Wednesday, April 26, 2017

power to the pedals

hey all

So for the last few weeks I have been going to power cycling classes.  Every Wednesday I go between excitement and dread for most of the day - why because for 90 minutes I climb into the hurt locker and suffer.

The dread is that these classes are incredibly hard and I am exhausted beyond exhausted at the end of each session.  The excitement is that I know how much stronger and hopefully faster I am getting from the workouts.

Power cycling is a little different from Spin because you combine wattage and cadence in a controled manner.  Wattage is the torque at which you are turning the pedal.

In class I am called fast legs - my  average cadence is 99 - 102 revolutions  per minute.  When I first got into cycling and training with the Zimich's they impressed upon us that cadence should always be 95 - 105 rpm.  High cadence is great for triathletes as you are using more cardio rather than muscle strength and thus when you get off the bike for the wee run your legs should not be done.  

I knew about wattage and power but as we all know I am not fond of riding on a trainer and/or spin classes.  However when I got into Roth and needed to take some serious time off my total race the bike was where i would be able to get the most gains.  Peak and the coaches there impressed upon me the need to increase my wattage so that I would have a stronger bike and be able to finish sooner. That meant getting on the dreaded trainer and using a power meter.  I hated each workout but it worked and so now I do them.

With wattage you are increasing the tension on the pedals  this means focusing more on muscles to push the pedals rather than cardio in cadence.  In Power cycling class we work on maintaining cadence while we increase the wattage - it is called an IHIT workout- Internal High Intensity Training.  The end goal is that you will have more power while maintaining the 100 rpm cadence and that will translate to being covering more distance per pedal stroke = faster.

The advantages are enough that I am willing to climb into the hurt locker weekly.  The goal is to get my average speed up to 30 km/hour on all types of terrain so that in Fort Langley Fondo so I can finish around 3.5 hours.  To do that means it is Wednesday and me and the bike are off to the class.

On other news - councillor has me doing Yoga again - so far it has been okay  - so namaste peeps namaste.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Benefits of Exercise - sometimes you need more

Hey everyone

We all know that exercise is great for a health:
helps with weight management
can help with aging
help reverse medical concerns such as high blood pressure, etc
help with positive attitude

But sometimes that may not be enough.  It is about to get heavy but I feel that I need to talk about it and let you all know it is okay. As athletes sometimes it is incredibly hard for us to reach out for help or even admit that we need help.

I think most people that know me will confirm that I am pretty a strong person mentally - you have to have a certain level of mental fortitude to do long distance endurance sports.

I have always turned to exercise when things have gotten tough - it has been a solace and a panacea - when Blue was killed while it was incredibly hard to race the next day it also helped.  I know some people did not understand how can we were able to get up and race but Joe and I both knew that Blue loved to run and play so it seemed like the right thing to do to honour him and his memory.  It was not easy but I know it did help and it was our tribute to him.

Over the last 18 months life has been throwing curve balls at me constantly and I have been just putting my head down, accepting and marching along. On days when it has seemed really  hard I have been going for a run /ride - it has always helped but this time it is not enough.  I struggle with sleep and feel anxious most of the time and no matter how much I run/ ride/ or swim I am still struggling.  It is getting harder every day to keep the smile on and act like "I am living the dream".

It came to a head after doing a fantastic run with the clinic and while changing after I sat in the change room and started to cry there was no reason to cry but I just felt so sad and yet I had just finished an amazing run in a beautiful city with great people.  I shook it off after a few minutes but it made me realize I am not coping and I need help.

So what to do - well I have done the unprecedented step of reaching out to seeing a Councillor among some other things which has been hard to do but necessary.    I am not asking for anyone to do anything or try to "fix" me.  Just understand I may be a little more quiet on that ride or run and I guess please encourage me to come out for the workouts as we all know it will help along with the other things and finally just being there will help.   I may not be up to leading the charge all the time right now - so please feel free to take charge of the adventure train - I may just take a seat and try and enjoy the ride while I work through everything.

|It is not easy to acknowledge that you need help and I am here to say it is ok.  The world has not ended and I am not a social outcast because I need some support to get through all this.  So if you are struggling and the workouts are not enough it is okay to reach out and get some help.  Just DO IT.

Thanks for listening
Peace Out Shaun

Saturday, April 1, 2017


I have been helping my friend JuneBug James with her 1/2 marathon clinic as her 2:15 pacer.  A few weeks ago she asked the pace leaders to talk to the group about what motivates them.

The talk was great and it really got me  thinking about what does motivate me.  I mean I have been running regularly since 2000 and doing tri's since 2002.  It is more a lifestyle/hobby now but there are still times when I struggle with getting out the door and would prefer to lie on the couch playing on the Ipad and watching netflix all day.

So what motivates me a few things but the biggest is the Challenge - the challenge to prove to myself that I can do things that I never thought I could do and to prove that you don't have to be a professional or elite athlete.  You don't have to be the fastest or the strongest you just have to want to and have heart.

Other things that help are my buddies, my friends - I have been involved in sports all my life but the friends that I have made over the last 17 years in the running, cycling and tri community have been become my closest - they are my tribe.  I love the sense of support and community and adventure.  There is a bond that is forged when you go out there and run  or ride for 2, 3, 4 , 5 hours together.    You learn about these people, you learn how to support, encourage and suffer together.  You also learn how to laugh, celebrate and truimph together.  It really is quite amazing when you think about it.  For me when I wonder if I can do something they are always there either with me on or on the sidelines cheering me on and I am eternally grateful because knowing they believe I can do it helps me believe I can do it.

The final thing that motivates me is adventure - trying something new - testing "How bad can it be?" and what is that for this year - riding across Portugal - I am so excited and pumped - I have always wanted to do a cycling trip- it is going to be amazing and will help keep me motivated this year as I need to be able to stay on sir Joe's wheel.  LOL

So my advice - is plan a goal/challenge that will keep you honest and motivate you and  then recruit some friends to join you on the adveenture

Peace out

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ok so here we go, I know, I know you have heard it all before but sorry.  I promise I will be better and blog on a regular basis.  Promise.....

Here is the thing, it has been a rough 18+months and well at times it has been hard to get up and adult let alone blog something any of you might be interested in and I come from the generation where you don't whine, show weakness or air your issues/struggles.  So I will give you a quick Coles notes:

2016 - had minor surgery and then dislocated shoulder.  Did fort Langley gran fondo and Lambchops lackies completed the long course triathlon i penticton.  The same race that my Joe and my brother-in-law Jim both competed and qualified for Worlds long course tri in penticton this year.  Joe will be racing for Canada and Jimfor Ireland.  Me I will be leading the team Smyth cheer team!!!!

Among other personal struggles and that I am not willing to publicize (refer to 2nd paragraph) our amazing dog Blue was killed the night before the race in Penticton.  We talked and decided to dedicate our race to him because he loved to run and it seemed fitting.

In September I went back to school on the weekends and finished in February.  Working full time through out.  To get back into it, make me accountable and stop me from hiding from the world I volunteered to be a pace leader for the half marathon clinic at the denman store this past January.  I also ran the hypothermic half i February in the bloody snow-😬 This is Vancouver, it was epic and very hard but gotter done!

Just signed up for power cycling again and tricked- convinced a few other ladies to do it to.  Why should I suffer alone?!?!  I also have put a team in for Fort Langley gran fondo - team wheely fun drafters. It is mainly ladies with a few token boys.  I am excited  a few ladies I have ridden swith for years but most of the ladies on the team are pretty new to riding and this will be their first gran fondo so it should be a great adventure.  If you know any other peeps that want to do the race give them our team name we are open and accepting to all.

Wirh the snow finally gone I am back to riding back and forth to work. The exercise is the one thing I know that will get me through the hard times along with my peeps.  Oh and it looks like a new puppy will be moving in with us in June,  he/she can never replace Blue but the house and our lives are very empty without a dog.

Thanks for reading, I can't promise I will post all the time but I will try.

Peace out


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Miss Consistent -June Bug

I owe you all an apology.  Sorry

Sometimes you forget why you starting doing something, it is not intentional you just do.  Last night I was looking at the blog and for some reason I read my little bio on the side.

The original reason for starting this blog was to celebrate my friends and our adventures and to hopefully motivate others to get off the couch and realize they can do anything they want to - that really How bad can it be?

In the past few years I have veered from this path.  It is time to get back on track and introduce you to more of my super amazing running/tri peeps.

I want to tell you about my friend June - aka JUNE-BUG.  The most consistent and dedicated runner I know.

I met June in 2006. I was training for my second marathon and was a pace leader for the 4:30 group.  June was training to run her first marathon - what she failed to mention was that she had power walked 5 marathons!  She started walking them to have something to do while she was waiting for her brother who was running them and she hated running so walking them seemed like a good idea. She walked her first one in 2003 and did it in just under 7 hours with her friend Dale.  The last one she had done in just over 5 hours by run/walking  so she had decided that it was time to get some guidance and run one.

June is a high school teacher and on race day she hit it out of the park she was amazing and she changed from a walker to a runner that day!  After the race a mutual friend invited me to help co lead her half marathon clinic and in turn we asked June to come on board as a pace group leader. We were so lucky she agreed because obviously as a teacher she is a natural leader.

June was the 2:15 pace leader for a few  years then we bumped/promoted her to 2 hour leader for the half marathon group.   While she was doing all this she was still running marathons with us.  We would do the half marathon distance and then we would do the additional mileage after we finished the clinic run to get our training in for the marathon.  We did lots of relays and she even did a few Ultramarathons (anything longer than 42km).

I can think of only 2 times June did not run - when she injured herself just before we went to Dublin Ireland in 2009  to run the marathon there.  She powerwalked that one and came in only about 15 minutes behind me and in 2012 when she had a stress fracture and could not run.  Otherwise she has been consistent in her running never faltering or missing a run for the past 9 years.

The thing that is amazing is that when I met June it was the year of her 50th birthday and  I am super pleased to say that she is still going strong with next year being her 60th.  So for all those people who say to me I am too old I say pshhhhhh old is a state of mind.  In the 9 years that I have known June she has run 23 marathons and over 20 half marathons as well as all the other runs I have talked her into.

The thing that is so great is that for June's 60th she wants to run 60 km - I told her I am in.  She is talking about the Abbotsford run for water and that sounds like fun.  I however also tossed out a little idea - lets run from Vancouver to Oliver and then drink some beer and wine.  I told her we  could do it as a relay - it is only 400km -how bad can it be.

June was a little hesitant when I first tossed the idea out but I think she is warming up to it - it is just crazy enough that I might convince her to do it.  In the end  I will do what June Bug wants to do - I mean we can always do it another time - I am sure we can convince someone that it is a great idea.

In the end remember age is a state-of-mind and that if you stay positive and keep it fun you can also be running and inspiring people when  you turn 60 to!

Peace out Shaun

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Taking it to the Trail side Hardcore

Hey peeps

So as most of you know I love running on trails but when I am training for Ironman distance triathlons I usually move away from trails to road.  I do this because I don't want to risk rolling an  ankle or worse on technical trails and risk getting to the start line of my race(s).

Well Tri season is over and I was able to get in on the last race of the 5Peaks series - Buntzen -a technical course but not so nuts that I figured I would be okay. 

On my post Roth/Penticton high I decided what the heck lets do the Enduro course - I mean really how bad can it be?  16km of up and down - I got this.

Well one of the things is that when you push and push and don't take a break or probably recover is your body sometimes fights back.

About  a week and a half before the race I noticed this weird little rash on my tummy (I would say stomach but I have a tummy - no washboard abs here ).  I did not think too much about it but then it kept spreading.  HMMM by the weekend I was like I think I should maybe get this looked at. 

So into the walk-in clinic I went and the doctor said why are you here and I was like nothing big but I have this little rash - and pulled up my shirt.  She backed up about a foot and when yep that is SHINGLES - whaaaatttttt.  Shingles  - you have shingles. Okaaayyy she is like do you feel tired - kind of did a 7km run this am but I am a long distance triathlete - tired is all relative.  She was like how long I was like about a week now.  Does it itch - no not really.  Does it hurt - a bit but not much. 

Then she says wow- most people find this very painful - I was like oh - I have a pretty high pain threshold.   Then she says - are you sure it does not hurt?  Again - I said kind of but nothing I can't deal with.  Then me I am like so what do I do and she was like your body is tired this is your body saying rest......  So like no run tomorrow?  She was like no run - can I ride my bike - that is when I am pretty sure she did the biggest EYE ROLL ever.  Big Sigh - no bike riding you need to rest this will not go away until you rest!  OK got it. 

Left the clinic called Joe and told him and to his credit I did not get too much of a lecture....  Well it was like the stupid rash was listening because all of the sudden shooting pain - WOW that is not cool!  Fortunately it would go away and then all of the sudden BAM hit.  At night it was just a dull ache and it was right where my belt line was so waistbands were rubbing it to. Not fun. 

So a week out from Buntzen I am told I need to rest and I have Shingles and this is not looking good.  Lucky after a couple of days of bedrest and just chilling the pain started to ease and it seemed to stop spreading.  So what do I do - change to the Sport Distance from Enduro.  Tee hee

The race morning was foggy and wet - typical fall weather in Vancouver.  Off we went and I think I did okay.  I forgot how hilly the course was and the pain from the Shingle was there but very minimal really and I would say probably muted by my concentration of staying upright and not twisting an ankle.  I did go down once but besides a little dirt on my hands came out unscathed. 

I do love the course what I did notice was my energy level felt really low in the back half of the course.   I got it done though and I was pleased with the time 1:36 for 10km trail race with Shingles - not too bad.  I will take it and as usual 5Peaks did it up right with Pancakes and icecream at the finish line.  YUMMY

I felt great and was like that was not so bad.  The next day was when I realized dumb move - I could barely move and my body was MAD AT ME!  Yep so I have no confirmed from my field research - best not to run with Shingles.  See another community service announcement. 

Still glad I did the race and I get to keep my rep as hardcore warrier

Peace out Shaun

Friday, November 6, 2015

Lambs gone wild - Penticton Challenge 2015

Well by now most of you have figured out I love the race in Penticton  and am a firm supporter of the Challenge Group.

Our relay team in last year's race had a blast and Joe had a great day.  Flash forward to November 2014 and I am chatting with a friend at work about Penticton and how her Husband should go and do the full race there, race the original Ironman course,  get great athlete support and oh hey you could throw in a relay team for the half to have something to do while he is racing.

I told her how much fun we had, about our costumes and shirts , driving around the course - carrying a large head poster of Joe,  about the beer garden at the finish line, about the great fan support, about the awesome food at the end and the fireworks at midnite and on and on and on.   I really should just work for these people...

Now I had no thought of doing the race because I was going to Germany to do a full in July and absolute craziness to race in August but I was going to go up volunteer and cheer for all my peeps that were doing it.

Well a few days later she walks up and says I talked to my stepdaughter - Kayla we are in for the half.  What?????  We will do a team with you - we are super excited!  Okkkkkaaaayyyyyy.  What the hell - sure OKAY!  Lets do this.  So I registered the team for the half and decided on the team name - LAMBCHOPS LACKIES.    The name was a must as her family always brings a stuffed Lambchop to all races as a goodluck/mascot.   I joked about we should make shirts for each of us with Lambchop doing each sport - since my teams always have shirts.

Now here is the great thing about knowing when you have found a new member for tribe Crazy.  Anne went and actually took photos of Lambchop in running gear,  riding a Barbie bike and in a bathing suit with goggles at the pool.  And the best shot - Lambchop chilling with a beer in a recliner post race.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?  Awesome - well it had to be done I made a massive poster and mounted it on a large stick,  and shirts for us and our support crew of 2.  Yes I was coming back to Penticton louder and crazier than last year - LOL - it that was even possible.

I was doing the swim so I was all good plus  I have now done this course so many times I can do it in my sleep.  Now I have never met our cyclist, Kayla  but Anne assured me that she had been training and was ready. Anne was also good to go as our runner, she had some knee issues a few weeks earlier but it had sorted itself out.  All right lets do this.

Race morning - I got up and met with teammates and support crew - we marched down to the start line with our big sign, shirts on and Lambchop in her raincoat ( a little plastic bag).  Swim was great - a bit of a gong show at the corners- but always is.  I told them to plan for anywhere from 1:35 - 1:45 for me to come out of the water.  I came out in 1:36  - a Personal Best!!!! I hooted and hollared into transition and Kayla   found me  quick high five and I think went BAAAAA.  Chip exchange was quick and I told her ride it like you stole it - we will see you on the course.

I booked it back to the hotel to change into cheer gear and get the Lambmobile ready to head out on the course.  Loaded everyone in and off we went - I asked what they thought her cycle time was and they said she was hoping for about 4 hours maybe a bit longer.  I was like ok and based on that and knowing how long it took to change and such I headed out to around the 50km mark on the course, parked and we settled in for some serious spectating/cheering as we waited for her to pass.

As always I know we were appreciated as we encouraged people up the hill with cowbells, our sign, whistles and of course the personal appearance of Lambchop.  She was a hit with people reaching out to high five her and 1 cyclist even gave her a little kiss. Ohh LA LA. We waited and I checked my watch - hmm did we miss her - you told her about the hills on the course right?  Anne was like well we told her it was Penticton - ohhhh   - she ride a lot?  - well she has been training - does it feel like we might have missed her?  Maybe - what to do, what to do.  Since I had no idea of Kayla's riding history I was like maybe we should book it to the transition just in case she went by already and we missed her.  My concern was that she would be in transition looking for us and we were out on the course.  So back into the Lambmobile and to transition.  Nope her bike was not there so then I had to go into my inner - this is fun don't worry she is fine she will get here - mode.

Sent Anne off to get changed in to her run gear with lamb ears and tail  and waited with support crew in transition.  Anne came back and let me know she was having some back issues and was all drugged up but Kayla needed to get there before the drugs wore off.  WHATTTTTTTT - hmmmm - we talked she decided she would be able to do the  run - but to be safe I jogged back to the hotel and put on my run gear - this is getting to be a habit...   Kayla finally arrived all smiles and we greeted her and sent Anne off for a wee run - BAAAAAAA.  Kayla was like OMG - that was the toughest ride I have ever done!  I told her good job you gotter done and off to the run course to cheer on Anne.  Fortunately the first part is an out and back past the hotel so Kayla got the chance to change and eat while we hooted, baa'd and hollered for runners on the course.

Along came and Anne and I am not going to lie, girl was not a happy lamb and was hurting.  I started to jog with her and talk to her and at that point she was not feeling it - I said let me check that I can sub in and if I can I will jump in for you.  So I zipped off and found an official while Ann jogged by and chatted for a few minutes and got the basic - if we don't see it we are okay with it.  Great - so I sprinted off to Ann and I sprinted and slowed to a fast run - 2 km later I am whistling at her to slow down!  I catch up and ask how she is doing and she is like ok I guess.  So I give her the low down and say but here is the thing I just had to chase  you down for 2+ km!  I told her I think you should finish what you started - I can come in but you are going to regret not finishing this if I do.  We are going to finish in time and this is about having fun - plus you only got 10km to go now.  EASY....  Up to you - she was like you know what I can do this Okay I am going to finish it!  GREAT okay I will go back to the others and load up the Lambmobile we will see you on the course - Go Lamb Go BAAAAA

Now I had a 5km jog back to the car but got back gave them an update and loaded the car here we go!  We went on to the course by and parked at the far end of Main Street got out and assumed cheering position. Best thing was orange cones that I could use as a megaphone to project my BAAAAA's.  I am sure that all the runners were convince I was nuts!   Don't care had too much fun and worth it to see the smile of Ann as she was coming back into town and see us all there and Baa'ing into a big cone.   She was all smiles and doing great.  We zipped back to the finish line for the big finish.

I tell you everyone knew who were were - Kayla and I had Lambchop and were at the start of the finish chute ringing cowbells, carrying the largest sign and me yelling BAAAAAA.  We even got some of the other spectators to start Baaing to call Anne home.  LOL.  And there she was - our little sheep jogging in and away we went into the finish chute on the red carpet - yes I said red carpet - it was awesome!.

After we finished everyone was like you guys are everywhere we have seen you all over the course - that was the point.  Great finisher shirts and medals and next stop Beer Garden for a well deserved beer.  Observation - doing the half distance means way too much time in beer garden to cheer on all the finishers for the full and wait for fireworks.  It literally was Lambs gone wild but gosh did we have fun.  All my peeps in the full solo and relay finished with style and Lambchop was there till the very end.  
Next year is the Canadian Long Course trials in Penticton - not sure if I will be racing as a team or not because I am waiting to see if I get on the Amazing Race but if not then I have my team already lined up!  Joe and his brother Jim are in for a head-to-head battle for the solo distance so either way I will be up there cheering, supporting and just having a great time.

Seriously if you have not done a Challenge race - I really encourage it.

Peace out
Lambchop Lackie - Shaun