Monday, 31 December 2012

2012-A Year in Review

So it's December 31st and 2012 is almost over, I thought I would look back at a the year that was 2012.

Event  in 2012
- Bluenose 10K - Halifax
- Ottawa Race Weekend 5K- Ottawa
- National Capital Triathlon Sprint Tri - Ottawa
- The Canadian Triathlon Try-a-Tri - Ottawa
- Army Run Half Marathon - Ottawa
- CIBC Run for the Cure 5K - Ottawa
- Beat Beethoven 8K - Ottawa
- Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon - Orlando FL

Next Race    
- Resolution Run 5K - Ottawa Dec 31, 2012

Best Moments of 2012
- Finishing my first triathlon, The Canadian Triathlon
- Finishing my first timed 10K, The Bluenose
- Finishing my first half marathon, Army Run
- Finishing first in my age group, Beat Beethoven

Worst Moments of 2012
- Getting a DNF on my sprint triathlon, National Capital Triathlon
- Getting injured 2 weeks before my first half marathon, Army Run

Most Inspirational Moment of 2012
- Seeing my Mom at the 20K mark of my first half marathon, I really needed the boost at that stage
- Running with the injured soldiers at the Army Run, I had no reason to complain, if they could do it, so could I
- Watching our friend Stephane compete in the Tremblant Ironman event.  I saw athletes of all shapes and sizes, pro's and age group athletes all participate and at that moment I know I too could do this one day

Best Run of 2012
- Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon.
My goal was to have fun and enjoy the run, time did not matter.  I had a great run, for the first time I actually felt like a runner. It was a fabulous event and I really enjoyed running through the Disney parks.

2013 Goals
- Goodlife Fitness Toronto Half  Marathon - to set a new personal best time
- National Capital Triathlon - complete my first Olympic Distance Triathlon
- Start training for my first marathon (Disney 2014)

So that was 2012.  I hope you had many memorable moments in 2012 and I look forward to sharing 2013 with you. Happy New Year!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Things I wish I knew 20 years ago

This is not a usual post, it is in response to a blog post by SWIMBIKEMOM about losing her mind.  It stirred up some feelings in me that I wanted to share, so thank you for indulging me this one time.  I will have a regular blog post on Monday.

So I have a confession to make, I am old.  I have been around the block a few times and life has left its marks on my body and my soul.  I look at myself and I feel every one of my years.  Don’t get me wrong, my mental  age is far younger then my physical age, there is no way I tell my body I am that old or it might stop doing all the crazy things I ask it to do.  When I am out with the girls, I really feel old.  They have young kids and are trying to sort out the work/life/training balance thing and I look at them knowingly and smile.  I would run away laughing hysterically but I do not want to frighten them, not yet anyway. 

When we are young we think we can have it all, a career, a husband, 2 or 3 darling kids, maybe a dog and look fabulous at the same time.  Keep dreaming as that is not going to happen, or it sure did not happen to me.  Women of my generation were raised to be superwomen, blame the feminist movement if you must (I don't). No longer was it OK to be at home, we had to work, workout like Jane Fonda, raise perfect kids and bake cookies all while solving some international financial crisis on our lunch hour.  We had to have a perfect home, a perfect marriage and perfect kids; whoever painted that picture was not living my life, that is for sure.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my life but at times I really wondered if I would survive.  So for all my younger athletic friends I will share my secret with you, come closer, I have to whisper. 

Life is not about balance; it’s about surviving, surviving and trying not to lose your mind completely.  If you want balance, buy one of those old fashion scales because that is the only way I know to achieve balance. 

We have to do the best we can or as I put it “fake it till you make it”.  Life does not come with a rule book; we make it up as well go along.  We try to do it all because we think we should but guess what, it never works out the way we want it too and we feel inadequate.  For me these feelings lead to over eating and giving up all my personal time for my children, the PTA, the scouts, the band and everyone else who wanted a piece of me until there was no ME left and a fat, sad depressing shell was looking at me in the mirror and I wondered who the hell she was.  I had slowly lost my mind, my body and my soul and it was time to get it back.  Losing your mind makes some things easier, like the teenage years but really, it’s not worth it.  Here is what I wish someone had told me when I was younger
-           to do the best I could, it would be enough;
-           perfect is only in magazines and not real life;
-          Your kids will love you even if you are not there all the time as long as you are there totally (mind, body and spirit)  some of the time;
-          Real men do dishes, they cleans and go grocery shopping too;
-          Store bought cookies or cookies from a mix are just as good as homemade;
-          Never give all of yourself away to everyone else; you might need yourself one day;
-          Be kind to yourself, forgive yourself and for god sake LOVE yourself, then everyone else will too.

My best piece of advice is to find something you really like to do, whether it be running, triathlons, bootcamp, knitting, reading or scrapbooking and put it in a special place, a place that never gets ignored or given away, some 'me time' so we can keep a bit of our mind, body and soul.  Your kids and husband will understand and appreciate the better person you are because of it.  I had better post this before I change my mind; that is if I can remember where I put the darn thing.

Huge thank you to my hubby and kids for giving me the time to find myself again.  I am much happier now and so are they because of it.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Addict or Athlete

My name is Allyson and I am an exercise addict…..(not)

So we had a speaker at out run clinic on Friday night speaking to us about exercise addiction.  He was an interesting speaker but I am not sure about his comments. If you run and train, you know how easy it is to obsess about your training and to over-train as your event gets closer.   Experts say that exercise addiction is not just another term for over-training syndrome.  Exercise addiction is a chronic loss of perspective of the role of exercise in a full life.  The exercise addict had lost their balance; exercise is overvalued compared to the value of work, friends, family or community.

I am not an exercise addict, I exercise because I want to, I like the way I feel and I like the way it makes my body feel.  I have been known to wake up at 4:30am to get a long run in before work or family events, I have had to cut down social activities to do my training, I work out when I am sick, injured or tired and friends and family have told me I am too involved in exercise.  I love to work out 6 days a week and I get withdrawal like symptoms when I cannot work out.  I even use exercise to improve my mood, I run better when I am mad and I run when I am stressed so I do not eat.  Based on this, I fit the definition of an exercise addict; so do most of my running/triathlete friends.   

I would say I am goal driven, I like to set goals and achieve them…it makes me happy.  I work hard to achieve my goals, I can be single minded in my focus when I get close to an event.  I think anyone who trains for any distance events has these qualities; we need them to keep us on track and to push us for the next goal.  I think it is all about balance; it’s OK to get out of balance for a short time, like before an event but if we stay out of balance for too long we could have a problem.  I know I have felt a little lost in my off season, I like it better when I have a training plan but the off season gives me a chance to re-balance my life.  I know when to work harder and when to take a day off, I know that my family and friends are more important then my workouts and they come first and I know that exercise is an important part of my life but it is not my life. 

My name is Allyson and I am an athlete....

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Running for Pancakes

The last few weeks have been interesting, Mother Nature is going through menopause I think, it’s been really warm and it’s been really cold, we have had rain, freezing rain and snow.  I have a love/hate relationship with running in the winter.  I love running in the cold crisp conditions, the feeling you get running on a snow packed sidewalk but I hate running on ice and feeling insecure underfoot.   November 22, I went running along the canal with a friend in capri’s and a t-shirt, six days later I ran with a different friend in long tights and all my winter running gear.  Four days later, on Sunday it was raining and freezing rain and I had to cut my run short as I was afraid I would slip.  Yesterday it was +10 and today it feels like -10, this is crazy. 

Generally I do not run outside between Jan and Mar, it’s me and my treadmill. Some runners hate the treadmill, like my husband, but I do not mind it.  It’s warm inside, the footing is secure and I can have a bathroom stop or water break whenever I need it.  I have a  vivid imagination and I pass the time writing movies or TV shows in my head, where I am the beautiful star of the feature and some handsome man is my love interest, sorry Neale.  I also have time to sort out problems and work through stuff that is happening.  I get to argue both sides of the argument, look at the pros and cons and have a complete plan by the time I finish my run.  Poor Neale hates it when I get off the treadmill and say “Honey, I’ve been thinking”, he knows what is coming and I am sure he hides when I finish my run to avoid this.   

Lately I have been having some work problems, owning your own business has its pluses and minuses and November was definitely a minus month.  In the past I would have eaten my stress, drank too much wine and had too many treats.  Now I hop on the treadmill and go for a run and run until my stress is gone and I have formulated a plan.  December is a new month, I have a plan for my business for the New Year and I am happy with the new way I choose to deal with my stress.

Studies show that the average person puts on 10 lbs during the holiday season, yikes!  I have a plan for December so that I end up the month they way I went into it, a loss would be great but holding even will be a victory.  If I want to eat something extra, I find out how much extra running I would need to do to burn it off and then decide if it is worth the effort, if it is, I eat it, if not I do not but I do the run FIRST.  I have a recipe for Gingerbread pancakes that I want to try.  This means a 16K run and when I do that long run, probably Dec 22rd that is what I am making.  Whatever you eat during the holidays, enjoy it, really really enjoy it…you deserve it.