keys in you car for the first time in forever (first time in Japan for sure). Maybe you're not meant to race."

I had left one window open about 1cm...

So my second thought was, "Quit being a baby, unlock your damn car and get going."

Omi is my hero. He got a coat hanger and some pliers, and I was on my way in less than 10 minutes.

It was 5:30 a.m. the race started at 9:00. I had to register AGAIN at 6:00 and catch the bike course bus AGAIN at 6:30. I managed to get there in time. I got my number written on my arm (#18) -something I was looking forward to. I've always loved that look -big black numbers scrawled on the athletes...

While waiting for the bus a super friendly lady started talking to me. It was her first time too. We started the conversation in Japanese, but she soon revealed that she spoke English as well -yay for me!!! We rode the bus together and tried to figure everything out -where to put our bikes and other equipment, when to go to the pool, etc.

At 8:30 the opening ceremonies started, everyone huddled under umbrellas while the dignitaries were protectd under open tents. Yes, it was still pouring rain. Sometimes it eased into a drizzle, but for the most part it was full on rain. They announced that they would decide 10 minutes before the race whether it would go ahead or not...

It went ahead. I had my new suit on, I had been packing my cap and goggles with me most of the morning, my running shoes and other gear were in my back pack, under a plastic bag, in a basket beside my bike. I was ready.

We headed to the pool where we lined up in order by the number on our arms. The lifeguard spotted my earrings and told me I had to take them out. Yeah, right. I told him I couldn't (which is true for one of them) and he said that I'd have to tape them!! What?!? Are you kidding me? I showed my displeasure and annoyance and he trotted off to get tape. In the mean time I put my cap on and pulled it down over my ears, covering my earrings. When he came back he realized that my solution was better, I gave him a polite bow and we both went away happy.

The swim was 750m. I had to start in one lane, swim to the other end, and then go under the lane rope into the next lane, swim down, go under the rope, swim down, go under. 6 laps in all, then I had to get out, walk back to the first lane, get in and repeat this 5 times. Each time you go out, someone was standing with arm bands that you had to wear for the rest of the swim. This was to keep track of how many laps everyone did, of course. The thing is, they were big and unless I pulled them right up to my shoulder, they'd slip down my arm. I remember seeing quite a few floating on the bottom of the pool as I swam. Not the best idea. It was fun fighting and clawing my way through the lanes. I loved passing all the 'big boys' without any problem. It got a little nuts at the end of the lanes when everyone was fighting to get under and push off at the same time. I held my own quite nicely!

I was one of the first people out of the pool. I got out, jogged to my bike and told myself to take it easy, be thorough...everything was wet and slippery. I had to get my mole skin on and then my socks and shoes. More people started coming out and were on their bikes before I had my shoes tied! Oh well. As they say here, "My pace".

Ok, the swim was a breeze. I hadn't let myself think about the bike too much (to preserve energy mainly), but now it was here and I was on a bike that I no longer trusted and what could I do but pedal!!

What can I say? It was hard. On the first hill I was passed by nearly everyone. I didn't let it bother me, I just got to the top, took a rest on the first descent and kept my mind on the road. The downhill was scary in the rain. Very slick, I think I wore out my breaks. But of course, I inevitably reached the halfway point, turned around and started the last 10km. Like I said, pretty much everyone had passed me by this time - I was just pleased that I had finished without crashing!!

From the bike to the run all I had to do was take of my helmet basically. The first lap felt pretty good, I knew the blister tape wasn't really sticking at this point, it was saturated with water, but
I couldn't feel any rubbing yet. The second lap came surprisingly quick and I was still upright and keeping a good pace. The 3rd lap was tough, half way and I started cramping a bit. I decided to slow down for some water and then just told myselft that I had to be patient and finish this lap before thinking about the last. Also, my suit had started rubbing at the neck line and it was stinging quite a bit. The last lap was tough. I was spent. But I kept my pace, enjoyed the cheering as I came into the finishing area and absorbed the idea that I had completed my first tri. It was a very good feeling.

After the race the woman I had met came and congratulated me. We went back to the pool together, I took a nice long shower and then enjoyed the free food -fresh vegetable stew and rice balls. All of this in the pouring rain of course. I hadn't been dry since 6:00 a.m.

My official time was 2 hours 28 seconds. So close to breakng 2 hours! Next time I'll definitely wear a watch and keep track of my times. I didn't do it for any part of the race.

Lessons learned: Quit panicking!!! and Patience -finish one thing before thinking about the next.

Loved it. Will definitely do it again!

Thanks to everyone who sent me good luck messages on my keitai that morning! You totally helped me get through my day!

Saturday, July 15, 2006


I brought my bike into Sports Depot on Saturday. The regular bike fixer-dude wasn't in so they had someone else playng around with it while I waited and shopped around. I found a new swim suit that I thought I could probably wear without having to put on a bra for the run (damn, I hate my breasts!) and I picked up a new hat to run in, an spare pair of goggles and a new swim cap (basically I was trying to make myself feel better with new toys). I also finally bought a bike stand -something I totally should of had from the start, it holds the back end of the bike up so you can play around with the gears and stuff.

The staff finally came over and told me that it was going to take more time so I could leave and they'd call me when it was ready. I went over to Favore (a shopping mall across the street) to get blister band-aids and have some lunch. It calmed me down to be in the crowd. I ate a whole wheat ham and cheese sandwich for lunch, read a book Kirsten had lent to me and just tried to forget about what I'd be doing the next day.

The bike guy called me around 2 and said that it was going to be a while longer (not a good sign) so I decided I'd got to Yastuo and get the registration part over with.

I managed to find the place with minor back tracking.

After I registered I had time for a swim before the bus tour. The 6 lane pool in Yatsuo is pretty shallow but a nice little community pool -and they had a HOT TUB!!!

I did my regular warm up, a little bit of kick and some sculling. Everything felt good.


The registration information indcated that there were some steep hills on the course. They failed to mention that it was ALL HILLS!!!! From the very first turn out of the transition zone you're climbing!

The bus never left 2nd gear, if that's any indication...

I was trying to stay calm- talking to myself "it's not that bad, just take it easy, go at you're own pace, use your gears (oh yeah, your gears are screwed at the moment....), ok, stay calm".... but this woman in the back of the bus kept freaking out. Everytime we turned a corner she yammered about how tight it was, at each hill she moaned about how steep it was and every descent she practically screamed at how dangerous it was going to be if it was raining. It was non-stop the whole time. I felt like getting up and telling her how inconsiderate she was being, especially for people who were doing this for the first time yadda yadda yadda. But, I'm slowly turning Japanese, and so like everyone else around me I endured her contemptable behavior without a peep. Oh, and I don't speak Japanese that well... Even the tour guide didn't say anything, although it looked like he was ready to throttle her at one point.

I got off the bus feeling slightly defeated and the race was still a day away.

I went back to Sports Depot, picked up my bike (which I still wasn't convinced was 100%) and headed to my friend, Omi's place to hopefully get some R&R before bed.

Omi cooked me a nice big pasta dinner, we watched some TV and I then I reluctantly got ready for bed..

5:00 a.m. comes quickly, no matter what time you go to sleep....

Friday, July 14, 2006

Pre race panic

OK, now I'm panicking...

I tried to fix my bike after work today. I managed to make it stop making noises...in one gear. I also managed to jamb the other two gears. I took it to the local bike shop but they were clueless, so after tinkering with it all they did was make in noisy again. So now, one day before the race, I have to take it into Toyama city first thing in the morning and see if they can fix it at the place where I bought it. ARGH!!!

I'm not going to cry unless I hear the words "we can't fix it today" -which will be in Japanese....

cross you fingers, say your prayers, do a dance -what ever you think will help me get through this tomorrow.

So no training today. Hopefully I'll have a spare hour to get in a pool in Toyama tomorrow since I won't be coming back to Nyuzen until after the race on Sunday. After I drop my bike off (hopefully) I have to pick up spare goggles and blister goodies and then go and register in Yatsuo. I can also take a tour of the bike course by bus tomorrow, so I might get that done as well, then go pick ulp my bike and head to my friend's place in Toyama to crash for the night.

Toyama is closer to Yatsuo by about an hour. And since I have to be there at 6:00a.m. I figured I'd better get as close as possible.

OK, I'll stop rambling and go to bed. I'm stressed. Can you tell????

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Murphy's Law Strikes Again

I rode my bike to school today and for the VERY FIRST TIME something is wrong. Part of the gear mechanism is rubbing up against the chain. Seriously, why now???

I haven't ridden my bike for the past two days, everything was fine. The only thing I can think of is while trying to mount my bike yesterday on my roof rack I could have bent something or done something to make this happen. ARGH!!!

Not panicking yet.........
Warm up: 800RIM 400kick

6x150m free on 15sec RIB

200 alt scull/free by 25
200 kick alt ez/hard by 25

8x100IM on 2:30

200 cool down


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

3 days away

I got my triathlon info in the mail yesterday. Amazing how much more stress is added when all the info comes in kanji!!

Maybe I should have researched this more thouroughly first -I thought I was going to get it easy by having a pool swim, but of course, how silly of me to assume...

So it looks like they're going to take out the lane ropes in the 6 lane, 25m pool and we have to zig zag 150m 5 times. That means we have to get out of the pool after every 150 and go back to the start...this sounds like something I used to do to my swimmers -we called them gorilla sets...damn you Karma!

After the swim is the bike, of course. 20km, not too hard -except they didnt' send me a map of the course. Just a map of where the course is. Looks like if I want to try out the course I have to do it before Friday (tomorrow) or if I want to just check it out I can do that Sat as well....FYI Yatsuo is just over an hour from my apartment. Ick. I still don't know what to do with the bike yet -where I have to put it or when... still deciphering the info sheet.

After the 20km bike is the 5km run. Run = someting I haven't done in a long time....
As far as I can tell it's another loop-run up one side of the river cross a bridge and go down the other side -which I have to complete 4 times.

So like I said, the biggest stress right now is figuring out the bike portion -where to store it, and where to go once I'm on it!!!

Ahhhh, what have I done to myself? And no one to hold my hand.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

5 up 5 down

Went for a 10km hike with Sista K and Johnny P this weekend. Hot and humid but a great 4 hours.

The only problem is, this is what I've to work with for the triathlon on Sunday...

Here's the right:

Here's the left:

Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday -wow, I made it

Spent the day traveling across the prefecture today. Got out of work early for once and was able to get to the pool before the Colare farewell dinner.

Did my regular warm up and some drills. Sound familiar??

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Thursday squeeze

Jumped in the pool after racing back from the leavers ceremony in Toyama on Thursday.

Did my warm up and some drills.

Shoulder feels BLAH, it's like it knows something is coming.....

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I did it

I signed up for a Triathlon...

It's next weekend!!!!!!!

OK, it's a BABY triathlon, but I already feel sick to my stomach about it.

750m swim (shouldn't be a prob, except I never swim that distante without a pull buoy -my legs are anchors)

21km bike -have done longer rides already, but...

5 km run -if I half to walk, I guess I will....

eep, I'm so nervous.

The worst part is that there isn't anyone doing it with me. K is gone that weekend!

I'm going to try to get a practise run in sometime this week.

Tuesday training

I SHOULD have ridden my bike to the pool -but I needed the car to pick up the free weights from Amy (that's my excuse)

Warm up: 800RIM 400Kick

4x 200E pull @4:00 (hold under 3:15)/ 100IM @3:00 (hold 1:45)

300 cool down


Saturday, July 01, 2006

saturday bust

k and I rode to yamanokoshi (a place we know up in the mountains).

I'm lazy with reading my odometer lately but it's a few clicks, mostly uphill, and on this day it was directly into the wind (no matter what direction we were cycling!).

We then headed down to Kurobe river for what we thought was going to be an afternoon of frisbee, but the turn out sucked and we folded and headed to an onsen instead.

I guess we still managed around 25km on our bikes, but I really feel like we need a longer ride soon.

I guess I'll have to wait for K to get her bike back........

love ya Sista, take it easy!