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. 

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Blogging Again, Naturally

Well, its been a long time since I have done a blog post but I want to get back to it so here goes! Sometimes my blog is a way for me to process my thoughts, sometimes its a confessional of my fears and successes and sometimes it is a chance to share my passion for running or triathlon.  I found myself last year with less to say I guess and I was not sure if blogging mattered anymore, it became a chore, one more thing I had to do do I gave myself permission to stop.  I am learning that it is OK just to stop doing something that does not work for you anymore. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder and I recently found I was missing blogging and sharing my passion.

I was recently interviewed by a writer named April for a blog. She posted on a Facebook site that she was looking to interview people who felt their hobby helped in their business.  I had written a blog post about that a few years ago so I reached out to her and she liked the idea.  It gave me a chance to review the blog and rewrite/update it with a few more concepts.  As I worked on it, I felt the fire inside ignite again and I was excited.  I hope I can turn it into a motivational talk sometime soon as I really feel my Ironman training made me a better business women.  My interview with April was so much fun and as we talked and I shared my passion for triathlon and my desire to inspire others to start.  By the time we stopped, she had enough material for her blog post and I had convinced her to sign up for a triathlon in 6 weeks!  I followed up with a bit of a program she could follow and I excited to say that she is getting it done and does her first triathlon on Aug 20th.  Here is a link to her blog post for Dragon's Den.

Last week I was in Whistler BC for a triathlon and while I was there, I was doing a bit of work.  I plan events as part of my work and was viewing venues and meeting contacts in the hope of getting a group there in the next few years.  On Monday, after my race I meet with Ginny to learn about her venue.  We had a great chat about my triathlon as well and she messaged me later that she ran that day and is looking at working towards a half marathon soon.  I love when this happens, when I share my passion about my sports and help others imagine themselves doing the same. We all need a cheerleader, people who supports and encourages us as we start out. I love this cheerleader role and I really want to continue doing this, I want to help others achieve their goals and believe in themselves and what they can achieve.  I am not sure what this will look like for me but I am excited to see how I take this and turn it into something.

I also had the chance to meet a group of ladies from a Facebook group I belong too.  It was so nice to meet these amazing athletes, from different places in the Pacific Northwest.  Meeting them was amazing, they are so inspirational.  It was so nice to spend time with them, to talk triathlon and training, the good, the bad and the really ugly we went through to get to this day.  We all went to the opening ceremony together and one of the many messages we received received that night was nothing on race day would go the way you expect it too.  They also told us to never stop, never quit and never give up and if we kept going we would achieve our goal.  Little did I know who true those two statements would be for many of us but it gave us the opportunity to talk about other races and I shared my Ironman day with them. Katie was doing the Ironman while the rest of us where doing the Ironman 70.3 (half the distance).  This was her first Ironman and Natalee and Liz were doing their first 70.3, I knew what first time nerves felt like.  It made me realize how far I have come in my triathlon journey, my journey is not yet done but I now have a lot of experience to use and to share with others and that makes me really happy.

These are some photos of some of the races I did recently as a bit of an update. 

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.