Monday, December 29, 2008

Snowshoe Adventure

Photos from our snowshoe at Joffrey Lakes, just north of Whistler. Breaking trail for 3.5 hrs, with some pretty solid climbs and sketchy descents, followed by an epic 45km journey in the pitch dark up a snow-covered, pot-holed ridden road in search of a hidden hot springs. Armed with head-lamps and swim suits, we trudged through the dark forest to find the springs (we probably didn't even need the lamps as the steam emanating from the woods was enough of a sign). It was a long day, but definitely another memorable annual Whistler snowshoe for the four of us.

Piping hot sulphur bath in the middle of nowhere = heaven

Oh, and before someone comments on the beer can behind me, that was NOT mine!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

More Snow!

I love my new camera!! Thank you, Adam, for the early-Christmas prezzie!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Early Christmas

Last weekend I couldn't wait for the snow to fall but after a week (a long week) of indoor training, I am ready to say goodbye to the white stuff. However, I don't think it is going anywhere anytime soon. We got another big dumping last night and it has just begun to come down pretty heavily again tonight, so the slushy runs and roller rides will continue. Good thing I have now progressed to riding with the remote in hand. 

I got myself a rather unexpected early Christmas present this week: A NEW BIKE! After last week's bike fit we determined that my current bike is too big for me. We were able to make some adjustments to come close to the position I will ride on the new bike, but we were still a little limited with the current frame. And, it turned out the new Gallium Pro wouldn't be available in my size until the New Year, so, I went in search of a smaller Argon frame and found "Big Blue" at a shop in Vic. I am a little sad to say goodbye to my previous Gallium as I only got to race it once, in Beijing (and as Adam so kindly pointed out, I didn't even get to race 40km on it..... thanks ;-)  But, it will always be special to me and I'll definitely be keeping it around. 
Anyway, Blue and I are a great fit and we look forward to getting to know each other quite well this winter. 

There has been lots of excitement outside of training... Adam IS HERE and we had our annual "Christmas at Wendy's" last night. It always seems to be a tradition to celebrate it a few days early as it's hard to coordinate plans for December 25, but I will never complain about two chances to open presents and eat yummy treats. 

Opening one of my many poodle gifts

Adam and I are off to Vancouver on Tuesday, so if I don't get the chance to post again before Christmas, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

SNOW in Victoria!

We had some REAL snow last night which I had been looking forward to for days. I have to call it "real" because it was actually much more than the than the typical handful of fluffy raindrops that Victorians refer to as snow. And, I am sure this dumping had Victoria's one city snowplow working overtime. 

I couldn't wait to go for a snowy cross ride this morning, but woke up to a blizzard with a windchill of about -20. Those conditions would pretty much take all the fun out of the ride, so, rollers and trainer it was. But, I did have a great run (or shuffle) outside along the waterfront. It was a neat atmosphere with families, dogs and kids walking and sledding everywhere, and hardly any cars on the road. Sadly, I couldn't do my hill strides at Beacon Hill as there were a few too many toboggans....not to mention sheer ice on the hill!

Training continues to roll along and I am feeling stronger every week. I am getting mentally prepared for most of my training this week to be indoors as the lovely white stuff looks like it will stick around. I may need to plan better for the indoor rides so I have some DVDs on hand. I am getting more comfortable on the rollers and can now safely drink from my waterbottle and wipe off sweat without a massive fear of crashing, but grabbing the remote to scroll through the channels is still out of the question. Not wanting to hop off the bike this morning, I spent much too long watching Hour of Power, and I do NOT recommend this program for helping time pass quickly on rides. Not at all. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bike Fit

To stick with the theme of changes for 2009, I had a proper bike fit done today by Don at Fort Street Cycles and Joel. My position on the bike is something I haven't looked at in years and as a result, I have been riding the same position as the days when I had back pain, with a big stack of headset spacers. And, somehow over the years, my saddle height has drifted down, which probably didn't help my knee injuries this year. I am a little embarrassed that I haven't had my position assessed in quite awhile, but also excited that there is quite a lot of room for improvement. 

We're basically going to start from scratch, but we will have to ease my body into the new position, so the changes will happen in increments over the new few weeks. We also discovered that my frame is actually too big for me, so my wonderful sponsor, Argon 18 has agreed to send out a new frame next week. This bike fit comes at the right time as Argon has just released an update on the Gallium, their top-of-the-line road frame. The Gallium Pro will be equally stiff and speedy as the Gallium, but just a little lighter.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Quinoa Cookies

You know I am back to training when I put my pj's on at 5pm without a second thought. One nice thing about the shorter days is that I am forced to finish training before the early sunset, so my evenings are rather relaxing. 
Tonight I finished my ride on the rollers at 4:30, ate dinner just after 5, lounged around and baked some cookies a little later. Yes, I am a big NERD sometimes. 

These quinoa cookies are fairly healthy and tasty. They may be a little too healthy-tasting for someone needing a real treat, but packed up in your jersey on a long ride, they would be perfect! I will test them out on my ride tomorrow just to be sure ;-)

My inspiration came from an ingredient that I actually really dislike. I have had this box of quinoa flakes sitting around for too long, but it wasn't until this morning that I finally came to the realization that as much as I love quinoa, I hate the flakes. I find they taste nothing like quinoa, with a chalky taste and texture. I have tried drowning them in agave nectar, adding frozen fruit and even some dark chocolate chips one morning, but could never make them palatable. I found a recipe on the back of the box that called for a full-cup of this stuff, so I had to at least give it a try. And, I figured you can't really go wrong when butter and sugar are involved. So, if you happened to buy a box of this stuff and feel the same way I do, then these are definitely worth a try.

Here's the original recipe and I have added my changes in brackets:

1/2 cup honey (1/3 cup agave nectar)
1/3 cup organic brown sugar
1/2 cup organic butter (I used a little less)
1/2 cup organic peanut butter (almond butter would be good too)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
3/4 cup quinoa flakes (1 cup....need to use them up!)
3/4 cup rice flour (stone ground whole wheat flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup nuts (walnuts)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat honey, brown sugar, butter, peanut butter and vanilla in a medium bowl until creamy. Combine flour, quinoa flakes, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Add to mixture and beat until well blended. Add nuts. (at this stage, I had to add a little almond milk and extra nut butter to make the batter sticky enough). Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes, or until light golden brown (I baked them until they were crispy on the bottom but still soft on top). 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rolling Along

This week has flown by, and I am thinking I am going to be saying that for the next month, and then the next, and before I know it, I will be on the start line at my first World Cup. Eeek! 
First up though is the Fast Triathlon in Brazil on January 11th. It's a team-format series of three super-super-sprint races. I haven't raced since August 18th so this will break up the lengthy stretch between races. As much as I am looking forward to it, I am quite glad that it's still a month away as my speediness seems to be hiding these days.

Training is going well.... there isn't too much excitement to report. I am just getting the work done without putting too much focus on the numbers. Some days I have been feeling strong, and others I think the lifeguards are almost ready to do a rescue. Over the years I have learned not to read too much into the paces, times, speeds at this time of year, and just to roll along and put in the work. 

CHEERS, to a good first week of training!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Monday was the start of my winter program and I am now settling in to a great routine. I can't remember the last time I have been this excited to get back to training so I am taking that as a good sign. The program for the month is fairly simple, focusing on frequency in the pool, and building strength across the three sports. I have kept fairly active over the past few months so it isn't a massive shock to my body, as is often the case when I start back after a break. I have made a lot of changes since the summer and I don't know if it's because change is refreshing, or because I feel very confident in my decisions, but I am simply loving my training right now. 

The biggest change I've made is my coaching situation. After three incredible, fun and successful years with Siri and her squad, I have made the decision to work with Joel Filliol and his group in Victoria. It was a difficult decision, but I felt it was time for a change and I felt very strongly that this was the right place for me at this point in my career. Thankfully, Coach Joel and the group welcomed me, so as long as I can toughen up and handle a daily dose of teasing from the guys, I think I should be just fine ;-)

Outside of triathlon, life is great. Christmas has absolutely exploded at Wendy's house and there are already a million presents under the tree. We have had fun decorating and I don't think there is one inch of this place that doesn't have some sort of festive knick-knack. 

My quilt is slowly but surely coming along. All the blocks are sewn together so next up is the borders and then the backing. I really hope to get this done by the weekend so I can start to use it.... Ok, the real reason is I am dying to start on my next project!

And, I am saving the best news for last.... 

We have a special guest staying at the house right now: NAPOLEON! He might be the world's most lovable chihuahua, such a sweetheart and a real character. From the extra long tongue, to the venison breath, to the snorts at night, he is one of a kind and it's a treat to have him around the house this week. 

Friday, November 28, 2008

7 Years Later...

....I finally try rollers. 

Thanks to Simon's gentle persuasion, I bought a set tonight and hopped on before I had the chance to get nervous and chicken out. Yes, I am a little embarrassed to admit that since starting the sport years ago, I have never tried rollers, always opting for the trainer. 

I was actually really excited to pick them up, feeling as though I had this great new toy. They were immediately taken out of the box once I got home and I was ready to ride. I was VERY shaky at first and wouldn't let go of the couch (or the countertop....or both...) for quite some time. It also didn't help that I FLATTED while on there! (I think it's time to get new trainer tires!) Once I worked up the courage to let go, I was surprised how quickly I got the hang of it. Within a few minutes the TV was on and I was more or less comfortable. 

I am trying to post a funny video of some screaming and laughing, but I'm relatively new to blogger and I can't quite figure it out just yet...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Christmas Baking

Wendy and I made a lot of treats last night. Although it was great fun with a ridiculous amount sampling and bowl-licking, the countertop and freezer are now packed with treats.....and Christmas is still a month away. I was able to cram a bag of cookies in my jersey to give to Tiff on our ride today and Wendy has plans to give away a tin or two this weekend. So, between the giving and the eating, the house should be back to it's normal picture of health within the week.

How do you make pure dark chocolate bad for you? ADD MARSHMALLOWS!

Don't lick your hands, Wendy!

The macaroons (my favourite)

Gingerbread POODLES

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Paula Radcliffe, one of my favourite sportswomen, really has got it right.

"In endurance running, it's not about pumping lottery money in. It's about providing training opportunities, physiotherapy back-up and a little bit of encouragement."

Paula Radcliffe to invite the best of Britain's emerging talent to train with her in the Pyrenees

Paula Radcliffe is ready to play the perfect hostess by welcoming Britain's up-and-coming runners to her training base at Font Romeu in the Pyrenees. By Tom Knight

As a member of the superstar panel chaired by Lord Coe now helping to advise Ian Stewart as UK Athletics' new head of endurance, Radcliffe said she would be happy to give youngsters an insight on her unrivalled work ethic and by guiding them round the trails that have helped her become the world's finest marathon runner.

She said the reason it has not happened before is that no one ever asked.

One of Stewart's plans to inject new enthusiasm into Britain's prospects for London 2012 is to return to the squad training system that worked so well in the Seventies and Eighties.

Radcliffe said: "Ian has always said he couldn't believe that people don't want to come and train with me.

"I am in Font Romeu, on and off, for six months of the year and I would love to show people round, to co-ordinate squad training sessions and see British distance running get somewhere.

"When I was coming through as a junior, we went on squad training weekends. When you run with a squad, it pushes you.

"In endurance running, it's not about pumping lottery money in. It's about providing training opportunities, physiotherapy back-up and a little bit of encouragement.

"It's not that we don't have the talent in Britain. I think we do. But we need to show people what they need to do and perhaps take them out of their comfort zone.

"Font Romeu isn't the centre of things. It's a place you go to for training."

Asked if youngsters might feel intimidated about asking an athlete of her stature for help, Radcliffe said: "I'm not that unapproachable but I would probably have thought that about Liz McColgan when I was a junior.

"At the same time, I would still have grabbed the chance to go and train with her and to see what she was doing."

Radcliffe and McColgan, who is also on Coe's panel, have already discussed what they can do to help Britain's prospects and their ideas include sending runners to train with the former world record holder, Steve Jones in Boulder, Colorado.

For Radcliffe, an improvement in Britain's fortunes might have to mean a change of approach.

"We seem to have this mentality in Britain that says you should save it until you are a senior and not push things too much when you are young," she said.

"I'm not saying you should be running marathons at 18, but you have to know where you are heading and be training hard, not in terms of mileage but quality from the age of 15."

Radcliffe is expected to be named next week in the women's field for April's London Marathon.

The men's field, announced yesterday, includes the three medallists from the Beijing Olympics as well as Martin Lel, the three-time champion aiming for a record fourth victory.

The online article can be found here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Back to Routine

No more chocolate for breakfast. No more giggling all day. No more fudge for lunch. No more late nights with wine....

Yes, Rinny has left Canada. So sad!!

We had a great week together and I was able to show her my favourite parts of BC: Whistler, Victoria and Vancouver. Unfortunately she was on a break from training so I couldn't show-off our incredible training locations. But, because she was on holiday, the treat indulgences and good times were at an all-time high....for both of us!

I have one more week until my structured winter training begins and I am determined to get into a routine. So far it hasn't been overly difficult to get back to early bedtime and morning swims as my week with Rinny has left me exhausted; last night I was in bed by 8pm. I also have to admit that a week of unrestraint and indulgence has left me feeling a little gross, so I am trying to get back to healthy eating. I have had my moments of total relapse (spoon in the Nutella jar today), but I made a really tasty Roasted Pumpkin Salad for dinner tonight, with broccoli on the side. The dressing really made this salad. It was a puree of sunflower seeds, olive oil, lemon juice, agave nectar and a big handful of cilantro. I really recommend trying this salad, or at least making this dressing for another veggie dish. 

Today I did my first bike-run workout since the summer. I was a total wimp and didn't want to brave the somewhat chilly 8-degree weather, so I hopped on the trainer for an hour session. I then went for my favourite thirty-minute run loop and checked-in with my peacock friends at the park. 

Getting back to routine also means getting my quilt finished this week. Progress has been slow lately but I have done most of the intricate blocks so now it is piecing it all together.  I will post up some photos once I get it finished. 

Tomorrow night will be spent making Christmas goodies with Wendy. Yes, I realize Christmas is still a month away, but when it comes to holidays, I am known to extend the festivities as long as possible (don't forget, I am the one who carved the pumpkins so early that they rotted!).

More soon!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Annabel's Cake

Actually, this is Queen Elizabeth's cake, but it's a guest recipe from Annabel Luxford. I haven't made this myself, but I know this Aussie likes her sweets A LOT (as you can see), so I am sure it is worth a try. 

Thank you for the recipe, Bella!


-160g dates, chopped
-1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
-125g unsalted butter, softened
-230g caster sugar
-1 egg
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-2 cups self raising flour

Pre heat the over to 180C. Line and lightly grease a 20cm cake tin.
Put the dates and bicarbonate soda in a bowl. Add 1 cup boiling water, stir to combine and set aside for 15 minutes, stirring often until the dates have softened and absorbed most of the water. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric beater until pale and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add half the flour and half of the date mixture and beat to combine, then add the remaining flour and date mixture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, and bake for approx 40-50 minutes. Test if the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre. It is cooked if it comes out dry and clean. Remove cake from the over and leave in the tin while preparing the icing. Icing with desiccated coconut works well, as does cream cheese icing. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Snow, Laughs, and Rainbows


Aussie snowshoes

Helping out with the Olympic construction

Rinny getting friendly with the candy shop bear 

Loving the sun!

The most amazing rainbow (over Mayne Island)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Whistler Adventures

Rinny trapped in the bubble

Riding the lift in style

Vinny and Sarah Groff

Introducing Rinny to the delicious beaver tail

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Goodbye, Freddy!

Sadly, I had to say goodbye this afternoon to Adam and everything else great in Fredericton. 
I had a wonderful two weeks and would have blogged more if the internet wasn't so SLOW (by the end, I gave up on the city-wide free wireless and resorted to emailing from the miniscule keyboard on my Blackberry. This proved to be much faster.).

My two weeks in NB absolutely flew by. Adam was busy with school in the mornings and evenings, so I kept myself busy with my own Freddy adventures: craft fairs, swimming with the varsity team, cooking, baking, reading and even stocking up on fabrics and patterns at Fabricville (Fabricland's east coast sister store, but much, much better selection...I cannot wait to get sewing again!)

I turned Adam into a triathlete again as he often joined me on a biking or running adventures during his "study breaks." Our daytime runs were on the trails and the dark evening runs were our urban adventures where we would run the streets, admiring the incredible old homes in the historic district. Adam even joined me a few times in the pool for some swims. He gets me laughing so hard at times, I really should wear a noseplug. We are often swimming along nice and cruisey during warm-up when I look over and realize he has moved over to the next lane and is racing me. He knows the only way he can win right now is if he makes me laugh and this is not hard to do when I see him next to me gunning it. On more than one occasion in every swim session, I am nearly drowning from laughter as he speeds by me, looking over at me the entire time. Upon winning the warm-up "race", he always does his trademark victorious pump of the fists in the air, Phelps-style. At this point, I am usually somewhere halfway down the pool, on my back, grabbing my stomach and trying to breath. Oh, I will miss my swim buddy :-)

Last night was the Law Ball. I haven't been to a semi-formal since...... oh, PROM! And, this turned out to be surprisingly similar to Prom in many ways. Law students work hard, but I truly think they party even harder. The pre-party (drinking), took place in the "woods" (just like prom?) and the actual Ball didn't get going until 11pm. It took Adam and I a couple of cups of coffee at 10pm to get out of our pj's and out the door. It was a blast though and I honestly don't know if I have ever danced that much. I realized two things: I can walk much better in heels than I had thought (maybe my foot-strengthening work is paying off!), and, more importantly, I still remember every lyric and choreographed dance move to Baby Got Back (yes, I am a massive nerd!) The prom night reminiscing continued when I took a trip to the bathroom mid-party; there was vomit all over the floor, some girls were crying, and the cliques were gossiping! It truly was just like the good ol' days!

The dance floor

2am....can we go home now?

Too tired at this point to hold the camera steady!

I'm now spending quite a few hours in the lounge at the Toronto airport waiting for my Vic flight. As sad as it is to leave Freddy, I'm looking forward to getting back to BC. I will spend most of tomorrow catching up on my quilting and getting organized for the week ahead. Rinny arrives in Vancouver on Monday and we are off to Whistler for a few days. YAY! Let's hope for snow because I'm packing my sweet 1980's ski gear.