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?

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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.

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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? 

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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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! 🙂

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…

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…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!

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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…

Short and oh so sweet

Well, I am home from my trip to Toronto.

It was short, and as you saw, oh so sweet! Lots of wine, lots of chocolate, lots of catching up.

I thought I’d be exhausted after the double dose of spin I got into in the morning–yeah, I’m hooked again on spin classes! There’s a reason why I became an instructor and bought a bike in the first place, and I’m remembering it this week. Also, there was one of my fav instructors back after having a baby so staying for her class after a seriously sweaty and awesome one by another really awesome teacher’s was easy. 🙂

The drive to Toronto was easy too–I had company from Mel and Nina, which made it fly by!

When I got there, Bonnie and I headed for massages. Like something out of Austin Powers, but awesome. It’s tradition!

Our friends who are in Toronto for chiropractic school joined us for a long overdue reunion, dinner, and wine!

With the wine drinking and awesome company came a really amazing conversation. The kind that makes you want to smile for the next few days (I’m in perma-grin mode, despite a hangover). We talked about a lot but some questions really struck awesome insight:

  • What holds you back/has held you back?
  • What does your life look like in 10 years?
‘Twas awesome. I’m realizing more and more how cool the people in my life are and how this happy, positive wavelength I seem to be riding is contagious (or I’ve just been ignoring the fact that it’s out there until now!).
I blame it a bit on buying this book for Bonnie for her birthday (on Angela’s suggestion)–“Four regular guys on a mission to complete a list of ‘100 Things To Do Before You Die’ and to help and encourage others to go after their own lists.”
You know we ate this up!
It also sparked my own mental summer to do list, which I started today as I drove back to London (after breakfast, of course).

Sneak peak of the summer 2012 (epic?) to do list, which I think will be worth a page of its own on here:

  • feed ducks – starting it off with a bang 😉
  • go on a roller coaster
  • beat everyone up a mountain on my bike
  • bike to sarnia
  • watch a sunrise
  • sleep under the stars
  • do a mud run
  • write for a new magazine
  • trail run
  • go on a road trip
  • meet someone famous
  • do yoga on the beach
  • try long boarding
  • go to an outdoor concert
  • eat something I grow
  • bake with flour from Arva – it’s close and it’s supposed to be delicious!
  • go sailing
  • go boogie boarding 🙂
  • ride a century
  • ride a tandem bicycle
When I got back to London (after two pit stops and a snack), I met up with friends for a swim! We did about 2400m, which felt okay (considering Bonnie and I got only a few hours of sleep after talking our hearts out at bedtime!).
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After the swim, I was ravenous. Repeat of yesterday’s turkey sandwich, loaded with sprouts and tomatoes (I’m craving veggies)!

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This afternoon I spent at Starbucks, working away on a freelance assignment and trying to sort out the continuing education credits I need to get this month to keep my fitness certification current. Progress!

Now it’s nearly time for me to head to yoga with my friends!

How’s your week going?
What’s on your summer to do list? 

Long time coming

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

Did you guys miss me since Friday?

This weekend was a bit insane, but more AWESOME than anything.

Friday afternoon it hailed, but that didn’t stop Nina and I from meeting up for a short run:

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We took walk breaks every 9 minutes so this wasn’t bad. And my hip felt good. I’m focusing on a faster cadence and on being lighter on my feet, as per the physio’s recommendation. I’m back! 🙂

Nina and I ended up spending the afternoon together and took ages to bake this cake and these cupcakes…

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The giant cupcake was in honour of one of the guys who was coming to the race this weekend’s birthday, and I made some smaller ones on the side for Chelsea’s blog birthday! Turns our her nut allergies meant she couldn’t have them (cuz you can’t be safe enough), but luckily I still got to see her and Andrea for some quality time on Friday night. 🙂

My meals this weekend were sporadic and random but you know what–that’s how it should be? I don’t feel any worse for it, and I probably ate less “junk” than if I’d worried about it. A couple handfuls of peanut butter m & ms here, a few mini eggs there, but nothing too wild. I feel good.

I also had some meat this weekend. What felt like a lot, because it’s been weeks, but I think this is the balancing out part. I read some articles about post-vegetarian, people will go back to either eating ethical meat (i.e. at least making an effort) or will rebound and eat the whole farm (my terms, not the stuff I read). I don’t want to do the latter, and I’m trying to do the former. This summer, heading to a farm might help dispel some of the emotion I feel over eating meat. I know avoiding factory farmed is a good option—at least a step in the right direction. I refuse to beat myself up over any of this, because it’s about finding a healthy balance, and right now, I’m feeling tired and like I’m not really exploring vegetarianism as healthfully as I should (something I would like to work on over the summer when I’m not swamped with work and school!).

Anyways…

There have been some overnight oats…

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Some meatballs (the first red meat in ages, and this one had a boosting  psychological effect since I think I might be a bit low on iron)…

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Some beer…

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Cereal for dinner when I got home yesterday…

kashi, how i've missed thee

…lots of delicious.

But more importantly, lots of fun and lots of quality time…

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5 hours in a car both days, no complaints. My face legitimately hurt from smiling so much. I’m pretty sure I laughed more this weekend than I did in all of 2010, so things were good, to say the least.

The race was, in a word: cold. BUT Alysha, the best teammate ever, agreed to do the swim for me so that I wouldn’t be biking in 3 degrees and rain wet. So she swam, I biked, and she ran. Perfect set up! She swam the 750 in about 12 minutes (faster than I’d have been able to), I biked the 20k in about 41 minutes, and she ran the 5k in about 24 minutes, so we ended up with transition times at about 1:18 for the race! Not bad. We were second place in the relay (to a team of boys who only beat us by a few minutes) and had no complaints—once we warmed up. There was plenty of complaining when we saw the weather and when we got lost en route, but then we decided to be Team Happy instead. 🙂

I felt okay on the bike, hip wise. Last night it was a little tight, but so was the good one. The 5 hour car ride probably had more to do with it than the bike!

This morning at swim I had to stop during the set because I felt my shoulder acting up. I thought of that quote about listening to your body when it whispers so you don’t have to hear it when it screams. It might have gotten louder than a whisper, but I was smart enough to back off. I’m going to swim Wednesady instead of Tuesday to give it a day off, plus I have spin tonight so it’s a late night anyways.

Now it’s time to get oh so serious. Everything seems to be due in the next 9 days, which means I need to focus and just get things done! I want to at least be able to chill a bit this weekend, maybe ride my bike outside and eat some Easter candy! Is that so much to ask?

…It’s CRAZY to believe that this year is coming to a close so quickly.

Have you checked out Chelsea’s blog?
Chocolate or vanilla cake? Or ice cream? Or something else?
What’d you do this weekend?
What’s your plan for Easter weekend? 

Gimme a break

I don’t need a break any more…I need to get down to work, but I’m clearly prioritizing and getting you guys caught up before I get down to busy.

Yesterday after class I went to a meeting with my TA about this big term paper I am writing for next week. I felt MUCH better after. I have an idea of where I’m going with it, at least, and am actually a bit excited to write it! I know if I give up the perfectionism I’m so prone to and just get started, I’ll have a draft soon enough. I’ve got lots of background information, tons of ideas, an episode (the season 13 premiere) of The Biggest Loser and I’ve been paying attention (sorta) to my sociology prof…so analysis, let’s go! It’s kind of cool   nerdy when you actually want to write an essay, don’t you think?

I went to yoga yesterday afternoon. It was WEIRD, but WEIRD can be good. Not your typical power class, not that challenging in a physical sense, but for me the class was a step outside of my comfort zone, and Sabre got through to me with her anecdotes/ideas again. She was talking about challenging yourself, about how people often look around to see what a pose will look like instead of just doing it (to see if they think they’ll be able to), and I distinctly remember her saying something like

“In your life, see where you find challenge. And try to think about that challenge as an opportunity. And then go after it.” 

I told you Sabre’s the best!

After yoga I went in my stinky-ness to Joe Fresh at the far far superstore. And I got a migraine while I was there. Which means there was no way in heck I was driving home, so I took a cab and paid the 30 dollars to get back to my apartment. I slept for a while, woke up, cooked myself dinner…”Fish and Chips” (salmon with sweet potato and kale chips — topped with cranberries and maple syrup), worked on my project, ate an apple (exciting), and slept again.

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As you know, migraines frustrate me but they’re definitely a sign that I was too stressed. Usually when I start to relax, they hit me. That means I need to destress on a regular basis…easier said than done!

This morning I woke up and had a normal breakfast even though I felt so out of it from the medicine and the migraine and the weird sleep (I read about migraine hangovers for the first time today and I definitely think I have one). Then I went to get my car and to the pool. I was starving so I had a Kashi bar — haven’t had that many lately, and it was either stale or just crunchier than I’d remembered and not my fav — and then swam about 2500m! I was glad Angela drove me to get my car and even gladder she wanted to swim so I had some external motivation to get to the pool (no tri club friends or cute boys forcing me there ;)!).

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After coming home and having leftovers in a salad for lunch (soooo good!), I made up my mind to go to the shower! I made the drive and saw friends I haven’t seen in a long time. This was my first baby shower. So many “aweeees” 🙂 and Lori is ADORABLE all the time, but as a pregnant woman she is even cuter, if that’s possible! I miss my Sarnia friends a lot and it was really nice to see some of them, even if it was (too) short but sweet! There were cute baby shower games and tons of food.

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snacks of choice...plus some hershey kisses (I should have known better than to eat lunch BEFORE an Italian baby shower!) 🙂

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After the shower, Tanya and I spent a few hours at Starbucks (same study spot, different city), chatting  and “doing work”. I probably could have gotten more done on my essay, but at least it’s in progress and I really miss my friends, so the quality time was worth it! I saw some other familiar faces too, which is always a bonus. Besides my hair, there’s been  lots changes since I was home at Christmas (the last time I saw most of my friends).

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When I came back, I threw together a quick dinner that I really can’t call a recipe but that is probably going to be a new fav 4 ingredient base for all kinds of delish: almond butter (all good recipes start this way!), quinoa, spinach, and chick peas. Don’t hate it, just try it. And report back.

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Tomorrow is Around the Bay, and it’s been almost 12 weeks since I got hurt. I’m choosing to send all the good vibes in the world to the people running tomorrow and remembering that I am at least starting to feel better! Not to mention, think of all the insight that’s come out of this hip issue!?

My goal for the night is to do as much of the other things on my to do list besides my essay as possible. My goal for the week is to keep smiling, and to put things in perspective. I’m going to finish this essay and I’m not going to fail it. I’ll probably do better than I think. I often get incapacitated because I feel overwhelmed by big tasks or by a ton of little ones, but if I just do one thing at a time and remember that my best is all I can do (and that stressing = migraines = sucks), I might be better off!

Have an awesome night. 🙂

How are you spending your weekend?
What’s the best random bowl you’ve thrown together in a while?

Have you ever been to a baby shower? What’s your favourite game? (I liked guessing how big her belly was with ribbon–I was close!)

Food for thought

First of all, get ready to get hungry…

Last night’s pre-spin dinner, which was a recreation of my go to cheddar and apple sandwich. I used organic cheddar and was expecting greatness, but I have to admit the cheese was a bit strong. Apparently Im just accustomed to the processed Cracker Barrel kind? Hmmmm…

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After spin, I was hungry. It had been a while since dinner so I went for a bedtime snack that started out as yogurt, then saw some applesauce, then some brown sugar, then some cinnamon, then some oats. then a spoon of maple syrup. Anyone else see where this took me? Apple crisp territory!

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I pretty much crashed last night immediately after a quick foam roll and stretch. And that’s a good thing, cuz I was up early for swim today.

My pre swim snack was quick too — more applesauce, this time with some oats and walnuts for texture!

I would be lying if I’d say I wasn’t thinking about breakfast during swim. Cuz I just knew it was going to be oh so good…and I was right! Overnight oats with chocolate soy milk and a bit of yogurt, a banana, and crumbled homemade granola bar, anyone? One of those really unphotogenic meals that you knowwwww tasted bomb.

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Staying on the delicious track, my lunch was awesome. A flaxseed wrap with a combo of peanut butter/almond butter, sprouts, and carrots (with extra carrots for crunching).

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PLUS a huge gingerbread cookie from the farmers market at Brescia! I didn’t buy it, but when a prof brings cookies to a meeting, it would be RUDE to say no, right? I had a bite and KNEW I wanted this with my afternoon snack so saved it!

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And I crumbled part of it on my yogurt this afternoon. Best. decision. ever. It was huge, so I shared. I like to bribe people with food, too!

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Now I’m finishing up my long to do list (finishing up, more like plugging away at), sitting by the sunniest window I could find, and anticipating a fun bootcamp class tonight! My hip feels a bit tight so I’ll be playing it by year. I know I shouldn’t run today — but I gladly walked to and from Brescia in the beautiful sunshine this afternoon.

Oh and PS: I had this thought today–“Crap, that cookie has milk in it. I am trying to use milk alternatives more. Maybe I shouldn’t eat it. Not to mention it’s huge! I don’t need all that.”

Then I thought…”But what do I want?”

And this is the answer: I want to live my life, eat food that tastes good and I know where it came from. I want to be flexible enough to enjoy things as they come and not beat myself up if I eat something unanticipated. I want to have room for things like fresh cookies (home made and free no less) and I don’t want to ever be so picky that I miss out on things (not that a cookie is something to miss out on — I’m thinking about the future on vacations, fro yo dates, dinners out, etc.). 

This is going to translate into me eating consciously and shopping with a lot of things in mind, but also being flexible and open to life and what it throws my way. We eat to live, not live to eat, ya know? But we have to be able to enjoy our food and we should not be ignorant of how important what we eat is—why not try to be dedicated and committed to eating with intention but also a human being?

It’s funny that I had these thoughts and then sat down, stumbled onto this article about orthorexia (I have a knack for getting distracted by things worth sharing) while I was poking around twitter. I think it does a good job of raising an important issue—when food choices become obsessive and negatively affect your quality of life/happiness, is that healthy any more?—but I also think you can be dedicated to your dietary choices without being crazed about it.

And if you don’t believe me, I’ll be living proof of it…cookies anyone?

What are you doing to enjoy this springlike weather?
When’s the last time you had a fresh baked cookie? 

What do you think about food obsessions outside of “normal” or “typical” E Ds? 

 

It seems a bit hypocritical, no?

Confession: I feel a bit like a hypocrite.

What’s up?

This morning (and last night), I was struggling with my whole freaking out a bit over the nutrition output I got for my attempt at granola bars.

If I split them into nine bars (that gives hefty servings, which is what I wanted)…

but that’s just part of the story…I’m also getting fibre, a good dose of healthy fats, and vitamins/minerals.

Nutrition Facts
  Servings Per Recipe: 9
  Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 255.5
  Total Fat 10.0 g
  Saturated Fat 1.4 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 2.6 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 6.0 g
  Cholesterol 0.0 mg
  Sodium 7.6 mg
  Potassium 405.8 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 49.8 g
  Dietary Fiber 5.6 g
  Sugars 25.5 g
  Protein 5.7 g
  Vitamin A 0.0 %
  Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
  Vitamin B-6 4.0 %
  Vitamin C 1.1 %
  Vitamin D 0.0 %
  Vitamin E 15.3 %
  Calcium 7.0 %
  Copper 24.2 %
  Folate 5.2 %
  Iron 14.9 %
  Magnesium 25.9 %
  Manganese 72.0 %
  Niacin 4.1 %
  Pantothenic Acid 2.9 %
  Phosphorus 21.6 %
  Riboflavin 8.1 %
  Selenium 1.5 %
  Thiamin 12.0 %
  Zinc 10.0 %

And they’re made from scratch, which we know is in line with how I’d like to eat more.

So in other words, I was being a bit silly when I got into the “I shouldn’t be eating this” vs. “I’ll just have a taste” vs. “I should stop” thinking that always ends up in eating without thinking and usually means overeating mindlessly. Ironic since I listened to Jillian Michaels’ latest podcast and she talked about eating more mindfully…and I was like “THIS IS SO TRUE”…but then went and fell into the old habit of telling myself I shouldn’t be having something…eating them right out of the pan. So not ideal.

So, about the “hypocritical part”.

After telling a friend today that I thought it was weird that she chose sugar free ketchup with fake sweeteners in it and telling her when she said “It’s better that sugar” that there is nothing wrong with sugar (I may or may not have crossed the line and said “fake crap is better?” — and I don’t condone attacking friends’ dietary choices and I hope my girl reads this and knows I’m feeling like an arse) I realized I should probably live my word…

Cuz to be honest, sugar is okay. At what point did we decide that low sugar and adding fake things to fill up the space was better? I am going to listen to the message from Saturday instead–that we should focus on getting enough good in during the day and the whole idea of using food as fuel–and am forgiving myself for momentarily getting confused…cuz in what way is a Clif bar or a granola bar filled with heavily processed ingredients better than the real deal–something I made from scratch?

Ingredients in a clif bar, fyi:

Ingredients: Organic Brown Rice Syrup, ClifPro® (Soy Rice Crisps [Soy Protein Isolate, Rice Flour, Barley Malt Extract], Organic Soy Flour, Organic Roasted Soybeans), Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Toasted Oats (Organic Oats, Organic Dried Cane Syrup), Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Peanut Butter (Organic Peanuts, Salt), Chocolate Chips (Dried Cane Syrup, Unsweetened Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract), Peanut Flour, Peanuts, ClifCrunch® (Organic Oat Fiber, Apple Fiber, Inulin [Chicory Extract], Psyllium, Organic Milled Flaxseed), Organic Date Paste, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt.

…are not much different than my mix: some chocolate, some sugar, some fat, some carbs. But I made mine from scratch, got to add the tastes I want, and spent way less money. So to NOT eat them would be really dumb, don’t ya think? And then to go and rant about how we should eat real food, not be scared of carbs, and  have sugar in our diets, especially as athletes…well, I better get on that whole practising what you preach stuff, don’t you think?

So I had it with my morning, pre swim snack AND in my breakfast, which means I am owning this and reclaiming the recipe/healthy outlook I know is right.

greek yogurt with crumbled granola 🙂

Perfect fuel for ~2500m of awesome-ness, for the record!

kamut flakes,granola, banana, and soy milk

Sense: slapped into myself!

Now it’s time for a full day of class, Gazette, physio, meetings, and teaching spin tonight! Bring. it. on.

What’s one thing you practice but don’t preach?
Do you have a busy week ahead?