Monday, October 31, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pretty Photos 002 - Group ride

Group riding is best with 6 people. Here's the 4 of us, with 2 just behind getting the shot. I'm the dorky chick handing out peace signs. 

Pretty choice morning, eh?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pretty Photos 001 - Minaret Burn track

And so begins a series of posts that don't necessitate many words. I rarely have fascinating things to say about my training (I swim! I bike! I run!) but I do always have beautiful photos to share.

On a 15k trail run today. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

First OWS of the season!

First OWS of the season has kicked off here in Wanaka, and the water is cold cold cold (anywhere between 9 and 12C - that's 48-53F). Other than wearing a neoprene cap, which I don't have, I picked up some good tips of swimming in cold cold water:

- oh please god wear a wetsuit
- wear several regular silicon caps on top of one another, with the brightest on top for visibility. If you've got a neoprene cap, wear it underneath and under the chin
- if you've got booties or gloves, wear them, although I hear the gloves don't make too much of a difference
- bring hot water in a 2L container and dump it in your wetsuit before you get in the water so you've got warm water in the suit to mix with the cold lake water, and pee as much as you can once in the water and adjusting to the cold
- get over the shock of the cold BEFORE you start swimming
- after the swim, change, and warm up slowly (don't jump into a hot shower right away). I got into warm clothes, many layers, and we all chatted and had warm cups of water/tea/coffee

And here's what I've found also helps:
- if at any time you feel overwhelmed, turn onto your back, breathe and kick frequently and ferociously to keep blood going to your feet
- swim hard, and don't go for long as a result

We also had the pleasure of violent winds - we've got a Nor'wester coming through at gale force (which, by definition, is sustained winds of 63-87km/hr or higher). It is WINDY as all heck! 

Here's to more great open water swimming! All we managed today was the swim out to the buoy line (maybe 150m?), then up and down it once (2x200m) and back in. A short swim, but I don't think I could have handled much more. My feet felt like ice blocks! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Sparkle Setting!

I just found the "Sparkle" setting on my camera. Check it out:

Fish eye setting! We just got more snow dumped on us...
Pretty but cold! 

This is going to be SO AWESOME when I get back into Lake Wanaka for OWSing (when it's not 8C from all the glacial melt). Everything will be sparkle-filled!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Being a cheap ass (yet awesome!) triathlete

So there are all these articles and blog posts about how triathlon is an expensive sport BUT that there are cheap ways of doing it. This is not one of those posts. I'm not super rich, I'm a student, I got some scholarships throughout my studentship (and spent a couple thou of that money buying a new bike), but in general I've had to slowly amass all the awesome stuff that comes with being a triathlete, including but not limited to:
- Sweet, awesome kits with superb quality chamois (that shit ain't cheap!)
- My 310xt
- Power meter
- Frickin' bikes, mate! 
- Run shoes: minimalist shoes to strengthen the feet and legs, trail running shoes, road shoes, race shoes
- Regular and aero helmet
- Fees to gym, pool, etc

Anyway, this blog post is not about doing triathlon on the cheap. I want all that awesome stuff, so how do I get it while not living on the streets?
Here's how I have lived my life, and how I plan on living my life for the next couple years:
- Live in the summer months in a tent, or couch surfing, or sleeping at friends places while I travel -- love this!! If traveling to a race, please god don't spend money on hotels! That could add up to 1/5-1/3 of the cost of a bike! See if there is an online group for that race, they might have locals doing the race offering up a free place to stay for the race (see OR, go camping at a primitive campsite (NOT a motor camp, that's big $$$), and shower after you swim at the local pool. 
- Don't spend money going out to restaurants often, I also don't drink alcohol so that helps
- This is a big one but DON'T buy clothes brand new! There are secondhand shops with absolutely amazing clothing that someone has either never worn or worn once or twice. There are extravagant people out there with clothes in excessive amounts; I'm taking advantage of their ridiculous spending habits! 
- Back up and calm down with your need for technology, I have an ipod, a laptop, a shock/waterproof camera, and a crappy cellphone that can txt and call people. Boom, done for the next couple years. 
- Whatever else you buy, evaluate... there IS a better way of acquiring what you want without buying it new. 
- When traveling, readjust your need for souvenirs by doing it small (e.g. I'm a sticker fiend!! 2$ stickers on my laptop or journal are far more memorable than crappy holiday shirts one would wear once)
- Buy fruits and veggies in season, and if your fruit is going bad, freeze that shit and use it in a smoothie!

I know it's not a lifestyle for everyone, but I'm someone that isn't loaded but still wants to have AWESOME TRI SHIT, so here's how I've managed it. My days spent with friends/family are not money oriented (shopping, visits to bars or clubs or restaurants), but rather adventure oriented (training, outdoor exploration, making awesome food and then eating it). 

A couple awesome photos:
Cheeky buggers

Photo editing using, does anyone know
of another free photo editing/effects website?

God, I love my home -- is anyone out there signed up for Challenge Wanaka or Lake Wanaka half-iron? I'd love to hear from you -- there will definitely be posts in the weeks leading up to the event giving you the scoop on the race and the town if you're coming into Wanaka from afar to race. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wanaka, welcome home!

Damn... it feels really good to be back:

Flying past Wanaka!

Back in town, oh yes, I've been looking forward to this! 

View from the pool! 

Spring time has hit, it's beautiful, the days are warming up. I've in search of a place to live, I'm 99% certain I've got a job lined up, and now it's time to get back to training!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What to do with all your race medals!!

So, I know triathletes are divided into two very serious camps: those that HATE medals and consider them pointless, and those that adore them, and will wear them out to their next dinner date. I'm, ahem, in the former and so have been tossing them on random bookshelves or in my underwear drawer. UNTIL NOW.

I had a string of Christmas lights decorating my rather empty windows (I broke my curtains a couple years ago), but those lights had also burnt out and died. Being lazy, I decided to keep them up for a couple years and now they have a new purpose. Check it out!!

Yes, my glass lamp shade is also broken. To wake me up and
get fed, my cats like to throw things off high perches. They've
broken my lamp, an iPod, and many many drinking glasses.
They're pretty much assholes. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Back to New Zealand!!!

So, rather than drudge through Montreal for another couple of months, I've decided to return to New Zealand. I've got my one year working holiday visa, my bags are starting to fill up, my game face is on... I AM PUMPED! Back to Wanaka, only the BEST PLACE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD!!!!

I'll very quickly state that I first went to New Zealand last November for 3 months, the summer break between two semesters abroad studying in Melbourne, Australia. I fell in love with this country far more than I have ever fallen in love with anything, or anyone, prior. It's my HOME, and now I just have to figure out how to legally make it my home -- i.e. how do I get New Zealand residency! I returned for a brief while in April-May, but could not stay for long. Now, however, I have the opportunity to live and work there for a good while, with the intention of finding an employer (ideally in the sports environment, such as a race company) that will sponsor me to stay on board past that one year. That, and in the next two to four years I intend on working my ASS off to get my professional license in triathlon and right from the bat intend on racing for New Zealand. It would be the greatest honor for me to race for a country that I've fallen batshit in love with. Oh, I know I still have very far to progress to get to professional status, but I'm stating it here and now -- I'm going to get it, I'm going to work incredibly hard to get it, and I'll do it all with the intention of making that country very proud.

So, I'll finish up the last few dregs of my bachelors by completing field courses throughout the next year and a half; there are just a few credits remaining.

Here's what my racing schedule looks like for the New Zealand summer, a short break, and then the North American summer. New Zealand racing is top notch, and the South Island especially has some amazing, off-road crazy events that I cannot wait to jump head first into.

New Zealand:

Nov 5: Southern Lakes Tour de Femme 70k cycle race 
This race starts just outside Wanaka, rides up to the top of the Crown Range Rd (gnarly climb!) and then rips back around to return to the start. 
Nov 26: Big Day at the Office (40km road bike, 24km trail run)
Weird duathlon, with a positively mountainous run up Mt Sommers.
Dec 3: Point 3 multisport event (900m sprint run - 40k cycle - 11.5km trail run - 1.9km swim - 16km MTB - 100m sprint finish)
Right in Wanaka, this race looks ridiculous, fun, and BAD ASS!!!!
Jan 11: Milford Mountain Classic (120km road cycle event)
On the Milford Sound Rd, how could you NOT with spectacular views like that!!!
Jan 21: Challenge Wanaka half-iron (1.9k swim, 90k bike, 21.1k trail run)
Challenge Wanaka was my first full iron-distance. Wanaka is the home I fell in love with. Although I won't be doing the full this year (I've got another full later on in the year), I cannot WAIT for this race. This is my A race in New Zealand and I am ecstatic to be a part of this amazing event yet again. The most beautiful course on the planet, no question. 
Feb 18: Paradise Off-road triathlon (500m swim - 18k MTB - 6k trail run)
In Paradise, NZ. Yes, it does look like paradise, I can't wait to return to horse country!!
Mar 10: XTERRA Motatapu half-iron triathlon (2k swim - 47k MTB - 15k mtn run)
If I pick up mountain biking quickly enough, I NEED to do this event. In Wanaka again, I think this will soon become the crown jewel of off-road racing on the South Island. It's inaugural race was last year and I was crushed to have missed it. 
Mar 24: Auckland half-iron triathlon (1.9k swim, 90k bike, 21.1k run)
If it turns out I'm an embarrassing mountain biker, then I'll opt to race the Auckland half-iron on-road triathlon. It requires travel to the North Island, but if I'm at a fitness level such that I can possibly place top 5 OA female, then I'll go for it. 
April 6: Lake Hayes Easter triathlon (750m swim, 20k road cycle, 5k trail run)
I've done this race course in 2010, it's a friggin' BLAST. Ours was in the pouring rain and I'm pretty surprised that no one slipped and slid into the lake while running on the lakeside trails. I was drenched!! 

North America:

June 10: Ironman 70.3 Eagleman, Maryland
I'm gunning for my first sub-5h race here. 
June 24: Ironman 70.3 Lubbock Springs, Texas
August 5: Ironman 70.3 Boulder, Colorado
Love this 70.3 course; I wish more 70.3's had off-road runs. I hate road running. 
Sept 9: Vegas, again?
Oct: Kona???

If you haven't noticed, I like racing a lot... the North American stuff is "serious business", the New Zealand stuff is mainly training races and being AWESOME. Wanaka, get ready!!!!

View of Lake Wanaka from mid-way up the Mt Roy track

Wanaka, with views of the islands Mou Waho and Mou Tapu.

Epic sunset night


Rainbow over Lake Wanaka and Ruby Island

View from the top of Mt Iron

Right at the beach, I don't know how many hours I spent
chilling out here. 

On the lake, swimming, kayaking etc...
Glass-like conditions! Awesome!!

Fall in Wanaka

Ruby Island, awesome place to swim to!

And.... I'm super excited!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Some trail run goodness...

This weekend, spent in Kentucky, can be summarized by this photo:

Trail running, baby, is without question the best part of triathlon training. Although, cycling over mountains and swimming to islands ranks near the top, too.