Sunday, January 16, 2011

Launch of new training gear with JL Racing

When I first met with Joline and Ken from JL Racing, it was Spring of 2009. I remember from our first meeting, Joline said we want you to design some of your own garments. Being a designer, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Joline kept talking about this blank canvas, which did intimidate me a little in the beginning. Especially because this is clothing, fabrics, 3D stuff, where my realm is 2D, web page graphics, business cards, logos, brochures. I started with some simple stuff, doing the standard custom template tools that they offer on their site. That was the beginning of learning how things come together. It also started teaching me about the fabrics, how it stretches and moves, and then when you use certain fonts, how they display from far, and how far should you wrap around the back before your arms start cutting of the design. It seems simple, but their is a definite visual area that we see on our clothes, and where to place key elements of the design. As the year went on, I got to put together a few items, each one showing a period I was facing. At the end of the 2010, Joline encouraged me once again, to really design something unique. I had an idea from a silkscreen I created a while back. And with the introduction of a new fabric from JL called Thermoroubaix, the black and white gear emerged. Now a name for this gear?! In July I went to visit my family in South Africa and there was talk of 'shweshwe'. It was a term used my the indigenous Xhosa people for the sound of the long skirts made by the women who came from Europe. The term is now applied to unique African-looking patterns, and so I thought this was rather fitting.

I got the opportunity to talk about the gear, and my racing in New Zealand and Paleo nutrition arranged at the Seattle JL Team Store. And now the gear is available on line, and you are order it from this link!
Ursula JL Team Store
 JL Newsletter

What a way to end and enter 2010-2011!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Looking at Frida

I went up to Frida in Banyoles at the World Cup I, 2009, and said the typical fan statement, "I love your rowing." I continue to watch videos of her as I'm learning in the single, saying I hope to row as well as she does one day. Frida's win in Eton, and then again in New Zealand shows her strength and tenacity. Here is a video of her and to hear her speak her native language is kinda special, because she speaks english so well. (And never mind watching her take those good strokes, even in the windy conditions!)

Video of Frida

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Travelling Long Distance on a plane - tips to get through

 1. Pack your own food.

I have a little blue cooler that I take on as my second hand luggage option. Make sure there are no liquids in anything, even a salad that has a dressing to avoid TSA suspicion. I pack baggies of carrots, celery, cucumber, asparagus, deli meats (look for no-nitrates), apples, nuts, dried fruits. I cook some yam slices, and make kale salad. I take egg whites and a little olive oil mix, and even enjoy a whole green pepper and eating it as is. Pack a little dark chocolate too. Nice to have some treats also. Also make a little pesto or dipping sauce for your veggies. It will make eating them more enjoyable. I once packed baby food and applesauce. That's fine too, but make sure its the small containers.

Having your own food to eat on your schedule is so helpful. And having fresh veggie snacks makes that when you do start eating out of boredom, that its good eating options. At layovers, its so nice to have your own food, then you are not left at the mercy of the airport foodcourt, which is both too expensive and far from fresh.

I once had a TSA person tell me I can't take this food through. I told her I'm allergic to a specific preservative and need to take my own food in else I will starve and die! Ok, dramatic, but it worked. When In your final destination, They might make you discard the food before going through customs. But still you want to be sure to pack enough food.

2. Pack an empty water bottle. Once through security, go fill it, and make it a goal to keep drinking water. When on the plane, don't be shy to ask the attendants to fill your water bottle instead of just a little glass.

3. Request a special meal : Gluten-free meal. Anything helps. But try to skip the rice and rice cakes. You should be ok with having your food, and not feeling so ravenous to eat everything on that tray.

4. Keep taking your vitamins and fish oils. Keeping to your schedule as much as possible helps to get the recovering going again as soon as possible.

5. Take Melatonin. Helping your body to sleep is so helpful. If I could only but sleep through the whole ordeal that would be great. However a little sleeping aid is useful.
6. Move on the plane.

I find a space, at the back of the plane or in the isles, and I will do 50 Air Squats, or lean against the sides and do a push-up. But Mostly, just stretch.

7. Have a pair of your own headsets. The plane's headsets are always awful and you can't hear a thing. There are nice movies on board and you wanna be able to hear the conversation!

Christmas in South Africa

A wonderful gift from the Smith family suddenly put me on a plane to South Africa over the Christmas period. I have not had a sunny Christmas since I left SA in 2003. A very long flight, but now direct from Atlanta to Johannesburg (~15 hours) after another 4 hour from Seattle to Atlanta, and I was seeing stars. But I followed some of my routines when flying, that I will share with you on the next post and it helped me not be completely useless. 

This was the first time my parents did not help me buy the ticket, so I decided not to tell them I was coming and make it be a surprise. I was re-introduced to my dad with a miley-cirus wig on and big glasses as cousin Gary's new aupair just in from America! You can see he was bowled over with this arrival who looked strangely like this daughter!

From there time was spent running around the golf course while dad played. He finished the 18th with a beautiful birdie claiming 'tiger woods would buy that putt off me'. Then I stepped outside my comfort area and went mountain biking at the Cradle of Humankind. But didn't want to repeat the Alan Campbell saga where he started 2010 in SA with a mountain bike injury sending him to hospital! The following day I went mountain biking in and around Rivonia. I was happy to end the ride on road, going uphill. Delon and Jon close on my heals! Hills are my friend!

I had some fun doing circuits in and around the house, finding tree branches as pull-up bars, outside benches as jumping boxes etc. I hope to compile a video soon of the sports. Will post on my youtube channel.

I also got to introduce the paleo cooking to the Smith family. I left Nell Stephenson's Paleo Cookbook behind as a gift and changes are happening. Uncle Robert already has gone through the kitchen declaring 'most things in here are inedible!'

Christmas day was perfectly as I remember. Mom made a fantastic trifle. A little sherry soaked finger biscuits, red and green jello, custard, nuts and cream. Boxing day was also insuit of tradition, spending the day on the day, doing watersports. Not including rowing, unless floatation devices went array, but on the snake and the wakeboard making its appearance.

Little time left now, so sunny days were spent running around the LC Divillars sports grounds, at the University of Pretoria, and I got to train in the new HPC Center (High Performance Center). Guess what it had: 2 of the Aussie made Indoor Sculler. Not quite as smart as the RP3. But it got me through a good piece. All of the SA rowing team seemed to be out of town so never got my fingers went with a boat on a dam and the team.

Coffee with friends and my dear athletics coach, Mrs. Erasmus was also good time. Drove the street of Lawly looking at Christmas lights. Went to the Rhino and Lion park seeing the animals dear to the South African landscape. And there was a wonderful wedding in this whole trip too! Congradulations to Nikki and Grant!

Back in Lake Stevens, WA and the wonderful 28 deg Celsius has dropped to -7 deg Celsius. Rowing in this cold made me grumpy in the beginning. Now I'm adjusting, fast. Time to get going!
More photos on Flickr