Sunday, 2 October 2016

October WHAT???

I cannot believe it is October, where did September go?  I am deep into Dopey training and work is crazy and time is flying by.  I will update on a few things...I did the Army Run but it was not a good day, it was hot and humid and I decided to turn it into a training run after 5k.  Sometimes it is hard to dial a race back but on that day, my body was not responding well and I have other things coming up so I forced myself to slow down and turn it into a training run.  At 8k, I kissed my hubby goodbye and sent him on his way and ran under 140bpm for the rest of the way.  I will get another chance to go for a sub 2 hour half and if it never happens that is OK as well.

Dopey is 13 weeks away and the mileage is getting longer and the odd muscle twinge is happening but it is OK, generally.  I have a half marathon on Oct 15th for fun with some girlfriends but generally it is wake, work, run, repeat.  I need to find time for swimming and biking, it is hard at the moment but I will do it because it is important to me.

I started a 6 week nutrition program today, I did it in January and it was great and I need to hear the lessons again because they did not stick.  Today instead of doing more work or cleaning the house I went grocery shopping and did a big batch of meal prep.  When life gets busy, I don't have time to plan and my eating gets lazy and I grab the wrong stuff.  I know better, I want to do better and I deserve to do better.  Today I made lunches for hubby and I, some breakfasts and soup, lots of soup.  I know that in order to feel better and train better I need to eat better, it takes time and effort but I am worth it.  I think that is important, to remember I am worth it and putting myself on the list is not selfish, it is necessary.  I train because I am worth it, I work because I enjoy it and I need to eat better so I can do both of those better.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Enough is Enough

Happy Friday!!!  Before another weekend of training I thought I would do my update.

Last weekend I did the Canadian Olympic Tri in memory of Terry McKinty, the founder of a our local tri series.  Four years ago, the Canadian try-a-tri was my first ever completed tri after I got a DNF at the one 4 weeks before.  When I emailed Terry to tell him what a great time I had despite my finish, he gave me free entry to the Canadian so my season would end on a high note. I always remember his kindness and how it started me on my triathlon adventure.  I have struggled with triathlon this year but I loved last Saturday, I might have finished near the bottom again but I had a great time and it helped remind me why I love triathlon.

 At work we did a strength based leadership test and the results did not surprise me and they explain a lot.  I scored high in executing and strategic thinking categories - I am a Learner, I always seek to learn more and gain new skills, I am also a Restorative which means I look at weekly performance goals and work on what I am not good at in order to improve and I am Responsible, I always finish what I start and I am self motivated, I hate to delegate and I  can easily point out where I can do better and improve. In other words, I can be really really hard on myself and always look at what I can improve and do better and not celebrate what I did.

I can see this in my athletics, I want to have fun and enjoy myself but I am constantly reading books and articles on how to improve and do better, I always set challenging goals and am way too hard on myself as I work to achieve them.  Saturday's tri was all about fun, I was not racing it and I did have fun and was happy with my day but in the back of my mind I keep thinking, if only I had swum straight I could have gotten a PB and you are fat and need to lose more weight to be better. That was not the point about Saturday, it was to honor Terry and have fun and I did both, it should have been enough.  I can see this with my Ironman, every one says you finished, Congratulations and I say thanks but I was that makes me less worthy.

I recent read an article that was a game-changer How a Game of Tug of War Changed my View of Happiness and yesterday I read another The Business of Enough, both gifts from the authors and the Universe and were exactly what I needed and I share them with you today.  I have battled my "Monsters" for the last 6 years to become the person I am today and I should be happy with that person. What I realize is sometimes we get wrapped up in the constant need to improve and change we don't stop to appreciate who we are and decide if we like or love that person.  To put it another way we get so wrapped up in the journey we fail to realize we reached our destination and cannot appreciate it.  It is time to stop fighting, to learn I am enough and to appreciate who I am right now and to breath.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Finding the Groove

I had a blast last weekend at IMMT volunteering and one of the most rewarding things was giving finisher medals to  friends and some of the athletes I checked in on Friday.  It was a wet rainy day and the athletes biked in pouring rain and some ran in it as well.  Around 6pm the sun came out and the last 6 hours were amazing.  I loved being at the finish line, I had no idea there were so many moving parts since I ended up in medical and missed them all.

I had an 18k run last Sunday that I did on Saturday and ran on the Ironman course, first time since last year and I was a bit worried but it was a great run.  Sticking to my heart rate cap of 140 we set out at 7:15, friends Lucy and Steve and I.  There were already bikes on Monte Ryan and runners on the path and we even saw a family of deer trying to cross.  As we got to the old Tremblant section I started to have flashbacks to last years run and the final 5k but it was such a great day and the run felt so good, I kept the negative thoughts at bay and enjoyed the company and views.  We ran 9k and then picked up our speed as we turned around to head back.  I came in right on plan, 2:06:55 and a 7:01 per km pace; the best part was I felt fabulous after a day on my feet checking in athletes on Friday.

This week I had another 18k run, actually 19.3 for my Dopey plan but the clinic was doing 18k.  I was a hot, humid overcast day and the sun kept threatening to come out which would have been miserable. We ran part of the route for the Army Run and it was great!  I think I am finding my groove with this heart rate training thing, I can pretty much tell what pace I need to run for the HR I need and how my body reacts.  Once a week I get a free run and on Saturday I used it as an opportunity to run race pace and see how my heart rate reacted.  It felt great to run that fast since so much of my plan is slow running and I now have a baseline for measurement of my half marathon pace.  I am racing the Army Run half on Sept 18th so I need to work out what HR I need to aim for so I don't run too fast at the beginning.

Next week we are running 20k on Sunday and I have a triathlon on Saturday...I hope my body forgives me.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

The Certainty of Uncertainty

Well next weekend is Ironman Mt.Tremblant and I am heading back this year as a volunteer, I have three shifts, athlete registration all day Friday, wetsuit stripping and finish line from 6-12 on Sunday. I am happy to go back and volunteer, to be there for these incredible athletes and support them as I was supported last year.  Doing an Ironman is a crazy journey, you train for months and months and spend hours swimming, biking and running.  You do not get to spend time with family or friends, are constantly doing laundry and eating, your house is always messy and you are so exhausted.  Why would anyone want to sign up for this...why?!?

I have spent a lot of time thinking about this recently as I ponder new goals and try to figure out what is going on in my head, more on that later.  When I posted in my blog that I was going to do an Ironman for my 50th birthday, I had no idea what I was getting in for, but I did know for CERTAIN that I could make it happen if I believed in myself. During the journey I did not believe in myself most of the time, I had doubts, I was afraid and very uncertain but I kept on going, doing what I needed to do.  I just felt that if I kept going forward with my plan the uncertainty would make way for certainty, that magical state when I knew I could do this enormous task. I never got to that state, in fact I let my uncertainty sabotage my training and my determination at times. Instead of fighting for what I wanted with everything I had I drifted through my workouts, doing just enough to get it done but not the extra I knew I could and should do.

When I got up on raceday, I was calm, I had done what I could and now it was time to execute. Looking back I can say the day is now becoming a foggy memory, the pain, the heat and the uncertainty are fading away and I can see the joy in the day, the moments when I was certain I was exactly where I was suppose to be and doing what I was suppose to be doing.  It has been a long road to get here, I was so upset by my race for a long time and ashamed of my performance, I should have done better.  In fact I got the race I deserved and it has taken me a long time to acknowledge it.   I allowed the uncertainty to almost win but on the day that counted, I was able to push it aside and make certain I finished, in time to achieve my goal.  

I have spent this last year without any big goals, yes I did a 5k swim and set a new half marathon PB but I have missed having a big scary goal to work towards, something so big you have to grow into the person to achieve it. I have a few ideas rolling around in my head but I could not land on anything until I did one last thing....figure out why I  let my Ironman dream almost slip away.  What I have learned is this: uncertainty has no negative power on it's own and it is a gift because nothing is certain and the uncertainty makes you work hard to achieve your goal. The uncertainty is the journey, the every day actions you take along the way to achieve the goal you did not know was possible but were willing to risk it all for.  I am now ready to move forward towards new scary big goals and to embrace the uncertainty and let it show me what is possible.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Do You Hear my Heartbeat

I probably mentioned that my friend Barbara and I signed up for our big scary goal and will be running the Dopey challenge in Disney World and then the following weekend we are running the Rebel Challenge in Disneyland.  We will be running 6 races in 11 days, 109.4km, 10 medals coast to coast. Barbara and I ran the Goofy together a few years ago and we made a promise to do the Dopey together. Barbara wanted to do the Star Wars themed race so I suggested we do them back to and my big mouth.

I have been teaching the half marathon clinic and training for a half marathon and a marathon this summer, well sort of training for a marathon and I had this big goal in the back of my mind as well.  I was not sure how to train for this big goal and then I saw that Run Like a Mother was having a Dopey training plan.  I thought about it and thought about it and finally decided to look into it.  It turned out it was a heart rate based training plan and I was not sure if I wanted to do this kind of plan.  I have had a love hate relationship with heart rate training over the last three years.  I had my zones tested in 2013 and started with a heart rate training plan and gave up because I was running so S L O W.  I gave up after a few weeks and returned to my pace based training and did my Ironman training with my coach.  The thing about training for an Ironman is you do a lot of long slow workouts and I knew I was getting better but not faster.

Post Ironman I had my zones tested again to make sure I was training in the right zones based on pace and was surprised to see my new zone 1 was my old zone 3, I had improved my endurance base. The flip side was I had no speed and my zone 2 and 3 were small and I could not even get a reading for zone 4. I started adding some speed work and strength training and saw some results including my 2:02:28 half marathon in May, a PB by over 6 mins.

I know that if you keep doing the same thing over and over, you will get the same results and I wanted different results, not sure what they are but I know I wanted something different so I bought the program. When I saw the program I was in shock..where is the rest of the training, 2.5 hours in the first week...WTF???   Also the heart rate zones where low, my zone 1 was 137-157 and we had a 130 and 140 bpm runs...yikes. It was week 2 of the training program and I can't say I fully committed to it, I could not unprogram my past training and believe that this would work for me.  What is this I thought, I am use to doing 10+ hour training weeks, this won't work.   I started to listen to the podcasts that go with the training program and read the weekly newsletters and it made sense. Coach MK is a straight talking, no bull, fast talking ball of awesome and she draws you in, Dimity is the voice of reason to me, I have followed the AMR podcasts for years and she balances MK's whirlwind, word salad approach.

The first thing I did was defer the Wineglass marathon, it does not work with my Disney goal and I was not running enough distance but I am running the Army Run half (hopefully for a new PB) and Spacecoast marathon (as a training run) but my focus is heart-rate and Disney for now.   I look forward to this training cycle, I am willing to buy in totally now and see where it takes me and as long as it takes me to Disney it's a win. Next year I WILL run the Wineglass marathon and I am hoping I can have Coach MK can help me with that and together we will decide on my goal...I might just surprise myself :-)

Sunday, 10 July 2016

City Chase YOW 2016

So yesterday I did a different kind of race, Anita and I did the City Chase..maybe it should have been called the Weather Chase but more about that.  The City Chase has been on my must do list for a few year. As a huge fan of The Amazing Race and the Amazing Race Canada I had wanted to do this part obstacle course, part scavenger hunt race and pretend I was somewhere exotic and Phil or Jon was waiting for me at the finish-line ready to give me a big cheque...enough about my fantasy though. Anita and I signed up and then Neale and Andre signed up so it was also a battle of the sexes, may the better team win.

Anita and I headed to TD Place early to picked up our bibs and T-shirts and then headed to the bagel shop for some food and while there it started to rain, and the day continued that way, rain on and off, thunder and lightening and general comfortableness.  At 10am the heavens opened, thunder crashed and we were off, Anita ran one way to get one page of our clues, I the other to get the other page and then we were standing in the rain looking for each other.  We eventually regrouped and headed to the underground garage to get a notebook and pen and plan our strategy.  The City Chase give you 2 pages of clues to find the addresses to do the obstacle to get a chase point, you need 10 to finish and you have 6 hours.

We spent about 40 mins getting the addresses we needed, a few from friends on Facebook, thanks for the help, Rose, Leah and Amy and then headed out.  It was raining and a lot of the Chase points were closed so the indoor ones where getting really popular and had long lines.  Our first stop was a dance studio where we did the ChaCha.  I used the time in line to watch a how to ChaCha video so we quickly finished that one and headed to the next.  The next one involved Anita trying to hit an apple off my head with a bow and arrow.  Let's just say Anita was blindfolded and I am short so after 10 "arrows" they gave us the chase point and we were off.  Another team gave us misinformation for the third Chase Point but it worked out OK and we quickly re-routed and hopped on a bus for 2 stops to our third stop where we got to pull a bus, can I say that was really hard and my knees are still sore but oddly satisfying.

We zoomed through the next two Chase Points, we were soaked, hungry and need a bathroom so we stopped at my office and took advantage of the large computer screen instead of our phones and plotted our last 5 Chase Points.  The trick to this is plotting a critical path so you are not going back and forth across the city and we were in luck, there were 5 fairly close together.  I solved a puzzel while Anita ran on a treadmill at GoodLife, we Escaped the Room in about 3 mins, we, I should say Anita rocked the semaphore challenge and then we had 2 left.  A long bus ride put us back in the Glebe and we finished up on Glendale and Craig St and ran to TD Place.

We finished at 3:18 pm, tired, wet and starving but where were the guys?  Let's just say if this was my fantasy, Phil or Jon would have given Anita and I the cheque and I will leave them to tell their own tale.  I had a great day, hope to do it again next year and who knows, maybe Anita and I will turn up again on the Amazing Race Canada one day...anything is possible if you want it enough.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

So, now I know what it feels like in a washing machine...sort of anyway.  That is the image that comes to mind when I think of yesterdays swim and like a washing machine, my mind went in soiled and came out clean and fresh.  This is my race recap of the King Wolfe Swim.

Last year, a my friend Trevor suggested this 5ish k open water swim to me as a nice swim, flat water in the past and great support.  I decided to sign up around New Years Eve and made a plan to increase my swim distances in the pool through the winter.  I did manage one long open water swim the week before and swam the whole distance so I knew I was ready.
Trevor and I

We arrived in Kingston on Canada Day and I headed for kit pickup on the shore of Lake Ontario.  I was not planning on going to a practice swim but Deborah recommended it.  The Lake looked rough and the forecast for Saturday was the same so I thought I should get some practice in.  I had never swam in anything so rough and choppy and I was getting worried.  I tried to do the 500m swim but I drank the lake several times and really started to panic.

Saturday morning was nice and sunny and windy and the waves still looked rough, I was not sure I could do this or that I wanted to do this. I was trying to stay calm but the pre-race briefing did not help much.  Anita and Andre showed up to cheer me on with Neale and Stephen; Anita knew how panicked I was but told me I could do it and I knew I needed to start.  I had all these negative thoughts in my head, I could not do it, I was not a good enough swimmer, what if I had to stop midway through...the same old tape that plays in my head every time.
Looking terrified with Neale and Stephen before

I decided I had to start, I would do 1k and then decide, 1 k at a time if I needed to but I was not going to quit without trying.  I knew 11 people, including two that morning pulled out of the swim but like last year at the Ironman, I knew that giving up/not starting would hurt more than trying, giving my all and failing.
The Start
I started swimming and I felt like a cork bobbing in the water, wave after wave made it feel like I was not making any progress.  My Garmin said I was at 1km and I still felt good, I had not swallowed much of the lake so I decided to carry on.  At 1500m I had had enough, I was not having fun and not sure I was getting anywhere.  I called out to my kayaker that this was not fun and treaded water for a few seconds.  I looked back towards Kingston and then ahead at Garden Island and realized I was about half way between and I had to make a decision.  Could I do this for another 3.5k or should I stop.  I thought about last summer and the Ironman, I thought about everyone who said I could do it and I thought of Neale`s never-ending support and decided to keep on going, I was not going to stop swimming until I was pulled from the water or I got to Wolfe Island, I was going to finish this.  I started thinking of all the advice I gave others, I counted my strokes, everytime I got to 10 strokes, I did a breast stroke and sighted and then I repeated the mantra that came to me as I swam, too tough to kill, to determined to quit.

Eventually we got close to Garden Island and I heard cheering, I stopped and went over to my Kayaker and took in a gel.  I looked around and noticed there were people on the point cheering us on and that made me feel great.  Around the island I could see the bottom and that is comforting to me, I looked around and saw wood and weeds, zebra muscles and rocks and I could see I was going forward.  The waves slacked off a bit in the shelter of the island and I started having fun. Mike, my kayaker said I made great progress in this section, a straight line and I even passed another swimmer.
Mike and I before the swim
Once we hist the small rocks known as Goose Island I could touch the bottom so I stopped for a minute, talked to Mike about direction and remembered Deborah saying at this point we were 90% done.  All I wanted was to get this swim over with so I quickly started swimming again.  This section was really choppy, the wind was up and we were no longer sheltered by Garden Island.  I remembered Deborah saying stay right to avoid the ferry and all I could think about was where is that darn ferry, I had come to far to end my day as the hood ornament for a ferry.  A few quick corrections and Mike lead me into the beach, I was done and never so happy to be on dry land again.
The Finish!
I was surprised to learn my time, despite the wind and the choppy waters I had a good time, my goal was 2:15 and I was at 2:22 with my stops, not bad all things considered.  The best part was when I saw Trevor I asked if we were going to swim back now, I really felt like I could keep swimming and go back BUT taking the ferry back was nice as well.

I entered Lake Ontario full of doubt and exited full of joy and hope, the waves that bounced me around cleansed my soul and chased away my negative thoughts.  I always think I am not good enough, that I can`t do the task ahead of me but time and time again my body and heart have a different plan and it is that one I want to keep following.

 As Neale`s coach Ray Zahab says ...