Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Norm has a theory. He says that ever year you should do some event that you are totally uncomfortable with and you are completely untrained for so you can remember what it feels like to race like a rookie from the back of the pack. Its actually a pretty good theory. It hurts like hell and its hard on the ego but it helps you develop some serious mental strength. This year my ego crushing event was the XTC off road "National Championships" at Buntzen lake near Vancouver. You might wonder how it could be ego crushing when I placed third, but lets get it out in the open right away - there were only three girls racing in the elite category.
If you know me at all, you know the Simms' are sinkers not swimmers. I am a cyclist and a runner but I am not a fan of the swimming and I don't swim well. That's not exactly true. I can breast stroke forever, but I flail at the freestyle. Norm was racing the triathlon so I was going to be there anyway but I was planning on doing the duathlon. Unfortunately no girls signed up so I decided to go for the triathlon. Hell, why not? My sister did an Ironman last year, the Simms' can't be that bad.
The morning of the race I got those pre race nerves that I haven't experienced for awhile. Just get through the swim. I hate cold water so I decided to go for the shock method and skip the warmup swim to stay dry onland. I started near the back of the swim pack to avoid the chaos. I didn't want to drown. The gun went off and within 100m I rememberd why I hadn't done a wetsuit swim for 4 years. The wet suit I borrowed doesn't fit me, so it felt like I had 10lb weights on my arm. Oh yeah and I hate swimming. So I switched to breaststroke. It was supposed to be temporary but I felt so comfortable I ended up breast stroking pretty much the entire 1.5km swim. I could swim in a straight line, I could breath and I could see the whole race. I felt like a bit of a fool but I wasn't here to impress. 2 laps of the swim course and I wasn't last! Goal#1 achieved. Sweet.
A slow transition (I guess most triathletes don't dry their feet, put on sox, change their shirts and tie up laces these days). and onto the bike. But my body was in a bit of shock when I jumped onto my Kula 29er and tried to chase down all those swimmers. It took my legs awhile to come around. A slightly faster transition and I was off running. I actually had a pretty good trail run except I was wearing a long sleeve jersey and was overheating like a non-Finn in a sauna. The run was a double loop so I got the opportunity to see just how far ahead 3X Xterra World Champion Melanie McQuaid (Nature's Path) was and Danelle Kabush (Luna) who was second at the Xterra World Championships in 2006. Ouch. I finished third of three girls. To rub it in even more, Melanie outsplit my shell shocked legs on the bike and Danelle had to nurse her baby on the start line. That stings. But I like to think of it as a podium at the Canadian National Off Road Triathlon Champiosnhips. It sounds much more impressive.
The next day I was absolutely wiped. Muscles in my body that I didn't know existed hurt like hell. More than a week later my groin is still tight from the out of the blue 1.5km breast stroke. So maybe it wasn't the best physical training I could have done for the start of the cyclocross season but it sure as hell makes me apprecioate the sport I chose. Stupid triathlon. But when the results came out I poured over all my times and compared them trying to figure out where I could shave time. There might be a little tri-nerd in me somewhere.
"get a life, only your MOM reads your blog."
Better yet, I should go to Finland for the Sauna World Championships.
"Sauna aficionados Finland withstood the heat longest to win the 2008 Sauna World Championships in Heinola, Finland, defending their current reign as sauna champs. To do so, the Finns had to outlast tough competitors from Belgium and Belarus.
The competition saunas are much hotter than traditional Finnish saunas. “This is the wrong way to go to sauna, this is not about relaxing, this is competition,” Ossi Arvela, the head of the competition, told AFP. But that doesn’t stop dozens of sweaters from around the world coming to Finland each summer to test their personal heat endurance.
This year’s men’s champion, Finnish Bjarne Hermansson, stayed in the 110 degrees Celsius sauna for 18 minutes and 15 seconds. His skin dripping and beetroot red, Hermansson said “it feels wonderful, it is a dream come true.” The Finn has been training in hot saunas for 30 years, and has entered this competition every year since its inception in 1999.
This year’s female champion was Leila Kulin, who withstood the heat for five minutes and 21 seconds. In a nail-biting finish, Belarussian Natalya Tryfanava lost out by only one second. “The secret to my success was Finnish persistence,” Kulin told reporters just moments after she emerged from the sauna as the 2008 champion.
The sauna world championships have been held in Heinola since 1999. There were 164 combatants representing 23 countries in this year’s event. The Finns certainly have an advantage, however. Their country of 5.3 million boasts some 3 million saunas, and every Saturday virtually the entire nation heads to the nearest sauna to unwind."
Extreme Ironing World Championships.
Rock Paper Scissor World Championships. RPS for those in the know.