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General « Donna Phelan's Blog


Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Groundhog Day

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Tomorrow, February 2nd, is GroundHog Day in the US and Canada. If Mr.Groundhog pokes his head out of his burrow and sees his shadow, he will retreat back into his burrow signifying 6 more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, he will leave the burrow, signifying that spring is just around the corner.

Whether Mr.Groundhog sees his shadow tomorrow or not, I am very happy to be ending my winter in a couple of weeks by heading off to camp in warm, sunny Thailand.

One GroundHog Day in particular stands out in my memory. It was 02/02/02 and I was leaving home and leaving my job as a PT in Canada to head to camp in Brazil for the first time. I remember thinking about the significance of that particular date….wondering if I would be returning back home to my job and back to winter if things didn’t work out….or if spring was just around the corner with new pastures to explore.

I’ve had many early springs since then and also a few forced winters in between. But winter makes you appreciate spring, and I am very happy to have the opportunity once again to head off to camp in a couple of weeks. Thank you Mr.Groundhog for not seeing your shadow in ’02.

I do hope for the sake of all North Americans who put their faith in Mr.Groundhog that he doesn’t see his shadow tomorrow, but instead leaves his burrow searching for spring flowers and new pastures.

We Might As Well Win

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Today is the third of 5 days of predicted rain in a row for San Diego. So to keep myself from bouncing off the walls when I’m not training, I’ve returned to being a part-time book worm.

The most recent book I’ve finished is “We Might As Well Win” by Johan Bruyneel (Lance Armstrong’s coach for those who have been living under a log for the last ten years). With all the recent talk about our upcoming training camp, there were a few sections that stuck in my head and made me realize how excited I am about heading back to camp.

“Gathering the team for our first training camp of the year, is an occasion not of hope but, more accurately, of optimism : the entire season lies before us – ours for the taking if we are willing to work hard enough, and think enough, and sacrifice enough.
The loss is in the past, which can not be changed. The win – it still lies up ahead, waiting for us, and it will stay there until we figure out how to take it.”

And before stage 16 of the 2007 Tour, Johan says to Levi and Alberto, ” ‘We must ride in such a way that if we do not win, we lose. To have a chance at the top step, we have to be willing to never take one step off the podium.’ I was telling them that to take the yellow jersey they had to be willing to ride so hard it would endanger their podium spots. All or nothing. Willing to risk losing to win.”

Ok, time to hop on the windtrainer and think about which book I’ll start next!

Out with the Old, In with the New

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

I know a lot of people make New Year’s resolutions to stop drinking, give up junk food, get to the gym more often, lose weight, etc, etc. Well, I don’t drink, I don’t have a sweet tooth (cereal doesn’t count), I already live at the gym/pool, and coach would have a cow if I went on a weight-loss program.

But I do have a bit of a “salty tooth”. I bring the saying “Once you pop (a can of Pringles), you just can’t stop” to life, and I can easily devour a jar of pickles, salsa or pickled beet in less time than it takes to open the jar.

So for my New Year’s Resolution, I decided I would send the Pringles on a little sabatical, and put a healthy twist on my “salty tooth”. It all started Christmas Day when my father-n-law gave me a jar of his homemade pickles. I sampled one and then the rest were history…unfortunately not making it to Christmas dinner. So I took his pickle recipe and decided to try my hand as a Pickle Maker. Put all the ingredients together in a pot, boil it for 4 minutes, cut the cucumbers and add the pickle juice. How difficult can that be?

Well, aside from crying my eyes out while I was cutting the onions (I’ll use goggles the next time), my pickle experiment didn’t turn out too badly. The only problem was that I devoured both jars as soon as they were done. So now I’m heading back to the grocery store for more ingredients….covering my eyes while I walk past the Pringle aisle.

Christmas As It Should Be

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

Ahh, sunny and 70 degrees in San Diego today…..Christmas as it should be.:-)


Merry Christmas and Happy 2010

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

So in between all my Christmas baking, pie making, cleaning and decorating I thought I’d write a Christmas blog. Hahaha. Well it sounded like a good opening for a blog. But despite 4 months at home I am still not what you would call domesticated. I guess my talents lie elsewhere.;-)

But I do love Christmas, and I’m always thankful at this time of year for all of the special people in my life, including my team mates, coach and Alex for giving me the opportunities that I’ve had over the last year. THANK YOU. Looking forward to the New Year, and Best Wishes to everyone in 2010!


California Dreaming On Such a Winter’s Day

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

I know I have absolutely no reason to complain about the cold weather passing through southern California this week. I spent over 25 years of my life in eastern Canada with winter lasting almost 6 months of the year. Snow from November to April and 6 months inside on the windtrainer. Ahh, the good memories, but I digress.

The last few days it’s been in the 50′s (or 10 degrees C) in San Diego, and I’ve been freezing my butt off. I came home from swim practice a few days ago, with my teeth chattering so loudly that it actually made eating cereal quite difficult. And when I went out this morning, it was with two pairs of pants, 3 shirts, a winter jacket, hat and gloves. Ahh, much better.

But this all brings me back to my point that I have reason to voice my opinion (not “complain”) about the cold. When I grew up in eastern Canada, it was warm. Heated house, heated car, heated indoor pool, heated stores and heated coffee shops. I never really had reason to be cold. I was in Arizona this summer, and it’s the coldest place I’ve ever been. I’m sure the AC of any indoor establishment would break world records for the coldest indoor temperature. And spending time outside would be a death wish of another sort so we won’t even go there.

Anyway, I’m watching the thermometer today and willing it to go above 60. Actually, I secretly wish that it could be stuck on one temperature forever. In fact, I could even be a little flexible….anywhere between 80 and 90 degrees would suit me just fine. Wishful thinking I know. But if the cold weather keeps up I just might have to make a trip back up to Canada to warm up.


Fueling at the movie store

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

When I was at the movie store a few days ago, I came across the perfect way to fuel for an all day movie marathon/windtrainer session. What a great idea – pick up your movies for the windtrainer marathon and pick up your fuel at the same time. Somebody was thinking about us triathletes when they stocked the movie store, haha.



Friday, November 20th, 2009


“When one chapter closes, another one opens”. This week marked 6 weeks since my IT band surgery. I started back biking on the road again this week (although far from breaking any speed records), and I’m slowly abandoning my friend the pull buoy in the pool. For the first time in my life we’ve gotten along pretty well. We were reluctant to get together at first, but after 5 weeks it was a tough break up. I guess forced time together can only make things better.

This time of year in California is one of my favorite times of year. The weather’s still warm, but most of the tourists have gone home, the beaches are empty and there’s less traffic on the road. All the kids have left the playground so to speak, and I don’t want them to come back. I also love the fall because the mornings are cooler and there’s nothing better than the smell of hot coffee after a cold morning swim practice….with a big bowl of cereal of course.:-) And with fall comes the race season just around the corner. Yep, change is sometimes good.


Monday, November 9th, 2009


“The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight.
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upwards in the night.”

-Henry W. Longfellow

Loving Pumpkins and Beasts

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

It’s Halloween tomorrow, and everywhere I look, there’s a pumpkin staring back at me. Everybody and their dog seems to be dressing up for Halloween this year. My swim coach (who will turn into John Travolta tomorrow eve) asked me today what my Halloween costume will be. “Well, what you see is what you get”, I told him. “Oh, so you’re gonna be a swimmer?” “Yeah, something like that”. I think I might just turn some of those pumpkins into pumpkin pie, haha. You know what they say about “when life hands you pumpkins….”.


One of the books I finished not too long ago is called “Born to Run”. It has some great quotes in it, and this is my favorite….

“The most advanced weapon in the ultrarunner’s arsenal : instead of cringing from fatigue, you embrace it. You refuse to let it go. You get to know it so well, you’re not afraid of it anymore….You love the Beast. You actually look forward to the Beast showing up, because everytime he does, you handle him better. You get him more under control. You have a friendly little tussle with the Beast and show it who’s boss. You can’t hate the Beast and expect to beat it; the only way to truly conquer something, as every great philosopher and geneticist will tell you, is to love it.”

Here’s to loving Pumpkins and Beasts. Happy Halloween.:-)