Wednesday, April 19, 2017

When you look up, the party changes...

Back in the fall of 2014, when I was still working at RHPL, I went through a phase of changing things up for a fitness program.  I was still running, but I had been talking to my boss about HIIT, and he shared his love for P90x.  I decided to buy the newest version at that time, the P90X3, because it was all about intensive workouts in 30 minutes.  Great way to get your sweat on, if you can endure listening to Tony. ;-)

I went through the program, found it to be pretty good and then went back into my more normal routine, with running.  However, I found that I really enjoyed the yoga workout, which was something I had never really explored, but curious about.  The yoga workout became my go-to for strengthening and relaxation. I would do the workout a couple of times per week for cross training.  In fact, I have been in the practice of using that workout, even with a portable dvd player when I travel for work these days, as a way to work out and focus and calm.  I never thought I would enjoy it, nor feel the benefits of yoga until I started doing that workout.

I did a half marathon last Fall, the R&R Half here in Vancouver.  I trained pretty hard for it, I was disciplined enough to only miss one long run, but managed to consistently run throughout.  My goal for R&R was to bring my time down to 1:42, a time to be eligible for the NYCM. It felt like a bit of a big, hairy goal, but still something that was quite possible, as my running had greatly improved this past year.  I ended up not hitting my goal, as I didn't pace properly that race, and missed by two minutes.  A long shot in some regards, but still one of my fastest race times for a half.

Following that race, I took a few weeks off running and then the intent was to get back on and train for the First Half in February.  I forgot to pack running shorts for our November Mexican vacation, and never got around to buying a pair so I could run.  And then I came back and got sick, super busy with work and then just "LIFED."  Training for that race was terrible, and it didn't help for the first time in decades, Vancouver had snow and lots of it all this winter.  I've become temperamental as I get older for a lesser tolerance for running in terrible weather and I refuse to run on ice.  So my training was... iced.

Somebody, somewhere was listening out there, as Mother Nature dropped down a bucketload of snow, resulting in the race being cancelled in the first time of its 28-year history.  Internally I was thrilled.  Emotionally, I was relieved as well as saddened, because I felt like I didn't know where to focus my energies next.

Since then, motivation for running has been all over the place.  Work has been especially busy these past six months, and it has been almost a routine to start work at 6:30 in the morning because the office is 2-hour time change before it switched to 1 hour (the joy of working for a Saskatchewan-based company).  It has been almost normal to work close to 10-12 hours daily.  The result of this lifestyle has been less exercise, less me-time and feeling more depleted.

Turning 45 this year just four weeks ago has also seemed to also put me into a flux.  The only way to describe it, is that I feel like I am having a mini mid life crisis.  I feel tired, burnt out and not really motivated to look after myself.  However, I am also very cognizant that what I do now physically, will reap huge rewards in feeling better, looking better and living longer.  So I am mentally kicking myself in the butt.

It feels to some degree, that things have been coming to a head as of late.  There is now only one hour time change, the mornings are brighter, making it easier to run. I am finally getting over being sick (I was hit with the stomach flu, followed immediately by a head cold that has lasted now over two weeks).  Monday was an interesting but hard day, as it was the Boston Marathon.  Looking at the photos, recalling the memories and thinking about how I passed the opportunity to register for this race this year seems to have rolled in and settled into my head.

I know that I just have to start showing up, lacing up and running out the door to start getting back into the habit.  I guess I am just a little surprised at myself that it has been a little longer than it used to be to get back into the swing of things and get excited about running again.  Maybe what I need to do is just be nice to myself, not pressure myself of what I should or shouldn't do, and things will happen.  Of course it's not just magic, there is hard work involved.

So I am hoping this statement from Tony, "when you look up, the party changes," somehow sticks.  It is such a throwaway statement, but for some reason, that sentence sits in my head following the yoga.  When you look up, you see up.  When you see up, you think up.  And when you think up, you feel up and then you see everything around you changes, all for the better.  Maybe that is a line that I read somewhere (feels that way, but can't remember for the life of me at 7:30 in the morning).

Up, up and away...

Monday, April 17, 2017


Just a few years have passed, or more like six.

Facebook has this handy reminder, On This Day, to remind us what we did on that specific day in the past since joining Facebook.  Nothing unusual, but was recently reminded how I had a blog, this one specifically, and that I used to post on it.

Life got in the way, I ran out of things to say after my obsession with the Boston Marathon, and just forgot about it.

Interestingly enough, today is the Boston Marathon, 2017 edition.  I qualified for it with my R&R Seattle race last year, but decided it wasn't the right time to do Boston again.  I now have a near five year old daughter, a super busy and demanding job, and running has taken a bit of a beating (or backseat) in daily life.  I still love it, but hasn't been my driving force as of late.

But I want to get back into it.  Life feels more balanced and centred when I have had the chance to run and think and feel and reflect.  I like it better that way.

So now that I have managed to figure out what my user ID and password was for this, I have been thinking of resurrecting the blog and posting again.  Nothing serious, but not so running focused or IronMan focused.  More of life of a busy mom, who loves to run.

I'll be curious to see if I can get back into the writing habit, and interested to see what comes to mind.

Until then...


Monday, June 27, 2011

June just blinked by...

Quick post, but soon to follow...

June is coming up to a close, and once again, I haven't exactly been on top of blogging. Call it busy with work, distracted by lots of happenings, or trying to conquer the wild kingdom otherwise known as my back yard. None the less, I intend to start writing again.

To very quickly recap, I completed the Oliver Half IronMan on June 5th. It was probably the least I have ever been to prepare for a race, so my confidence wasn't on top of it's game. I went in with low expectations, and curiosity as to how the body would react and perform. The race is held in desert country in BC's Okanagan area. Surrounded by beauty and dotted with farms and vineyards, it really is a beautiful spot. This race has been happening for about 10 years, so it has gained a solid reputation for being a great race.

To sum up the race, the swim was a struggle for me. I had only swam a couple of times prior to the event, and put the wetsuit on for the first time this year on raceday morning. I went in knowing that it would be a slow swim. It's a weird triangle-shaped swim, with 800m, then 300m, then 400m and finally 500m. Everything went over pretty well, until the final 400m. Out of nowhere, this guy from the silver caps category (aka 50+ age categories) swam by me, and smacked me in the lip with his elbow. Ouch. It threw me off of course, and slowed me down a bit because I couldn't concentrate because my lip was swelling up nicely and bleeding. Oh well. Finished the swim, had the wetsuit strippers help me with the wetsuit (an awesome detail I was most happy about) and then 600m race to T1. And then onto the bike...

The bike was good, I was able to get into a quick rhythm and move. I found my biking legs last year, so my speed was able to build as I progressed. I was worried that I would blow up on the bike, and leave nothing for the run. However, I managed to maintain a pretty steady pace throughout. Surprisingly, I had my fastest bike time ever on the bike (3:03 for 93km) which was good. And then onto the run...

By the time I started the run, it was starting to get hot, like super hot. In fact, the temperature hit 31C that day, which felt like a supreme punishment, since I haven't experienced that heat since Egypt in November and of course, IronMan Canada. Tough to run through, when I could only muster the mental strength to run from one aid station to the next. I had my worst run- 2:24, but it really didn't matter. You could say I blew up on the run, which is quite a likely factor, but the heat just really got the best of me. I just focused on getting to the finish, so I could collect my medal.

Total time: 6:24:14.

What I unfortunately learned from this experience, was that I could squeak by with minimal training, and still pull out a respectable time. But I also did learn that with solid training, I can kill it out on the course.

I would recommend Oliver Half Ironman to anyone who wants a scenic course that doesn't have a terribly difficult ride and super well organized. Hats off to the Dixons, who not only organize this race, but have it all down pat with their experience of organizing IronMan Canada.

Following then, I have been resting and thinking of the next steps. That seems to be including signing up for the Delta Half marathon in August, and thinking about signing up for Victoria half marathon on Thanksgiving weekend. Someday I promise to rest, someday. :-)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

In the Month of May...

In the Month of May...

  • I jumped onto an airplane and spent a wonderful week in Puerto Vallarta with my husband's family

  • Celebrated the news when a friend told me that her and her husband will be adopting a child

  • Witnessed my younger brother marry the love of his life before family and friends

  • Smiled when a friend proclaim one week of sobriety and declare determination of getting out of the Downtown Eastside

  • Swam for the first time this year in the wonderful 137.5m saltwater outdoor pool at Kits Beach

  • Cheered for a friend when she declared that she went from being a cancer victim, to become a cancer survivor

  • Did the happy dance when the Vancouver Canucks won the series over the San Jose Sharks, and are going to be in the Stanley Cup finals, starting next week

  • Was ecstatic to hear of a co-worker become a grandfather for the first time, and smiled when told of how he fell in love when he first held his new grandson

  • Became saddened to hear of a co-worker be told that he was no longer employed

  • Had my heart break a little when told of a close one separating from their spouse

  • Gave a facebook cheer for a friend complete her first triathlon

  • Held a wonderful celebration for my husband's parents as they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary

  • Graciously drank some of the Dom Perignon that I had saved for so many years... finally

And to think that there are still a few days left.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So... now what?

Have you ever had that moment when you achieved a goal and wondered? A long standing goal that you ached over, stressed about, obsessively discussed and researched to death? Completed, felt amazing for a long time following and talked about with everyone you met? Like graduating, losing weight, getting married, babies, or what I know best, running marathons? :-)

And then you were left with the burning question.... so now what?

I'm kinda feeling like that. And I am thinking that it should be described as "life after the Boston Marathon."

Don't get me wrong, I have a few ideas up my sleeve as to how I want to focus my time and energy for the next few months. In fact, I am fighting the urge to sign up for a couple of different half marathon races in June, July and October. I'm even toying with the idea of taking some yoga classes as a way to get this cranky periformis issue that I have been dealing with now for two months.

However, I completed Boston feeling as though I had finally met my new friend called Destination and gotten a sense of that feeling of accomplishment and the relishing that comes with it. I will agree that it was a pretty amazing feeling to achieve the goal that I had chased for literally four years. However, I have noticed that I am keen to jump back onto the hamster wheel that I will call Journey to keep moving.

Greg asked me a hypothetical question the other day that I will admit to struggling to find an answer. The question:

  1. Would I do something to guarantee me to be extremely fit, if it meant that I didn't race at all? or

  2. Would I do races, but it would not guarantee being really fit?

I will admit, I really struggled with this question. After all, I have been training and chasing after medals for over 10 years now. It is something that I know and love and hold dear. However, if I were able to take on a challenge where I would be super fit, but it didn't involve any races, would I be interested? I guess I struggled as I have always had that medal, or carrot, or whatever prize you want to describe it as, dangling in front of me. I don't know anything else, and I am driven by it. However, the conversation where I could do something, say, take up hot yoga five days a week to become super fit, would that be something I would take on?

I guess it all depends on what motivates us. Do we need shiny medals to be proud of, or is it just the fact that we feel satisfied with what we see when we look in the mirror? I have never been super fit and no love handles, so the concept of having a hard body is just something that I have thought that would be a nice to have, but not something that would motivate me to become super strict with diet and training. Do I lean towards racing because it's the familiar or because I love the challenge? This definitely sounds like the kind of question that I should ponder. Good timing, as Greg and I are going on holidays to Puerto Vallarta Mexico in roughly 36 hours (um, yay!) and I feel like I am mentally starting to check out.

In fact, I have all sorts of grand plans of sleeping, swimming, running, lounging and doing this thing I saw on the brochures called R-E-L-A-X-I-N-G. It's a fairly new concept for me, and I think I am a little keen to explore it.

Something tells me I already know the answer to Greg's hypothetical question. But in the meantime, I think I will continue to challenge myself physically with my usual suspects of activities.

After all, June 5th is fast approaching.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sink or Swim

Today I started the day with the best intentions. I packed my knapsack with my swimming gear, and a plan to get 30 minutes of freestyle in the pool. I checked out the local pool schedule and created a plan. It sounded like a great idea.

When I arrived at the pool after work, I decided to ask the receptionist where the lane swimming section was. Much to my dismay, I somehow picked the only pool of the four choices that didn't offer lane swimming. It said so in the schedule, but my inexperience with the local pools proved otherwise.

I have lived in North Van for two years now. Admittedly, I have done almost all of my swimming in the City of Vancouver pools. Call me a creature of habit, or wanting to take advantage of 50m outdoor pools, but I have only swam in my local pool just a handful of times. It's a pity really, as I literally live 1km apart in either direction of two pools.

I left the pool feeling a little deflated. I will admit of the three disciplines involved in triathlon, swimming is the one I am the least enthusiastic about. I will shuffle, do the death march, stall and find a million excuses to get out of swimming. However, once I get into the pool, it's a whole other attitude, and I get totally into the zone and get solid workouts in.

It's really such a strange phenomenon, as this has been the case throughout my tri training over the years. And it doesn't help matters, that my enthusiasm for training is at its peak for the day right after work, when I would love to work out the stresses of the work day. However, my plans always collide with the kids competitive swimming lessons, so if I am able to secure a lane to swim in, I have these dolphins whipping by me in the next lane, with perfect strokes, doing something crazy like butterfly stroke. Um, intimidated? Perhaps. Overwhelmed? Yeah, maybe.

I came home feeling a little mopey, as I didn't want to drive around to the other pools to see what was available for lane swimming. It was absolutely pouring rain, so motivation for a run was even less. The swim spark was gone. And besides, I knew it would be something like 8:45-10pm for adult swim sessions. I don't know about you, but once I am parked on the couch with Piper the cat on the lap, there simply is no leaving the house for anything. Besides, how do you resist a face like this?

So the lesson that I take from this, is that sometimes there are somethings that you can control and others that you can't. Do the best you can to create a plan, and even a plan B if necessary. And if that doesn't work out, there's always cuddle time with the cat.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Back in the Saddle

I have discovered an interesting trend that seems to take place during the winter. It starts off usually in mid to late February, and shows up after the season opener for road races. It's called over-enthusiastic race registration.

For the past two years following completing the First Half Half Marathon in February, the adrenaline is flowing the veins. I feel the competitive drive motivating me to search for that next rush, my next race, my next adventure. For example, last year, Greg and I somehow decided that it made perfect sense to take advantage of a bargain for the Lifesport Triathlon series. It was a "seasons pass" of triathlons for $395. We pressed 'send ' on the registration, and voila! We were suddenly looking at completing four half ironmans between May and August, before completing IronMan Canada on August 29th. It was just plain silly. I had an awesome racing season, but I was pretty darn tired by the time November rolled around.

This year, the similar conversation emerged, and suddenly Greg and I are looking at the computer, suddenly rationalizing that racing the Oliver Half Ironman on June 5th is completely acceptable. After all, it's mid-February, that's enough time to train for 3 disciplines, right?

Fast forward to today, April 26th, and I have gone for my second bike ride of the season, a whopping 25.3km, and my butt hurts. I haven't driven by the pool, let alone step foot into it. And I am just 6 weeks away from Oliver. Am I nervous? Um, just *slightly*. Wondering what the heck I was thinking? Yup.

However, having completed five IronMans in five years, I have come to recognize that all hope is not lost. I have an amazing base with having just completed Boston. My legs respond fairly quickly to riding, since I have to ride up & down hills with living on the North Shore. The butt stops complaining after the 3-4-5th rides. The swim, well I will just leave that to my favourite website, Mr. SwimSmooth to help guide me with tips to improve my technique. ( Besides, everyone knows in triathlon, that you don't win on the swim! ;-)

Having taken a full week off from training after running Boston, I am coming around to getting back into the swing of things for training. I live better overall when I have consistency and a schedule in my life. I tend to prioritize better, I sleep better and focus more. I have always found the whole recovery process following a marathon or an IronMan to be difficult, as the mind is already ready to go, but the body wants to rest. It's a constant battle and game of second guessing to determine when is it time to start training again. Start up too fast, and it's easy to get injured (speaking from years of clinic instruction and personal experience). Wait too long, and you have lost significant fitness. It's a fine balance.

In the meantime, I will ease my way back into training six days a week for triathlon. It's not the easiest thing to do, especially since the next six weeks are looking to be super busy. However, I will do my best to accommodate the challenges that may come up and find compromises. My motivation will be the profound sense of accomplishment when I know that I have completed the task for the day.

So I ask, what keeps you going to take that next step?