(Wo)Man Down

I debated checking in tonight. I’m curled up with my heating blanket with dinner (consisting of wine and chocolate) feeling quite sorry for myself.

But the way I’m feeling is part of the journey, and I’m hoping that tonight, wait – this week, is considered the valley of this journey. I’m hoping that I will come out of this funk, and the next two months will be a positive experience, and I will get back on track.

Let me explain.

Two weeks ago I tweaked my knee on my long run, when I was running post swim with a group of quite accomplished athletes. It was ego, I know. Even as we headed into the final 3K, I told myself I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone. My pace should have been at least a minute slower than theirs. But the sun was shining, I just killed 2000M in the pool, the day before I ran a PB and was still flying high, and we had sun. Sweet, glorious, magnificent sun. I COULD do it. A big difference between if I SHOULD, I realize now.

Long & slow, Zone 2. I know better.

I decided that rest was the best bet and to take a little breather from running. I had some mild pain training for a marathon last year, and taking it easy for a week or two fixed me right up. I was hoping this would have the same effect.

The first few days of deciding not to run were torture. It seemed that the sun came out, and every single person that could run, was outside Maple Street, doing hill repeats past my window. I was proud of those strangers, I knew they were likely training for the Blue Nose Marathon, but more so, I was envious. I’ve never been injured before, so this is a new experience for me. I’ll admit it, I hate hill repeats, but I would give almost anything to be able to do them (injury free) right now.

As you can tell, I’m down. There has been frequent napping, tears, and questioning why I’m evening doing this. I’ve put in 180 hours of training since late fall. I’ve read books, purchased gear, put the rest of my life on hold, essentially. I’ve started comparing myself to where I thought I would be, other athletes and well, you can imagine what that does to the psyche. Tonight I was close to tears during an FTP test that I bombed.

I can’t decide if this negativity, weakness and a continuous desire for spicy Doritos are all a result from a minor injury or if I’m burning out. I’m hoping to figure it out soon. I have ten weeks left in my training plan.

So, I think it’s safe to say I need some professional help. Once I make it through my 14 hour workday tomorrow, it will be Thursday’s priority #1. My foam roller and avoiding running all together is not a plan that will get me to the 70.3 race feeling confident. (Goal #1) This is how people fall off the fitness wagon (Fear #1) I’m not sure how to approach the rest of this week…. I’m hoping to set up an appointment with a reputable sports physiotherapist, someone who understands the importance of training. And perhaps?,can just solve this problem for me!

I’ve essentially kept up with my biking, swimming and strength training program but completely ceased running. I can feel small amounts of pain at certain times I’m biking and doing squats, so I’m not getting better. I’m not sure if I need a few days off to reset and refocus, or if I should jump in the pool bright and early tomorrow. The next glass of wine shall help me make that decision.

Thank you for indulging me. I have so many things to be thankful for in my life, it’s a shame to get caught up in self-pity.

“Self pity is the sworn enemy of your ambition. It is the number one killer of your aspirations and goals. Give it a foothold in your life and you’ll chase away every dream, dreamt and every friend, befriended.” 
― Jason VerseyA Walk with Prudence

Here are some things, over the past month, that have made me happy and I am incredibly grateful for:

(I call this hitting the reset button!)

swimming 30 years

Thankful for having my mother insist that I know how to swim. 30 years of swimming at Centennial Pool! Great companions too.

gym

Having access to an empty gym. Small win, but a perfect break in the middle of my workday

family

Visits with family over beautiful meals, wine and great conversation.

backyard and men

A sunny backyard with space to garden, and the love of these two

lamb

Meeting this guy. Dad took his girls out to see the farm after Easter dinner and I fell in love.

first bike ride

The first outdoor bike ride of the season with some excellent company and sunshine.

hfx skyline

This view and the amazing city I am blessed to call home

friends

These amazing girl friends that make me laugh and teach me about raclette. Everyone should know about raclette and have friends that make you laugh so hard you cry.

sheets

Crawling into bed with fresh sheets that have been hung to dry. Nothing feels and smells quite like it.

Fuel for the Fire

 

Diet. It’s a four letter word… but ultimately diet is what you put in your mouth. Properly defined: the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. I’ve never had success with a strict diet of anything. Low-carb, low-fat, atkins, paleo, it’s just not me. 

The word diet often has me flashing back to my pre-teen days when my parents were following the Susan Powter “Stop the Insanity” program. I can’t tell you much about it, except that everything was measured in baked potatoes with a strong focus on reducing fat intake. “Why eat a candy bar when you can have 34 baked potatoes instead?” It became a family joke that we still throw around today. “Are you sure you want that dessert? You could have 213 baked potatoes instead, you know” we tease.

susan powter

Diet – in the ultimate definition of the word – isn’t something I can ignore, and when I am burning an upwards of 2000 calories a day, I need to spend time thinking of my food intake and be mindful of what I’m eating and if it’s enough to keep me kicking. A balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein is key to my performance. I’m sure any athlete can attest to finishing a gruelling workout and when faced with the famish feeling reaches for something fast and, well, there. This can lead to poor choices without planning. 

 

macD

Garbage in, garbage out

On October 12th, 2013 I made a serious shift in my diet.

NO MORE FAST FOOD!!

Confession time: I’d eat fast food 3 times a week. Yes, I’ll biggy size that. Yes, I’ll have fries with that. And yes, I’ll add McChicken Sauce. I’d eat in my car in secret  because I knew it was WRONG. I am known as the sporty one with my colleagues, family and friends (except with my ironman friends, then I’m classified as lazy 😉 ), but I had a dirty secret. And it was what I was using for fuel, more times than I was willing to admit. And despite my workout regime, some of my pants were becoming rather tighter than when they were originally purchased.  

After one particularly disgusting meal (Spicy chicken combo, biggy sized with a coke from Wendy’s, incase you were wondering) and urging from a wise friend to watch the popular documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, I knew I had to make a change if I wanted to put my best training foot forward for 2014. So I went cold turkey, I signed up for Home Grown Organic Food delivery and frig, why not? I bought a juicer. It was time to wake up and smell the vegetables. 

juiceing blog

Juicing with Joe

I know the formula for eating right, I just needed the planning and motivation to accompany it. Here I am six months later, not perfect by any means (I made homemade poutine. Three times. And I eat bacon. And drink beer. I could go on….) but I don’t get my food through a window, avoid processed foods and I spend most Sunday’s planning my weekly meals and snacks.

The meal planning is going well, I eat out at restaurants less and physically, I’m feeling much better. It’s becoming more rare for me to eat a meal and feel that gross and guilty feeling, and I’m always keeping my eyes peeled for yummy and healthy recipes. Easter Sunday found me in a sea of some of my favourite recipe books planning this weeks meals: 

blogfuel

My recipe book shelf – a few of my favourite go-tos.

I’m not saying I won’t be polishing off some chocolate, ham, cheese (and more) this holiday weekend (let’s get real), but on Monday it’s back to the plan of healthy fuel to keep my training on track and feeling energized and not lethargic.

As to be expected, I’ve had moments when all I can think about is chicken mcnuggets. I haven’t caved yet, the feeling passes and I choose real food and feel great about my decision. The cravings are fewer and far between and I find my tastes are shifting…cravings for sushi, pears and hummus have taken the place of fries, burgers and mcchicken sauce.

Eating healthy takes time, planning, investment and desire – I’m not perfect but I’m happy to be moving in the right direction.

Healthy

Just Breathe

Inertia.

I’ve fallen victim to not being able to know when to stop. My days are filled with working out and when I’m not working out, I’m planning my next run, bike or swim. I’ve even noticed that I’m constantly talking about training, races, and the need for fuel. These days, my friends that I have been hanging out with are all athletes, perhaps it’s because of my conversation topics! Talk about emersion. This week happens to be ParticipACTION’s “Sneak It In” week – making time to incorporate physical activity into one’s daily routine….the story of my life these days!

run

A short run turned into a longer one. I couldn’t help it – the sun was out and the road was calling my name.

Last night, after my session at Kinesio Sport Lab I could tell I was tired. Not in the “I didn’t get enough sleep last night” kind of way…but in a way that I need to Simmer. Down. I had a great ride on the trainer and pushed it hard, and I absolutely love the computrainer challenge. However, my body is talking to me, and I need to listen. My biggest training hurdle right now is knowing when to give it my all and when to stop.

My morning plan was to hit the gym for a run and some weights before my 10AM meeting, but I knew when I rolled over this morning and felt the throb in my legs – before I even rolled out of bed – that my schedule needed a change.

So here I am, at one of my favourite hideouts, Just Us! at King’s Wharf. Sometimes – like today – there are only a handful of us in here and it is so peaceful. The atmosphere is perfect, with comfy nooks and a view. I was taught recently that it’s important to stop and work on your business, rather then in your business without taking time to reflect (hamster wheel, anyone?).

A moment of rest

Be calm.

On a personal level, that means stepping away from the day-to-day to focus on what is important to me, what really matters, what are my goals (career, family, home and physical) and sometimes just chilling the heck out and drinking some awesome coffee while watching the beautiful harbour we live near. My run was swapped with slowing it down. For now.

I’ve called in help for the remaining three months of training. I have my time goal (that I often waiver about) but must remember the ultimate goal is to walk up to the race start line, knowing that I’ve done everything I can to get me through the best possible race I can complete.

countdown

My friendly reminder I woke up to on Saturday morning.

One of my favourite songs is called “Breathe” by Telepopmusik, it’s perfectly suited for today. Enjoy!

In Like a Lion, out Like a Tiger (the tale of March)

We’ve officially entered the Spring season. I survived Winter!!!! Nova Scotians are still waiting for the Spring-like weather, but we’re ever optimistic and know it’s just around the corner……right?…

help

Sunshine! Is that you!?

I’ve had the best 4 weeks. I feel back on track with the training, sticking – almost annoyingly – to the schedule. My legs scream at me every time I take the 13 steps up to my bedroom, but in a good way. I’ve been having THE BEST sleep I’ve ever had in my life. Head hits the pillow – it’s over. (Also the other stuff is going pretty great…family, work, friends….that’s the big stuff, but it’s not what this blog is about).

March

One of the best parts about training is marking it complete in this old school calendar. (geek)

Monthly totals: 17 hr’s of biking, 100K of running, 16.7K of swimming, 9 hr’s of strength training and a smattering of yoga & core.  This is my ramp up time.

Ironman in 1985. This guy is my hero.

1985 Ironman. This guy is my hero.

So, things are good. I often don’t report when things are good…because I’m too busy planning and biking and well being busy & happy. What’s to write about when everything is good? So it’s taken me a few weeks to actually sit down and write.

I’ve realized I haven’t made my goal public. It’s likely because I wasn’t sure if it was achievable. Then my dear friend Karen said:

“If you achieve all your goals, you’re not making them challenging enough.” 

Well said Karen, well said.

So this is a goal I set out for myself on July 22, 2013. It’s challenging, but if I keep with my training plan, I know I can achieve it.  (I actually just wrote I think I can achieve it,  and changed it to I CAN, boom diggity.) I have been warned that the St. Andrew’s course is quite hilly, but I’ve factored that into my training.

Panic…

i can i will

I’ll quit stalling now….

Goal time: 6h:35m. Whew. It’s out there now. 

2000M swim (45m:00sec @ 2m:20sec/100M pace)/ 90K bike (3h:30m @ 27.5km/h pace)/ 21.1K run (2h:15m @ 6m:15sec/KM) and 5 minutes for 2 transitions.

I made sure my goals weren’t pulled from the air, and looked carefully at my past races over the past five years and the time I have to train. Yes, I made sure they were “SMART” goals.

smart-goals-221x300My mom has booked her hotel and her plane ticket from Bermuda to come watch me cross the finish line in July. I am so excited she is making the trek, but wonder if she realizes that triathlon is not the greatest spectator sport? She will have about 50 minutes of trying to distinguish which swimming cap is her daughters (while likely panicking that I am borderline drowning), and then watch me try to rip off my wetsuit (more panic) and hop on/off the bike in the transition zones. But on the bright side, she’ll have ~4:45 to explore St. Andrews, perhaps fit in a golf game, have lunch and even take a nap before I cross the finish line!

st andrews

St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick

April should find Betty and I cruising out on the open road, wind in my hair, hills to conquer, which excites me. I’ve never taken the bike portion of triathlon seriously, in fact I practically neglect my bike except for the odd ride and race. It would be surprising if I put over 200K on my bike in a given summer in the past. It’s astounding that I can even call myself a triathlete with that record, I know. I’m hoping to gain confidence on the road – and early – this year.

I haven’t been riding outside since October (Riverport Duathlon), and given the time that I’ve been spending on my trainer or in a spin class, I’m excited to see an improvement on my outside riding. Running weather is improving (likely no more snow banks to dodge) and I’m back swimming with the Triathlon club, which pushes me further than I had been on my own. I’m stoked for training this month, and am grateful for my health and lack of injuries. (Touch wood).

Now, for my two-hour bike ride!