Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I don't really know what to say in a moment like this.

We have lost an incredible person.

You will be missed tremendously, Pete.

Peter - Our Friend and Colleague

It is with absolute shock and sadness that we have to inform you of the tragic death of our colleague and close friend Peter Holmes.

Peter passed away yesterday in an accident while hiking on a local mountain in Vancouver.

It is ironic in Peter’s line of work as Communications Manager, that words will never be able to describe what he meant to us all and the effect he had on all of those around him. While Peter worked with us for the last nine months, it seems like he was a part of our family since the beginning. Peter was a shining light of happiness and energy and truly touched all our lives in a deep way. We will always treasure his wit and humour. As those of us who knew him well can testify, he was a social butterfly who brought happiness to so many of our lives and those of whom he met on his international travels. Peter loved his job as much as those around him loved him. In only a short period of time he made close and treasured friendships with colleagues, athletes, event organisers and media alike. Anybody who Peter touched in life is for the better.

The triathlon world and all our lives are immeasurably poorer without Peter in it.

This has been a tragic week for the triathlon world. We have lost another family member. May we all rally together to commemorate Peter and Emilio.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gunner Shaw Pics

Here are some of Tony Austin's great photos from yesterday's race. I am still looking for the "swamp" shots so if anyone knows where they can be found, please let me know.

I think I need to take a lesson from Adam in race focus/seriousness. We seem to finish with a different level of intensity.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

One Fine (rainy) Day

The weather has been less than ideal lately. But, then again, I suppose that depends on your definition of ideal. For me, ideal is what it's like in Hawaii or Australia right now so, yes, a bit of a pipedream for Victoria. Everyday I wake up, look out the window and utter a tiny, quiet whimper as I realize that yes, it is 7 degrees and raining.... again.

For those who live on the west coast, you know how wet it has been. I've made the commitment to ride outside this Fall, so for the first year in a very long time, the rollers and trainer are not a permanent fixture of our living room. Instead, our balcony is strewn with the remnants of each days adventures (muddy shoes, filthy cross bike, random soaked bike gear that has yet to make its way to the washer, and even a wet "rain suit" for the scooter). I guess the upside is that our apartment stays remarkably tidy as the balcony becomes the change room. It's good thing it's winter as any company we might have will have no desire to even open that door!

Today I did something unexpected. Adam was racing the Gunner Shaw 10km cross country race at Thetis Lake. This race is honestly epic. Here is the course description: All trails, many tough hills, rocky, rough, always wet - a classic Autumn race. And the race features: Great course with roots, rocks, stumps, puddles, branches, boulders - no whining! I did the race a few years back and I remember doing some serious whining. I was out of shape and had unreasonable expectations. I really was hard on myself after that race and vowed never to do it again. Last night something changed and I emailed Phil to ask if he thought I could do my base run as part of the race. NOT race, just run and enjoy the atmosphere. He writes back saying, "Yes, do the race and feel free to run hard!" I don't like being given options like that and after hearing this I can't just run easy. So, before I knew it, I was committed to a "race"! I had about a 10 minute turnaround between my morning cross ride and the race. Enough time drop one load of wet clothes on the balcony, grab a chocolate croissant and coffee from downstairs and head to Thetis.

This year I had no expectations... other than having fun. It was as yucky as you can imagine out there and I knew what was coming because this race is always mucky, even on drier years. I didn't expect WAIST-DEEP puddles though. Two of them, about 50m long each. Honestly, I am not exaggerating and I will find some photos to document this. I couldn't even run through them, just walked while laughing. And they were friggin' cold. It was hilarious to attempt to find a rhythm with numb logs for legs after each of these mini-lakes. I was amazed though how warm the little puddles felt after this, almost like bath water. And of course in traditional Gunner Shaw style, the race finished with a quick run through the actual lake. When posted, results can be found here.

I had another quick turnaround (and balcony change) before heading off to Starling Lane Winery to talk logistics for the wedding (which is one month today!!). I have to admit, it was a relief to visit the site during the worst possible weather conditions and still find it to be quite lovely. It really is a magical spot and I get goosebumps thinking about what's to come.

I think we should try it before the wedding, just to be sure it's a good one :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

'Tis the Season

...for fragrant INDOOR plants. I realize this is a really random update, but I picked up one of these beautiful paperwhite plants today and the entire house smells amazing. Nothing like a little winter pick-me-up :)

Simple Wedding

When we talked about having a "simple wedding" we should have realized that this is actually an oxymoron. If you are not going down to city hall, eloping to Vegas, or restricting the guest list to immediate family, then you must be prepared to open up a big fat can of bridal worms.

Seriously, there is a lot to think about. Now I know why most couples take over a year to plan their wedding. You've got the dress, the venues, the flowers, the rings, the guest list, the invitations, the food, the bridal party,..... seriously, that is only scratching the surface. With only 5 weeks to go, I don't have the luxury of obsessing over the details and have had to make quite a few quick, on-the-spot decisions that would take a normal bride more than 10 seconds to make. But, I have really been enjoying the process (much more than I thought I would) and I think even the groom is looking forward to this day. Actually, he's probably looking forward to the end of Lauren as "Bridezilla!" I quickly learned that planning weddings or even talking about the details is not exactly his cup of tea. We still have to go for the very unpleasant task of ring shopping and I have a feeling this will feel like dragging a stick through the mud. Shopping is not his idea of a good time, let along jewelry shopping.... for himself!

Thanks to Adam's cousin, Karla for designing the invitations!

Training has been rolling along and I can officially say that the fun and motivation is back. The swim volume and intensity is picking up and I'm splashing my way through about 30km per week. The run is building up with some tempo effort mixed in and the fitness is slowly starting to creep back (that sure is a nice feeling). For riding, I've been out on my cross bike this past week, venturing on some unfamiliar territory: TRAILS. And no, I am not talking about the Goose (Phil has forbid me from riding this non-technical, partly-paved terrain.) I used to consider the Goose off-roading (seriously) so what I have been thrown into this week is seriously beyond what I ever thought I could, or would enjoy doing. Day one was rough and I unclipped and wimpered far too many times. Day 2 was definitely smoother but the trails were less technical... and may have involved some time on the Goose. Cross ride # 3, today, was awesome. Flooded trails, epically steep rocky trails (I am not exaggerating, ask Austin!), and minimal wimpering. I am far from wanting to enter cross races but I am at the point where I enjoy the challenge and am getting braver every ride.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A bit of everything.... and the little white dress.

So apparently blogging has not been my strong suit this fall... It's funny because a lot has been going on, and I have composed many blogs in my mind, but they never seem to have made it through my fingers to the keyboard.

Nevertheless, here's the quick and dirty wrap-up of the last month:

-The move: It was a relatively smooth process but anytime you move all of your possessions on one day, it is tiring and chaotic. But, our new condo has more than enough storage space so every belonging has found a happy home. Yes, the clutter-free life has begun, but we are only in month one of our permanent home so we will see how long this lasts. We are LOVING this place. Honestly, I wake up most mornings, look around and say to Adam, "I can't believe this is our home!" I love to watch the rowers cruise down the Gorge, stroll down the street to the most delicious bakery coffee shop, and just enjoy hanging out in our home! (yes, I am still bursting with excitement!).

-Training: I hit a rough patch earlier this month with a nasty cold (or flu?) that lingered for far too long. I wasn't overly surprised I got sick as life was busy before and after the move. I ended up taking a good 7-day break. The need for this rest was sparked by a combination of the sickness and some mental exhaustion I felt I never kicked after World's in September. So, Phil and I decided taking this rest was the smart call and never once during that week did I regret our decision. I know that when I have no guilt, regret or urge to train I really needed the rest. By the end of the week, I was feeling lazy, sluggish and desperately craving some activity. So, that was a very good sign and I did a 2km swim before heading off to Portland with the training group (Simon, Kyle, Andrew, and coaches Phil and Paulo) for a training camp at the Nike campus. I am on a slightly different focus than the guys, simply getting back to training, continuing with our strength program, and enjoying the change of environment. Portland is a VERY cool city. I could live here no problem, and I promise I did not base this decision around the surprisingly high number of standard poodles prancing around...

The Little White Dress: Adam and I were chatting last week about this Christmas and jokingly said, "why don't we get married this winter?" "Why don't we?" After a series of calls to families and friends, we realized this actually is a great time for a wedding as our families will already be on the west coast and most friends are in town. So, once the ball starting rolling, it picked up speed quickly and before we knew it we had set a date (December 28) and secured two incredible venues. And, to make this occasion seem even more real, I picked a wedding dress (with the help of future-mother-in-law Wendy, and bridesmaid, Tiffany). Wow.... it is really happening!

For now here are a few pics from Portland thus far. Now that I have written a monster blog, this should be the start of consistent blogging.

A gallery in the Pearl District displaying the winners of Portland's best bike commuters.

This bike scared me. The horns were intimidating and the fur felt like it came from a poodle. That is not cool.

No surprise this was one of Adam's favourites...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Untraditional Training

Anybody heard of Aksel Lund Svindal? He's Norwegian and one of the best skiiers in the world. Here he is in action at a recent training camp, on an "unnamed" peak in Chile.

Coach Phil, can we please include more dance videos shoots into our training camps?

I can't wait for Maui!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Ok, that was an exciting night! It seems like we have been waiting an eternity for October 15th, the closing of our condo. We got the call late this afternoon that the sale had closed and our keys were ready for pick-up. Without one second hesitation, Adam and I were in the car. What a feeling it was to walk into the place for the first time. We felt just like kids on Christmas morning, except for the fact that we knew exactly what the prezzie was. I still can't believe this day is finally here!

Sadly, we aren't staying there tonight as by the time we picked up the Uhaul, loaded up our boxes (we are NOT traveling light this trip!), and cleaned the condo, it was dark and we were both exhausted. Tomorrow will be a big day, but I can't wait. Woot-woot!!


Now here's an instrument I could actually play!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rainbow Lake

I know, I know..... I am really overdue for a blog...

I had planned to do a write-up of our hike this weekend in Whistler but Adam beat me to it and as is always the case with his reports, it is entertaining, well-written, and reasonably accurate. So, please check out the story of our hike here.

I do have to point out though that his very brief description of our bear-encounter was not entirely honest. Without being too dramatic (if possible), it was scary. We rounded a bend in the trail and the bear was right in front of us, no more than a few meters away. Adam was leading so he got an especially good look of this guy's teeth, claws, and overall massive stature. Thankfully, Adam's twiggy legs weren't an appetizing snack and the bear bolted into the bushes. Meanwhile, the two of us RAN away from him. Yes, this is what you are NOT supposed to do when you encounter a bear, but it was our immediate reaction. Again, this bear was BIG and he snarled at us (not quite a "guffaw" as Adam so calmly described). The bear disappeared far into the bush so we were able to continue our run, but were sure to sing and speak loudly for the rest of the time.

Friday, October 9, 2009

7systems @ Frontrunners

Stop by Frontrunners tomorrow between 10am and 5pm to check out the 7systems booth. Kyle Jones and Jen Maclean will be there to hand out free samples.

It's definitely worth a try. I have been using it for almost two years and have noticed significant improvements in energy levels and recovery, as well as a stronger immune system.

Please check out 7systems for all the info... or stop by the booth!

Monday, October 5, 2009


Long overdue blog to follow...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Off-Season Pain Train

Two years ago I finished the Grouse Grind Mountain Race and the first words out of my mouth were, "I'm NEVER doing that again." (it's 2.9km up Grouse Mountain, climbing 2,800 ft, with an average grade of 30%). Of course once my heart rate dropped and I could breath properly, I began to quietly plot my return to the mountain. Unfortunately last year I couldn't make my comeback as my elbow was broken after Beijing (you need both arms for this race), but I did return in the off-season with my sister, Amanda and her husband, Rob for a family "fun" race (I think I documented this event in a previous blog). There was trash-talking and tactics, but in the end, it was just a fun, hard scramble up the mountain. I didn't run a stellar time that day, but I was already thinking ahead to the race the following year, hoping that our triathlon schedule would allow me to return to Grind Race. It actually couldn't have worked out better, with the last race of the season one week ago. The preparation wasn't ideal (I would have like to done some uphill training/stair climbing), but I was just as excited as I was for any other race (maybe even a little more so...).

Last night I was able to talk Amanda into doing the race. She is anything but competitive when it comes to sports but she is fit and loves to hike the Grind most weekends. She actually did the hike yesterday, setting a huge personal best of 38-minutes. So, of course she HAD to race in the elite wave, right?! I think she felt a little out of place at the starting gate and didn't find my only race tip overly reassuring: "run to the trailhead as FAST as you can!" She found some serious competitive fire though and crushed her previous time, running 37:37, finishing 8th. What's UP! I think this was her first experience visiting that "special place" in the world of hurt... I couldn't be more proud :)

I didn't achieve my dream goal for this race, but I ran a best time (32:56), finishing 3rd. It was a more positive experience than the first time and I actually enjoyed moments of it. The highlight was definitely my extreme lack of coordination in the final quarter. There were a couple sections near the top that are runable, but after leaning over, power-hiking for the previous 30 minutes, my quads were more tired than I had anticipated. I went to lift my leg over a tiny rock and clipped it, sending me face-first into the dirty muck. This happened twice in a row...(to the guy behind me, I apologize for blocking the entire path with my flailing body). I finished with more mud on my hands and knees than I would have liked, but this time I had a smile on my face and once again, began to look forward to next year's race!

The Groves girls: muddy, stinky, sweaty, sore...but so happy to be done!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Grand Final

This will be a quick note as I am sitting at an internet cafe at Manly Beach, in Sydney.

I am definitely disappointed with yesterday's race, the Grand Final of the World Championship Series, with a 19th place finish. The swim really set the tone for the day, with the lead group swimming off course through the choppy waters. The pack behind followed and was pushed even more off course with the strong currents. Unfortunately I was stuck in the thick of things and didn't have many options but to stick with those in front of me. By the end of the swim, it was one long string consisting of nearly all of the 45 women and I was sitting in around 25-30th place in this bunch. By the time we were on the bikes, it was clear that there were three distinct packs and I was in the third group. I had about twelve or so other women in my pack and for the most part, we were not organized. I didn't have the strongest cycling legs yesterday but I put out what I could. We lost time to both packs ahead and were over two minutes behind the lead group by the end of the ride. As always, I did my best to salvage what I could of the race and was able to run into the top-20. It wasn't one of my better runs this season, but it's been a long year and I was pleased to finish up with a 12th place in the World Championship Series Rankings.

I always find it special to wear my red swim suit and represent Canada at a World Championship event. Thanks so much to everyone cheering out there! Hearing some familar voices really made a difference and if I wasn't working so hard, I would have given you a smile and/or wave!!

I'm not quite sure what is next for me, as far as training and racing goes. I'm going to take a few days off to decide if I want to jump in a few "fun" events.... or catch up on the "other" areas of my life (moving, quilting, planning a wedding... :)

For now, I am spending couple of days touring Sydney with Simon and Kim. Sightseeing, shopping, eating meat pies, drinking too many coffees is definitely on the to-do list. Photos to come!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

At the Petting Zoo

I'd love to write the long, romantic version of what happened on my Birthday, yesterday at Beacon Hill park, but I am about to board a plane to Australia, so, this will have to be the short & sweet recap: Adam and I were out for a run along the waterfront just before dinner. It was Adam's first run since the epic Rockies race and he wasn't even sure he would be able to run. After about five minutes, he had to stop as his legs just weren't ready yet. He urged me to keep going but yelled, "meet me at the petting zoo!!!" as I ran away. At the end of my run we met up by my favourite stretching spot, in front of the white peacock's pen. He got down on one knee.....and asked me to marry him!! I started crying....until he said, "say SOMETHING!!"


Off to Australia now... with a ring on my finger!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I love all my fans equally....

...but some more than others.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tackling Nationals...and the Rockies

So I figure I am definitely in need of an update now as LOTS has been going on over the last few days.

I raced National Championships in Kelowna on the weekend, winning the race and my 2nd National title. It was wonderful to share this win with my parents, sister, aunt and uncle (as well as quite a few gorgeous standard poodles along the sidelines).

I knew my swim was key in this race as the field was small and there were a handful of strong swimmers. I had a clear start, and within the first 100 metres, hopped on Kathy Tremblay's feet. There was a bit of rough jockeying for position around the first couple of turn buoys (everyone seemed to want Kathy's feet!) By the end of the first lap I was right up there with the leaders and I could see we had a gap on the rest of the field. I was positioned near the back of the 5 other women in the group and had a very sweet draft for the second lap. It was definitely a good swim for me and I was right where I had wanted to be. The six of us worked together on the bike and the pace was steady. Overall, the bike was relatively uneventful and we entered T2 as one pack. I had a great transition and immediately took the lead on the run. Kathy ran up to me and then Paula joined us. I wasn't feeling especially great and as much as I wanted to "hit-it" from the start, my legs just wouldn't let me. I felt better as we went along and even tried a couple small surges to see if Kathy would respond. And she did. Everytime. It wasn't until the final lap that I started to think ahead towards the finish and when I would really commit to a serious surge. With about 300 metres to go I picked it up. We've done some fast 400's on the track and I knew that if I could run fast at the end of a workout on trashed legs, I could probably survive a final push in this race. I opened a small gap on some of the tight turns and carried the speed up the hill on the bridge. I didn't look back until I was nearing the line because I know Kathy is experienced... and has speed!! I didn't have much time to celebrate in the finish chute, but that's ok, because I was just so happy to be able to stop running!!

The full results can be found here. I lost my timing chip during the swim (Ogopogo must have needed a snack), so my actual splits are an estimate based off the other women in my pack.

And, now for the really exciting stuff... Adam and his race partner, Aaron Heidt have just finished day 3 of the TransRockies Run. They had a rocky start on Day 1, but won the stage yesterday and finished 2nd today. In the general classification they are in 4th position with three stages left, so a podium finish is definitely not out of the question. These two have had some a few hiccups along the way (dehydration, deep blisters, smashed-in teeth, stitches,...), but isn't that all part of the experience?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009