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...