Monday, December 19, 2011

Enjoying December...

So my streak continues along. It's not a lot, but it's something every day. Even on days when I don't want to do anything, I still get in, at the absolute very least, one mile. Next up we shall attack the eating a bit, but who are we kidding, we are going into the toughest time of year to stay disciplined and on a program. So, rather than start today and fail, I will concentrate on portion size and including all the food groups, with an emphasis on veggies. And keeping up my liquids, mostly water or tea.

My best find lately, is from the Edelweiss Village in Calgary. They have Strawberry Raspberry tea. This takes me back to Germany. My former roommate even sent me this tea once. Mmmmmmm. And it's really just a fruit infusion. There's no actual tea in it. It's just a super awesome way to spiff up your water. I highly recommend it. It's the best way to have a nice hot drink without adding on empty calories. It doesn't need milk. It doesn't need sugar. It's just plain awesome the way it is. So, if you have a little European store to shop at, specifically with German teas, try and see if they stock something similar. You will not be disappointed!!

Next up will be finding myself a program for ironman. It's about that time. I need to have a plan, because without a plan, I will likely not get the workouts in, and I need a strong base to carry me into my long days starting in the spring!! And I may need to pick a race or two as well... just to keep myself on task...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How is your December treating you??

Life is busy. But, I truly believe Newton had it nailed. An object in motion stays in motion, an object at rest stays at rest. So, far, December is starting to prove that once again, I can be in motion!! A friend told me about Strides Running Store December Streak challenge, to go one mile every day in December. Minimum. Every single day. You can do more than that, but you can't count anything above the mile as miles for the next day. To make it a streak, it has to be a mile every day. Including Christmas. No excuses. No exceptions. Find the time, to go one mile.

Well, today is December 13th, and so far, I am 13/13 for going a mile a day. Most days I go more than a mile. But every day, without fail so far, I have gone a minimum 1.6km. And funny enough, when you make it a priority, it fits in. An object in motion, stays in motion.

It's not too late to start. I mean really, there is no set date to start a streak. Today can be your day one. No excuses, just do it!! You'll be set and in a routine before the new year even hits!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Here we go again...

I feel like a broken record. Uh. Yet, Here I am, again, deciding that maybe today is the day I should get going again. Lately I have just totally been lacking in motivation and inspiration. I really do feel like a broken record (hmmmm.... does that show my age or what since a whole generation doesn't even have a clue what a record is). And really, I have no excuse for this complete lack of discipline when it comes to exercise and nutrition lately. And there are only ten months between now and the biggest goal I have ever set for myself (Ironman Canada). So what gives? Why is it, I just can't seem to stay focused and driven? I mean, I know we all go through ups and downs, but this down just seems to be lasting forever, and I'm really not happy with that.

I know I make the choices. I get that. I also get that I have chosen to make several bad choices on the eating front lately. And even as I'm making them, I know they aren't the choice I really want to make, but it's the choice I do make. Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

I feel like I'm trying to sabotage myself, when really, that's not the case, or maybe it is. Maybe I am so scared of failing, that I just sabotage enough steps along the way, then I'll have an easy out? Could that be it? I mean, I'm so excited to do Ironman next year. I watched Jeremy this year and was so incredibly proud of him!! And, it's been in the back of my mind for a few years now, so I know it's a goal, that needs to be achieved but wow, getting myself on track is proving to be much tougher than I imagined it might be. Last year I exercised every single day for ten months of the year. Now, I struggle to exercise ten days in a month. What gives??

But, I'm tired of the excuses, really tired of them. So once again, I start anew and hope that this is the time that really gets me going...Where do I start for now? Yeah, not even sure... let me go check... yeah, ain't that pretty, and long story, but can't get it to rotate... grrrrrr

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Melissa's Road Race in Review

So, I am becoming somewhat of a regular at Melissa's road race. I mean, I haven't done it every year, but since I began running seriously (and seriously being a fairly loose term here), back in 2001, I have run it 8 times. I did the 22km once, and it was a disaster, and every other time I've done the 10km. It's a fantastic race. Truly, the scenery is spectacular. You have mountains all around you. There is the Banff Springs Hotel, the river, Bow Falls, and Banff Avenue. It's just a gorgeous race. It's also a busy race. You are never alone!!

This year, we had the registration date marked in our calendar, but due to husband sleeping in and parenting the children, we forgot to sign up for it. No big deal, there was always next year (even though it's my favourite race!!). And besides, Jeremy ended up being busy with Ironman training etc, so it wasn't really a priority. After my training basically disappeared after the Ride to Conquer Cancer, I wasn't really in a good position to be running it anyways!! But, a friend had a race number and she didn't want to do the race. And, who was I to pass up such a wonderful opportunity?? So, with about three weeks before the race, we committed to completing the 10km. I knew it wasn't going to be a personal best, and in fact, now that I look at my time, it was actually the worst 10km I've ever done for Melissa's. Oops!! However, I have to say, it was an excellent race.

We never had a chance during the week to grab our numbers, so ended up doing this on race morning, which, thankfully, is an option. We dropped the boys off at grandma's house, and off we headed to the mountains. Parking seemed busier than usual and we ended up parking quite the distance from the starting line. If you consider doing this race, keep this in mind, as you need to arrive very EARLY to make sure you can get across the river on foot in time for the start etc. Picking up the numbers had long lines but even longer was the line to check and make sure your chip was you. I was a bit disappointed with this, but again, I could have gone earlier and the week and grabbed my number and didn't, so really, that's my own fault.

There are always tents set up with little samples, including Jugo Juice and Vitamin Water, which is a nice little pre race snack. We also had some Gu gels with us to get us going. I tried the Cherry Lime Roctane and it was fantastic (now, if you are new to gels, keep in mind, that a fantastic gel, is a relative thing, since gels in general, are a unique source of nutrition that many people have not yet developed an appreciation for, yet are a necessary part of distance events etc).

The route had to change this year because of construction at Cave and Basin, and what they did to change it was phenomenal. I loved the whole thing. It flowed so nicely and on Tunnel Mountain, even though it meant, more uphill, there was no sharp hairpin turn where runners got all caught up in each other etc. I thought the course was smooth and loved the new scenery, with a lot of the route even being in the shade, on this very warm day!! The beer signs marking the water stations were nice, and appreciated, even if it was only water at the stations, and no beer (that was for the finish line!!). The race volunteers were friendly and nice, and the race was great overall. I hope this route continues again next year as it was a wonderful and welcome change. I also appreciated the extra entertainment. There were way more bands than I recall from past years, and it was nice walking through any water station, listening to this entertainment.

The food is usually pretty okay after the race, however, the line is always so long, that as per year's past, we simply skipped it. And, although I should have enjoyed my beer, instead I gave my beer ticket to someone in the beer line. So, can't really comment.

I love the shirt. When I first moved to Calgary and ran at the Oval, I always saw all these runners in Melissa's shirts and had no clue what it was, but knew it must be something special. And, it is!! I love my Melissa's shirts. They are perfect for pre and post training. They are a nice shirt on a fall or winter day. And, if you aren't crazy about a long sleeved cotton shirt, you can pay and get a technical shirt instead, or in addition to, the cotton one.

Finally, you get a coupon for half price at Melissa's Restaurant. This is another great perk of the race. It's not valid on race weekend, and there is an expiry date, however, as someone who frequents the Banff area, it makes for a nice inexpensive dinner. As well, the menu is varied and includes fantastic deep dish pizzas, amazing burgers, and even steak and lobster if you feel so inclined. The staff is generally quite friendly, and the restaurant is great.

So, is it a race worth doing? Well, no baby joggers allowed, no pets allowed,no walkers allowed, however, as this is a busy race, I understand why in both cases. The route is busy and it could end up causing an accident. We do the Mother's Day race every year with a Chariot, and are often stopping quickly etc, so as not to clip someone's ankles. Since there are portions of this race, on narrow trails, the joggers just wouldn't fit. So, find alternate arrangements, or someone to watch your kids at the race. But, if those issues are okay for you, then go for it. This race, is well organized, and lots of fun. It truly is my favourite race. And, I've had my worst race ever at Melissa's, and it was also the race where I broke an hour in a 10km for the first time. The field of athletes is quite varied. There are definitely those who are rather fast on their feet, but there are many people also who are doing their first 10km, or who mix running with walking (10 and 1s). If you are looking for quiet solitude, this is not the race. It's busy and you are never alone. However, that makes it a race that everyone can enjoy and find support from. It's a fun race, and when you go back to Banff to enjoy your coupon, you get to remember the race and enjoy a great meal.

If you are looking for a fun race, with spectacular scenery, this is the one. The 10km is tough, but not impossible, after all, what goes up, must come down, and then down some more, but hey!! After you finish that hill, you feel great, cause you conquered it!! So, it's certainly a race I will continue to love, and even though this might not have been a stellar performance, I finished the race feeling good and strong. And at the end of the day, I know I put forth a good effort, so for that, I'm extremely proud. So, mark the date, it's usually in February sometime, and come join us. It's a great race, and you won't regret it!!

P.S. The 22km is nice as well, however, I've only done that distance once, and it was my first, and worst, half marathon, so although tons of people have great things to say, I haven't done it, in so many years, that I don't really want to comment on it, except to say, that those I know who do this distance, love it as well, and it does NOT have the big huge hill that the 10km does!! Food for thought...

Friday, September 16, 2011

The journey versus the goal

Goals are important, that's true. Goals often form the basis of our training and help us formulate our plan. They give us something to work towards and something to plan for. But goals are just the finish line. We must not forget to enjoy the journey. Sometimes we might not reach our goal, despite our best efforts, so it's important that the journey along the way be fun as well. In a society that is so driven for achievement and success, often people discount the steps it takes to reach their achievements. Take for example, climbing a mountain. It is very cool, when you reach the top, you feel like you accomplished something, and as you look down on where you have been, it feels pretty good. But sometimes we forget to appreciate the journey. And, in all reality, the journey, really does matter. After all, reaching a goal can take days, weeks, months, even years of hard work. Think about earning a degree, or getting a promotion, or finishing your first 5km or marathon. Each of these goals is something where many hours are put into it, yet reaching the end takes but a moment. Therefore, it's very important to make the most of the journey. After all, it is the journey that you live day in and day out. And, if you don't enjoy the journey, then certainly, you have spent a lot of hours of your life, possibly in a state of unhappiness. Now, I don't mean that hours of studying or exercising have to be "fun", but if it's something you have to do, and want to do, to reach your goal, then make sure you take moments to appreciate the journey and what it is to you. Let's go back to the mountain for a moment. If you spend every moment climbing the mountain focused only on the top, you might miss the beautiful scenery, or the chirping birds, or the little chipmunk scurrying about, or the beautiful flowers you will pass. If ever you need to be reminded about the journey, climb a mountain with a two year old. Last weekend, I took my one son, and together we climbed Sulphur Mountain. It's not Mount Everest, it's just a basic set of switchbacks that take you to the top. You gain a lot in elevation, so certainly you are working your lungs, but it's a simple enough hike, that can be completed in a couple hours or more. Sullivan alternated between hiking and hitching a ride in the baby backpack, but he illustrates the beauty of the journey. He is too young to truly understand the goal. For him, it's about living in the moment, the hear and the now. And it's incredible to realize just how goal focused, we as adults become. Many times I heard myself telling him to keep walking, to keep moving, to hurry it up a little etc. Sully however, was concerned about the flowers he saw, and the rocks along the path, and the sticks, and the chipmunks. If I saw the forest, he saw the individual tree. He had no regard for time, just for exploring. He had fun with all the little things, and although he appreciated the reward of our goal (he LOVED the gondola ride down that we got), he really made me notice what it means to live in the moment. I think we can learn a lot from watching a youngster enjoy the journey. In this case, Sully had so much fun, collecting little rocks, trading out one for the other, making up little games with me, and truly taking in everything around us. He taught me a big lesson that day, and one I hope to carry with me. Even though we might have goals and dreams and plans, it is important to also remember that the journey matters. Don't forget to live in the moment, and not always focus on the future. Enjoy the journey, because each step of the journey takes you closer to your goal and you might as well enjoy the time it takes you to get there!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Support when you need it most...

So, it just so happens that not all women are built the same. This will come as no surprise to most of you, but when it comes to bras, there isn't always the best selection out there for those of us that have a little more to support. I have been to various sports stores over the year, and tried all sorts of different bras, and generally speaking, most of them just don't have the support I'm looking for as far as running is concerned. When I do find a bra I like, I often can't find it again the next time. It's been a frustrating run of things. Oh, and I should add, that often I am a victim of chafing on the bra line. This is not fun, and as someone who has done a variety of endurance races, this becomes quite painful, either during the race, or especially after the race. The first time I was alerted to this, was during my first ever marathon, where afterwards, I could barely shower it hurt so much to have water splashing on the raw skin on my chest. Really, it's not a pretty site. Add to this, the fact that I'm a fairly sweaty person when I'm exercising, and you can see why a properly fitting sports bra can make a huge difference (that and some body glide of course!!). A few years ago, I discovered and this was huge. It is an online retailer specializing in sports bras, but also, has a shop in Calgary, open by appointment only. The first time I went there, I tried out the Enell bra. This is the bra that Oprah raved about at one point. And, although very supportive, I ran into the same issue with chafing with the Enell, and this was simply not acceptable. So although I do use that bra sometimes, it really only helps for shorter events, lasting no longer than an hour. And on these events, it's great, but I just can't depend on it for my long runs like I would have liked. Then, I had a baby, and back to the I went, only this time it was to find nursing bras. They had awesome options and I ended up with a bra, that was super supportive, but also able to help me with my little one. To this day, it's one of my favourite bras, simply because it actually takes what I was given, and makes me look good!! What I need to do, is go back and find another supportive bra, that is good for every day, but that's for another time. Bring on my favourite sports bra. The Shock Absorber. This is a bra that comes from the United Kingdom. And I have to say wow. It looks stylish, it's supportive, and chafing, although still an issue, sets in much later, making it the perfect choice for some of the longer training days, or even for hikes and such, where my body is in motion for hours at a time. It's almost time to get some new sports bras, and this is at the top of my list. It's a fantastic bra, and has done well for me, for well over two years now!! Of course I'm pretty careful with washing and hanging to dry and all that stuff, but all in all, it's been an amazing addition to my sporting wardrobe!! And as for, well, they are fantastic. They take the time to fit you, and give you options that fit with your needs and different sporting options. They have bras that cover more than just sports, and they are super friendly and knowledgable. They take the time you need, to make sure you end up with products that you can use and match what you are looking for. And, they have choices for all shapes. They often will recommend different products to different people, so even if you are at an appointment with a friend or group, likely everyone will come out with slightly different bras, matching the needs and sizes of the individuals. Although some of the bras definitely are on the pricey side, I can tell you first hand, that the Shock Absorber was worth every cent I paid in terms of its support and comfort!! So, if you are a runner, and can't seem to find the right bra, check out the website, you'll be glad you did!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Weigh in Wednesday

Okay, so it isn't really pretty. I was doing pretty good in the earlier part of 2011, however, all of that progress has disappeared and here we are again, back at 188. Seriously? I can attribute almost entirely to my horrid eating over the summer. Basically, after the ride to conquer cancer, I have been in some sort of funk. Exercise has been so-so, but eating has been terrible!! I'm ashamed really!! What the heck!! I know what I want, yet I sabotage myself. I keep saying I'll start tomorrow or next week, or whatever. I used Jeremy's ironman as an excuse for me to eat. That makes no sense, but it worked for me. Terrible terrible terrible. So, here we go again. I will try and be more disciplined and pay better attention to my eating and work harder at including exercise on a more frequent basis. After all, I'm set to do ironman next year, and at this weight, I'm carrying around way more than I should. Grrrrrrrrr... Oh well, at least I'm aware of what I need to do, and will focus on my eating and trying to develop better habits again before the new year starts (read: I'm starting now, NOT in the new year). My plan? Well, I'm going to use MyPlate from the livestrong site. It's got a truly amazing database, and with the app for the iPhone, there is no excuse not to watch my eating. Try and include many more vegetables and fruits. Get back to 8 glasses of water a day. And most important? Portion Control. So that's my focus for the next little while, and we shall see if it works...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ironman from a spectator/volunteer point of view...

Now that I'm all signed up for Ironman Canada 2012 (which, is already sold out!!), I thought perhaps I'd reflect on my experience this year with ironman. Of course this is entirely from the point of view of a spectator and volunteer, since, I most certainly was not one of the over 2800 athletes that started out on the race on Sunday morning.

They played the national anthem. It was quite incredible really, listening to that, while all the hustle and bustle came to a virtual standstill. And, there were athletes running around everywhere trying to get all their last minute stuff done. Dropping off special needs bags, pumping up tires, saying goodbye to loved ones, getting wetsuits on, bodygliding those spots that just are troublesome, applying sunscreen, since the weather was hot and sunny and being out there for multiple hours would make the importance of sunscreen that much more so. First off went the pros. Professional triathletes. People who swim, bike and run for a living. How cool is that really!! It was neat seeing them enter the water and head off in search of the Ogopogo, or at least the first corner buoy anyhow!! Next up came the masses. The age-groupers. Just regular people out there to try this amazing feat. And there were a lot of them!! The anthem was played again, and then the original founder of ironman Canada was there to start the race. I should also point out, he runs the twitter handle for ironman Canada and was instrumental in creating a group of athletes that supported other via social media (Jeremy included). When the age-groupers started, it was quite incredible. There were arms flapping everywhere, really, they looked like salmon or something. It was a sea of flapping arms among the pink and blue swim caps. Pretty much everyone wears a wetsuit. Jeremy was in goggles and ear plugs as well. Off they went.

Next, was the epic battle of the tri-supporter. I wanted a coffee, and not just any coffee. I wanted a Starbucks. After all, I had been up since before 5am, and it was only just after 7am. And I didn't sleep well either, tossing and turning and worrying that Jeremy might sleep in or something (he, on the other hand, slept great!!... I like to think I took away those woes for him!!). So, I headed to the Starbucks on Main Street. The streets were busy, with people trickling over from the swim start to secure a spot to watch the first bikers go by. I found the Starbucks, and no kidding, there were probably about 40-50 people in line already. For a coffee. And, crazy as it may seem, I joined the line. In moments, there were about 20 people behind me. Oh, I will also point out that the Tim Horton's just up the block, was equally as busy!! I waited, I chatted, I waited some more. People walked past in disbelief at where the end of the line was. I waited more, slowly moving on. Soon, the pros started going by on their bikes. It was incredible. Truly. I was in awe. Lots of cowbells, cheering, and just a great spirit and energy in the air. I secured my mocha, and found myself a spot where I could watch the athletes pass. I was fortunate that my mom was watching the boys, so I was able to wait around and see Jeremy go past on the bike.

I should also mention that we were planning to go to Penticton for the weekend even before Jeremy won an entry because I wanted to volunteer and sign up for 2012. But, as Jeremy won an entry, it was even more exciting as there was a live person to cheer for that I actually knew. Sugoi actually gave away two entries, and the two winners both got a kit of Sugoi apparel to wear for the race, and it so happened to be the brand new, brand champion gear. It is very stylish and looked great. Anyhow, both Jeremy and JR (the other Sugoi winner), were wearing their brand champion clothes, so as the age groupers started wheeling past, it was very cool to see JR wheeling past.

The other thing, smart phones. Changes your whole outlook on the race. You can watch for splits and know when someone has crossed the mat for the swim into transition, the halfway point on the bike, the bike finish, the halfway on the run etc. So, between watching people go past, I was also checking for Jeremy's swim time, and a few other twitter folks I was rooting for. So, I had known that JR was out of the water, and a couple other people. And then, Jeremy's swim time came up, and I knew he was out of the water. Was SOOOOOOO excited as he was a wee bit nervous about the sheer enormity of the swim. And, his swim time was excellent for him also!! So, then, it was just waiting for him to get through transition and wheeling past on Main Street. And, then I saw his race kit, looking mighty fine. I cheered as loud as I could and my eyes were filled tears. I was in total awe at what he was doing and so proud of him finishing his swim. After he passed by, it was time to head back to the hotel.

I will point out that there was a lot of downtime for us in the afternoon. I had two little boys to entertain, and as awesome and amazing as Ironman is, for their attention span, I didn't want to push it and have them dreading going to races etc, so the afternoon was mostly about watching for splits on the various athletes I was rooting for. The favourite pro had an amazing nearly tragic story and it was awesome for him to win the whole thing!! And, the female pro winner broke the course record for the first time in over 25 years as well, so that was pretty awesome as well.

Oh, and being the main point of contact for Jeremy's fan club, meant that I had to update his progress on facebook, twitter, email etc, and really, that's a lot of work, not the same kind of work obviously as the athletes, but still!! And, of course, I just wanted to know that he'd made it. It was a brutally hot day, truly scorching. And the ride is not an easy ride. So, I was anxious to watch the splits!! Saw him get through the first split on the bike, and then it was a long wait until he finished the bike. In the meantime, I took the boys on a little hike, we had lots of fun. We also played a little Lego Pirates of the Caribbean. It was fun!! All the while, all those ironman athletes were pushing and working and you know what I mean!!

Next up we were heading out. I packed all our noisemakers, glowsticks, diaper bag, snacks, drinks and away we went. Part way down (we were at Apex Mountain about 30km from Penticton up a winding mountain road), I realized I had forgotten Jeremy's post race recovery drink. It was the one thing he had asked of me, and I didn't want to let him down. So back up I went. Then, I get to the halfway point and realize I have the diaper bag, but not the glowsticks, cowbells and other noisemakers. I was in tears. And, up again I went and got those. In the end, we parked, loaded up the stroller and headed to the intersection where I was volunteering traffic control. There wasn't quite as much time as I was hoping, so didn't get to grab Jeremy's stuff. Cheered on athletes for a few minutes and then took up my posting for the next hours.

Pretty soon, saw JR run past. That brand champion gear is really good looking and with only two people in the world wearing it that day, it was pretty distinct!! I was amazed at the absolute variety of people. There were fat people, skinny people, muscular people, ordinary looking people, young people, old people and everything in between. It was incredible really. And all of them, with only 2km left to go before being declared an ironman!! Oh, and also interesting was the variety of expressions on the athletes. Some were smiling, some were focused, some were in obvious pain, some were exhausted, some looked like they could go on forever. It was very interesting. Some were walking, some were running, some were shuffling, again, pretty much anything goes there!! I continued to check the phone as I wanted to see that Jeremy had reached the halfway point of the marathon (yeah, don't forget, it's 3.86km swim, 180km bike and 42km run). The thing about ironman, is you are kind of chasing the clock, at least the first time. You know you have 17 hours to finish and that's it. There are various checkpoints that if you don't make it past, you get pulled. And one of those checkpoints was the halfway point of the run, you have to reach it by 9pm or you get pulled. Luckily, at about 8:11pm, Jeremy had reached the halfway point. At this point, I knew, without any doubt, barring some medical emergency, he would finish. He had almost 4 hours left, and only 21km to do it!!

I finished up my volunteer time, and then decided to get Jeremy's bike and gear. This would save us extra work later and then when Jeremy was done, we could celebrate his victory without having to worry about all his stuff, and when I say all his stuff, I'm not kidding, it was a lot!! There were 3 bags full of stuff, everything from a wetsuit, to all sorts of clothes, a bike pump, bike shoes, helmet, various bottles of drinks and food. The guy sure didn't pack light!! He kept his options open cause wow, it was a lot of stuff!! So, I was balancing his bike, 3 bags of stuff, that didn't really make it easy to get the bike quickly to the car!! Oh well, I also started kind of freaking out that I might miss him go past. I mean, rationally, I knew I had the time, but every moment away from the course was a moment he could have gotten past and we'd have missed him. Bike went into the car, along with all the bags, and then I moved the car a little closer, since we were parked so far away!!

Met up again with mom and the boys, and cheered on all the people going past. Fielded messages, texts etc updating people who were curious how it was going. And then, off in the distance, I spotted that awesome SUGOI Brand Champion gear. Seriously, he was a way's away, but it looked like it could be him. The only thing that threw me off was his white compression socks. I knew he had compression socks, just didn't realize they were white. He was power walking and looked great. He was one of the people who seemed to be in good spirits. He stopped very briefly to give us hugs, we cheered him on, and off he went for his final 2km.

Oh, and I should mention, brutal!! The athletes turn a corner, and they can see the finish, but instead of going to the finish, turn the opposite direction and finish off their 2km along the shore and then turn around and come back to the finish. It might not seem like much, but after all the kilometres they've already logged, to be that close to the finish, it's one of those salt on the wound kind of moments. We moved closer to the finish, saw him go past, watched his finish on the big screen and then met up with him. It was actually pretty neat, the group he'd done most of his long rides with, and the camp in July with, and open water swimming with, the coach was one of the finish line catchers, so he was able to congratulate him and stuff. I was totally impressed. What amazing dedication to the people you worked with all year!! I'd use Vitalize in a heartbeat based on that alone!!

So, there you have it. My amazing husband, is now an ironman. He has had a passion for ironman most of his life, never truly believing he'd do it, since up until last year, he couldn't even swim. But, he put in the time, the effort, the energy and On August 28th, 2011, he became an ironman. I am married to an ironman. So proud. So amazed. So in awe at what he did!! Great job!! It sounds especially cool when it's Sebastian saying, "My dad is an ironman!" Or ask Sully, what is dad, and he says "eyeman". You've made us proud Jeremy!! Great job!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

It's really real!!

So, of course I said I had signed up, and I had. I filled out the application form and handed it in, but never got anything more than a purple bracelet to confirm I had. That is, until today... Yes, today, I got an email confirmation that I was, in fact, registered for Ironman Canada 2012. I go online next week and add more details to my registration, but I have a confirmation email saying I'm on the list. So now, it's really real, there is no turning back. It's funny, even though it's the plan, seeing the email really makes it more apparent what's in store.

But, the good news is, I'm starting to realize there's other people out there that I know that are signed up as well!! So, I won't be alone!! There's a guy a work with who is signed up, of course he already is an ironman!! And another friend who has been doing all sorts of triathlons with her eye on the big event and took the plunge and signed up. And the other brand champion for Sugoi at this year's race is signed up. And a friend in Washington has put me in touch with someone else chasing their first ironman... and I'm certain the list will continue to grow... so exciting!! Still scary, but mostly exciting!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

And so it begins...

On Sunday, I was a volunteer at Ironman Canada. It was incredible. I got to watch athletes reach the 40km mark of their final stage of their journey... less than 2km and they'd be declared "IRONMAN". It was amazing. There were young people, old people, skinny people, fat people, literally people of all shapes and sizes. Some looked like they were ready to collapse, others had the biggest smiles on and a bounce in their step... I loved every minute of it. It solidified the fact that completing an ironman was definitely something on my list of things I must do in my lifetime!! I also got to watch my amazing husband as he became an Ironman. I am so incredibly proud of him!! He did great. He looked great. He finished strong and had a smile on his face. It was awesome. Truly.

And so, the very next day, it was time to stand in line and sign up for 2012. And now, I am starting my journey for ironman. I am excited. I am nervous. I am scared. But most of all, I am ready to embark on the same journey I watched my husband take over the last five months. It's going to be fun. It's going to be a lot of work. But it's going to be worth it!!

And I'm going to share my journey. The good, the bad, the ugly. I'm certain there will be lots to learn and lots to share. I'm breaking the year up into some phases. First up, I will try and overhaul my eating. It's kind of gotten worse lately, and it's time to work at eating properly and in the proportion my body needs. I will also concentrate on building up some muscle strength in my legs especially. The hills of ironman Canada are tough and I want to build up the strength now, so I'm ready when the dedicated training and rides start up in the new year!! I also want to try and trim some of the fat off my body... the lighter I am, the easier it will be to haul this body up said hills!!

So, between now and Christmas, I will focus on improved eating and muscle conditioning. It's a start, and it's the area of focus for now...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Training for Spartan...

The first Spartan Race in Calgary, is coming up in a few short weeks. Less than three to be exact. I am entered. I am excited, but am I ready? Well, not really... I mean, my mind is there, but exercise has been a bit sparce lately. I mean, I am still getting in some runs and rides, but not with quite the volume as I was earlier this year. Part of the reason for that is I want to make sure my husband is getting in his rides/runs/swims for his ironman. But part of the reason is also just not quite the same commitment as early. Some days I'm just feeling lazy. It's no excuse really, but I could use with a few more workouts. After the Ride To Conquer Cancer, I just haven't been as motivated to be active and haven't been going out of my way to exercise every day. I know this will change again soon, but in the mean time, I really could use with a few more upper body workouts (I hear burpees are pretty common on the Spartan Race!!).

I feel like I'm a broken record... The motivation just hasn't been there, but it will be. Yeah yeah, but what am I going to do to make sure that happens? Here is my plan:

1. Write it down. Make yourself a little list of maybe 3 to 5 things you want to get done in a day, and keep that list close at hand so that you get those things ticked off. And make sure that your workout is one of the items!! Having a list and checking things off really can help.

2. Find some inspiration. For me, my biggest inspiration this week was a youtube video that I saw incorporating one of my favourite exercise songs with one of my big picture goals. Check it out... it may scare you, or it may inspire you... possibly both, but for me it was inspiring!!

3. Figure out what your goal is. Sometimes, without any sort of goal, we just sort of float along. This is especially true after you've done something spectacular. In my case, it was the Ride to Conquer Cancer. That was an amazing experience and I loved it, but since completing that, I haven't really focused on any new goal, and as a result, I haven't really been putting in any kind of effort. So now, I will focus on my Spartan Race as my next goal, and with less than three weeks to go... it's time to kick it into high gear!!

4. Share your goal. Tell other people what you are planning to do. Then, you are more likely to work towards it, since others may ask you about how things went!!

5. Just get out there and do something!! It seems minor but sometimes, it's so easy to come up with every excuse not to do something rather than just taking the time and getting out there!! You will be glad you did...

And with that... I'm off to go run...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Feeling worthy...

It's funny, I don't always feel as though I'm good enough. I mean, I know lots of people that think I'm crazy because I have done the occasional running race or triathlon (okay, maybe more than a few, but still). These people seem to think I'm active and almost athletic like. If I try and find someone who will run with me, these same people tell me about how they could never keep up, they are too slow, they are just starting to run etc. But here's the thing, I wouldn't ask, if I didn't want the company!!

Yet, when the shoe is on the other foot, and someone who is much faster than me wants to go running, I'm always quick to opt out apologizing for my snail's pace and inability to keep up with such an athlete. But, they wouldn't be asking if they didn't want the company!!

So why is it that we always under estimate our potential or someone's desire for our company. Why is it we aren't worthy? My husband just got back from a weekend of training for ironman, and despite the fact that he swam over 2km, biked over 170km and ran over 30km, he still told me he felt like he was a fat overweight guy with no athletic abilities. How is it society has allowed us to feel this way? How is okay that we feel this way? It might seem silly, but it's very real!!

If someone wants your company, it's because they don't want to run alone, or bike alone. So, join them!! They wouldn't ask otherwise, and they will go your pace because it's the company they crave, not the speed!! Just believe in yourself, and what you are doing. At the end of the day, you are out there doing, and that alone, makes you worthy!! It's not about the speed, but about the journey. So, get out there, with whomever it is that wants your company. You will be glad you did. And hey, at the end of the day, you'll have been out there doing, rather than on the sidelines just watching. It's in you!! Now go out and be the amazing athlete that you are, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

And here we are in July!!

Life is so busy... always... it's crazy. I mean, I know I cause half the busy parts and it's my choice, and I love it, but wow, the time just flies by!! And hours fill up. I try and stay organized and that helps, but sometimes I think it would be nice to just take a vacation from being busy!! I need a weekend on a deserted island or something!!

I love blogging but hardly ever seem to find the time for it. It's always as though something else is more important or has a higher urgency. So, I just need to figure out a way to make it a priority as well. With so many things competing for my time, it never seems to be the priority...

So where are we? Well, my plans changed drastically after Jeremy won his ironman entry. Suddenly, all training was about him, and I am totally fine with that. It's important to him and needed!!

But what's happened? I did the police half (was not a stellar performance), then the Mother's Day 5km with my little 5 year old!! Next up was the Ride to Conquer Cancer. I'd been signed up for several months, but the fundraising didn't really go so well, so wasn't sure if I'd actually do it, never mind the part where I hadn't trained a whole lot specifically for it. However in the end, took a leap of faith and did the ride with more than $1000 left to raise. Luckily, I have since managed to get that money raised... and will hopefully start sooner to raise money for the 2012 ride!! If you want to donate to that, click here. And if you want to read more about the 2011, ride, I blogged about it on my family blog here. Suffice it to say, it was an amazing experience. I loved it, and I am so glad I decided to do it!! Ended up riding my mountain bike for it, and despite some horrible weather on the second day, got all 200km done (actually more but we'll round down to that nice number). Some great hills and some great moments. But check out the blog post because really, it says it all!! And thanks so much to every person who supported me along the way with donations, bottles for the bottle drive, well wishes and stuff. It's a great ride and if you are even remotely thinking about doing it, I say go for it!! You won't regret it for a moment!!

Next up is my boys (husband and 5yr old), doing the Lake Chaparral triathlon. The little guy will do the kids of steel event on the Saturday, and then the husband will do either the sprint or olympic distance on the Sunday. I find it almost funny, that in our family, the first person to complete an open water triathlon will be our 5-yr-old. Really? I mean, really? Go Sebastian.

After that is the Spartan Race. Hmmmmm.... what was I thinking... more on that another day!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Meandering along

So, my training has been there, but nothing super stellar. I've officially taken a backseat to Jeremy's training, and that's fine. However, I still need my own goals. I think I have that goal figured out now. I want to be a Spartan. I am going to tap into my inner warrior and try a race totally outside my element. I am willingly choosing to get muddy and dirty and do obstacles that could include barbed wire and fire. Totally new, totally different and something I can train easily for while Jeremy works towards his ironman... So he might become an ironman, but I'll be a Spartan, so there!! hahaha

Monday, April 11, 2011

The best laid plans...

So imagine for a moment, if you will, the rough long range plan for our triathlon goals. Both Jeremy and I always had it in the back of our minds that we might some day like to do an ironman. I mean hey, we've done a marathon, and have been starting down the triathlon road, so really, it's a natural progression, right?

Since I am slowly getting on in my years, I was kind of thinking it might be something I'd like to do when I'm 40 or before I turn 40. I was figuring aiming for 39, but Jeremy suggested perhaps I might want to plan for a year earlier, just in case injury or something else happened and it wasn't possible. So, with that in mind, we had loosely planned that this year we would go out to Penticton for Ironman Canada, and I would volunteer. That way, I could sign up in the volunteer line the day after the big race. Then, he would volunteer the year I was doing it, and do his ironman the year after, since, realistically, with 2 young kids, both of us training for such a big event would be too much and a little unfair to them.

Last week, Jeremy was busy retweeting a Sugoi tweet to win an entry into Ironman Canada. Once a day he entered and was convinced he was going to win. He reasoned that odds were pretty good and he truly believed he was going to win it. And then... he did!! He was all excited and simultaneously super nervous. I mean, seriously, it's a pretty big task. Swimming 4 kilometres, biking 180 kilometres and then running 42 kilometres. Just something to do one day, hahaha.

So life has changed in our house. A lot. It's now all about Jeremy for the next 139 days. However, and he better realize this, it's not only about Jeremy. We still have our family and I still have my training. My races might be taking a bit of a backseat right now, but I'm not packing things in because of this, but I am willing to help find the time to let him train etc. It will be a big commitment on his part, but hey, it's not every day you get the opportunity of a lifetime like this, so we have to make it work!! And besides, he only has about the best running partners ever (between his wife and his dog!!).

So good luck Jeremy, train hard and do your best to balance training, family and our household!!

If you want to follow his journey, check out his blog!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My love affair with Eminem

So, I should probably start by saying I've never met Eminem, don't even neccessarily like him, and listening to too much of his music in a row is a bit much for me, but wow, he has some very powerful songs.

For many years now, my all time favourite has been "Lose Yourself". There is just a certain amount of anger and rage in that song that just makes me run harder and faster than I normally ever would. I love it. When the song comes on, I just give it my all. It's fantastic.

Next up was "Love the Way You Lie", which features Rhianna along with Eminem. I've never really looked into the meaning of the song, but it seems very domestic violence like in its words. Since I am often running on my lunch breaks at work, it somewhat fits in with my job and I just power through my runs along with it.

After that, one day while running at work, someone was playing their exercise playlist and "Not Afraid" came along. I instantly recognized it was Eminem and the song just clicked with me. Had a nice beat, all that good stuff, so looked it up and it became part of my running playlist.

And most recently, I was reading the Healthy Tipping Point blog and came across a post where Caitlin was talking about a song she played that kept her going. I liked that she played it over and over again (I often do this, especially when a song just keeps my motivation up), and so I felt compelled to check it out. It's "Till I Collapse" and once again, Eminem has delivered another song that just really works for running. It truly is perfect, with a great beat, great lyrics and just enough heart to keep you working. I love it.

So, thank you Eminem, for the incredible beat of your songs. Thanks for the anger and the rage you put into your lyrics. Thanks for phrases that just fit in with a running mantra and make me want to push just a little bit more. I will continue to look out for more songs that you create that fit into my needs, because you are good at it, and I like that sort of music when I run!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Swimming with music

So, my husband got me a very cool Christmas present this year, a waterproof ipod shuffle from H2O Audio. Life has been busy and it wasn't until Friday that I finally got to try it. And, well, it was amazing. I mean, truly amazing. It was such a different feeling being in the water with the music I chose and actually hearing it with every stroke. It made the workout truly amazing!! I loved it. I can hardly wait to swim again. How far am I going? Doesn't matter, as long as there is music, I'll keep on swimming. It was just plain awesome.

That's all I really have to say. I can hardly wait to go swimming again!! Just so I can listen to music in the water!! Whoever thought that up is just a genius!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Little change, big difference

So tonight, when I was doing some strength exercises, I changed things up a bit. The biggest change, was on the squats I do. I have a barbell resting on my shoulders and basically do your typical squat. Today however, each time a squatted down, I paused for a second. It might have been less, but it felt like forever. This difference really made my legs ignite. It was incredible. I was actually breathing heavy even. I couldn't believe how such a small change could make such a big impact. I'm guessing my legs will be a little stiff tomorrow. But in a good way!!