Throwback Thursday: Climbing edition

If it wasn’t for my brother and Leo, his high school buddy, I would have never become a climber. 19 years ago, Leo and his family opened the climbing gym back home in Newfoundland Canada. From the beginning, when they recruited their friends to help build Wallnuts, I watched. I don’t recall much of it, but I do remember the warehouse transforming into the unknown. I didn’t have any interest in it back then, but I went to scope it out a few times.

My brother didn’t bother to climb much, but I went in for their daily kids camp and climbed til my hearts content. While I was visiting Newfoundland for five weeks this summer, I looked back on a few old photo albums I had as a kid and came across this oldie.

Wallnuts1995Shoes, chalk bag, and a harness — all rentals. This was me at the kids camp in 1995, the first year the climbing gym was opened. Umbro shorts and all, I am about to top out on my favourite wall in the gym: the roof. Wallnuts has since renovated their walls, including eliminating my favourite roof and looking at expanding to another location, all signs of growth.

My first pair of climbing shoes were the 5.10 MoccAsym’s. But the one’s to write home about were my second pair of climbing shoes, the La Sportiva (now men’s) Miura lace-up’s. An aggressive shoe with the perfect heel cup, amazing for heel hooking, and having fun at comp’s ;)RockFall05



frontpageThroughout the years I had a few one-on-one coaching sessions with the guys, where I began to climb harder routes, how to climb quietly, when to chalk up on a route, and make the routes more efficient on my body to not tire myself out too much. Years later, I got the guts to get my lead climbing course done. I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to lock out the figure 8 belay devices, and ATC’s. I got used to it, I did the course and from there I started climbing lead confidently.

After 19 years of climbing, can you believe I am still afraid of heights? I suppose, that’s a good thing. I don’t want to be too daring or bold—it’s not in my personality. I like to play it safe. When I boulder at my new climbing gym here in California, I often down climb the boulder problems because falling is simply too spooky for me. The bonus side of that is that I’m perfecting my technique each down climb, gaining more endurance with the static moves I do.

I have a many awesome memories of climbing at Wallnuts, and I’m so happy for the experiences I had while I lived in Newfoundland.

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Men’s Mizuno Wave Prophecy 3 Review

Mizuno-HeaderA while back, my husband received a pair of Mizuno Prophecy 3‘s to review on my blog. Trying them out was immediately put to the back burner as he got them in the midst of us moving to another country in the middle of winter. He commented that since they were so expensive he didn’t want to ruin them and wear them out during that blasted Canadian winter with all the ice, slush and dirt. I could see where he’s coming from, they’re pretty expensive in comparison to a regular running shoe: $210. Add that into the equation of him wanting to cycle through a few half-worn out pairs of running shoes that he had in rotation before he dug these ones out of the box.

I started to get overwhelmed by him wearing them, and not providing me with blog related feedback other than they were comfortable, and his favourite shoe as of to date. And I’m not writing that to sell you on the product, he truly gets excited when he puts them on, saying they’re his fanciest running shoes he’s ever worn. Needless to say, the shoe has gotten a lot of wears over the course of 2014, he loved the Prophecy so much he bought a second pair.Mizuno-Wave-Prophecy-3


Wave-Prophecy-3-MizunoI finally rallied him up and asked him to sit down and give me some ideas on how to articulate a post about the best shoes he’s ever had.

I wanted his spin on the blog, so he wrote down his thoughts on what he wanted to say, below. I certainly can’t review them, the shoe’s weren’t on my feet, right? Although the Mizuno Wave Prophecy 3‘s aren’t worn by me, I feel like I can still contribute a few paragraphs on the piece. I’ve had so much time to read up on this sneaker and I feel as if I know it like the back of my hand. Although The Guy is not a heel striker I’ve read that the Wave Prophecy 3 shoe is good for heel strikers, due to its engineering.

To give you a bit of a background, The Guy / Mr. Spiffykerms / My husband (the man of many nick names) is a 5x Ironman Triathlete who trains all year round, and runs sub 3 hour marathons, knows a little more than I do about running. The Guy illustrates how these shoes are efficient on his runs and one of his favourite pairs of shoes to wear. He has owned many different pairs and brands of running shoes and is an experienced runner with little complaint about his running form. He has a number of running shoes that he rotates through, and a newest edition to his ever growing collection is the Wave Propehcy 3’s.

TheGuyRunsTake it away, Mr Spiffykerms:

Where to start…  I am not completely new to the Mizuno “Wave” shoes, having worn (and loved) a pair of Wave Creation 8s a few years ago.  I feel like the Prophecy 3s are a lot like those old shoes, except lighter, sleeker, and better looking (the uppers are made of single piece of smooth mesh fabric).  Lately, as many runners have, I got caught up in the minimalist running shoe craze and Sauncony Kinvaras have been my workhorse shoes for a while.  I also really liked my Brooks Pure Flows as well.  Both of these have reduced heel to toe drop — unlike the Mizuno’s.  I don’t know what the heel to toe drop is for the Prophecy’s, but it’s big.  To my surprise, however, I had no difficulty adjusting back to this shoe.  Miles felt great right from the start.  I would describe the Prophecy’s as having a well cushioned but firm ride.  I think the full length plastic plate is responsible for that, and it does a great job of covering up any pebbles or surface textures you may be running on.  But despite the firmness, they never feel harsh and still stay responsive.  They are not like some over cushioned shoes that feel dead, soaking up all your energy with every step.  And that firmness comes with other benefits as well.  These shoes have never hurt my feet from day one.  I found them fantastic for rejuvenating tired or sore feet.  As a result, I have used these shoes exclusively for all of my long runs this year and continue to do so.  I still cycle them with my other shoes, though, and haven’t had a problem moving to/from the larger heel toe drop.

The shoes fit a little big, so I half sized down and they are perfect.  They have a large-ish toe box (which I like) and a smooth and well ventilated interior that doesn’t hug your feet too tightly.  One potential draw back of the Wave plate and those big gaps is that I feel rocks could pretty easily get caught up inside there.  For that reason, I haven’t used these for any significant trail running.  That said, when I have, I haven’t actually had a problem either so maybe they would perform just fine.

All and all, these are excellent training shoes.  I think they are a tad heavy for racing for me, but if my feet were aching or I was having any sort of plantar fasciitis issues, I would seriously consider them even for that as they definitely don’t feel slow.  Keep up the good work, Mizuno!Run

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Lake Tahoe Ironman

The second annual Lake Tahoe Ironman Triathlon drew thousands to our new home of NorCal. The Guy and I made our commute to Lake Tahoe at the crack of dawn Friday morning to get ready for his upcoming sixth Ironman only to receive heartbreaking news the morning of. IM-Tahoe-2014-T1If you don’t know much about Ironmans or triathlons in general, the Ironman is the longest triathlon race and they have many courses spread all around the world for athletes to compete in. The Ironman distance is 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run, with a strict time limit of 17 hours to complete the race.

Family-portraitNot my idea of a challenge, but my husband is all over it. I mean, this is as “family portrait” as we get.

Smoke-fire-at-IMTahoe-2014Race day was an incredibly sad and disappointing morning. Our athletes were standing in the water suited up in their wetsuit minutes before gun-time, when they cancelled Ironman Lake Tahoe due to unsafe air quality conditions. All the money, all the training — the mental and physical preparations gone all because of one arsonist.

Ironman Lake Tahoe isn’t having much luck with their races as last year’s left a lasting impression on the athletes and spectators with the air temp being a brisk 0° C / 33° F and one of the highest DNF’s in Ironman history. This being the second year was devastating to all participants involved. Early Sunday morning all the racers, spectators, volunteers and staff got ready for the big day. People flew in from all over the world, and luckily we had an easy 4 hour drive (we brought our dog Alfie along too, loving these dog friendly hotels that are around).

IM-Tahoe-Squaw-ValleyMy husband was so dejected, as was everyone else — we checked out of our hotel early and drove back home. Now we can’t help but wonder what is happening to the 50 qualifying Kona spots. My husband wanted to compete at Ironman Lake Tahoe and try to qualify for his dream: to race at Kona.

Ironman-Tahoe-2014WTC/Ironman doesn’t give out refunds and definitely won’t be rescheduling the race. Athletes should not have to take the blow of the cost in something that should have been cancelled long before the morning of.

FB Ironman Lake Tahoe pic by Alex SheehanMany people are ticked off due to the poor communication from the WTC/Ironman officials because everyone including myself felt like the event should have been cancelled before they were lead to the start or simply days before since. What’s even crazier is that they gave out finisher’s medals. A medal that should be earned.

Swimming-IMTahoe-2014My husband was so disappointed as he (like everyone else) received news when he had his wetsuit already on. He ended up doing one loop of the swim regardless.

A quote from an athlete’s loved one that posted on Ironman’s Facebook page that were going to compete at Ironman Lake Tahoe yesterday:

Maria Rocio Reyes The question is not whether it was the right decision to cancel the race. of course it was the right decision to cancel it. As a physician specializing in respiratory diseases, I feel the race would have placed too many people at risk of respiratory events. Having said that, the question is how could Iron Man as an organization have handled this better. At the athlete’s meeting, the organization was unwilling to discuss their contingency plan. Now, the reason is clear–BECAUSE THERE WASNT ONE! Of course it was not in the control that a freak decided to set a fire in the promity of the event, that the fire would grow exponentially so quickly, that the winds shifted overnight to ruin the air quality around the event site. No, those were circumstances beyond the organizers’ control. But, they were in control of their planning. They were in control of the way the decision was announced. They were in control of the timing of the announcement. They were in control of leaving the athletes hanging, still not knowing about refunds, etc. It is mind baffling to me that there was no contingency plan for such a highly anticipated event. As a family we put our life on hold for a year to allow my husband to train for this event. And what we got was an MC making a cryptic announcement a few mins before the race start. Sure they wanted to wait until the last min in hopes that the air would miraculously shift. But why not be honest and say this earlier in the week? at the athlete’s meeting? Where are the higher level organizers? The dignified thing to do would be for one of them to have the courage to stand at the start line in front of all those athletes and their family members and say this was a grueling decision and we are just as disappointed as you are. Dont treat us like we are some expendable thing that you can just toss out the window, bc let me tell you, that’s how we feel right now. The credibility that you have lost by the way you made this announcement and your lack of foresight on how to handle the inevitable has lost you many, many supporters.

Ironman races never cancel. Ironman Canada in Penticton had a similar situation a few years back, where there was too much smoke around certain areas of the course and they decided to change it up and do a ton of bike and run laps around the down town area, definitely mentally difficult but the show went on. I believe athletes should’ve had the option to compete in the event. Locals have been living in this situation for weeks and haven’t been evacuated, so let racers decide for themselves if they wanted to compete in it or not. On the other hand I completely understand why it was cancelled due to hazardous conditions, I’m not angry, I simply disagree with the way it was handled by WTC.

Walking-Bike-to-T1My heart goes out to the athletes who had sacrificed and trained an ungodly amount for their Ironman race. I am deeply sorry.

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