Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Recap of a Decade

Another year is coming to a close and another chance to look back and imagine the year ahead.  The end of 2019 marks the end of a decade, 10 years, it seems like such a long time but I can honestly say it was gone way too quickly.  If I think back to Ally of 2010 and I compare her to today, I cannot imagine they are at all related.  January 2010 I started my half marathon walking program online with the Running Room with the goal to walk a half marathon and cross it off the list, you know that list, the stuff you say you want to do but not really.  I was half way through my weight loss journey to get fitter and I was starting to set boundaries around myself and my business.  2010 Ally had no idea what was ahead, if she had she might not have started but that’s the thing, we don’t have to know how it will end, we just need to start.

This decade had many challenges and at times I wondered if I was on the right path but I learned it was OK to change the path and find a new one.  Sometimes these new paths led me to things I could never plan or imagine and I am grateful I had the courage to find my own way when needed.  

This last decade was about self-discovery and I grew into myself, a person who knows what she likes, who loves her life and the people in it and does not care if others don’t get me.  I leave 2019 content and it feels really comfortable.

The 20’s will be my last decade of work and I will do the things I love and leave behind the things I don’t. I have earned the right to set my own terms and I know I will have challenges but I also know I can handle them, I always have.  

I look forward to travelling more with Neale, if that is even possible and crossing a few more things off that list but now it’s a list of stuff I want to do and really do them!   I could have not gotten through the last 10 years without Neale, you have been my rock and my soulmate since the day we meet.  I look forward to this, our 4th decade together. 

The last decade brought some amazing people into my life and they all helped me discover more about myself and I am looking forward to fun times with them in the future and welcoming more amazing people into my life because it’s those we surround ourselves with that make life full.  

2020 will be a great year! I turn 55 and will celebrate by taking trips and running with my friends. My big goal for the year will be a 50k trail ultra, something outside my comfort zone because I am not a fan of trail running and I have never done an Ultra, yikes.  

My work for 2020 is BLOOM, I have worked hard to get here and now it is time to bloom and enjoy all the experiences life offers me. 

Happy New Year!!! May 2020 bring you peace and happiness!!!

Monday, 4 March 2019

Why I am doing the CrossFit Open

People who know me know 2 things, that I like to do things way outside my comfort zone and  I like to make plans (usually about doing things outside my comfort zone). I learned a long time ago that I need to make SMART goals and part of that is giving myself time to plan, think, overthink and train for whatever my goal is.  

On February 22nd, I did something totally out of character, I registered for the CrossFit Open. I had not planned on doing it, this was a spur of the moment decision, heck, I don't even do CrossFit, but something that day whispered to me to give it a go and...I did.  

One of the things I struggle with is Perfectionism, if I have the perfect training plan and hit 100% of my workout and do everything perfectly my race will be perfect and I will achieve my goal. Well, this has never happened, juggling 2 businesses, family and friends and other activities means I rarely hit 100% of the workouts on my training plan and then I feel like a failure. Perfectionism demands 100%, anything else is failure, there is no middle ground. Perfectionism companion is Shame and it’s voice lives in my head when I am not perfect.

For the last few years, my business has demanded a lot more attention and rightly so, I have given it priority.  As a result, my training has been inconsistent and my race results less than stellar. It was really starting to mess with my head and then Shame would chirp in, see you are not good enough, who do you think you are fooling and the zinger...you are fat and not athletic and you are making a fool of yourself.  

So why would I set myself up to fail and open myself up to this mental shaming?  

I started doing strength training to help my athletics when I turned 50 and for the last year I have been doing CrossFit style workouts (WODs) as a way of keeping my training from becoming boring. I cannot do many of the moves and I am limited to the equipment we (my trainer and I) have but we make it work. I discovered CrossFit in 2017 when NetFlix recommended “Fittest on Earth” and I could not believe that people did this as a sport. These athletes are superhuman! If you have not watched them ( there are 2 or 3 on Netflix) check them out.

The CrossFit Open is a 5 week event that is open to everyone around the world.  The workouts get posted Thursday night and you have until Monday to post your best score for that workout.  The workouts have scaled versions for us mere mortals and differences for each age group as well. I knew going in that I had never done many of the skills required and that I would be struggling every week but I knew I wanted to do it.

Two weeks in and as expected, I am doing some of the skills for the first time, like wall ball throws which I caught with my face the first time, and it is really hard to finish even the basic workout. I am also having a blast!  Each week I am so happy that I managed to do even a fraction of the workout and accomplished something I had never done before. Yes, for a nanosecond I might think, well that sucked but then I remember that this is all new to me and I did it.  

In my journey of learning that I am perfectly imperfect, this was an important stepping stone and I am once again glad I had the courage to listen to the tiny whisper that said...just try.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

My word for 2019

Happy New Year!
I cannot believe it is 2019!  I am not sure where 2018 went but its a new year and a chance to make new goals and try new things.  2018 was not the year I had hoped for athletically, my 70.3 in June was not what I had trained for and it took me a long while to get over it.  I basically took the summer off and spent the fall doing the bare minimum to stay semi fit and to be able to run my 2 half marathons, the Army Run and the Syracuse Half marathon.

I think this was what I needed and I am glad I listened as it gave me a chance to let my Achilles heal  and to figure out what I wanted from my athletics.  I am usually not happy with my results and push myself to improve and get better without taking time to recognize what I am accomplishing.  A few good friends said things to me and they hit home, I spent time thinking about it and then decided to shift my perspective.

In the past few years, I have found this in my business life as well. I keep pushing myself to do more, learn more and accomplish more and do not take time to enjoy what I have accomplished.  It has been 2.5 years of change and challenges at work and it has taken its toll but we have worked through it and will continue to work hard.  Any business owner knows it is not a 40 a week job and you need to keep working but we also need to take time to recognize what we have accomplished.

Since my Ironman in 2015, I have felt stuck in one place, not progressing athletically and dealing with the same issues at work. In September, I saw Tony Robbins in Ottawa and made a decision to go to LA in March 2019 for his Unleash the Power Within Seminar, hoping it would help me figure out what's next.  Since then I have done a lot of thinking and began to realize how much I have accomplished, Neale and I will be married 30 years in Aug 2019, no small feat these days; we raised 2 sons who both graduated from University, are working and more importantly are great young men; I own/co-own 2 businesses and get to work on amazing projects; as well I have accomplished my goals in running, swimming and triathlon that I have set myself, not an easy task with my work load and other stuff I do.

All this thinking lead me to my word for 2019....

I want  to spend 2019 being grateful for all the amazing people in my life, being grateful that my body allows me to do crazy things and to be grateful for my amazing husband and sons who have supported me through it all.  Of course, me being me I do have some goals, I have not changed completely!  I am going to work towards these goals with a grateful heart and enjoy the journey,

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

The Struggle is Real

So I had a great week 1 and it was nice to be moving again. I am saying I am on a comeback and I am sure people are wondering why.  I had a great winter and spring of training, or so it seemed but I was struggling.  I own 2 businesses and the spring is busy for both of them so I work during the day at one and the evenings and weekends for the other (taxes).  Add to that the training plan I was on and my lack of sleep due to hormone issues and I was a mess.  I am not sure everyone really noticed as I am really really good at hiding it but my close friends did.

I had finally waived the white flag and asked my Dr. for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) hoping I could get some help for my sleeping, I knew if I could get a decent night sleep, I could at least function better.  I started taking it after my June 70.3, a race that did not go as planned and left me feeling frustrated.  Well instead of the HRT helping it had the opposite effect, it gave me leg cramps, my muscles unable to recover and it made me depressed.  At the same time I was trying to wrap up busy season with my tax business, hold down the fort at my main job as my business partner was on a much needed vacation and try to process what went wrong with my race.  I am very hard on myself and am always trying to fix my mistakes, no matter how small they are.  Being me, I did not tell anyone I was struggling, not my coach, not my friends, not even Neale, I just carried on. As a result, my training was non existent, I did not feel like doing anything. 

Eventually I decided that this was not good for me, yes I was sleeping better but I was not willing to pay the price required for that sleep, there had to be other ways.  I stopped the HRT, made an appointment with a Naturopath and I am currently trying to find the right combo of natural products to help me.  As of now, we are still tinkering but I have more energy, I feel better and I am able to handle the stress better.  Yes, my life is busy but I am carving out some me time and enjoyed some time in my hammock on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.  Yes, I did think I should really be doing something else but I let that thought go and relaxed...it was nice.

So why am I sharing this now?  A friend posted something on FaceBook yesterday, 17 Reasons why Modern Women are Struggling so Much and I answered honestly that I related to most of that and she was surprised...see reason #7.  Not all apply, not sure if #4 or #5 apply to me and I don't have kids at home (#9) but I do have a full life with lots of things to do each day.  I guess why I am posting this is because while I looked like I had it together, I did not. I have the ability to encourage and support others but not myself and I speak to myself in a way that I would never let a friend do to themselves (another person pointed this out to me recently as well).  Being a goal orientated, critical thinker who loves to learn and improve is great for my business life but not always in other areas.  I am sure I am not alone in this and we need to be honest and ask for help or advice from others and share our struggles so other know they are not alone.  I felt so alone and did not want anyone to know I was burnt out and depressed, I did not want to ask for help because I am always the one offering help and I did not want to burden anyone else with my problems.

I am back on the right track now, I have a goal I am working towards, I feel more like myself and I am ready to tackle a new plan, a plan that has some time to relax, to do breathing exercises, closest I will get to mediating, I am still Type A after all and being kinder to myself.  This will be interesting!

Friday, 31 August 2018

Installing Goals

Well, lets face it, I have ghosted on everyone, disappeared without a blog post and vanished.  I have been struggling for the last few years, I had accomplished some amazing goals and then struggled to find my "Why" and to stick to anything.  I went through the motions, I tried to get motivated but stuff was going on and it was taking my attention away from training.  In the span of 6 months, I had lost 2 business partners, had to refocus my business with my remaining partner, figure out whats next and work harder than I had in years.  I am also going through that wonderful time in every women's life...menopause.  For the last 17 months, I have been lucky to get 4-5 hours sleep a night, have suffered from phantom smells, night sweats, weight gain and loss of fitness...it sucks!  All in all, it's been a challenge and to be honest I have had enough.  Into every life there comes a moment, that lightening bolt from the sky, that moment you say things have got to change...fast!

This past year, some running friends trained to do Ironman Mont Tremblant (IMMT), 2 couples in fact and I enjoyed watching them train thinking better them than me.  I offered some advice and encouragement and spent a lot of time answering questions when I was asked.  They all did amazing and I loved tracking them on race day, it made me think about my Ironman and how badly I wanted it.  I did finish in 2015 but I always felt unsettled abut my race...it's hard to explain but to me it is a bit of a failure, I did not execute it the way I had wanted and my finishing was a close thing. At one point I was going to give up...that fact has always haunted me... I need a re-do.  I had started to think about it, not really seriously but a small maybe someday.  

A few days after IMMT I got a message from Danielle who, in a high after IMMT, signed up for IM Lake Placid in 2019 with her husband and asked if I wanted to join them.  She ended her message, Food for thought...😃.  Well I have to tell you that message was my lightening bolt, food for thought..it was a buffet.  I went out and told Neale I had just received an offer that I would need to refuse and told him about Danielle's message.  That quickly changed to well maybe I could...or could I.  After thinking about everything, talking to Neale and others I trust I messaged her back saying thanks but it was not something I could commit too...but I was still not 100% convinced...and I am still not if I am being honest.  My rational mind is saying to wait for 2020 and spend 2019 working on my cycling, which is still my weakest part, my monkey brain says YOLO, go for it and make it happen.  Thank you Danielle for being the lightening bolt and lighting the fire in me again, it is now burning bright!

I have thought about a lot of things over the last week...has it only been a week?   I can't say I have all the answers yet but I am making some plans and sorting out some new goals, some short term and some longer term.  I have decided that I am doing another Ironman and for now I am looking at 2020 and probably IMMT but I reserve the right to change my mind.  I am climbing Kilimanjaro in 2019 with Neale and I am spending the next 4 months losing body fat and trying to sort out the hormone stuff .  Lets face it sleep is important in training and as of today, I am about 15lbs heavier than when I did my Ironman in 2015.  I also want to get back to consistent training and feeling like I am back in control of my life. I have other goals as well, that sub 2 hour half marathon, a 10km open water swim and to finish my book and now I have added an Ironman to the list, something I was never sure would happen again. 

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Deep Freeze

Welcome to the deep freeze!  Its been really cold in Ottawa this week, the last few weeks actually and I for one have had enough of it.  There is no way to enjoy yourself outside when it is -40C and cabin fever is setting in.  I do have to go out everyday to walk the dog but even his walks have been cut short due to the weather. 

I got my new training plan this week and I did a few of the workouts and all I can say is I have my work cut out for me.  I am trying to be more consistent with my workouts this year so I  have all my key workouts in the morning before work and the evening workouts are flexible so if I have to miss them, it is OK.  On Sunday my workouts is outdoor, either a snowshoe run or skiing so I hope the temperatures get a little more reasonable. I have swimming Monday and Wednesday and a bike session on Tuesday and Thursday but those bike sessions will be tough.  On Saturday I have a long trainer ride and a 10k run.  Right now the 10k run is not happening, I need to focus on getting my time on the bike up because this week I could not even do the minimum time never mind the maximum time.  Today's snowshoe run did not happen due to a non-functioning furnace and to be honest a lack of desire to go out in the -40 temps.  I need to acknowledge that sometimes the motivation is not there but I can try again tomorrow and make it a better day. 

I am excited to have a new training schedule but it also means my first big race of the year is closer, less than 6 months away and I need to do a lot of work to be ready for it.  I really need to work on my cycling, I am slow and it takes a lot out of me so my goal over the next few months is to hit those bike workouts and be more consistent with them so I see the dividends when the snow melts and I get back outside.  Another area for improvement is my weight.  Like most of us, I put on a few extra pounds over the holidays and I hate how my clothes fit.  I know if I work on it now, I will feel better in the spring and it will help my training.  I am doing a nutrition course for athletes and am learning a lot and my son Stephen helped me figure out my macros and built me a spreadsheet to use.  I know that this year slow consistent effort will bring me the results I want so I am not worrying about a missed workout today, I am worrying about getting ready for the next one and the one after that. One day at a time, I will get there!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

My word for 2018

So for the last five years I have picked a word to represent the new year, a word to give me some inspiration and purpose as I look forward.  This year the word picked me and I accept it because it is just what I need for 2018.  My word for 2018 is RESILIENT. I stumbled upon this image while looking for something else and as read it, I knew this was a message from the Universe to my soul. 

So 2018 will be the year I embrace life's challenges (and the weather) and not let it define me. I have my goals, I will have a plan from Ray and I will execute it.  Hard work and determination are a choice and I choose them to be front and center this year.  I will be kinder to myself and keep the dragon in my head firmly locked in its cage, I will believe in myself.  I am looking forward and not backwards because I can not change the past, only the future.  I will encourage and support all those who ask (and probably some who don't) because it makes my heart sing.  I choose happiness and joy, I have had enough sadness and anger. 

I also believe that you need to make a big scary goal from time to time and you need to tell people so they can hold you to it. So here goes...  I will have 2 big goals for 2020, the year I turn 55, qualify for the Boston marathon ( something I said I could never do)  and earn a Tri Rudy award (sorry Caitlin but I have to do it).  This will be an interesting 2 year journey but I am looking forward to it...I think ;-)