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