Sunday, March 29, 2009

Road Runner

It's official. I splurged, spent the seven dollars and I'm now a PIH'er! I'm pumped! For those of you who don't know what the Prairie Inn Harriers are, they are one of the biggest running groups in Victoria. Known for their love and passion of running, I'm hoping some of it will rub off on me.
I've been regularly attending the Lifesport Saturday runs, and they've definitely been making me quicker. However, I think that I need to get in more than one run a week. The Harrier's run on Tuesday night, Thursday morning, and Saturday morning. Although I wont be giving up my Lifesport run on Saturday, I think the extra two runs a week will hopefully make me faster!

This morning, I drove out to the Caleb Pike crit. I watched the boys race and walked around the course. It was such a beautiful day! It made me feel great knowing I was going to ride that afternoon. I met Jenny at the switchbridge and we did the reverse peninsula ride. Averaging about 30k an hour, it was perfect! It's been my longest ride since September, not to mention, some of the best company I've had on the bike in a while! Finishing our ride along the goose downtown, I felt like I could keep riding for a while. Ah, I've got to remember this feeling when I am feeling lousy on the bike. Today has been a fabulous day! As for tomorrow, I've got a swim at noon, and I'm hoping to make it to the OBB women's ride, if I can get my homework done in time. I've got one more week of classes.... I can't wait until this semester is over! I've got 4, 10-12 page papers to write, but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel!!

Keep fit and have fun!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

yew - bee - sea

Last weekend was the UBC tri. First of the season and also happened to be -1 degrees, so it hurt!! There was 4 races; short, sprint, olympic, and the duathlon.

I was a little choked that the week coming up to UBC, I caught a horrible cold/sinus infection. I made the best of it though, and took it as a training day.

I was really nervous for the swim. I've never done a pool swim before, and wasn't sure how it would be like swimming under the lane ropes every lane. It seemed a little confusing.

We headed across the day before, and I stayed with my cousin, Katie, who lives across the street from campus! Nathan, Julia, Danny, and I met up with G-Day to do a pre-ride of the bike course. Although my visit with Gav was cut a little short due to poor planning on my part, it was awesome to see him! Danny also gave my bike it's bi-annual cleaning. It's been a while since I saw it sparkling that white before!!

I had some super support pre-race; I met Mike Janes, a swimming/running friend of mine. (Sometimes, with a combination of me feeling really good and him having a hard training week, we are lane buddies!) He's a veteran at this race, and helped me check off my entire to-do check list. It was awesome having someone to show me where to go, what to do, and chat and hang out with!!

I had a great warm up; cutting it super close, I was about 20 minutes from my heat start. I wanted to watch Chris Miller's swim start and cheer him on before I did my race. Mark Schurch came up to me asking for an extra swim cap. No one else had one, so I ran back to my cousin's apartment about 3 blocks away, grabbed 2 swim caps, then headed back. My heart was pounding!

I ran to the pool deck, quickly undressed just to hear an official say "you're heat 1f? You just made it." I asked people what their predicted times were for the swim, and with a 24 minute goal, I quickly made my way to the front of the heat. I only stood there for a max of 60 seconds. I went second. The swim was fabulous! The swimming under the lane rope was a little awkward, but after about the 20th or so length, I got used to it! I swam 23:30!!

At -1 outside, I took my sweet time in "transition". There were two tents out of the pool; one for males, one for females. I took off my swimsuit, toweled off, put on my spandex. I kept telling myself to calm down because it's when I start rushing that I make a lot of silly mistakes. I then ran out of the tent and started my 400m run to the real transition. I kept my swim cap on my head for some extra warmth!!! I realized in transition that I forgot to put my race number with my stuff! Oops!

I felt really good starting out on the bike. The first lap was amazing - I felt strong, fast, and passed the girl who went first in our swim heat. After the first lap, I lost it... literally. I wasn't hurting, I wasn't sore... I just had no energy. I was disappointed that I was going so slow and couldn't push harder. It would be another story if I was in the pain box, or really pushing hard... but I had nothing to give. I wasn't expecting to be 100% with my cold, anyhow. Somewhere on the bike course, Nick Gottfried whizzed by me saying,
"Good work, Skinner!"
It was nice to see someone I knew, and give me some extra motivation!

Sidenote: I have some seriously amazing friends/training buddies!! I keep asking how I managed to score that...!? Lame, I know... but true!

After the 4th lap, I headed back to the transition. After thinking about my race number for 40km, I realized I would just take the number off my helmet and put it on my shirt. It worked. I switched over my orthotics and I was set to go!

Just running out of transition, I passed this group of people. In the corner of my eye, I see no other than Matt Corker. A friend I went to high school with... a very exceptional guy always challenging me to be better... at everything!
"Matt Corker!?!?!!", I yell as I run off course.
Him and other course directors are yelling at me,
"No, that way!! You're going the wrong way!" .... Oops!
Back on course about 50m away, I scream, "Matt, see what your handsome face does to me!?!?"

The 10Km hurt. It always sounds way easier when I'm NOT running it. Even now, I'm thinking "It can't be that bad... it's only 10km." Nope, I've got to remember that it hurts! I should start building into doing more brick workouts to get me used to that feeling.

It took about 6.5km until I could feel my feet again. If I hadn't run 10k before, I would be screwed. I kept saying to myself,
"You've done it before, you can do it again", over and over and over.

I saw Chris Miller riding his bike along the run course when I hit the 8km marker. Oh how I wanted to take his bike from him. He cheered for me as he rode by, I yelled out
"Hey, lemme borrow your bike. I swear, I just for 2km!!"
He laughed, but not the result I wanted. I wanted that bike so badly.

It felt good crossing that finish line and stopping. I keep forgetting the feeling of the 'racing high' you get every time at the finish of a race... it's what keeps me going, keeps me signing up, keeps me attending practices. Well, that and chocolate, of course!

It was great to talk to Matt Corker for a bit, without running at the same time! He's been at UBC for 3 years now, and I've been on the island for 2.... and this is the first time we've met up. Anyone that knows me, knows I'm petrified of Vancouver and the GVA, but I realize I definitely need to make a bigger effort to come across more and visit with friends.

Pictures aren't posted yet, but I'll post the important ones when they're online. You can check results here.

The picture production with my #1 boys is in the works... soon to be posted!! (Yes, MY #1 boys!)
Mike Janes - 1st short 20-24
Chris Miller - 1st sprint 25-29
Mark Schurch - 1st sprint 35-39 (Wait Mark, you're how old!?!?)
Nick Gottfried - 1st first olympic 25-29

Also, HUGE props to: Nathan 'Nate Dawg' Doering, Julia 'Goolia' Musial, Danny 'Stopwatch' Sessford, Heather 'Natural Talent' Hollman, Anna 'Secret Weapon' Dahonick, Hannah 'Stripping' K, Ali 'Superstar' Boyle, Katie 'Super Support' Skinner, Gavin 'Up for Anything' Day and Matt 'Always Smiling' Corker.

These people are so rad, so motivating, so inspirting.. not to mention they are also extremely good looking, it almost disguists me. Almost.

Keep fit and have fun,

J 'Shotgun' S

Monday, March 2, 2009

Better Late Than Never

Before I start on my blog, I first want to recognize all the beauty around me and all the wonderful influences in my life. The city of Victoria, on Coast Salish territories is one of the most amazing places I've been. My friends and family provide me with enough love, support, motivation and inspiration to not only keep up with what I am doing, but appreciate every second of it. I am so blessed!

Now, on to my entry.

Lent. It's been on my mind the past week or so. Lent represents the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, refraining from the temptations of the devil. This is a symbol of sacrifice and commitment, which ends on good friday and leads to his resurrection at Easter. Now, I know I'm a little late. I think the fear that my motivation and self-will most likely would fall 39 days short of that time period has been impeding my commitment. I think today, I finally found what I've been needing. It just struck me.

Over the past year, I've become less religious and more spiritual. Some might group the two together with the same definition. If you would have asked me a few years ago if there was any difference, I would have answered, 'slim to none'. Now, I hold a definition that has a vast separation between the two. I think this is partly due to my year-long Indigenous Studies class where, among many things, we analyze the influence of religion on the assimilation and integration of Canadian aboriginal peoples into white settler culture, and the demolishing effects of the Indigenous cultures. This has played a huge factor into my ideas and knowledge of religion, gods, and the meanings of life. I must say, I do feel an overwhelming sense of guilt concerning the first nations. I try to tuck those feelings away, deep inside of me. It doesn't work that well. Instead, I'm trying to use that energy for positive things. Appreciating this land, the people, and all the different cultures that make life as fabulous as it is. Increasing awareness is also high on my list. We've forced the Catholic/Anglican religion on the first nations tribes during the contact and throughout the post-contact years. This has been detrimental to the aboriginal peoples, and the ripple effect is showing throughout aboriginal communities now. There is part of me that aches with heartache and makes me want to disassociate with religion because of this.

I will however, always believe in a "god", a higher power, an ultimate being. I believe this is the same god that all religions believe in and pray to. Ironically, this would be the reason to my final commitment to Lent. In a religious sense, but more so in a spiritual sense. I know it's coming late, but for me, it is going to symbolize not only suffering and sacrifice but motivation, determination and love.

As I was leaving class today, walking along campus grounds, I passed by a drumming circle, and a native singing. I stopped. I listened. I smiled. The sun was shining and I felt amazing! Seriously, can it get any better!?!? What a wonderful celebration, a wonderful culture, wonderful people!

Long ago, I had a "thankful" journal, writing at least 5 things I was thankful for that day. I'm resurrecting that. I'm hoping to reignite my appreciation for the little things, and living my life spreading as much love and positive energy that I can!

How are you celebrating Lent? Better yet, how are you celebrating life?