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.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Trail Running

So today I did something new, I did a trail run.  For the last 7 years, I have stuck to roads and never ventured onto a trail, in fact I even hate when I have to run on crusher dust during a road race.  All my friends that run trails said I would love it but I was not too sure but I went to support my coach Ray and to raise money for his charity impossible2possible. 

I have had a hard time finding my mojo since Ironman Canada 70.3, I had a cold for a week and generally feeling lazy so I had zero expectations before today's race. Anyway, who runs trails for the first time at a race...I do!  It was a 23k trail run, no small feat but compared to what others were doing it seemed small. My friend Leanne was doing 50k today and did 50k overnight for a total of 100k, that seems crazy to me.

I started out slowly, at the back of the pack and followed the lead of the runners ahead of me, if they walked up the hill, I did as well, if they were running, I ran too. It was quite enjoyable to start with but I found the footing difficult.  I usually make up ground on the down hills but today I could not as the rocks and tree roots made me worry about falling or twisting my ankle.  I hit the turn around just before the time I expected and headed back!  I knew the trip back would take longer and it did.  I did not have enough fuel with me either, I based my packing on a road half marathon, not a trail run and I now know I need more food :-)

I kept on running, walking the uphills but running the rest until the last 3k when I had to take a few extra walk breaks but all in all, I was happy with my first trail run.  Am I a new convert to trail running, nope.  I guess I am a triathlete at heart and I still prefer road to trail but I will probably get out on the trails again because my coach believes in them so much and I try to do what my coach tells me to much as possible.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Beware – Don’t Feed the Dragon!

I feel like this should be tattooed somewhere as a reminder.  I am not referring to a real dragon but my EGO, who I have referred to as the b!tch who lives in my head before.  I am learning to separate my ego from myself so now I am thinking of it as a dragon that lives in a cage, it looks cute and fun to play with but if I feed it, watch out!  My dragon looks like this

I have been working on my mental strength for a while now but especially as I was training for my goal race of the summer Ironman Canada 70.3 in Whistler. Something my trainer, Catherine, said last fall really hit a cord with me, she said I should have high commitment to my train and low attachment to my goals.  I would get so frustrated when I did not hit my goals or when a race did not go as planned because of the weather (a recurring pattern in my life).  I knew I did the training so why was I not seeing the rewards on race day.  During a race, when things were not going well my ego would start the trash talk, you’re not an athlete, you’re too slow, you’re too old, you don’t belong her and all the other stuff I held in the deep dark part of my brain.  Years and years of being picked last in gym, being told I was too fat to do something, not smart enough, not fit enough and just plain not good enough. Those thoughts are the bottom feeders of our soul; they hide away until that moment you are at your lowest and then come out to play. 

I went into Whistler feeling strong. Tremblant had been a good training day, I hit 2 of my 3 goals and it gave us good info for the last few weeks of training.  I had made significant improvement in my swimming and modest improvement in my biking but the run off the bike was still my weakness.  We focused on those areas and I felt good heading to British Columbia.  Huge thanks to my team of coaches for getting me to this race in such great shape, Andrea (swimming), Catherine (strength) and Ray (for everything else).  My instructions from  Ray were simple, just go for it and try to get a new PB!  This would not be an easy task on a challenging bike course but I believed I could if the stars aligned that day.

Race day was amazing, how could it not when you are surrounded by snow-capped mountains and amazing, inspiring people.   As I exited the swim I looked at my watch and saw my time was slower than Tremblant but I was not going to feed the dragon, I kept on going knowing the swim had been rougher than Tremblant and I had more people in my way this time. Biking is my weakest leg of a triathlon and also the longest but I was going to give it everything I had.  Everything was going great until I reached the 63km turn around and faced the final 27k back to Whistler.  At about 70k, the heat and the wind was more than I could handle and I needed to get off my bike.  This would have been the time my dragon would come out to play but not that day! I got back on my bike, remembered I had been in tougher races than this and I could do this and more importantly, I would do this. 

I used every tool in my mental tool box to keep my dragon locked up and for the first time, he stayed locked in his cage for the whole race.  This was my biggest win of the day and one I have worked so hard to have, I did belong, I was good enough and when things got tough, I was tougher.