Worth it: Musselman and my half ironman debut

I always seem to procrastinate on post-race write-ups, but I have decided that the longer I wait, the less likely I’ll do the event justice! If you’ve been around me in the last couple weeks, you’ll know I’ve been gearing up for my half ironman debut at Musselman.

usselman

I chose this race because:

  • It has a cute mascot – the zebra mussel!
  • In 2011, my first year in triathlon, a woman at the local pool was raving about her experience at Musselman. She said that if I was ever to do a half, I should do this as my first—it’s very friendly to first-timers.
  • My locker neighbor at the rec centre (who KILLED IT on the weekend!) signed up and peer-pressured me into it. …Just kidding, she asked me politely and encouraged me, though!
  • Instead of doing a 70.3 (aka Ironman-branded) race, I wanted to avoid the tri-hards (and pay a little less to enter as a bonus, though I got my registration gifted to me by the awesome owners of the spin studio I work at!).
  • I could drive there!

As the week went on, I got more and more nervous for the weekend. First there was rain in the forecast, and then I rolled my ankle out for a walk with Brent. I am a really clumsy person, but I had all of these scenarios (and contingency plans) in my head of things that could go wrong: rolling my ankle was not one of them. Luckily a little physio and a visit to the chiropractor (because better safe than sorry) helped me to rest assured that I would be okay to run, even if it hurt, just knowing that I was doing my recovery a disservice if I chose to! I had some encouragement from some of the women I look up to in the sport (like Angela, who I thought of lots during my race for inspiration!). I had some athletic tape packed and I put my mind to it and got myself all ready.

I felt a little frantic running around town buying gels and bars and water bottles I wouldn’t mind tossing, etc. My friend Katie was a life saver along with Angela and all the other people I asked for advice. My coaches (for swim, Balance Point Triathlon with Gabbi and of course my coach Chris Helwig) gave me a lot of encouragement and of course advice. I got a card from the people I swim with and it made me feel so much more excited—such a simple gesture but also greatly appreciated! I finally had my things together and hit the road! I was going to do a quick swim because with the ankle situation I was feeling a bit sluggish, but the pool was closed so I just went for it.

packed

Packing light is not something I know how to do!

Taped up and ready to leave!

Taped up and ready to leave!

I drove down to Geneva on Friday afternoon. It’s about a 4.5 hour drive, plus whatever the border adds, which in my case was just less than an hour! I got there in time to pick up my key to get into the “Athlete’s Village,” where I booked a room for less than 50$/night. It was in an old college there, which meant no air conditioning but my friend advised me to pack a fan and it really wasn’t so bad. I also made it to the grocery store to grab some things and ate my last vegetables before the race (tapers are hard, not eating like normal is hard) along with my first big ol’ dose of pasta! I got a pretty good night’s sleep on Friday and then on Saturday I was up early enough to drive to course and head down to the site of the event to watch the “Mini Mussel,” a sprint triathlon, finish.

athletes village

I got lost a lot on the drive, but the course was beautiful and looked like a pretty moderate ride – not many hills I’d be avoiding if I was at home, but water so I was anticipating some wind. I got more and more excited as the day went on, and my ankle was bugging me less and less. I met up with one of the women from London, Jennifer, and watched her husband cross the finish line of the sprint tri (he’s training for an ironman and is twice as crazy as I am). She did her first half not too long ago and was super encouraging, even though we were both pretty nervous! Her son did the kids’ race on Friday—talk about a family affair!

Here I am with Jennifer after her husband, Mike, crossed the finish line!

Here I am with Jennifer after her husband, Mike, crossed the finish line!

We had a pre-race meeting on Saturday afternoon, but in between I rode my bike a bit (felt slow but good) and jogged around the campus a bit to prove to myself that I would be fine with my ankle. I also made it to the outlet malls about 15 miles from Geneva, which was a welcome distraction and let me get a visor that I was grateful for on Sunday! The meeting gave me butterflies. As I sat with Jenn and Ileana, the friend who roped me into this in the first place (:)!), I could feel us all getting more excited and nervous. I did have lots of my questions answered, though!

A snap from my bike ride on Saturday.

A snap from my bike ride on Saturday.

Ileana and I went to the pre-race pasta dinner, which was small but nice. We made friends with some people from Connecticut and also met up with some more people from London, who we don’t train with but were sure we recognized! Both of these couples were encouraging the day before, at the race in the morning, and post-race, of course! Triathletes are so friendly. We racked our bikes the night before, which was new for me, but nice since it was less to carry on the long trek from parking to the transition area Sunday morning.

Besides a little freak out before bed, which Brent had to put up with but also helped me with, I had a good evening preparing myself mentally and trying to get to sleep early. I probably got about 6 hours of sleep before my 4:25am wake up call. I managed to get some coffee and oatmeal with peanut butter and banana in before heading to the park. I drank Gatorade and chatted as I got ready for the race. There were lots of first timers, which made me feel better.

I did basically 0 warm-up, though I did hop in the water and get myself ready. We went in waves, with the gals 25-39 going second (after the young bucks). My goal was not to get caught by the ladies I was with – Jenn and Ileana and Pam, who is in her 60s but KILLED it and got second in her age category! By the time the national anthem was sung and we were getting shuffled into the water for the start (waist-deep), I felt ready to go!

Looking a little nervous..and trying to find the buoys!

Looking a little nervous..and trying to find the buoys!

pre race

Swim – 1.2 miles – 41:31 (1:59/100m)

The swim course was good for me. The buoys (doritos and cheese balls, in my head) were large and I could see them with the light just fine! I didn’t get too off course, and the waves don’t bother me as much as they do other people. I swam most of the way with one other pink capped gal, who breast stroked a lot for someone keeping up with me while I was swimming along steadily, but whatever! Some of the next wave (or two) caught us, but I ended up with an average pace faster than a lot of my shorter races. I liked starting in the bigger lake and then heading into the canal, where it was harder to swim off course. The swim training must have paid off a little. I think my new wetsuit and going to open water practices with Gabbi made a big impact, too! I was 10/25 in my age category, which makes me feel pretty good too! I peed in my wetsuit, yes, and I hope I left the water smiling because the worst part was over in my head.

Bike – 56 miles, 3:05:30 (29.1km/h average)

I wanted to bike in 3 hours really badly, but I am more of a 29 averager I guess these days. I used to have in my head that anything below 30km/h was not very fast, but I’m happy with this time. I was 5th in my age category for this leg of the race and not that many women passed me. It was windier than I thought it was going to be and I pulled over once to check my tire because I thought it was rubbing. I am NOT good at grabbing water bottles, and I definitely underdrank and did not eat enough – one gel, one pack of shot blocks, and most of a clif bar with two bottles. I felt okay though. There was one gravelly stretch, but I really enjoyed this bike course, which went along two coastlines and was relatively flat. There was one hill, and I passed a lot of people on it! Go me.

Run – 13.1 miles 2:04:43 (5:56/km average)

The run was HAWT, but there were sponges, kids with hoses on their front yards, and aid stations at every mile to help my case. My ankle not hurting kept me happy enough to ignore all the other pain I was in from running up hills and from a blister I got on my other foot. It’s all minor. I walked through each aid station and drank a mix of water, hose water, Gatorade, etc. I ate a few shot blocks but probably could have had more as I was hungry by the end. I was conservative at first and ran just over 6 minute km, which I tried to make shorter as I got further along. I walked up 2 hills but otherwise chugged along just fine. I was so happy to be doing it and realizing that I was going to finish made me feel like I could go a little faster, so I did. I got passed by a few people at the beginning, mostly men, but I passed some myself. I was 11th in my age category on this part. With the walk breaks, I still managed to finish in a respectable time, in my opinion, and I knew a few miles before the finish that I could make it in less than 6 hours (my private goal, with my out-loud goal being to finish between 6 and 6 and a half hours), so I had plenty of reason to kick it up a notch. I almost teared up when I saw the finish line, but I managed to cross the line with what I hope was a smile (or at least a grimace). My only regret? Not putting my hands up for a finishing photo (which you can check out, with the others, here!).

My total time was 5:58:10. I did it! I don’t ever have to do another one, but I probably will. My interwebs history would show that I’ve already researched other races. I was 8th in my age category out of 25, and in the top 50 of over 200 women. That made my ego happy, but I was just feeling proud of myself for achieving my goal, regardless of what other people did! And as for a full Ironman, maybe before I’m 30 seems like a goal that’s far enough away to seem realistic but pressing enough to keep me planning on continuing to train, albeit a little less, for this sport! I’ve got a new gig working as a Personal Trainer / Coach at Hybrid, which I am the most excited about. I know that being in that environment keeps me excited about all the strength sports (weightlifting, powerlifting, CrossFit, even Strongman) that are out there, and keeps me training for health and well-being, which is so important! I have been putting the two together personally and I know lots of members with triathlon on their bucket list or who have asked me questions about endurance stuff so I’m really glad to be working there now! With teacher’s college in the fall, my schedule obviously has less time for mid-afternoon bike rides or for long workouts on Tuesday (love grad school for that), but I know I can find a balance that will of course look different from these past few years but that will hopefully leave me racing, healthy, and happy!

...happy about something!

…happy about something!

pam winner!

Pam placing second in her age group!

Ileana on the top of the podium for her age group! She won wine and intimidated the third place woman, it seems!

Ileana on the top of the podium for her age group! She won wine and intimidated the third place woman, it seems!

As for the rest of the summer, I don’t have a plan. I am registered for Vulture Bait (a 25km trail run in October) but have decided I’m on the fence about keeping up the long distances. I’m feeling run down, but I know I need to give my body a chance to recuperate before I make any decisions. I’ll be making an appearance at the triathlon in my hometown, Bluewater, in two weeks, and hope to do something else later in the summer! Some bike touring and workouts with friends for fun sound like a good way to use this fitness I’ve got.

Speaking of recuperating, since I did an admittedly bad job of eating and drinking on the bike, I felt like a whole lot of crap on Sunday afternoon. I finally stopped rolling around and feeling sorry for myself late afternoon and drank some water and some Nuun from Ileana. I was able to eat dinner / suffer through (ha!) some ice cream, but I did not eat as much as I would on a normal day, let alone one with 6 hours of exercising! Headaches, nausea, all kinds of GI things you don’t want to hear about…it all sort of has lasted longer than I wish it had. I’m not very sore, but the aftermath of the dehydration has demonstrated the importance I’ll place on figuring out how to drink more during my next go at this kind of race!

post race ice cream

I also called that I’d be having a migraine this week and sure enough, one hit this morning. It was nothing a 3 hour nap couldn’t help me get past. I often get the migraine attacks with weather, post-stressful periods, and with my hormones. All three are coinciding so I’m really not surprised, and I will take feeling a little crappy for having that check off my bucket list! I’m drinking extra water and taking it easy this week—light swim yesterday, mobility at the gym today, working on my bibliography (home stretch!)—and am going to get back to more “training” when I feel like I’m ready, not when my ego says “GO!”

All in all, I am so glad that I signed up for that race (thanks Ileana for encouraging me!). I had great coaching to get to it. I had support from my friends and family and people who listened to me talk about this thing for months. I had wonderful company there (the women I was with ALL ROCK and everyone was SO NICE who I met!). The weather worked out great. I would recommend this race to anyone who is going to do their first half, or someone who wants to travel somewhere and stay a few days. Geneva was beautiful and I would have loved to stick around. I have to go back, mostly because I missed out on the “Wine Slushie” advertised in the region. Darn it, dehydration!

Setting a goal that seemed like it might knock me down along the way—and it certainly tested my resolve—was as cheesy as it might sound, exactly what I needed right now. I know that there are people who would call me out on being a sports evangelist, but all those pinterest quotes about achieving goals/focusing on the journey/sport making you a better person are true to me right now! I sometimes think of myself as a quitter, or as fragile. I’ve seen that I’m pretty darn tough, and I’m also more badass than I let myself feel sometimes. I can run in the snow. I can suck it up on the trainer. I can wake up early when I’d rather sleep in. I can do things I don’t want to or don’t think that I can! Maybe I can resist chocolate after all…nah!

Last month, I did that CrossFit competition and felt so friggin’ strong picking up a heavy barbell and swinging around on the bars and climbing ropes and things. This month, I showed myself that strong doesn’t mean I can’t still have success in triathlon or in doing the other things that I love. This race coinciding with me submitting my thesis has made for a pretty big week, if I say so myself. I may be tired, but I am feeling more accomplished than I have in a heck of a long time! Right now I’m relishing my accomplishments, but soon I’ll be setting some more goals, and with the reassurance that I can do the things I set my mind to!

stronger

worth it jump outta bed

understeim jump outta bed

worth it

Have you done a triathlon?
What’s your favourite distance to race?
Do you write down your goals?
What are you working towards right now?
What’s your proudest athletic moment?

Advertisements

giving triathlon another tri: woodstock recap

Good morning strangers!

Lately, I’ve been busy with starting my summer job (as a camp counsellor, my days are filled with dodgeball, swimming, and huckle buckle), prepping for a sport history conference in Colorado this weekend, getting ready to move next month, and enjoying the warmer weather as much as possible. My bike shorts tan is coming in quite nicely, in case you were curious! Last weekend, I put the playing in the sun I’ve been doing to the test and gave a triathlon a go in Woodstock, which is only 45 minutes away from where I live and seemed way too convenient to pass up.

It’s been two years since I’ve thought about bricks, open water swims, and wetsuits and since I tend to get nervous take myself too seriously, the weekend was one filled with butterflies for me! I’ll give you a brief recap of the race.

Swim (750m/18:39):
The water at the conservation area was only 61 degrees, which of course made me question my sanity and that of all the other people who paid good money to willingly dive in. In hindsight, a trip to some open water and a swim in my wetsuit before the race would probably have helped me out. I spent the first half of the swim trying to remember how to sight, wondering how the people on their backs and doggy paddling were keeping up with me, and forgetting that I am a comfortable swimmer. This photo, which I swore I’d keep to myself but which I hope will make other people feel better about the bad race photo that always seems to crop up in the mix, sums up how I felt coming out of the water (for the record, I didn’t cry):

me

Bike (20km/41:33):
The bike course was pretty straight forward and flat and riding in the morning meant there wasn’t too much wind to fight with. I usually enjoy the bike part of the race the most and try to pass as many people as possible. This time, I didn’t get ahead of very many people but I was mostly passed by men on fancy bikes so I knew I mustn’t have been doing too badly!

Run (5km/26:46):
Like I said, it’s been a while since I’ve done a lot of running off the bike. I never really had a problem with it–I think I mentally decide that I’m warmed up and that “all that’s left is the run”–but I have been running slowly compared to the pace I’d like to be at lately. With that in mind, I just decided to take the simplest advice a friend ever gave me when it came to the run: “Go so hard that you wan’t to quit but then don’t let yourself.”

Transitions:
The transitions in a triathlon are never my strong suit. I can usually be found conversing with someone in the transition area (it’s important to talk to someone else who is similarly casual or risk pissing off someone in their zone), forgetting to take my helmet off as I head out on the run, or having a snack. I’m sure this approach isn’t helping my times, but I’m also not at the level where it really matters all that much!

me3

Going into the race, I had my secret goal of what I wanted to do it in. I didn’t make that time. I did, however, make it in the time I told myself I’d be happy with. The results are online but my overall time was 1:30:03. I kept flip flopping between being proud of myself for getting back into the sport, frustrated with myself for being on the 6th page of 8 results and not as fast as I was before, but as the week’s gone on and I’ve done some looking back on how my triathlon results went the last time I took up racing, I’ve realized that what I’ve done is given myself a fine starting point. Like this article about having a “bad” race suggests, you need a race to get you back into the swing of things sometimes. I forgot how hard to go during a race because it’s been a while and while I really wish I’d pushed harder, I didn’t know how I’d do with a race and all three things in a row again.

1

I’m also being careful not to compare myself too much to my past times because I’m in a different place now. Triathlon was good for me when I was dealing with my body image and eating issues–anything that let me see my body for what it could do and not just what it looked like was helpful–but I started at a time where I was still not exactly in a healthy place. Two years later, I can appreciate that I’m in a better place physically, mentally and emotionally. I’ve got my hormones back somewhat in order and have a regular period again. I don’t rely on exercise compulsively and more than ever use it as a way to de-stress instead of something to stress over. I’ve made time for other things–people and interests–in my life. I’m in a relationship–with a boyfriend who got out of bed super early on a Sunday for the race and made for a good looking cheerleader.

brent and i woodstock

Speaking of people, there were a handful of my friends and people I knew from when I was doing a lot more triathlons and duathlons doing the race on Sunday, and even more volunteering and helping out. That was comforting and I was pretty glad that I had friends who know what they’re doing to help me with my wetsuit and to answer all my last minute questions so I wouldn’t look like an idiot! My friends, along with Brent, who cheered for me whenever I ran past them, probably don’t realize how much more fun it is when there’s people who know your name cheering you on.

All of these things make a mediocre finishing time not such a big deal. I got to spend the morning surrounded by healthy, happy people in the sun, exercising. I’m not sure what would be better, except maybe if I got a shirt and some food after. Oh wait…

I’m also certain that the rest of the summer will only see things moving in the right direction. Next up on my agenda, after Colorado (and I’m hoping to rent a bike there!), are some longer bike rides-Pedal to the Pines and lots of time on my bike getting psyched for my tour next year–and another sprint distance triathlon at Guelph Lake in June!

Are you a triathlete?
How do you deal when you’re feeling “slow”?
What is your favourite part about racing? 
Are you doing any events this summer? 

Good and bad and everything in between

Hi! I’m back to London (and a computer) and I’ve been dying to make a real post, but there’s a lot on my mind so it could get messy.

I think a quote is in order to start this off and to let you know what page I’m on:

“I believe that everything happens for a reason.
People change so that you can learn to let go,
things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right,
you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself,
and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

– Marilyn Monroe

Tough Mudder was in a word: tough. I don’t even think I can do a full race recap right now because I’ve blocked it out of my memory…but I’ll try ;)!

We got up bright and early and hit the road after some breakfast–our drive was supposed to be about an hour and a half and it was a nice morning with a pretty sunrise.

20120820-171715.jpg

20120820-171721.jpg

Nina, Andrew and I carpooled and met up with Sonya and Sarah and their spectator friends to go to the race site (on a school bus — fun right?).

20120820-171730.jpg

Once we got there it was all about getting pumped up (aka waiting around for our 9:50 start time).

20120820-171735.jpg

20120820-171747.jpg

To start, you actually had to hop over a mini wall. Funny. I used a boost.

After they totally pumped us up (lots of cheering, some anthem-singing, high fives, etc.), we were on our merry 16km way. Up and down and up and down and up and down and then up and down hills. Our 6th member, Steve, found us right away — and we were off! Ski hills, not bunny hills. So when I say that we “ran” the course, you can infer that it was a mix of running, walking, trudging, and crawling. Plus swimming, technically…

There were 20 obstacles (I think) and the ones that stick out as the most fun were the arctic enema, funky monkey (monkey bars over water which I totally made it across with a smile!) and the mud mile. There was also essentially a giant slip and slide down mud on a hill which was just plain old fun, but I’m not sure what that one was called!

For those 3 fun obstacles, there was also plenty of hills to climb and some really shitty obstacles. Like being zapped. Over and over again in two different obstacles — electric eel and electroshock therapy. Yeah, I survived, but I won’t lie to you — I cried. And I got cranky. And I had to apologize to my team for it and move on and thank god the hardest of the shocks came at the end. I literally crawled to the finish but whatever. Done and done.

We were lucky enough to have spectators who snapped some photos of us in action, but we look pretty dirty (and you can see my cranky face ;)!).

after you…into the ice!

In the ice bath, Sarah popped her shoulder out. Then she put it back in and went on with the race. Definition of epic.

The venue was gorgeous!

Those wires look little…but don’t be fooled. OW

Beer helped bring back the smiles.

20120820-171753.jpg

I probably wouldn’t do another tough mudder real soon. I’m not just shook up by the electroshock, it was also expensive (over 150$) and one of those things I think you can check off your bucket list 😉 and be done with! I am glad I did it — but I heard a story about a guy who did it 3x this weekend in Toronto and I think he is psycho. That is all. We did have fun hanging out after the race with our matching shirts and sunburns!

20120820-171758.jpg

20120820-171809.jpg

After we kind of relived (whined about) the race for a while, we packed up and hit the road. The traffic back to Mississauga sucked, to put it nicely.

We pulled over for snacks (it was almost 3 and breakfast and the bananas, LARA bar, and apples I’d eaten weren’t cutting it). I had chili at Tim Horton’s and was much less hangry driving the rest of the route to drop Nina off. 20120820-171813.jpg

Even though we were late getting back to London, we met up for sushi. It was my first time! And it was delicious, but I’m not a big rice girl so I mostly ate meat and tempura. It is what it is.

20120820-171823.jpg

20120820-171827.jpg

20120820-171832.jpg

20120820-171836.jpg

20120820-171845.jpg

Afterwards, some of us went out for drinks. I don’t know how I was still awake–but I guess the coffee (which may or may not have had Bailey’s in it) did the trick. Today I had nothing important to get up for so I was in bed til lunchtime. So lunch was breakfast! I hung out with Angela and got my car checked out (it was making a hella funny sound but it’s okay and all fixed up), rebuilt my bike, and half-unpacked/repacked for Pennsylvania).

20120820-171849.jpg

lunch: sausage over kale, apples, and some maple dressing with dried cranberries

20120820-171853.jpg

snack at Starbucks

 

Now I just finished a quick dinner and am going to head to yoga. My body is NOT in the state to feel good teaching spin–my hip was a mess after the hills and the car ride yesterday and I feel like a train hit me (or like I got tough muddered…). I did get to the chiropractor today which left me feeling energized (though it might have been the positivity and the fact that I got to whine for a few minutes about how tough the race was ;)!) and like I can move my neck again! 🙂

20120820-185444.jpg

pork over swiss chard with raspberry vinaigrette

20120820-191247.jpg

Dessert: digging into my awesome chocolate find from the conference and trying out some cranberry tea!

Things I’m sick of include living out of a suitcase and eating tons of dried fruit and nuts. I am craving a little bit of routine but I know going to my grandma’s for a few days is going to be fun and relaxing. I’m looking forward to getting away–if that makes any sense since I’ve hardly been home–since where she lives is so rural and simple. I plan on reading, journalling, blogging, etc….all the good stuff I feel like I’ve been missing out on lately! I am bringing my TRX and my kettlebell and leaving my bike here–if I do much I think I’ll take it to the park or find a trail to run on while I’m there. I’m still tired from everything that’s been going on I think and one thing I am learning to take to heart is that if you’re tired or sick or injured, what’s the point in stressing yourself out with a workout that you feel like you SHOULD do? (Hint: there’s not much point for me!).

Anyways, it’s zen time! I hope you enjoyed my whining and ranting about the race and that you’re all happy since I’m back. 🙂

Have you ever done a Tough Mudder Race? What’d you think?
Do you do well with travelling?

Here we go again

I think the name of the game this summer is living out of a suitcase.

While it makes me feel a bit off — what day of the week is it again? — I’m loving it, especially since when I was in deep with ED I never ever went away for fear of not being able to work out or not being able to control my food.

Now I know: I can always go for a walk and I always get to choose what I’m eating and how I’m eating it. In short, I really am applying that whole “vacation isn’t an excuse to go wild” but more importantly “if you figure out how to live healthy all the time so that you don’t feel like you need to overindulge on vacation, there’s nothing to worry about” idea I’ve come to.

I still don’t LOVE packing, but unpacking is worse. Which is why my bike is still in the box. I don’t need to ride it this weekend but I think I should probably get it built up so I feel accomplished! I did just about everything but yesterday — laundry, vacuuming, organizing, cleaning, all that good stuff — so I guess that’s a win. I also went for a nice 45 minute run on the trails (both my iPods were dead so I had some time to think — much needed!) and then hit up a power yoga class. Again, much needed. I missed yoga! My shoulders were tired — it’s amazing what a week away will do (plus the crossfit workout from Tuesday). I’m still feeling good and after my morning adjustment yesterday I noticed a difference–when I flipped my dog and was in wild thing BOTH sides worked. Amazing!

I’m sure this is what I look like…

In between my run and yoga, I had some trail mix. I also snarfed a banana and made myself a quick fish dinner with coleslaw.

20120816-101204.jpg

 

 

 

20120816-101208.jpg

 

 

20120816-101217.jpg

 

Myu final sk=nack was a granola bar. I know, it’s been a while since you’ve seen one on here! I’ve been trying to eat more foods that come without packaging. I don’t know if it’s mental but I felt like crap pretty much right after I ate this. Maybe it was also because I was tired and ready for bed or because I’d had a beer a few hours earlier, but I don’t think so. I guess I feel better when I eat real food — imagine that!  This is where it’s different that I am not choosing to eat certain things any more — it’s not because some Paleo book told me not to or because a nutritionist says that I should cut ____ to lose weight. It’s because I want to eat things that leave me feeling my best, performing my best, and yes–looking my best. They all go hand in hand and since I’m willing to make mistakes, I know I’m on the right track!

20120816-101223.jpg

 

 

This weekend I’m going to bring along a cooler. I remember the fitness conference as being a really crappy place to find food, as weird as that sounds…I’m really sick of spending more money than I should on food that I could have packed myself — so I’m not going to! 🙂

Last night we decorated Tough Mudder shirts. Sarah might laugh at this photo and Alex would kill me if I put it on facebook, but the world wide web and all my readers is not the same as his facebook friends, right? Baha, so I’m sharing. We used puffy paint and iron on transfers for these bad boys–but you’ll have to wait ’til Sunday to see the finished project!

20120816-101213.jpg

At any rate, it was awesome to see friends last night. Bonnie popped by (goal for the next week is to spend as much time with her as possible) and we laughed a lot and Sarah is trying to fatten us up with goodies but it’s all welcome!

In honour of Tough Mudder, three of my fav pump up songs:

Anyways — it’s time for me to get a move on. I slept til 930 today (I think all my travels are catching up to me!) and had a nice breakfast but I’m sure that today’s going to go quicker than I’d like! I’m aiming for a swim and packing this morning and then quality time/riding to Toronto with Bonnie this aft.

20120816-101227.jpg

I think I am taking a trip to Pennsylvania next week to see my grandma (she’s having a tough month) so this whirlwind is just going to continue. Apparently flying by the seat of my pants is the way to be…and that’s okay!

“Your real security is yourself. You know you can do it, and they can’t ever take that away from you.”- Mae West
Do you ever feel like your life is a whirlwind? How do you centre yourself?
Have you ever been to CanfitPro? What’d you think? (I get frustrated with the selling that goes on but I also know that fitness professionals need a venue to promote what they’re doing. That being said, there are some people to skip and some things that are really awesome there and knowing what to pay attention to is the trick to learning instead of being sold, I think!)
What’s your favourite pump up song?
Happy Thursday! 🙂

Start it right

 

Morning! I’m feeling particularly accomplished this morning.

I had three boot campers with smiles (or something like that) on their faces this morning, including Bee whose blog, Bee Goes Bananas, I’m sure you’d love if you aren’t already a reader!

After bootcamp, I decided to go for a morning run. It’s not uber hot out and I was feeling energized and pumped up (I guess my girls’ awesomeness rubbed off on me), but I was also feeling hungry so I had a quick energy gel and then hit the trails.

20120724-093752.jpg

 

 

…and then the trails hit me.

It’s not as bad as that looks but I was dirty. I hustled home and to prove that there might have been blood and sweat but not tears, I snapped a photo. Girls don’t sweat, they glisten…remember?

20120724-093809.jpg

 

If this isn’t a good look for me, I’m so shit out of luck because I  glisten like a pig every time I work out! I think this morning I probably did about 5 or 6 miles (we ran in our bootcamp workout–the one I posted yesterday) but I’m not sure since my garmin was dead and I frankly don’t care.

I refuelled with last night’s yogurt plus some kamut puffs and a banana. It was yummy, but it got yummier when I threw in some almonds and some chocolate soy milk. Oh hey, creating it as you go, you’re delicious!  The hungries I felt after my run are just proof that cardio = working up an appetite. All of a sudden it’s seeming kind of weird that people start working out and training for marathons and triathlons and all that to LOSE weight. I eat MORE when I train — not only physically do I need the extra calories but I definitely justify some things (i.e. the chocolate in this break) based on the workouts I do. Hmmmm…thoughts?! I think it was in Gary Taubes’ book that I read something about this whole phenomena…about how silly it is that we take up endless endurance exercise to lose weight when people also work out in this way in order to “work up an appetite” for instance if they have a big dinner to look forward to. Very interesting. Still, I loved my run this morning, I like riding my bike, and I enjoy swimming…so since that’s not my motivation I’m not crazy, right? 🙂

20120724-093813.jpg

Now it’s time for me to get organized and get down to business on my writing! I promise myself not to blog ALL DAY LONG but that doesn’t mean I won’t probably get distracted reading blogs and all that fun stuff…oh well! I have this spare time, I might as well enjoy it. Starbucks here I come. 🙂 After my life coaching session, I’m going to hit up a yoga class since my workouts are done for the day. My main goal: stay upright, since I have a knack for falling over these days!

Have you ever bailed on a trail run? Did anyone see? No one was around when I fell so I had to laugh at myself instead of having the pleasure of providing entertainment for someone else!
What do you do with free time? 

 

Making progress

Howdy there…this time from London and my futon. Boy oh boy did I miss my space!

Right now it’s a bit of a disaster since my suitcases exploded with laundry…

20120721-204409.jpg

…and we all know how I feel about laundry.

Needless to say, I don’t feel too bad putting off the finishing touches of my unpacking and cleaning til tomorrow when I’m fresh…

Now for the good stuff.

Today was amazing. Warning–I’m terrible at race recaps, so bear with me!

Bluewater is like Christmas. Going home for this race means seeing so many familiar faces and being literally outside where I grew up. I did the duathlon for two years before making my switch to triathlon last year, which makes this my fourth time doing the event. It’s one of the ones people do year after year after year, and not just because the church ladies cook up a storm (too bad my camera was dead and I didn’t get any photos from the post-race spread). This year, I finished in 1:05 on the dot, which was almost 2 minutes faster than last year! It’s not a massive improvement, but I’ll take it. The results went up quick but I was mostly pleased that my stomach cooperated, I felt strong, and that I got to do the race!

I did snag some photos from the race (my mom took some, I took some, friends had cameras!) and it was all smiles and sunshine.

That pretty much sums it up, although I did have a near heart attack about 5 minutes before the start when I lost my goggles. And of course I didn’t have my spares. I asked all around the people on the beach and then finally with 3 minutes to go ran my butt up to transition area and offered to kiss the first person to lend me a spare. Luckily a kind kind soul gave them to me (and only teased me about following through on my offer) and I was able to adjust them and swim! AMEN for nice triathletes.  The 400m took me 9:12, but there’s a nice chunk of time for the run back to transition in there. I was faster than last year and felt loads better, so that’s a good thing, especially since I’ve done ZERO open water swims.

The bike felt awesome. I passed a lot of girls and guys alike (that’s normal — I am a cyclist and not much of a swimmer so it’s bound to happen). I even spent some time in my drops…which was new for me. What better time to experiment than during a race, right? (joke) The 18km took me 34:22, which is one of those times I’m proud of but nothing out of this world–though considering the biking I’ve been doing, I’m happy my legs were feeling good and not too tired from the mountains. Yay!

Another thing I’ve done NONE of this year = bricks. I guess all the bootcamp workouts have confused my muscles enough that a casual 4km run after the swim/bike wasn’t too much of a shocker. Maybe I should have run harder, but I finished up in 19:05, which really surprised me. Faster than 5:00 kilometres without training on purpose? I’ll take it with a smile!

Like I said, I ended up coming in faster than last year. I placed second in my age group again and this year I was third overall for the girls. That felt awesome–it was like the icing on the cake, especially since I went in with no real “training” per se! I also won a raffle prize–a $25 gift card for running room. Lucky bum, huh?

Props go out to all of the people who raced today! There was a lot of first timers, some comebacks, and a whole lot of great work out there. I was so glad to see SO MANY people I know. Did I mention I love this race?

Justin’s a friend from Western tri club – matching age group plaques!

Look who showed up — Dave and his wife Dina made their way out to say hello! 🙂

Amy’s a yoga instructor who makes me smile every time I see her! She killed it this year and was such a ray of sunshine/cheerleader even while neither of us could really breathe…

Haley also did great and cheered like a champ even during the race!

…since my stomach was off, I stuck to a bland tuna sandwich (blechhhhh sums up how I feel about this) and a cookie. My dinner tonight was delicious and brought me back to how I normally eat. Snacks today were all over the place: dried fruit, an apple, two bananas, a LARA bar, a granola bar. I’m so ready to not be flying by the seat of my pants, it’s not even funny!

20120721-204436.jpg

first things first, back to my kale!

20120721-204449.jpgBack to the good stuff..

The post-race fun just made things even better. We started off on a patio…

And then made our way for a refreshing dip in the river. This is kind of a Sarnia rite of passage and it felt so good today.

someone’s on their own countdown!

Made it!

The river run was on my summer bucket list, along with a whole whack of other things I’ve been crossing off. Like drinking long island iced tea (it’s a rough life, ya know!)…

Now that I’m back in London, I’m feeling better and better–and I don’t just mean my stomach. This morning and the past few days, I’ve been feeling so gross. Dreading coming home and feeling fat and miserable. But ya know what I realized today?  When my friends asked me to stick around after the race, I wanted to say no. I wanted to come back right away and do…what? I don’t know. Be miserable? Binge? That’s definitely where I was at a year ago…but it’s not where I am today. There’s something empowering about realizing that you can choose something different and even if you start to stray from your healthy/happy/new ways, you can get back to where you need to be. Since it feels so good to choose the happy thing (going for a drink even though I felt “fat”, racing even though I hadn’t trained and thought I’d end up “slow”, spending time with friends instead of being miserable), it’s starting to become my automatic choice, I think. And that’s the way it should be…apparently happy is not only healthy, it’s also faster than last year, friendly. and all around awesome. 🙂

And now for the perfect ending to a pretty much perfect day — first my decaf coffee/nightcap (cuz I bought a bottle of deliciousness and had to give it a go) and then the face plant into MY OWN BED!

Have you ever done a triathlon? What’d you think? I love it — the physical part is challenging, the camaraderie is unbelievable! Nothing like any other kind of race — there’s competition but it’s such a different kind. LOVE. I think I re-caught the bug here…

What are you doing this weekend?

PS: Speaking of Christmas…

Stuffed

Today was stuffed with fun, filled with sun, and oh so awesome. I am stuffed with froyo and a pretty delicious dinner and I’m just counting down til I face plant into my own bed! Home sweet home to my semi-airconditioned apartment = hallelujah!

I started my morning off with a run along the water in Bright’s Grove. It was beautiful. I really miss running along the water there–it’s where I grew up and so this morning’s run was my normal route until last year! Missing it…

Who wouldn’t want to run here?

I didn’t feel awesome during my run. It was pretty hot and I decided to just do a simple loop and I think it was probably about 4 slow miles. After the run I did a quick playground workout using the monkey bars with the best view around, in my opinion.

20120702-213025.jpg

My workout was a countdown with 10 reps each of squats, pushups, burpees, sit-ups, and (jumping) pull-ups, then 9 of each, 8, … 1 of each! It was really hard for me — the burpees got my heart rate up as expected but I looked at my heart rate and saw numbers higher than I have in a long time following the jumping pull-ups. Holy smokes I miss these workouts and am so happy to be back doing them!

I went to the water immediately following this one, which was particularly sweaty, and made good on my promise to jump in the lake post-run this summer. Done and done! 🙂

After I went back to my mom’s to change and pack up my stuff and grab lunch (leftovers), my afternoon was about seeing a bunch of friends (literally three different groups worth) on the beach.

20120702-213033.jpg

20120702-213051.jpg

20120702-213056.jpg

20120702-213101.jpg

Fun! And yes, I put on sunscreen but I still got a bit too much sun!

We also played volleyball, football, and all that good stuff. I haven’t spent this much time just doing things for the sake of doing them in a long time and let me tell you — it felt awesome!

After we’d had our fill of sun, a few of my friends and I had dinner at Skeeter’s. My fav restaurant! I love the view and even though our service was slow, I was smiling. It might have had something to do with the beer I had and the favour that Angela gave me driving my car back — laying in the sun + lightweight = recipe for tipsy.

20120702-213108.jpg

20120702-213113.jpg

I could not polish off this chicken club / caesar salad combo, but I did my best!

We ended the day with a stop at Kiwi Kraze for froyo when we got back to town. Perfection. My froyo was even festive and I didn’t mean to! Funny how that happens!

20120702-213121.jpg

I was a bit ambitious and couldn’t finish this either…that’s a first! …but luckily I’ve got friends who could!

If this weekend was about fun and relaxation, I think I win! I saw so many friends — 🙂 — and I even put a dent in my summer bucket list–>sailing, fireworks, friendship bracelets, jumping in the lake post-run, etc. I’m plugging away and it’s hard to believe it’s July. I fully intend to make a fall list or maybe just to break out the bucket list for life when this summer one’s done! 🙂

This week is pretty low key — bootcamp, some spin classes, a meeting with a prof about an independent study, and gearing up for my bike trip to Virginia (I leave next week). There should be ample time for blogging and I’m looking forward to my first week without school on my mind. I got my mark back — a 79 <– not my best but certainly not anything to be worried about — so even that back of my mind concern has been put to rest!

Did I mention I spent this weekend smiling?

20120702-213117.jpg

candid, instagram-ed summary of the weekend!

Brownies don’t bring bliss

Recall my presentation this afternoon on stevia? It went pretty well. It helps when you bribe people with brownies…

20120607-214510.jpg

Lucky for me there were leftovers. I gave the staff I see every day on my way to class the leftover “good” brownies (the ones from the box with sugar) and ended up with a couple of the stevia “brownies” left. In the mix: applesauce, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, dark chocolate chunks, vanilla and flour. I took the recipe from a site I searched out on google even though it didn’t get the best reviews. Simple. Not really dessert, if you ask me.

More like snack…

20120607-214518.jpg

I was hungry before my hair appointment today so I went for it and had one of the goodies. I liked it, even if most of my classmates were not quite as into them. 🙂

In the past, a brownie for a snack never would have happened. Today, it did. And if it had happened in the past, you know what would have happened? Not the “bliss” I’d expect (the emotional soothing) but probably self loathing or a binge. While the brownie didn’t bring me bliss this afternoon (I don’t think even the best brownies in the world could do that), a couple of things did:

  • getting rid of my mullet

20120607-214525.jpg

  • a really good smoothie for dins (pumpkin, yogurt, soy milk, flaxseeds, pumpkin pie spice, and spinach, topped with oats)

20120607-214531.jpg

20120607-214536.jpg

  • an evening at Starbucks with an impromptu study partner (a friend from the gym who has a knack for bringing my stress levels down and making me laugh)
  • a mocha (’nuff said)

20120607-214545.jpg

  • finishing a project that’s due tomorrow
  • getting my last source for my article that’s due tomorrow (thank god for helpful people and admitting that you’re a student journalist in a bit of a pickle/rush!)
  • TMI warning!!!!! … a visit from Aunt Flo, NO PILLS/RING/ANYTHING required 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
  • not letting myself get stressed right now even though I “should” be

a little extreme, but you’re laughing. and it’s true.

  • tomorrow being Friday!
See what I’m getting at here?

Your take-aways from this post:

a) Focus on the positive.

b) Eat brownies.

c) Liberate yourself. Cut your hair, run in your sports bra, do something that makes you different.

d) Put spinach in your next smoothie.

e) Smile.

🙂


What brought you a little bliss today?
Have you ever baked with stevia?

Life is messy

Today ended up being a bit counter productive, but in the long run, these days are important.

I had an awesome rainy run this morning on the trails. I got lost a little and found myself walking a tree like a tight rope to get back to a path. It happens, and when it does you realize running on the road is oh so boring. I had Garmin issues and I was a soggy rat but I was smiling.

20120430-211552.jpg

My lunch was uber early since I worked up an appetite on the trails. Warning: this picture is terrible. But it’s a turkey and cheese sandwich with sprouts and mayo (no surprises here) and an apple.

20120430-211557.jpg

After lunch a hurricane hit my apartment, or maybe I tore everything out of my hallway and bedroom closets/drawers?  I worked away on it all afternoon, but I took a break to meet with a prof (about doing my Masters, but that will have to wait until after my nutrition degree is done and who knows what I’ll be passionate about by then, but still cool and I really did enjoy sociology so…I’m keeping my options open! RD with a Masters in Food Sociology? Does that exist? Maybe…or maybe I’ll have to pioneer it) and to have a session with my counsellor, which was a lot about the voices in my head. If that’s not stereotypical of a shrink session, what is? I’m just kidding…but seriously. I wrote down the things that my dominant (the disempowering voice I hear so much) voice (right now) says — things like “you’re meant to be fat. you’re not pretty enough. you’ll always be single. you’re lazy” — and the things my empowering voice says — “your deserve all the good in the world. you’re perfect. you are beautiful. you’re smart.” — and then committed to at least trying to entertain this positive voice more in my life. There’s a good goal if I’ve ever set one!

Anyways, I made some good progress in my apartment as the before/after below will show:

20120430-211647.jpg

20120430-211654.jpg

I also took a break for a snack that I didn’t get a photo of (I was hungry): Kashi organic wheat biscuits and peanut butter. Random but delicious. The ingredients list for the cereal is literally wheat, sugar, and natural flavours. Simple, yummy, easy!

And I whipped up a good dinner with some of the ingredients I know I should eat up before I go away for the week: a spinach salad with acorn squash, turkey, and cranberries (there was maple dressing in the mix, of course, and a few pecans). I think this is the first time I didn’t eat my acorn squash cut in half with a spoon. It was awesome so expect to see me spice it up with squash from now on.

20120430-211706.jpg

After spin tonight (the class was awesome — I used almost the same playlist as Friday since I was at a different gym but I changed the order around a bit since hindsight is 20/20), I was hungry!

My snack is more delicious than beautiful: a banana with peanut butter and coconut and chocolate chips. You know there were a few extra licks of peanut butter and I’m not really going to be ashamed to admit that.

20120430-211710.jpg

Now it’s time for me to:

a) sleep

b) read blogs

c) work on my summer to do list

d) clean

e) work on my freelance assignment

f) foam roll

I think b) is going to win. Then a), of course (I made sure my bedroom is clean so I have a nice place to crash soon). I’m reminding myself I’ll be able to write from my Grandma’s with my downtime and that my article isn’t due for another week (and I already have sources!) and trying not to let the anxious “you’ll never get it done” voice rule when I have never not gotten it done before…so there!

It’s impossible to believe that tomorrow is May, and I’m going to go ahead and set goals:

  • find my empowering voice — and write down what it says at least once a day
  • act like the person I want to be — i.e. get dressed in clothes that fit now and make me feel good, not in comfy clothes so I can work out or in clothes that are uncomfortably tight just to prove I can; eat things that I picture a healthy, happy version of me eating (not the same thing day after day) in a way that I would do so in front of people (i.e. chew?); take the time to take care of myself and my things (i.e. do my laundry and put it away where it belongs, do my dishes every night so I don’t wake up feeling lazy, paint my nails, etc.)
  • do more workouts with friends and outside (if this is an option, take it!)
  • do one thing every week just for the sake of fun (I played my violin the other day and as rusty as I was, it was bliss)
  • for every magazine I bring in, take two out (I have a problem in the form of hundreds of magazines)
  • make a vision board (I have wanted to do this for so long–who’s in?! for real!)
  • eat dessert with friends at least once a week (or more, but at least!)
  • read more books (before bed, when I’m “bored”, and when I’m killing time–rather than just texting, reading random things online, or worrying that I should be doing something productive)
And now methinks I should call it a night! I’ve got a bunch of cleaning to finish up tomorrow, a bike ride with a friend to look forward to (hoping for sunshine!), and maybe a yoga class if I’m feeling good. Oh, and errands. And packing. And smiling. Busy!

Have your set any goals for yourself lately? Care to share?
Do you hear different voices in your head? Any tips for listening to the “nice” one?
What’s your favourite way to eat squash?

 

I love road trips and reunions

I think I could easily have written a post on how to have a perfect day.

Start with lots of lazy blogging and coffee.

Move on to a run with good company (in my case Ellen, who is always so positive and leaves me feeling happy as a clam!).  Bonus points if it’s sunny out and you can run in a tank top.

Make your lunch delicious–fresh bread, anyone?

20120420-230930.jpg

Toss in some tasty snacks — an apple, a granola bar, a yogurt mess — and then hit the road.

Connect with old friends and make a few new.

20120420-230956.jpg

Eat something delicious at a restaurant everyone should try.

20120420-231001.jpg

And do something cool — make crafts! Realize you might not be artsy, but that doesn’t mean you’re not crafty.

20120420-230937.jpg

20120420-230942.jpg

20120420-230947.jpg

If you can, also get to spend time with one of the most wonderful people you’ve met–here comes a little love letter to Lisa, who literally has been there for me through thick and thin.

20120420-230951.jpg

Whether I need someone to call, eat puppy chow with, go for a run with, sit around and “reflect” with, or laugh my butt off with, she’s a go to kind of girl.

This seems appropriate, given the Anais Nin theme I started with my mug…

It also seems appropriate to be asleep right now!

When’s the last time you connected with an old friend?
Do you like making crafts? What’s your favourite?