Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Thoughts and Prayers to my fellow Southern Albertans

It's been a surreal week for me. Last week most of Southern Alberta was either put on flood watch or completely evacuated. I first saw things posted on Facebook Thursday morning starting in Canmore. Then from there sh*t hit the fan. High River, Okotoks, Black Diamond, Turner Valley, Crowsnest Pass, Pincher Creek, Medicine Hat, and of course Calgary. It was very hard for me to watch. Although I now live on Vancouver Island I was born and raised in Southern Alberta. I lived in Calgary the minute I left home at age 18 and that is where I got married and started my family. All of those areas that were affected are places very real to me and my heart aches for every single person affected. The house I lived in when the husband and I first met most definitely was underwater. Restaurants and business I frequented destroyed.
I had several friends evacuated. 
~These towns are just south of Calgary~

~Memorial Drive in Calgary~

~ Military was definitely needed~

One of my good friends (who was evacuated at some point) kept us all updated via Facebook. She kept posting pictures of her area that was affected (downtown). The only words that come to mind is surreal and sadness. So for those of you affected we are all thinking of you. 
If you would like to help I believe the Canadian Red Cross is probably the best organization to do so.

On to a lighter note, while watching the madness in Calgary unfold it occurred to me that the Calgary Ironman race was now 5 weeks away. Some people might be concerned that the race might be cancelled. Not me, I was secretly hoping it was ; )
I kid you not. I am so nervous about this race that I only admitted my thoughts today to a good friend. She burst into laughter and I looked her in the eye and said "I am dead serious". She then laughed even harder.  Why am I so nervous? I'm not entirely sure. I'm pretty confident I will finish even if in last place. I've done the training. My coach definitely thinks I'm ready. So what is it? I'm thinking just good ol' fashioned nerves. 
This past weekend we decided to confirm I am indeed ready for this race. We decided to do a long and very hilly route. We headed up this climb that is supposedly a 24-26% grade. I have been dreading this climb for months. 
~Before the monster hill, still happy~

So after doing moderate climbing for an hour or so we seriously hit the pavement. I'll be honest I was cursing my 2 riding buddies as I sweated every ounce of liquid out of my body. I contemplated walking but then realized if I don't conquer this I'm going to have to try it again and again until I succeed. Next thing I know I can here something. Was it success? Yes! Yes it was.
I have never been so happy to reach the top of a climb. As far as I could tell my partners in this crazy adventure were also happy.
~I think I was slightly delirious trying to take this picture~

So after this defining moment in my cycling, I have now realized that my climbing skills are perfectly fine. I'm not some super uber hill climber. In fact I'm pretty sure I will still get passed on most climbs but I now know that I am capable of achieving success on any hill climb. It really was all in my head.

So what does all this hill climbing mean? Well, if I survive this:
Then I think I will try to tackle this:

I read a great blog today from The Swim Bike Mom. She definitely inspired me to at least give Ironman CDA a try. After discussing with the husband I think I will plan to try it in 2015. Unfortunately due to my unplanned knee surgery that was decided for me 2 weeks ago I figure I better not make too many broad goals for 2014. 
Here's to big crazy hairy goals!!!

Onto a foodie note. Normally I try to eat super healthy. I follow a plant based, gluten free diet. I make everything from scratch and I've been told for eating so healthy my food actually tastes great. Tonight though I needed some comfort food. I had a hankering for Broccoli Cheese Soup. How do you make that happen when you're vegan? 
Well, lets just say it required some Daiya cheese and I'm guessing because it used an entire bag that this soup wasn't the most cost effective but holy moly was it good. 
Another unhealthy find that made me fall madly in love with it is this delicious treat.
I picked it up at Planet Organic in Victoria. I think I died and went to heaven. I even tried to save half of it for a friend that recently went GF and Dairy free but I just couldn't stop eating it. 
I don't promote eating these deliciously decadent treats frequently but once in a while you just need to enjoy.
Now I am off to get a ride in. After all I've been consuming all of these delicious calories.

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