Health & Well-Being

A Lament to Watermelon (and my ITB)

Watermelon Season is Over!

With my boring life update, I bring you a picture of a boring pile of watermelon at City Fresh, the only place I buy from because they are simply the most heavenly. This day was very sentimental to me because the two watermelon that I bought was probably going to be the last of the season. I love watermelon and my summer is incomplete without it so this is a sad, sad time. Wah.

I’m sitting here trying to come up with something to blog about that has nothing to do with my personal life and despite having over 100 drafts of unfinished posts that will probably never see the light of day, my mind is totally blank. To be honest, the last month, I’ve been feeling really tired (or probably just lazy) and although I’ve been keeping up with my workouts, I’ve been feeling unmotivated to blog, read blogs, to work, to do SUPERRR intense workouts like I use to and even to ride my bike.

One of the main reasons is my damn IT band which has been affecting my mood, my workouts and my recovery, hence also the reason why I’ve barely been on my bike the last month. It’s making me feel anxious about the health of my knees so I’ve been trying to tone everything down. I think after all these years of torture, my body is screaming for a rest.

I was also sick most of last week so I decided to pull out on that Mount Baker ride (which I totally regretted and was really sad about that night). We have a Triple Crown scheduled for this Saturday but as I’m sitting here writing this, my legs are sore and aching and I swear I feel my ITB pulling my knee caps outwards. They are SO tight. I think I’m still a little sick because that gross, sick sound cough always comes back when I’m doing something intense… I guess I need to stop working out. I think I will rest the next couple of days and pray I’ll feel refreshed for Saturday. Damn you ITB!! *shakes fist*

I found out I lost A LOT of strength at the gym— I struggled with a 135lb deadlift and I was only trying to get 7 reps with sprawls for the first set. It was never that hard! Then today I tried to do Farmer’s Walks with two 24kg kettlebells (3x 1min:30s) which I use to do ALL the time but for the first time ever, I got so tired that I had to stop and put down the kettlebells. I haven’t been consistent with my lifting lately and it definitely shows. Consistency is the key to progress! I am just a tad bit annoyed but really, not too worried because I know I’ll be doing a lot more lifting as the cold weather rolls in.

Although I’ve been feeling lazy and unmotivated, it’s been great! It was my first month “off” which means I had plenty of free time since work was slow and I was just finishing up my freelance contracts at home. This is just the calm before the storm because my full-time job is going to be madness very soon and I have new freelance contracts starting the next few weeks so I’m trying to be as lazy as possible! Don’t get me wrong, I do love my jobs …and how they seem to get hectic at the same time. Well, not too much the last part.

The last month, I’ve been planning my trip to Europe next spring and I’m so glad I got a head start because this shit is time-consuming! Other than that, all I’ve been doing is trying to catch up with Dr. Who and Revenge on Netflix while lying on my yoga mat, stretching and foam-rolling all night (seriously). The good thing is that I got Boyfriend hooked on Revenge but no luck with Dr. Who, to my utter dismay. *insert ultimate sad face here*

But I shouldn’t be complaining. Life is so good and relaxing right now. Other than my tight ITB pulling on my knees out of its socket. I like to visualize, okay.

So that my friends, was my boring life update. I swear I will write something more interesting and perhaps fitness related soon as soon as my lazy time is over.

And just because I like food and can find no relevant photos for this entry. 1. Avocado, toast + whatever protein has been my current go-to breakfast. 2. Roasted pototes with all the beef drippings. Heaven. 3. My favorite Chinese soup flavored with pork bones and red dates! 4. BF has been in  a deep-frying mood lately (chicken, onion rings, etc) and although it's sooo bad for us, it is way too tasty to resist.

And just because I like food and can find no relevant photos for this entry. 1. Avocado, toast + whatever protein has been my current go-to breakfast. 2. Roasted pototes with all the beef drippings. Heaven. 3. My favorite Chinese soup flavored with pork bones and red dates! 4. BF has been in a deep-frying mood lately (chicken, onion rings, etc) and although it’s sooo bad for us, it is way too tasty to resist.


    What’s Next?

    Now that the Whistler Gran Fondo is over, what’s next?

    I have two more big rides coming up: Mount Baker part two this Saturday and then Triple Crown the weekend after BUT because of the state of my tight IT band and my knees, I really don’t see myself finishing either of those rides. I almost cancelled on Mount Baker this weekend but Boyfriend is still going and I got extremely jealous so I decided to just go for it. I’m meeting the group about 40km in at Maple Falls and I don’t think I will reach the Artist Point summit this time because once my knees start irritating me, I am going to stop (or slow down)! I’ve done this ride once already so I don’t mind just doing as much as my body allows me to this time. As for the Triple Crown, I’m going to attempt it but last time my knees started flaring up after Grouse… so we will see. My priority right now is knee health and working on that IT band!


    Pavlova and Toby (a.k.a. best dog in the world).

    The rest of this cycling season will end with leisurely (ish) rides with a lot less elevation. I haven’t done UBC, Steveston, Deep Cove, riding along the Barnat Highway and just through West Van in general in months so I am looking forward to those! I may even take my clipless pedals off so I can do at least ONE ride and Grind this year.

    When the weather gets wet and cold, I’m looking forward to spending more time at the gym weightlifting and less cardio to get my body composition back. You can’t go wrong with more  muscle! It sucks to be lean in the winter because you get abnormally cold to the bones but it allows for 100% guilt-free massive feasts which is needed for holiday season. Harharhar!

    Next year, I was planning on getting a Mini Goldendoodle named ‘Tobi’ (after the best puppy in the world,’Toby’) but Tobi will have to wait because I realized I would probably be away travelling or cycling the majority of the time. I’m also not a very maternal person so I really have to think twice about getting a pet other than for selfish reasons!

    Next spring, I’m planning to go on a solo 6-week backpacking trip in Western Europe which is something I’ve always wanted to do and then I may go to Asia for a month inthe winter or so depending how busy I am. I only started to plan my Euro trip recently and I’m not sure of anything yet except that I will be home by June just in time for Vancouver’s prime cycling season (and Tough Mudder). And of course, the bike touring/rental companies I am going with in Provence and Barcelona. I definitely have my priorities! I’m still debating on where to go and if I want to stay in France longer or spend equal amounts of time in Spain and Italy. I want this trip to be relaxed so I am going to spend more time in the cities than to try see everything at once since I have plenty of time to come back. When I do, I want to spend the majority of my time in Eastern Europe where I REALLY want to go, but with the Boyfriend.

    Do you have any recommendations of tips for my Europe trip? I would love to hear!


      2013 Whistler Gran Fondo Recap

      RBC Whistler Gran Fondo I completed my first Gran Fondo ride last week and it was an unforgettable and breathtaking experience! Grueling at times but mostly enjoyable and a whole lot of fun. I went from a girl who struggled cycling in the small streets of Vancouver neighbourhoods to one who has climbed the 3 big local mountains in Vancouver multiple times (Cypress, Seymour & Grouse), Mount Baker in Washington and now the Sea-to-Sky highway from Vancouver to Whistler… while enjoying every ounce of pain.

      The ride started out smoothly, except for the poor lady crashed right before the Stanley Park Causeway. It was raining lightly but I hardly noticed the rain at all— there is something about riding a hilly terrain in the rain that makes you feel extra badass. The Taylor Way climb wasn’t as bad as I thought but I wish I had ridden it before so I knew what to expect. I have a tendency to hold myself back if I’m not familiar with a hill. The ride hardly even began and we were already out of spare tubes— Boyfriend got a flat at 12km but luckily one of the support cars gave us a couple of extras after stopping to see if we needed help. We just had the worse luck that week because we both got our first flats, which is still pretty good considering that they were still the original tubes that came with our bikes.

      The way to Squamish was fast and fun with lots of rolling hills. Squamish to Whistler was awesomely grueling because that was where the real climbing began. I was so tempted to draft to take the load off my legs but I rarely do it because I feel like that is cheating! I do these rides for a hard workout for myself, not for speed. But I did give in for about 10km because this amazing older lady in front of me was riding at over 40k/hr and it looked like so much fun so I latched on like a leech and these guys latched on behind me and we were off. I do love riding in fast past lines because it’s exhilarating but I always feel guilty because I like to feel more pain. Harharhar.

      I was pretty happy to cross the finish line because my legs were in a lot of pain during the last 30km (and not the good kind of pain!). I really wanted to ride home afterwards but that was largely dependent on how my knees were doing and they weren’t doing great so maybe next year. Nevertheless, what a great day it was!

      Whistler Gran Fondo & a yellow tire.


      Things I enjoyed:

      • The beauty of the Sea-to-Sky. Honestly, I had to remind myself to look up and enjoy the views because my eyes and mind were focused on the pavement and what was ahead of me most of the time. But when I did look up, I was rewarded by spectacular views! This ride is worth every penny.
      • My mindset. Every time it got painful, I reminded myself how much pain I was in during my Mt. Baker ride and what a terrible mindset I had then. I’m glad I had my normal positive and laid back attitude on the Sea to Sky because it is all about the mindset!
      • Waffles. I love waffles.

      Things I regret:

      • Not taking care of my ITB and my knees prior to the ride. My ITB was very tight the couple of weeks prior to the ride and I KNEW it was going to affect it so I didn’t expect too much. Next year, I will expect more from myself so the first step is commitment to taking care of my body since I’m very physically active.
      • Forgetting to fuel up! I stopped at every rest stop, mainly to stretch and I actually forgot to eat at most of them. Oops. I almost bonked 90km into the ride… but I’m sure it was mostly mental because that was when my knees started to really hurt and I was just getting paranoid. I know, I am terrible.
      • Not getting a massage after. Because it was free!! We didn’t have much time in Whistler afterwards because we had to get back to Vancouver for dinner.

      Things I learned:

      • 2013 Whistler Gran Fondo

        Lots of spandex-clad people in line…

         Never use the washrooms at the first pit stop. I didn’t have to go but I noticed this is when everyone goes to the washroom. There were no lines at the other stops.

      • Important lesson learned for my vain-self: do not leave shit until the last-minute!! I was very annoyed at my different colored tires. AND despite living only a couple blocks from the start line, we were almost late because I changed my punctured tire right before bed the night prior to the ride and there was a pinch in the tube. My tire was completely deflated when I woke up the next day and I didn’t even check until I was walking my bike out the door. Typical me.
      • Anyone can complete a Gran Fondo! I saw the old, the young and then everyone in between. There were the handicapped, one-legged cyclists, a unicycle, people of ALL different shapes and sizes. It really is all about your mindset.

        If you can think it, you can achieve it.

      My official time was 6:08 although my moving time on Strava was 4:52 because I had to stop at every single pit stop for a long time and randomly along the road to stretch my hamstrings and IT band. Stopping majorly sucks because you lose so much time AND momentum. Next year, I have to commit to stretching, rolling, therapy and recovery a lot more so I can keep going. I also waited for my boyfriend at each stop… yes he was bad and got injured and didn’t train at all almost a month prior to the ride. I am super proud of him for completing it though. But I better watch out because I’m sure he will be more determined to kick my ass for next year’s Gran Fondo.

      I have to admit I wish I wasn’t THAT laidback during the ride and cared for my official time a little more. My initial goal was to finish the ride but seeing it above 6 hours made me feel really disappointed when I know I can do a lot better. But whatever, there is next year to look forward to!

      The most important thing was that I reached my goal of crossing the finish line! My knee pain (from a tight ITB) got pretty bad at about the 90km mark so the last 30km was pretty mentally taxing for me. I suspect part of it was ALL IN MY HEAD because I did get a rush of adrenaline and I somehow mustered up the energy to sprint the last 10k. My knees actually hurt less when I cycled faster too! But maybe that was from the 600 calories worth of snacks I ate at the last pit stop.

      Are you thinking of doing a Gran Fondo but afraid to?

      I use to be one of those people but I got a little push from Gran Fondo Canada who gave me the opportunity to become a blog ambassador. If it weren’t for them, I would’ve STILL been hesitating to do this ride but now I don’t know why I was ever afraid. I feel as if it’s my job now to convince people that there is really NOTHING to be afraid of. You can do anything once you put your mind into it.

      The Gran Fondo is an endurance event for anyone including professionals to wannabe cyclists like me, to 80+ year olds who just want to challenge themselves. It is only a race if you want it to be but you may go at your own pace and stop whenever you need to while riding along a beautifully scenic, challenging and mountainous course.  There is really nothing to be afraid of! For those who aren’t sure they can commit to training for the full 122km ride, there is the Medio Fondo (55km) from Squamish to Whistler. For those who want more of a challenging, they are even offering a 152km course next year!

      If you live in Vancouver, there is no shortage of routes and hills and clubs that organizes training rides to prepare you for this epic experience. So what are you waiting for? The early-bird registration for the 2014 Whistler Gran Fondo is opened. Are you registering? I know I am!