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 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 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!

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'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 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 ;-)

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Year end wrap up 2017

Well, 2017 is almost over. To be honest, I am ready for it to go away and to start a fresh new year.  I really have not felt like sharing much in 2017 and it showed in my blogging but I want to get back to it in 2018, if only for myself to recognize what I have learned and shared with others. I figure I should put the year in perceptive and get ready for a fresh start so here goes.

2017 was the year of weather and frustration for me.  Most of my races featured weather as a big part of it, the cancelled half marathon in Disney World, the truly Hypothermic half marathon 10K  in March and the heat in Whistler for Ironman Canada 70.3 and the Army Run half marathon in Ottawa.  It was not a great year of training with injury and other problems but the weather certainly did nothing to help me this year.  It is frustrating to have something you can not control screw up your race day!

Other things in my life that I could not control also messed with my year. Being a business owner is tough and this year carried on where 2016 left off and proved to be more challenging than I could ever imagine.  It is hard enough to juggle everything when it is going well and almost impossible when it is not! I know my training and mental attitude suffered because of all the work stuff.  I would like to think this will change for 2018 but probably not so I am going to have to sort it out and decide what I can handle and what I can not.

2017 had some high points for sure and it revolved around helping my friends achieve their goals. I have been friends with Jenny since I was 13 and eventually we both started running.  For years she said she wanted to run the Bluenose half marathon and I said I would come and run it with her if she wanted.  It was the highlight of my spring to cross the finish line with her and Tanya, both completing their first half marathons.  In July I did a local swimming event called Bring on the Bay with Anita. This was Anita's longest open water swim and I swam with her, just in case she needed anything.  She rocked it and I was so happy that we did this together!

I was feeling mentally and physically trashed and my coach told me I needed to de-stress my body and we decided to cancel my 2 remaining marathons of 2017.  We changed up my training plan, added lots of strength training and some different runs and it was fun!  One of my marathons was in Cocoa Florida with my friend Kate.  Kate was going through cancer treatments and I asked the race director if I could move to the half marathon to run it with her and they agreed.  Kate and I had a great run together and we finished the race so she could accomplished the 5 year series challenge .  If I need to be inspired, I look to Kate.  She never stopped swimming or running/walking through out her cancer treatments and was determined to finish this half marathon to achieve the 5 year goal.  She has finisher her treatment now and is back to running and training, a truly inspiring person. 

My word for this year was strength and 2017 lived up to that!  I learned how strong I was and how much stronger I need to become. I learned that strength comes in believing in yourself and when you can't others can help you by giving you some of theirs to carry you through.  I could not have gotten through this year without Neale, Ray, Anita and Caitlin, my constant cheerleaders, my strength when I am weak and who believe in me always.  I tried to learn all the lessons this year provided and am ready to move into 2018 a stronger person for it all!

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Something Different

It's been 2 weeks of my new program and it has been interesting. It is different not having a loaded weekend of workouts and having the freedom to try new things. During the week I have workouts I need to do but on the weekend, its my choice. After 7 years of structure, it is hard to turn that off and go with the flow. Even harder is logging my nutrition, its hard to keep on top of it but I am trying. 

Last Sunday I did something fun, I went kayaking. I had been kayaking once about 15 years ago but that was it. My friend Anita has 2 kayaks and invited me to go and since I had nothing else, I said yes.  It was so much fun and such a good arm and core workout! We spent 4 hours on the water and covered 11 km. We will not have many more summer days to enjoy and this was the perfect way to spend one of them. 

We did not have much of a summer in the traditional months of July and August but September is making up for it. Tomorrow is the Army Run and it is scheduled to be 28C and feel like 32C, we have not had weather like this in a while. While I am not racing tomorrow, it will still be a challenge due to the heat.  I have run that race in rain, in cold temps and in the heat, the heat is the worst. We will see what tomorrow brings. 

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Hitting the Rest Button

Happy September!  Where has the summer gone?  Her in Ottawa it was a cold 3C this morning and it certainly felt like summer was over but I hope that we will get a few more months of decent weather. For me September is my New Year, I seem to spend August sorting through my life and getting rid of what is not working and double down on what is. This year has been particularly challenging and I have felt like life was running over me like a train with no conductor.  Slowly, ever so slowly things are beginning to be sorted out and I know what I need to do going forward. I have spent this year sorting out things that have been holding me back, figuring out what is important and learning to really listen to my instincts. It seems like this year  I learned how strong I really was and how to put into practice what I had learned.

In February, I took a chance and asked Ray if he would help me prepare for my triathlons this summer and lucky for me he said yes! I was intimidated to ask since he is such a great athlete but I was starting to feel like I needed something different but not sure what it was.  I was dealing with several injuries in Feb and Mar and then we started training for the races I had on my plan this summer, a half marathon and two 70.3 triathlons, five weeks apart.  I like to race, having a goal gives me something to work towards but I have a problem scheduling too many, I usually do 10 or more in a year.  I was very happy with the progress we made but I felt we were playing catch up, sort of like bailing a boat with a hole in it, you hope you bail faster than the water comes in and you don't sink.

After Ironman Canada 70.3 I knew I needed to stop bailing and fix the hole in the boat, to keep with the metaphor, and I emailed Ray and said I felt like I needed to hit the reset button so that I could achieve some goals I have set for the next few years.  I had trained one way for the last 7 years and I wanted to work with him because he offered something different to that and I needed to trust in his process and see what happens.  I knew I needed to do this but I think with all the other stuff happening in my life, I was not ready to do this until now.  So, on Sept 1 I hit the reset button and I will not be doing my fall marathons, I will be spending the next 4 months working on my nutrition and strength training  with a little bit of cardio.  I need to de-stress my body and allow it to rest and recover from 7 years of over use.

So, this will be interesting and I look forward to sharing this with anyone who reads my blog. As for those big goals, one of them is to write a book about my Ironman and all I have learned along the way.  I am doing it for myself, as a way of looking back so that I can move forward to new challenges.  What new challenges, you will have to wait and see.