Thursday, 29 August 2013

Inspiration is All Around Us

It is hard for me to label myself a runner or an athlete, I am a reformed couch potato who decided to take control of my life and start living my dreams instead of just thinking about them.   I am slow, I swim slowly, I bike slowly and I run really slowly BUT I do them.  I do not care about my time; really, it’s about the training and the journey for me.  I can and do follow a program with joy and determination; I can’t wait to cross each workout off knowing it is getting me a step closer to my goal.  I did not start this thinking I would be running a Marathon or hoping to do an Ironman one day, I actually said I would NEVER do either of these things but here I am working towards these goals, slowly and steadily one step at a time. 

Today on the bus I read "Running to Extremes" by Ray Zahab and Steve Pitt.  This is the perfect book for me to read a few days before my first half Ironman.  This is about an ordinary guy who decides one day to change his life, find his passion and loves sharing it with others. He is not perfect, he has setbacks, he learns from them and keeps on going.  He also carried around a sidekick, old Ray who is constantly telling him he is not good enough and he is going to fail.  Slowly but surly, old Ray disappears and the new stronger Ray survives.  I too have a side kick, fat Ally has been with me for years but she is getting quieter and she shows up less and less, she just can't keep up with me anymore.  

On Saturday I am spending 7 to 8 hours doing my event and I have no intention on taking fat Ally with me that day.  This is a celebration and I am sharing the day with those who helped me get there, not the ones who held me back.   In January I picked a word for the year and my word was inspire, I hoped to inspire others but mostly I wanted to inspire myself.  I was feeling overwhelmed and lost with my running and in a fit of insanity I signed up for a big crazy race.  Even when I registered for it I said I would probably downgrade it to the Aqua or Olympic event, it was just too big for me.  Well as it turns out I grew into it, the once way too big dream is here and I am as ready as I will ever be.  Others inspired me and I thank them, they may not know it but they had a huge influence on me this year. Inspiration is always around us, it might be quiet and subtle or loud and in your face but it is there, you just have to be ready to receive it.  

Whatever happens Saturday, I have had a great time getting to the start line, I plan on having fun during the race, cheering on other participants as I go and being thankful I am able to swim, bike and run that day. 

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Lemonade anyone?

Sorry I have not posted in a few weeks, I have been busy with work and training and dealing with other stuff that I will explain. 

So my marathon man had planned on running a marathon this fall, he had hoped to get close to his Boston qualifying time.  Well, this plan is derailed by injury now, he has Achilles damage to both feet and will not be able to run for 6-8 weeks and need shock wave therapy and other stuff to get it repaired.  Needless to say, he is pretty bummed out.  All our Fall running plans have changed, we quickly had to reassess what we could change, what we could get out of at little cost and what we could not change.  All these changes affect me as well since I am running;  I have to fill in the gaps.  We had planned on running the Philly marathon together as my first marathon, this is now not happening, Philly is off the table, a no go, do not pass start and get a medal.  I am disappointed that Neale will not be pacing me for my first marathon; I am now running it alone, 5 weeks earlier than expected.  His October marathon we cannot change, flights are booked and we have to go.   I am running it instead, his bib but no chip,  it will give me the experience of running a marathon, which is what I wanted but not necessarily how I wanted to do it.   So instead of a 2 week break after my Half Iron distance event Aug 31, I head straight into a condensed marathon training plan.  Thank goodness my coach is able to adapt my training quickly and she thinks it is doable. 

We were able to transfer bibs for the Army run so I am running the half marathon and he will slowly run/walk the 5K.  Last year the Army run was my 1st half marathon and this year it is my 4th. What a year it has been, 2 other half marathons, various 5 and 10K races, 3 triathlons and countless training miles.  I am 20 lbs lighter than last year and in such a better place in my training and in my life.  My 1st half marathon was my worst race ever and this year it will be 3 weeks after a 113k race so I am not expecting much. I want to have fun, enjoy the course and the crowds, something I did not get to do last year. 

Life does not always go as planned, there are always bumps in the road, setbacks and challenges but it is how we respond to them that shows how much we have grown.  As I always say, 

Monday, 5 August 2013

Dreaming BIG

So, as the story goes, in 1999 I wrote a list of things I wanted to do in the new millennium, one of the items was to do an Olympic triathlon.  At the time I did not run and was not athletic but I decided to dream big and add it to the list anyway.  I started running 3 years ago to fulfill this dream, my intention was just to do the 5k and 10K clinic so that I knew I could do the 10K at the end of the tri.  Well things did not work out as planned, I got hooked on running and have done 3 half marathons and am training for a marathon (more about that later).  Last summer I started doing triathlons and did a sprint tri and a try-a-tri and this summer the goal was the Olympic tri, I would finally get to cross this off the list.  

Last year the National Capital event was my first tri and it did not go as planned but this year I was determined and prepared.  I had trained well and felt great and I learned how to change a flat tire so if I had a flat again this year, I could deal with it.  The differences between last years race and this year were huge. Last year it was 40C and sunny, this year it was 20C and overcast, last year I was stressed out and this year I was cool and calm, ready to have fun and deal with whatever the universe threw at me.  The biggest difference was last year I got a DNF and this year I got a medal.

I had a great time, it was hard and long but I enjoyed myself from beginning to end.  The swim was OK, I went off course a few times and my time was slower then I wanted but I can work on this in the next few weeks and try to get a better time at the end of the month at my next event.  I have to swim 1.9K then, an extra 400m and I want to try and do it in the same time as this race. The bike was fun, it was windy and I thought I was going fast but as it turned out, I was doing my normal training pace, it clarified that I need to work hard on my cycling in the off season so I can do the hills in Tremblant next June. Funny enough, the run was my easiest leg and I am not a natural runner.  I seem to settle into a 6:30 per km pace off the bike with little effort, same as on my training runs.  Some night I struggle to get to this pace on a tempo run but in a tri, no problem, weird. I was thrilled to finish this year, no unexpected mechanical issues with the bike, my nutrition overall was spot on and it was a great benchmark for my Half Ironman at the end of the month. 

Sunday I got up to do a 23k run with my marathon group.  At about the 20k mark my quads decided they were done, whether I was or not.  I opted out of the last km and headed back to the Running Room and my car.  I was upset that I had to cut the run short but I knew better then to risk an injury.  I seem to have a recurring issue with my right quad muscle, it gets tight on my long runs.  How would I be able to run a marathon if this keeps happening?  When I go home I had a bit of a panic attack about the marathon, what was I thinking. Eventually I got over myself, decided that it was 15 weeks away and I had other races before that to train for and think about,  like my half Ironman in 4 weeks.  Neale knows I will be ready for Philly, my coach knows I will be ready so I had better get on board and decide I will be ready too.   Whatever happens, I have a plan and the determination to execute it, I cannot afford to waste the energy worrying.