Foolish - A Very Dark Place Review

As soon as I hit send, I knew it was a mistake. Sufferfest Studios put the call out on Twitter for bloggers keen to preview A Very Dark Place (AVDP) and I jumped, jumped faster than AVDP asks of you- I mean, who doesn't want a free Sufferfest video? When I run, I compose my blogs in my head. When I suffer, I utter profanities and have no glucose in my brain to think up anything intelligent to say. You know, like all the witty bits AVDP bestows upon you, making you chuckle but know, oh *bleep*, that sarcastic Minister of Agony in Singapore just insulted me, better get a move on.

Attempt #1 - What, you mean I suffered more than once? Let me explain. 38 minutes into attempt #1, Mallory is in her room screaming and no longer sleeping.. Yes, clearly we have a very strong mother-daughter bond as she was screaming for the both of us. I didn't think it was fair to the review process that after I settled her back to sleep, and took much longer than the allotted three minute rest, to get back on the bike and finish what I started. I wanted to so bad knowing now that I would have to enter AVDP again tomorrow to restart and complete the suffering. But, after 38 minutes I knew this much about AVDP:
  • The recovery footage is beautiful as always - not suffering as intensely I tend to notice it more.
  • Do not do AVDP if you are still recovering from a leg workout you did Monday. In fact, only do AVDP on well rested legs.
  • Do not attempt to suffer if there is not another adult in the house to tend to your teething toddler.
  • As with any of the Sufferfest videos, you will want to get back on your bike and kick your own ass in AVDP to prove to yourself you are not weak, just a sucker for your crying child.

Attempt #2 - I did it, I got back on the bike for another bout of AVDP. My legs were in *slightly* less agony than the day before and I was *slightly* more optimistic that I could conquer the workout. I was also *slightly* more aware of the suffering to come. If you're *slightly* clueless about what I'm referring to you have two options: A) remain blissfully ignorant of Sufferlandria, its subjects, and our quest to KYA or B) purchase AVDP and get so close to your stem you can lick the sweat off it in hopes of recovering some of the salts you've lost. Here's what I know about AVDP after completing the full workout.
  • There's a part on the cobblestones I think, it was getting pretty foggy at that point so I can't be sure.
  • Your spouse sitting next to you on the couch reading the news is extremely irritating and you might yell at them to get out of your face. Their excuse that they are going for a run later will only irritate your further as a 30 minute run is no where near the suffering happening in AVDP.
  • The intervals will beat your ass, but that's ok, because then you can kick someone else's.
  • If you have any thoughts of being inducted into the royal ranks of Sufferlandria you should attempt the current six videos and not wait for AVDP. This is stupid, also respectable, but mostly stupid.
So, to sum up AVDP. You want this badly. You want to know you're doing something many fear to do. You want to spend the rest of the day in a foggy haze finding ways to recover and be attentive to your child. You want to wonder how on earth you're going to do a 5km road race the next day and post any sort of respectable time. In all honestly, I'm anxiously awaiting November for the full woman video for a real good ass-kicking.


Four Weeks

This is my scale, we've been friends lately.

Well, it's been four weeks since we started the new eating plan as outline in my previous blog post. I can decidedly say, wow, who knew I ate so much food? I have lost six (no, not a typo) in four weeks. So was I starving? No. Have any food cravings? No - well yes. I ate crappy one or two days and couldn't wait to have a salad. In fact, it's been a few days since I've had a salad and all I can think about it eating a crunchy, leafy, salad. I now crave salads. All those other food cravings, dessert, salt, dairy. Gone. I don't even think I'm looking forward to brunch on Sunday because I'm afraid of a food hangover. A what? Basically it's when you eat quantities or types of food you don't normally and thus feel sluggish, bloated, and crummy as a result. Ok, I am really looking forward to a waffle but I can see myself passing up the bacon and sausage in favour for an omlette loaded with veggies.

This has been a truly eye opening experience for me. I have never consciously tried to lose weight by modifying my diet - just by increasing my exercise. Below is a picture taken July 25, 2009 - one month before our wedding (no, I did not pay for a moustache ride.) Overlooking that and the hair curlers, I want you to look closely at my blue shorts, my tight blue shorts and while we're at it the yellow shirt isn't all that slimming.

Now I want you to look closely at those same blue shorts. Sure, in two years the fabric could have stretched but this is me today, nearly eight pounds lighter than I was at my wedding. The yellow shirt has since left my possession but I can tell you that the mocha coloured top I was wearing today isn't deceivingly slimming in photos - I'm just that skinny.

So now what? Keep eating roughly 1400 calories a day or beef it up to maintain my current weight? As the schedule calls for some serious increase in mileage training for Vegas and I plan to work harder at building my muscle mass I am going to opt for roughly 1600 calories a day. I've been using My Fitness Pal on the iphone and loving it. It's handy dandy so to speak. I don't obsessively count every calorie but I put in the numbers four to five times a week and this is usually a good base to understand what I'm eating and the calories food packs. I can look at the end of the day and say hey, I've got some wiggle room, I'm going to have some popcorn, or pretzels, or chocolate.

Building mass the mom way.

I am not a chocoholic. A chipoholic yes but chocolate has to be well timed and stunningly delicious. Today such a treat happened. In celebration of four weeks well done and to ward off pms symptoms I picked Stu and I up some chocolate from the local drug store. Mmm, dark chocolate and raspberries combined, thank you Theobroma. I could perfectly well eat this monthly with a good cup of joe and I in fact intend to do that. Believe me, this is one of those good intentions I will follow through with.


Feedback: What a picture can tell you

Compete in a multi-sport event. Check. Duathlon come and gone here's what I know. If there's a giant hill on the course, practice running hills, a lot of hills. You can catch people on the bike but don't ever let someone try and draft you up a hill - attack and leave them in your dust. Running two kilometres can be especially trying and painful though still quick.

1st Run: 40:42.50 Bike: 44:43.60 2nd Run: 10:53.60 Total Time: 1:36:19.70

The duathlon was a great success. No, I didn't win. No, I didn't place in my age category. No, I didn't place fourth and win a coveted Sufferfest video. But... I was 9th overall female and 43rd overall participant. Woo Hoo! It was my final run where I dropped the ball and from the pictures you can see why - I'm exhausted. I made a huge mistake and forgot to put my electrolyte tabs at transition. I could feel myself having to push on the bike even on the downhill and didn't have the gusto in the legs to catch the girl ahead of me and my legs were not jello, but puddles on the run and I could feel my body screaming - salt!!! Lesson learned.

I'm not usually crazy about my race photos because I don't look all that good. Maybe it's because they're taken at the end of the course when I'm all out of energy and could care less about looking good. Truth be told, I do care though what that picture can tell me. My mom snapped up some shots of me with less than a kilometre to go in the race. Stu would like to tell you that the buckling in my knees is camber and that it was helping me negotiate the curves in the final part of the course. I can tell you that I'm tired, collapsing in my hips, bending at the waist, and generally exerting energy in a bunch of negative ways. Just look at my arms, nothing relaxed and smooth there - lots of tension built up and the energy should be going to my legs. Well I know what to do about all of that so back to the exercises I was slightly (ok completely) neglecting leading up to the race focusing instead on cardio. Bad Kourtney.

Looking somewhat better seconds before.

And what of the actual race? Loved it, loved it, loved it - except the giant hill. Alberta needs more duathlons. My favorite part of the whole race was the bike. Despite the head wind and despite posting my worst time on the course (even factoring in transition times) I felt as though I had the best ride of my life. I felt strong, steady, and fast. I realized that even in 20kms there is time to be had and competitors to be caught. My pre-race tune-up by the good folks at Speed Theory and a last minute tire pressure check I'm sure contributed to this; I think I was also sitting better on the demo saddle they let me use. Transition seemed to go smoothly but I have nothing to compare it to. Looking back I can see where I could have pushed harder on the first run but not knowing the course I chose to be conservative where I think I could have otherwise pushed slightly harder. Next year I will hike the course before hand.

The rest of the event from package pick-up, to check-in, to you name it was well executed by Blitz organizers and volunteers. As always the volunteers were chipper and helpful. The timing group was immediately posting results (love!) and the food was delicious.

Mallory digging in to my post-race treat.

All of the race results can be found on the Blitz website.

The photos from Laurie are posted here on facebook. There is one of me looking surprisingly strong though barely breathing.



Well, it's the big weekend - the duathlon is Saturday. Gernerally I get pre-race nerves the day before but this is something else - I've had them all week. I've been involved with Blitz Events as a voluntold since its inception in 2009. I've seen hundreds of people cross the finish line at their three annual events, helped with course design, and had new ideas bounced off me. This weekend, rather than being part of an amazing group of volunteers who will help direct traffic, provide on course support and cheering, or make home made goodies, I will be participating. My cousin Tricia founded Blitz Events in 2009 and our family and some good friends have rallied behind her; Our cousin Christine is her partner in planning. This is in part why I am so nervous about this weekend's race, almost my entire family will be there watching. That and I really have my eye on the prize - not a door prize but an all out gut busting effort to do good, to win. My family doesn't care when or how I cross the finish line but could you imagine how great it would feel to have almost your entire family there for a big win? Could you imagine having your entire family there and his to watch Stu win? Can you imagine not and feeling like a failure? The pressue is entirely self-imposed but I've never really wanted to win a race before and now suddenly I'm all consumed. Butall-consumed-me must re-direct my focus to the things I can control and set out to hydrate and up my glycogen stores for the next 36 or so hours and then cross my fingers for some ideal race conditions and some magic in my body.

AND - Dear Family: before I'm too exhausted and forget. THANK-YOU for all your support, encouragement, & love.

Tricia & Christine

My mom and friend Jen Carr

My Aunts, Karla, Irene, & Lez


Fatigue and Fuel

I am so happy this is a taper week, I'm wiped. Mallory's emerging molar has led to some poor sleep for the entire family. Yesterday after breakfast Stu and I went back to bed when M napped for the entire 2.5 hours - darn phone that disturbed us all. Hopefully she'll turn the corner (tonight) and we can continue to rest up for the impending duathlon. Last week after Stu's calf ache flared up I put my foot down and we headed to the store to get some compression socks. He chose the recommended calf only version, I picked up some fashionable ones from RunningSkirts. I love them! In fact, I'm wearing them right now because they're so darn comfy and make my legs feel... it's hard to describe. It makes them feel alive? Well not sure about that, how about it makes them feel not lazy. As in walking around the house tired all over my calves are happy-go-lucky. In fact I think I'm going to get some shorts because after last night's late night run I came home with no desire to get in a cold tub. My quads were shot and I thought, I need compression shorts. Really, who wouldn't rather put on a pair of shorts vs. jumping in a cold tub? Yes please.

At about 10k last night I could feel the legs saying 'thank-you, that's enough'. But I talked some trash to them and they got the word and stood up for themselves for another 2.5k. I am struggling with fueling. Not when but what exactly. Gu made my stomach churn. Beans only have minimal calories and I can do electrolytes in my fluids. Generally I'm just not into sugary-junk and it seems that all fueling options are geared that way. Can't I just find a way to carry a tin of pringles? While my kms aren't overly high now, I need to practice this all essential fueling (or so they tell me) so I don`t continue to fatigue on my runs. I wonder about it though. I did the Calgary 1/2 with a little bit of electrolytes drink and some beans and posted a respectable 2:02. And theoretically, the less time you spend running the less you need to fuel, and I'm definitely going to run sub two in Vegas, then why am I trying to change what pretty much worked?

I listened to a great podcast while running last night from my two favorite running celebrities, Dimity & Sara. The podcast was full of great tips on fueling and eating. I felt like a real idiot though trying not to bust a gut laughing - sure, talk about the funny stuff right when I'm running through a huge crowd of people. Should a person really be this consumed everyday about what they're eating? Yesterday I had ice cream. Yummy going in, crappy once in. Ice Cream, one of my most loved desserts, left me feeling sluggish. I wanted to cry. This eating plan really is changing me for the better, or something like that. As a wanna-be-athlete I have to be this consumed with my consumption I suppose. On that note, it's time for a snack.



Flowers - a great reason to take a break from my cardio intensive schedule and do something different. The past three days were spent in the yard at the new house (under going major renovations) building flower beds. This involved digging a lot of weeds, moving a lot of landscaping stones, moving a lot of dirt, and generally just moving for a good portion of each day. Yesterday's scheduled 14km was not to be had, I was wiped, and still am thanks to a sleepless night due to an emerging molar. However, there's training to be done.

The weather has been so beautiful and as I drove home from work and saw loads of people running on the pathways I was longing to hit the paths. This is when I know that a break is both well deserved and well timed. I haven't lost the drive to be out there pounding soil beneath my feet. Tonight I fear the only pounding I will be doing will be my head on my handlebars as I scream, 'make it stop!'. Yes, it's Sufferfest night and the only joy is our new (to us) trainer. Now we can train full time in the BTC (bike torture chamber for non Sufferlandrians) on our specific bikes rather than a generic spin bike. I hate/love/hate/like the Sufferfest. If you haven't done a Sufferfest you should, just once, for each video that is. Each video makes me scream at the television which is why I'm sure you can't understand why I can't wait to get my hands on the latest installment due out this fall. Is it cheating to try for a fourth place finish at the Blitz Duathlon to secure the new video? In any case, coach M has given the new BTC her approval.

Speaking of the Duathlon. Hubby and I have been out practicing the bike course and all I can say is that it's a beautiful yet challenging 20km. The way out is deceiving. It seems so flat, but it's not at all. That just means though that the return journey is ever so sweet (especially with a tail wind). Here's a shot of hubby and I sporting our IceBreaker splurges from our trip to Vancouver in August. Have I mentioned I love wool?

PS. For those wondering, no, that isn't our bike. Now that would be a Sufferfest!