Sunday, 20 January 2013

The Nothing Box

So running in Ottawa in the winter is not my favorite pastime when it is icy and -25C plus windchill, I prefer to run on my treadmill.  I have weak ankles and I am afraid of slipping and breaking something important.  Come to think of it running in the summer in Ottawa is also not my favorite pastime either when it is +30C plus humidity.  On  Sundays I do my Long Slow Distance (LSD) run and if it is too cold or too hot, I stick to my treadmill.  I have run for 3 hours on my treadmill and I actually quite enjoy it.  People always ask me how I can run on the treadmill so long, they find it boring and time goes so slow.  Runner and author Mark Stutcliffe said if he was given 6 months to live he would go run on a treadmill as time goes so slow when he is running on one.  I thought I would share my tip with you but first you have to watch this little clip about the difference between men and women's brains....go ahead, I will wait.

Men and Women's brains

So that is my secret, after living in a house of all men I have discovered my 'nothing box'.  The 'nothing box' is really quite useful, I wish I had discovered it earlier in my life.  Men's ability to zone out and complete seeming mindless tasks for hours on end is a valuable skill and it's no wonder they did not wish to share it with us women.  The trick to running for hours on a treadmill is to discover your 'nothing box'.  Now I do still have a women's brain so my nothing box is not totally empty but it allows me to be physically in one place and my mind to be in another.  I focus on my music, I think through work or other problems, I re-write movies I did not like, I do random silly stuff but I do not focus on my running.  Sometime I forget to take my walk breaks I am so far into my 'nothing box' but I have gotten pretty good at going there for 10 mins at a time.

So that is my secret, I know it seems silly but the way I get through my LSD's is to not focus on what I am doing, to go on auto-pilot and just do it.  I also use my 'nothing box' when I am swimming endless laps or cycling endless km's on a spin bike (do not go there on a real bike, it will not end well).  All I can say is ...try it, you might like it.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Good Enough

So this was a tough training week, I did everything on the schedule but I had more than a few bad workouts and it left me wondering what the heck I was doing.  All the old negative talk came flooding back…”you’re too slow”…”you’re too fat”…”you’re too old to be doing this”…and the old favorite “you’re not good enough”.   Last week I joined a master swim team and they are really fast, I mean crazy fast.  The same week I start a new running group run by my new coach.  They are all Boston bound and let’s just say I have a snowballs chance in hell of qualifying for Boston (never say never but).  The combination of the two have left me wondering what I was thinking, I am not this kind of person, the kind that needs a master swim team or a coach, who am I kidding. 

Driving home last night I was quite depressed and then a little voice started to talk back to me…’”you are good enough”…..” you’re faster than you were a year ago”….”you’re young in spirit”...”just keep moving forward”.  I think it is easy to compare ourselves to others, others who have a perfect body, who run faster or swim further but that is so not the point.   I started this journey because I never wanted to go back to the place I was in 2009 when my own “Fat Stranger” was staring back at me in the mirror.  Looking back I can see how far I have come, I will never be the fastest but I am working at being the best I can be, to work as hard as my body will let me and to have fun along the way. 

I think everyone has moments of self doubt, it is human nature but it is how we deal with it is what matters.  I did not go home and stuff my face full of food (OK the 2 gingerbread cheesecake bite were not on my plan but I stopped at 2), I did not throw out my training plan and I did not throw in the towel.  I was a bit grumpy, sorry Neale, but by the time I got home I realized I was the kind of person who belonged on the master swim team and deserved a coach because I want to get better, to dream big dreams and to improve.  This is not to say I may never have moments like this again, when I doubt myself and what I am doing but when I do I know that little voice will pipe up again to remind me that being me is good enough.....and to keep moving forward.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

I'm Every Woman

Book Review of “Triathlon for the every woman”
       by Meredith Atwood aka SWIMBIKEMOM

So last June as I embarked on my triathlon journey a friend recommended a blog to me, read SWIMBIKEMOM Blog she said, she’s great.  At that point I was looking for a lifeline so I found her blog and started reading.  I cannot remember the first post I read but I do know I was hooked at hello.  I spent part of my summer going back and reading her blog from the beginning, I wanted to know how she began her journey.  As a newbie to triathlon I was an eager student of the sport, I read books and website, devouring all the info I could.  Instead of making me feel better, I felt worse.  What had I gotten myself into?   SWIMBIKEMOM was like me, she was real, she doubted herself and she kept moving forward because above all else she had DREAMS, big dreams and so did I.   I found a kindred spirit, a younger version of myself, the self I wish I had the courage to be 15 years ago but better late than never I guess.

When I heard Meredith was writing a book, I could not wait to read it.  I had a long wait however as the pre-orders were not being shipped to Canada and I had to send mine to my Mom in Florida and have it sent on to me from there (thanks Mom).   I started reading the book and once I started I did not want to stop.  I have read technical books on triathlons and nutrition so I know how to do a triathlon and what to do but all the books in the world cannot share with you a personal perspective.  Reading how Meredith made her decision to start, about  ‘The Fat Stranger” that stared back at her in the mirror and all herself doubt makes her real….just like every woman, just like me.   

If you are new to triathlon, this book will help you figure it all out, it can be confusing and there is a lot to learn.  The technical parts of doing a triathlon are well set out and the information provided by SWIMBIKEMOM and her experts will help you get started.  If you have done a triathlon or 2, there is information on training, the mental game and getting a coach that is helpful as you dream bigger dreams.   The biggest reason to read this book is Meredith herself, she shares every part of herself, nothing is off limits as she helps inspire you to get up off the couch and become the best person you can be and hopefully a triathlete as well.  Triathlons are not for everyone, it takes a special kind of crazy to sign up for all the training, to spend your weekends on long mind and butt numbing workouts and to say nothing of the costs involved.   If you decide you are just that kind of crazy, welcome to the tribe, we are crazy, we dream big dreams, bigger then we can even imagine and the journey is so worth it.  You will learn more about yourself along the way then you ever imagined, I know I have. 

The ending to her book is just perfect and since she is a lawyer and I do not want to get into copy write problems I will not share it but suffice it to say, once again she is right.  I am stronger then I can ever imagine and all I have to do is keep moving forward. 

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Taking the Plunge

It's time head start back to training, the break is over. I met with my new coach Judy on Thursday and my new training starts Sunday.We have divided the year into chunks or thirds, the first third is Jan to April and I call it "Banking It".  It's winter in Ottawa and the weather is yucky outside but I can do lots of indoor training so I am banking miles on the treadmill and the pool.  Once the weather gets nice in May, it's outdoors and the running will transition to more cycling but for now it's a run focused program.  My goal for this third is a Half Marathon on May 5th in Toronto for Team Diabetes.  May to August is Triathlon season and Sept to December is back to running and training for my first marathon.   For now my focus is building up power and speed running and to learn some good cycle technique. 

I am going back to the pool as well, I am joining a Master Swim Team.  I was on a swim team as a teenager and one semester at Carleton but until last July, that was it.  I swam at the YMCA in July in preparation for my sprint tri but I found it boring.  A friend mentioned this swim team so I thought I would give it a try.  So Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6:30am to 7:30am I will be back to swimming and hopefully improving my form.  I do not see any swim meets in my future but apparently they have some world champions on the team so I will be getting some good coaching.  My marathon man aka Neale, has signed up for their Emerging Tri swim program so he can learn to swim and join me in triathlons, I am so proud that he too is taking the plunge. I am nervous about being the worst, my common worry, but oh well, I am there for me not to make any Olympic team.

I am looking forward to this year and Judy thinks it's doable and we are laying a great foundation for moving forward.  2013 is a foundation year, 2014 is Half Ironman and marathon focused and 2015 is Ironman goal year.  I know to some this is a lot of  time and 2014 should be Ironman year but this is how I roll, slow and steady, one step at a time.  I have a plan and I will follow my plan and have fun along the way. 

If you are looking for a coach in Ottawa, here is Judy's website