Dinner Theatre

Occasionally we go out for a family dinner.

I love this idea.  The four of us reconnecting.  Eating some decent food without the fuss of preparing it and cleaning up.  Celebrating the passing of another week in our little journey together.

Now that Sophie almost four, dining out can be a largely pleasant experience.

We’re at the stage where we can sit at a table in a restaurant for 20 minutes without too much screaming and hollering.  It’s been a while since we’ve had to abort, get the bill early, and make a dash for the car with a toddler packed over my husband’s  shoulder.   Don’t get me wrong. There is still some under-the-table sibling leg kicking.  And some actual sitting under the table.  And fighting over crayons.  There is the occasional no-dessert-until-you-finish-your-vegetables showdown.

Like I said…largely a pleasant experience.

Last weekend we thought we’d try a new restaurant.  We wanted something family friendly, something the kids would enjoy.  Thus for reasons that are no longer clear, we made the trek across town to Chuck E. Cheese.

Chuck E. Cheese.

Do you know this place?  Are you with me in the horror of it all?

I had never been to one before.  I mean, I’ve heard of the Cheese.  In my own childhood, last century, Chuck E. Cheese was a thing.  In fact, I think my brother used to work at one washing dishes for a brief period in late 1980s (or maybe that was Bullwinkles?).  But I didn’t really do my research.

So when we stepped through the doors last Saturday night, I was shocked by what I saw.

Note the warm, intimate atmosphere

We’d stepped through the proverbial Wardrobe into some sort of blinking, electronic, order-your-food-at-the-counter, post-modern Narnia.  We were basically in a food court/children’s video arcade.

My thoughts of eating a nice steak, sautéed veggies and sweet potato fries, while being able to sit back in a booth and watch my girls happily colour, immediately vanished.  We were corraled through a line up at the door.  Our hands were stamped.  We were hustled the staging area of the fast food counter.

I was in shock.  Like actual shock.  Wh…where are the tables?  And the waiters?  Can I get a menu?  I’m so confused.  Is there an emergency exit?  What is happening here?  Can’t I get a steak?  Where are we again?  My God, why am I sweating?

But in about 65 seconds we’d ordered a crappy pizza/soft drink combo (Family of Four Special #1!) and had been given buckets full of tokens for playing games.  We were sent wandering into the abyss to find a place to sit amongst the dull roar of  700 small children.

In the end, there was very little sitting.  The girls immediately were overwhelmed with glee.  They took their little buckets of tokens and joined the throngs of kids charging around the place hitting beavers on the head with a mallets and such.

Dazed and confused, I followed along.  I sank into the experience…the madness of it all.  The tokens, the tickets, the prizes, the cardboard pizza.  Somewhere in my head, phrases I had hoped to use that evening lingered (Good Evening, could we please get a table for four?  Yes, I would love to hear about this evening’s specials).  I muttered them quietly to myself for a while.  But I had to let them go.  I had to let them go.  I had to let them go.

It wasn’t the dining experience I was hoping for when backed out of our driveway an hour before.  But it was an experience.

And my kids?  They loved it.  Like I mean they LOOOVVVED it.  The only way we could get them to leave was by promising to return.

Damn it all.  What have we done?

Bright Shiny Machines

For a girl who works out at home, hotel gyms can be a God-send.  They mean that occasionally I get an fully equipped gym all to myself.

More often, with the places I go for work, they mean a small closet with one recumbent bike.  But I digress.

The good kind happened recently on an overnight stay in Santiago.

I wandered down to the gym early on a Sunday morning.  A friendly man greeted me and handed me a towel and a bottle of water.  There were bowls of fresh fruit and racks of magazines.  I stared down a full bank of blinking treadmills and ellipticals, which looked out through floor to ceiling windows.  Happy music was playing.  The lighting was perfect.

Cue Hallelujah chorus

There was also an area full of weight machines and equipment – the fancy “gym” stuff that I don’t know how to use and some of which scares me a little.

In the back, there was a mirrored hardwood studio with racks of free weights, stability balls, benches.  There was one other soul in the whole place.  Otherwise…just me.

I was like a kid in a candy store.  Because my home gym looks like this…

No, it’s not a ‘pile of junk’; it’s a ‘home gym’

Now, I’m not knocking my home gym.  Between it and the sidewalk, it means I work-out with significant efficiency.  It means that I am done and making coffee in the time it would take me to pack my bag, drive to a gym, and walk across the parking lot.  In my world, efficiency trumps all.

But still, a real live gym was exciting stuff.

I wandered around for a bit, coming up with a workout plan.  I eventually hopped on an enormous treadmill.   I pushed a bunch of  flashing buttons.  Things happened that led me to believe I was doing sprints around a 400 metre track.  I think at points a virtual crowd burst into applause.

Then I did some free weights in the studio.  Miraculously I could work in circuits of double under jump ropes without knocking white stuff down off the ceiling.  I could do walking lunges without having to veer around couches and kids’ toys.  In the mirrors I could check my form.  Turns out, folks, I don’t look like Jessica Zelinka when I work out.  That came as a surprise.

In the end, I tried a bunch of stuff.  And I worked out longer than usual because of it.  I also used a lot of fresh towels.  And left with two apples.  Simply because I could.

Yes, it was just another work-out.  But it had a kick of something extra that comes from a new environment. I may not have access bright shiny machines for a while.  So I’ll take, clock it, and keep on keeping on.

Living in Range

I heard this phrase recently in a podcast while I was running:

Living in range.

The idea almost stopped me in my tracks.  It was like the universe sending me a personal telegram.  A singing balloon-a-gram at the front door of my conscious mind.

The idea was this.  We don’t live with a static version of ourselves.  Within parameters, there are outer edges of who we are.  Sometimes we live in the bullseye – the perfect spot in the middle of who we think ourselves to be.  But sometimes we live near the edges.  Or somewhere in between.  But not being constantly in the bullseye is ok.  It doesn’t mean you’ve failed and you’re not still you.   It’s the range that matters.  And the edges you bring yourself back from.

Living in range.  For me, it was a bullet of insight about fitness.

Over the last few years, I’ve struggled at times with what all my “fitness stuff” means about who I am.   Am I a triathlete?  Am I a body-builder?  Am I a runner?  Am I just a “lady who does DVDs in her basement”? Am I a clean eater? Am I paleo?  The answers on any particular day and in no particular order go something like this.  Yes. I think so.  Mostly. For sure.  Not sure.  Eff it.  Absolutely. No.

There have been times when I hit a fitness goal, but then struggle in the aftermath.  I train hard for a triathlon.  Then I don’t dip my foot in a pool or ride my bike for the next eight months.  I drop 5-10 lbs and really lean out.  Then I find myself eating pans of brownies and wondering my jeans feel a little snug. I’ll spend months training for a long-distance off-road running race.  Then the only running I do are 60-second sprints on the stairs near my house. Then for a week I’ll do nothing but walk.

And sometimes I find myself feeling bad. Like I’m not doing enough, or I’m not committed enough.  I’ve felt that if I’m not in the bullseye at all time, then I’m not living where I should be.

I’m working on shifting this thinking.

I’ve stopped trying to find a perfect spot to inhabit and to define my “fitness stuff”.  I see that my practice of health takes many different forms.  What I know is that no matter how little I’ve slept or how much work there is to do, I feel better after a work out.  A 30 minute run.  A circuit of weights.  Whatever. If I go to town on my mom’s world famous chocolate cake, I know I’ll feel better after a few days of cutting out sugar and focusing on protein and veggies.  There are parameters I won’t drop.  There is a centre of purpose I am drawn back to.  But where I am at any point in time varies.

Fitness requires a big picture.  Well, life does really.  A spectrum of beliefs and behaviours.  I am learning I cannot always be in the bullseye.  I see now that I am living in range.

Fitness on the Road

Sometimes I travel for work.  This fall it will a little busier than usual.  One overseas trip, followed by a whole bunch of little trips around Alberta and BC.  But that’s life.  Everyone is busy.

Because I miss writing, I’ve decided I can’t stop just because work is busy.  There has to be regular time for putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and throwing narrative out to the universe.  It’s a thing.  Writers write.  And if all else fails, they write what they know.

So here’s my thing for now.  Working out on the road.  Working out through busy times.  Fitting in some exercise when you can.  I do it because it makes me feel alive.  And as the years tick by, I see keeping fit as a necessity not a privilege.  It’s about my little girls and our little family…and about being healthy for our future together.  So in the big picture of daily life, moving my body is essential.  Fifteen minutes of something is better than 15 minutes of nothing.

Last week I got home from overseas.  I’d spent a week in the Falkland Islands (and as it turns out, almost the same amount of time travelling back and forth).  The Falklands is a tiny, wind-swept archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean.  Rich and complex in history, it’s basically the last stop before Antarctica.  Only about 3000 people live on there.  There’s one little town, that to me felt like a British fishing village.  There was one hotel with no gym.  We had a packed day and evening schedule.  So my fitness option of choice? Early morning runs on the quiet, blustery village roads.

So that’s what I did – take to the road.  I’d set my alarm for 6:00 a.m..  I’d pull on my running stuff and explore the quiet streets of Stanley.  Much of which looked like this…

Morning views in Stanley, Falkland Islands

Or this

Or this

I’d see the odd car.  And I learned the customary “nod and wave” that is part of small island life, no matter who and where you are.  But mostly it was just me.  And the wind.  And the startling beauty of this tiny, rugged place.  I’d return to my room with cobwebs blasted and cheeks a-flush.  Awake.  Mind-cleared. Ready. Alive.

By the way, do you know what else I saw that week?

Penguins.  Real, live, wild penguins.  Another amazing part of the culture of the Falklands.  Little dudes that looked like this.

Penguins thinking about going in at Volunteer Point

That last bit has nothing to do with running.  Or fitness. Except that the penguins run around a little and occasionally swim.

It’s mostly just about penguins.

Because…well, I mean…they’re penguins.

An Open Letter to Lance Armstrong

Dear Lance,

I, like the rest of the world, woke up to the news this morning that you’ve declined to participate in the most recent investigation of doping allegations against you and thus have been stripped of your seven Tour de France titles.  I just wanted to let you know I am crestfallen.

I am crestfallen because I don’t think you deserve this.  This just doesn’t seem right.

From what I understand, you’ve passed a bunch of tests already.  You’ve been “investigated” constantly over the last hundred years.  Didn’t you just finish some federal investigation like a couple of months ago and nothing was found?  How can some other body now test you all over again?  Isn’t that like double jeopardy or something?

And just because you choose not to participate, how does that equate with “we hereby take away your seven yellow jerseys”?  Who declares that power your sport again?

I get that you may be simply done with all this.  You’ve got a family, a cancer foundation to run, and a bunch of other stuff going on.  I get that you’ve finally had enough.

But I just wanted to let you know my opinion.  My opinion is, officially, “eff that”.

Listen, I checked with some people and we’ve decided that you’re still a champion.  We’ve decided you get to keep those seven yellow jerseys.  And that you may be the most inspiring cyclist of all time.  I bet you’re the reason many people ride a bike.  Seeing and reading about what you overcame and accomplished, I’d bet, made a lot of people say “what’s my excuse?”  You make people want to do better.

I’m 42 and I have this yellow racing bike.  I got it about 10 years ago when I started doing triathlons.  I chose yellow for a reason.  Each year when I’d watch you in the Tour de France, I’d get a surge of inspiration to ride a little faster and longer.  Around the same time, I read your books.  They made me realize anything is possible.  Even today, if I feel tired or lazy –  or think something is impossible, – just thinking of “Lance Armstrong” clears things up.

I also wanted to thank you for all you’re doing in the fight against cancer.  Around the time I got my yellow bike, you came to my city – Calgary – to headline a cancer fundraising dinner.  I was a volunteer on the organizing committee.  The evening of the dinner,  I got to stand in a room with you and your mom.  I got to have my picture taken with you and our committee.  I got to hold the microphone for people while they asked you questions during your talk.  I saw that you’re just a man.  A man with a mission bigger than biking.  My brother died of cancer 30 years ago.  My dad is a cancer survivor.  So I get that.  And I thank you.

But here’s the thing.  Don’t let go of those yellow jerseys.  You earned them and deserve them.  Is some guy with a clipboard and a badge actually going to come to your front door, go into your bedroom,  and take them out of your closet? How does that even work?  If that guy does come to the door, I suggest you don’t answer it.  I do that all the time when the Mormons come by.  You just look through the peephole and then pretend you’re not home.  You just gotta make sure your kids stay quiet.

And you should wear those yellow jerseys around town.  Like when you’re grocery shopping and stuff.  Seriously.  Eff it.  Wear them proudly.  They are your badge of honour.

So, in summation, while crestfallen I remain inspired and grateful for all you do.  I suspect millions feel the same.  Nothing that happened yesterday changes that.  And I suspect a lot of people will hop on their bikes and ride extra hard in your honour today.

All the best,


Hot, Wet, Dirty, Hard

No, I am not reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

I am, however, reflecting on my recent experience at the Sinister 7 Ultramarathon Relay.  It was 7 stages and 148 km of mountainous, painful, limit-pushing fun.

And they’re off…

Hot. The day was a scorcher.  Not ideal for moving up one’s body up and down mountain trails for hours at a time.  It felt cool at the 7:00 a.m. start.  However, all reports were that within minutes, runners were feeling the heat.  By the end of the first leg, it was officially a zillion degrees.  The lucky mid-day runners returned with tales of people collapsing and seizing up on the trail.  Lots of general suffering. Waiting around all day in the heat was hard enough.


I lucked out.  I ran Leg 5, which meant I started about 8:oo p.m.  The sun was lowering.  Before long, it dipped behind the mountains.  I got to run in the cooling twilight, through shaded forest and into nightfall.

The start of Leg 5. And what lies ahead.

Wet.  At the pre-race meeting, the organizers warned us that the whole route was wet.  No-one would escape with dry feet, they said.  I ran through about 5 or 6 creeks.  One of them was right up to my butt.  With each creek crossing, I didn’t slow down or look for a dry route across.  I just ploughed straight through.  That made me feel super-bad.  Once I almost lost my balance and went for a swim.  Like I said…super-bad.

Dirty.  Here’s the science part.  Water plus dirt equals mud.  For much of the first part of my Leg, the centre of the trail was a huge mud bog, forcing runners to edges.  This required a lot of focus.  Focus, it turns out, I did not have.  As a result, I fell into a mud bog about five minutes into my run.  In went one leg up to my knee.  Followed by an arm to steady myself.  Followed by a tsunami-type splash up the right side of my body, neck, and face.  Two minutes later I may or may not have done it again, losing my hat and sunglasses deep in the mud.  I ran the rest of my three hours looking like a swamp zombie.

Hard.  When I think of my Leg, one other word comes to mind.  Up.  I was always going up.  At first a nice, steady runnable incline.  And then walls of upward mountain.  I’d slow to a walk, and do a steep hike for say 20 minutes.  I’d get to the top of the trail, round a bend, only to meet another endless trail of Up. This went on for hours.  I got the summit just at the edge of nightfall, and was met with the most glorious twilight view of distant mountain tops against a peachy-gray sky.  I stopped for a second to breathe it in.  Then I started my descent.  But even the down part was hard.  Steep, treacherous.  Full of sharp rock and holes.  And for a stretch…snow.

The least-hard part was the last 30 minutes.  The trail was dry and flattened out at times. I ran through the dark with my head-lamp illuminating a circle of light on the black trail in front of me.  Up ahead, I could see my route only by the occasional green glow sticks.  Black, with green dots.  Though my legs were cramping, for the first time I was able to run freely.  I felt like a warrior.  A tribeswoman…running through the night to save my family.  Alone in the dark, I heard only my breath, my footsteps, and the sounds of the mountain.

I finished my leg at 11:00 p.m., almost….just almost…wanting more.

Done and handing off. And almost…almost…wanting more.

So in the end, yes, it was hot, wet, dirty, and hard. Plus a bunch of other things too.

But mostly, it was awesome.

My Mary Lou Retton

You don’t know who Mary Lou Retton is?  Summer Olympics circa 1984? No? Guess you’re not old like me.  Hers is the name that comes to my mind when I think of champion gymnasts.  I know there’s younger, cooler cats around.  But it in my day – if you were talking vaults and dismounts – Mary Lou was the girl.

Mary Lou, however, did not come to mind over the last couple of months of taking my three-year old, Sophie, to her first parented gymnastics classes.

At her final class last week, she got a certificate to mark her successful completion of the highly esteemed Squirts program.  When we got home, I noticed that on the back of her certificate was a list of all the skills she learned in Squirts.  Things like:

  • Rolls (forward and backward; dive rolls; land roll);
  • Balance (dynamic; stork stand; shaped balances);
  • Cartwheels;
  • Dismounts (safe jumps; backwards; sideways);
  • Parallel bars (swinging, balancing on top of bars); and
  • Vault skills (straddle and tuck mounts; shaped dismounts).

All I can say to that is…yeah, right.

I know at the beginning of every class the coach did a run down of the skills we’d be working on that day.  The head coach would marshall through the list of moves, while the assistant coach demonstrated the circuit on the equipment.

Unfortunately, all I heard during that part of every class went something like this.

First they will step-hop down the beam…


Encourage them to…


When on the bar, hold their feet so they can…


When attempting a backward roll be sure to…


And such.

Basically, our experience at gymnastics involved mastering the following key skills:

  • Running in circles, typically while shrieking;
  • Exploring the water fountain and soaking oneself;
  • Throwing hula-hoops in a dangerous manner; and
  • Lying around.

The closest we got to a straddle mount

To Sophie’s credit, she did nail the forward rolls.  And she can now do a mean bum drop on the tramp.  So perhaps all is not lost.

But do I have the next Mary Lou Retton on my hands?  It’s not looking promising.

But we’ll see…we’ll see.

And That’s a Wrap

Well, that’s a wrap.  Not as in a sandwich.  As in school’s done for summer.

And like all parents of school-aged children right about now, I’m left thinking ‘where did the year go?”

I’m happy to say that Isabelle navigated through Grade 1 with great gusto.  Somewhere along the way, she made some big changes.

She made new friends.  Learning to make new friends can be an emotional maze for a five-going-on-six year-old when thrown in big mix of new people.  But this is her gig now, and we as parents are following her lead in terms of play-dates and such.  We tried to teach her in those early weeks when everyone’s new that it can take time to figure who to play with…to understand what friendship feels like. And sometimes in life you’ve got to be the one to take the bull by the horns and organize a game of tag.

She learned to really read.  I can’t remember where she was with reading and writing at the beginning of the year, but she has transformed.  Every month or so she’d come home thrilled to report she’d jumped a book level.   We did some happy dances over “LOOK, LEVEL J”!!!  FREAKING AWESOME, GURL!!!

She’s writing. Stream of consciousness stuff.  She journaled a lot in school. And learned to tell stories from her perspective. We worked diligently on her home reading every week, where she’d have to read a book and then write four sentences about it.  Eventually she got bored with writing about the books and her teacher encouraged her to just write about whatever.  Loved that.

She learned how to work hard.  Between home reading and writing pretty much every day, she had some big homework projects.  There was her science experiment that she practiced and presented to the class.  There was her “About Me/Family Traditions” poster that she and her dad slaved over for weeks.  I don’t remember doing homework when I was in Grade 1.  All I remember is a lot of dodgeball and being part of the Jiminy Cricket Club.

She’s ready for Grade 2.  When we got her final report card yesterday we saw that she officially will be allowed in Grade 2.  Phew.  She’s a good solid average student, right where she needs to be.  Perhaps a little heavy on the jibber-jabbering in class.  But still.

So we’re all done Grade 1. It feels like a big milestone.

It was surprisingly emotional picking her up yesterday.  A few of us parents hung by the doors a while saying goodbye to her teacher as the kids played in the afternoon sun.  I just needed to be in the moment a little longer.  And let the pride and awe I felt for my six-year old daughter – and all she’s accomplished – stir in with the breeze.

That’s our girl.

The Fear of Death by Drowning

I’m trying to not be over-dramatic about how spectacularly bad my swim was in last weekend’s triathlon.

But it’s tough.  Because my swim really was spectacularly bad.

To my credit, when we piled into the car at 6:15 last Sunday morning at the condo in Kimberley for the 20 minute drive to Wasa Lake, the air temperature read 3 degrees.

Why didn’t we bring our parkas again?

Yep, 3 degrees. And it was cloudy and damp.

Not ideal conditions for a swim in a lake in the spring in Canada.

Oddly, as we walked our bikes into the transition area, I felt calm.  I’d done a quick swim in the lake the day before.  This was necessary to prepare my brain synapses for the shock-and-awe campaign that was about to be inflicted on my body.  The prep swim wasn’t super-fun, but it was bearable and functional.  Plus, I figured, I’ve done this more than a few times now.  I know the open water swim is a bit scary and first.  But experience tells me I always end up finding my rhythm and doing just fine.


As it turned out, this time…not so much.

For the 8:00 a.m. start, I employed my usual strategy of hanging back on the shore and letting all the fasties go ahead.  Then I waded in to my waist, muttered some expletives to myself, and finally pushed off into the murky, 12-degree water.  I’ll give myself a minute of breaststroke, I thought, to find a path. Get a feel for the cold.  Fall into a rhythm.  Then I’ll start to crawl.

Long story short?  There was no rhythm.  And there was very little crawling.

Within minutes, my breathing became shallow and constricted.  My neck and chest felt like they were closing in and being crushed by the tightness of my wetsuit.  Each time I put my face in the cold water, something in me panicked.  I couldn’t – could not – get enough air.    I felt I was stuck treading water about 50 metres from shore, wheezing like a chain-smoker.

Now, I’m into perseverance.  I can generally “atta-girl” myself through most situations.  But this was a rare time that I found myself in “I really don’t think I can do this” territory.  I can’t quite reconstruct what exactly happened to me mentally out there.  But it was primal and scary.  Not pretty.

As I spiraled in new-found depths of panic, I found myself thinking of my daughters.  And what a really stupid way this would be to die.  I’m not even kidding.  Just call in the canoe, I said to myself.  Throw in the towel.  Get a tow back to shore.  There are many things more important than this.

But on I wheezed, spluttered and splashed.  Slowly and unsteadily I advanced the distance.  Around the final bend, I glued my eyes to the huge orange buoy that was the blessed finish-line on the shore.

As I stumbled out of the lake – not far from the back of the pack – there was no joy or relief.  There was just numbness (literally and figuratively).  And a touch of delirium.  There was also an inner voice screaming “get me the eff out of this chest-crushing wetsuit“.  I reached behind my back, but my frozen hands couldn’t find the wetsuit zipper cord.

“I can’t find the thing,” I started saying out loud, over and over.

I heard my husband cheering my name on the beach.

“I can’t find the thing,” I called back.  He looked a little concerned.

I walked slowly up the beach.  A smiling volunteer clapped. “Great job!!” he cheered.  As I got closer, his smile vanished.  “Are you ok?” he said.

“I can’t find the thing,”  I said.  “I can’t find the thing.”

“You’re ok,” he said as he unzipped me.  “You’re ok.”

Turns out I was ok.  Once out of that god-forsaken, frozen, as-it-turned-out-close-to-regulation-temperature-for-cancelling-the-swim-as-per-important-Triathlon-Canada-guy-rules, water I was ok.  I got on my bike and rode. Fast.  I ran the distance on the frozen-stumps-that-had-become-my-feet.  That part all was ok.  Better than ok.

So a little dramatic?!  Possibly.  But the fear of death by drowning will do that to a girl.

Freestyle Training, baby. Yeah.

I figure that 21 days before competing in a triathlon is a good time to actually get on a real bike.

I’ve been feeling pretty relaxed about my race on June 9th.  There’s been no particular “triathlon” training.

You see, I’ve been training constantly for the last couple of years.  For things specific and things not.  You know, for life.  There’s been a lot of jumping around in my basement.  A lot of lifting, pulling and pushing of heavy things.  There’s been a lot of running, sometimes fast and sometimes long.  There’s been spinning on a fake bike that doesn’t move.

Somewhere in me I just feel ready. Like I can do this.

I figure I’ve been Freestyle Training.  I capitalize that because it sounds like a thing.  I’ve been doing a whole bunch of moving and sweating in various forms.  Along the way, I’ve improved the capacity of my lungs, my muscles, and my belief in myself.

Freestyle Training.  Yeah, I like that.  Just move…a lot.  Enough that you sweat and breathe heavily.  Don’t over think it.  Then at some point, sign up for a race and see how it all translates.

Does it work?  No clue.  But I’ll let you know.

In this highly scientific approach, though, at some point it’s good to practice the actual movements the race will require.  Like get on real bike.  Or maybe go for a swim.

So for the first time in ages, last week that’s what I did.  I got my bike down from the roof of the garage (meaning my husband did).  I checked the tires “and stuff” (meaning my husband did).  I dug up my bike shoes and helmet (I figured that part out myself). Then at 6:00 a.m. last Sunday, I planted my butt on my beautiful, yellow, almost-10-year-old, road bike and took it for a spin.

It all came back to me.  My toes automatically clipped in and out of the pedals.  I didn’t fall down sideways into a heap at road-crossings.  I flipped up and down my gears, by instinct, as the road rose and fell.  My breathing and cadence quickly found a pattern.  I’d forgotten, though, how cold it is at 6:00 a.m. in May in Calgary, when whipping along a rural road on your bike into the wind.  My head and fingers froze.  My feet too.  You don’t get that when sitting on a fake bike in your basement.  Oh well, these are the things that happen when you’re going at the speed of light.

The ride was good.  So was the one this morning, which I followed with jello-legged run.  And, hey, I’ve gone for two swims (two!).  They felt pretty good as well.

I figure I’ll doing this sort of thing for a few more weeks. Then I’ll arrive at the lake shore in my wetsuit on race day, poised for glory.   Or something like that.

Freestyle Training, baby.  Yeah.