Friday, December 28, 2012

So that happened… 2012

For the past few days I’ve been thinking I should recap the year much like I did last year. I so enjoyed writing that post and remember really appreciating going back through all my old posts and, at the time, feeling nicely nostalgic about all the happenings of 2011.

This year, I’m feeling a tad lazy. Looking at every month individually seems daunting and overwhelming.

What can I say… the year had many ups and downs, there were highlights and there were lowlights, but overall, I think there were probably more highs than lows.

From a racing perspective, I started the year with a bang, cracking off some new PBs at the 5k and 10k distance and feeling really pumped and strong about how things were going to play out. When the actual triathlon season hit, I never really felt like I lived up to my potential and struggled with really pushing myself to the edge. I’m not sure if it was a fear of “the pain” or just a bit of burn out leaving me without the real desire to push myself, but I’m pretty sure it was more mental than physical.

Anyway, that rambling aside, rather than recapping everything, I’ve decided to look back at at least one good thing from each month. So without further ado, here goes…

I finished my yoga teacher training and really started looking ahead to IMC and New Zealand. The “build” was officially underway!

My cousin Cam started off his year of butt-kicking goodness and I predicted we’d see him in London. For the record, I was right.

I set a new PB at the Bazan Bay 5km and enjoyed every minute of it!

I went to Boston with my family to cheer on Kirsten at the scorching hot Boston Marathon. It was awesome. Also, when we got home I managed to set a new 10km PB! That felt pretty good.

Shane and I got really honest with each other and figured out how much fun training for an Ironman can be with your spouse when you don’t make it a competition. Oh, and May 16 came and went once again.

June was pretty great as a whole. Just go back and read all the posts from the month. I dare you.
Oh, also, one thing that has kept me entertained since June is the fact that my post where I told the internet about my ginormous bladder and why I don't generally pee in my wetsuit has apparently led quite a few people to my blog. The following are just a few of the searches that have shown up on my blog ‘stats’ recently:
  • how to pee in a wetsuit
  • little amnesia pool with legs sticking
    (I have no idea what the eff this one means, but it cracked me up. Hopefully the person found what they were looking for).
  • pee in wetsuit
  • peeing in wet suit
  • pissing in my suit
  • wetsuit tickle
  • bladder triathlon pee
Who knew peeing in your wetsuit was such a hot search item?

I had one of my best 160km bike rides ever… and reminded myself how much the Poopie List can truly make me smile and laugh.

Recent Bowerman Award Winner (!!), Cam Levins (another hot search term) went to the Olympics. So Soo Sooo exciting!

Oh, and of course, that little thing called Ironman Canada came and went. Since we are only focusing on the positive, let me remind you how awesome my swim and bike were. Really awesome.

I took a bit of time post-IM to relax, enjoy some time with friends, and then attempt to switch focus to short-course racing.

October & November
New Zealand, New Zealand, NEW ZEALAND.
Yeah, it was freakin’ awesome!

I got my eyes lasered (I can see! Great Success!!), didn’t swim once, barely rode my bike, hardly blogged, and well, I really embraced rule #3 in this article.

This sloth-like existence also helped bring me to the realization that I was perhaps a bit burned-out and in need of a good break from the structure and the pressures we weekend-warriors tend put on ourselves as athletes (or is that just me??).

I also spent my first Christmas away from my parents, instead celebrating with Shane’s Dad and step-Mom in Penticton. It was the first time being back in Penticton since August and it brought about the harsh realization that perhaps I still am not fully over my screw-ups at IMC this year – but that I really should be.

So, here’s to moving forward while still enjoying memories of the past (but not dwelling on them).

Here’s to 2013. A year I expect will be full of exciting new challenges and adventures.

Oh, and did I mention? I gave Shane the best present ever this year.

Rusty is a Boxer.
Rusty as a Boxer.
(Artwork by the fabulous Cat Parker)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pool Party

When I first saw this photo...

... I was all like "Yes. Yes. I couldn't agree more. Yes!" and the cool blue image and the lane ropes and well, just everything about it really really made me want to hop in the pool and swim. I had a sudden and intense craving to get up well before sunrise so I could stare at the black line as I glided up and down the lanes.  

Unfortunately, I saw it about two days after I had my eyes lasered, which meant 2 weeks with no pools, spas, hot tubs, etc. etc. etc.

Saturday will mark 2 weeks, so technically, I am allowed to go for a swim if I so desire. Unfortunately, when I look at the image now, I don't have quite the same pangs that I had nearly 2 weeks ago. Not to mention, the holidays being the holidays, other plans will keep me from the pool for a few days longer, but I'm thinking it is definitely time to get back in the water sooner rather than later. I miss that eau de chlorine smell on my body.

Then, with what seemed like perfect timing, I came across this yesterday and it got me thinking. This could be the perfect way to return to the pool ~ kinda like the workout equivalent of being thrown straight into the deep-end with no water wings.

Now just to convince Shane and Kirsten to join me?  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Run Store Loyalty

Recently it was announced that one of the owners of my favourite local running store (Frontrunners Westshore) was leaving to focus on his other businesses and it got me thinking about the loyalty one can feel toward their local running store.
A running store you are comfortable at is really a great thing. It’s amazing how it can always feel so welcoming and easy to just be there. You can browse without pressure and know that if you have a question, it will be answered with knowledge and honesty.
I tend to be a bit of a cheapskate, but I am more than willing to pay a little extra on a pair of shoes or on the latest running tights because I know the service is going to be great and the banter about your next race or long run is way better than the impersonal service at a big sports store. Not to mention, we all want to see our local running store succeed right?
Obviously, Nick and Mark have succeeded. They have built a great business in Frontrunners (hell, they’ve built 3 great businesses) and while it will be odd not to see Mark sitting behind the front desk, you just know he’s going to do great with what comes next.
Anyone reading this that lives and runs in the Westshore area, probably knows Mark and Nick and I would hazard to guess that they probably feel the same sense of loyalty to the store and the entire Frontrunners crew that I do.
So, with all that said, let’s finish this off with a "funny" story (I use quotations as it is probably only funny to me)…
Last night I popped into the store to do a bit of Christmas shopping. I suppose I didn’t expect to see Mark there, so when I saw him I exclaimed (perhaps a bit too loudly) “YOU’RE LEAVING!”
I immediately felt like a bit of a goober, as the way I said it kind of sounded like I was telling him something he didn’t know (and I’m sure he’s getting tired of fielding the “Why are you leaving?” questions). Both Nick and Mark kinda teased me with a little “Oh, you’re leaving?” “Oh really, I guess I’d better go…” shtick and all was good.
After I left the store though, I got to thinking about one of the first times I went into Frontrunners on my own (before I had even started running/triathlon I think). I was looking for a gift for my Mom for her birthday as she had just taken up running.
When I walked in, Nick asked me if he could help and I think I replied “Oh, I’m just looking for my Mom” (really meaning to say, I’m looking for a present for my Mom) to which he and Mark (rather innocently I think) looked around and replied, “hmm, haven’t seen her”like I was a little kid who lost their Mommy in a department store.
I can be a bit awkward at times - especially when I speak before really thinking (see shouting “you’re leaving” at someone, as above) and I’m sure I blushed and felt like a wiener when I explained that I had not in fact lost my Mom, but was actually looking for a present for her.
No big deal really, but it always stuck with me as a funny initial interaction and last night as I left the store it made me laugh once again. In the 7 or 8 years that I’ve known Mark and Nick, it’s comforting to know that I continue to be a doofus and they continue to be really nice about it.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Five for Friday

1) I “raced” Gunner Shaw last weekend. I use the term “raced” very loosely.

I went into this race having only run a handful of times since Auckland and feeling very pudgy and out of shape. I signed up, not to race, but because I like the atmosphere of this event. While every year I inevitably question why I decided to put myself through the pain of this race as I’m trudging up some steep-ass single track, I always finish with a smile on my face and fond memories of the day.

I truly love the giant puddles (which were the biggest I’ve ever seen them this year) even though they kind of stink and make your legs really cold. Oh, and the lake finish ~ totally dig it! There is something so awesome about going out and running in the muck and mud and splashing through puddles with 500 or so other people. It is pure playtime and it is So.Much.Fun.

Anyway, I had no goals for this event and made it very clear to anyone who would listen that I was merely going for a big slow “group run”. I didn’t want to hurt, I didn’t care about time. Oh, and I got passed. A LOT!

Of course, I did push myself enough to hurt, and at the end, kind of had one of those “well, I probably could have gone faster” moments, but overall (and most importantly) it was a blast!

Definitely a must-do fall event.

2) Since 2013 will be the "year of the run" I signed up for a half marathon in February. Considering it is only about 10 weeks away, I realize I should probably be running a little more than I am right now and yet, for some reason, I am not.

On top of that, I also realize that riding your bike on the rollers for 30-45mins is no substitute for actually getting out and running. Yet, for some reason I continue to opt for the rollers over a run. Go figure.

I guess there is just something so nice and easy about not having to leave your house for a workout. It also means I get to enjoy coffee and eggnog with Shane in the morning and shower in my own bathroom. Definite win!

Which reminds me, I am starting to forget what the pool looks like and I don't really mind. Weird.

3) My motivation has been pretty low lately. I’m on my self-imposed, unstructured, non-coached, do-whatever-the-hell-I-feel-like training program until the New Year.

In all honesty, I could really use some structure. I do better with structure. Buuuttt... I find December always ends up being a bit of a write-off (and I’m not great with moving things around and “going with the flow” when I have a training plan [written by a coach] in the calendar) and so I figure it is better to keep the pressure off for now.

I figure there is no need to feel stressed or burned out heading into the next training cycle. So I’m not doing too too much right now (other than gaining weight). One workout a day (if that) at a very easy aerobic effort level.

4) Running with the above theme…  I found this post sums up a lot of my feelings about the holidays – well, today at least (ask me tomorrow and you may get a different story).
Lately I waffle between:
a) feeling the need to get back into structured training ,combined with the guilt of feeling “lazy” and
b) not giving a crap and just wanting to eat what I want and exercise (or not) when I want.

Not giving a crap seems to be winning out most days.

5) Through most of November, in my head, I kept thinking of December 1st as a “go date” for when I needed to start getting serious again, but man, that day is coming pretty dang fast (in fact, it’s tomorrow. Wooo!)

One big glitch in the December 1st plan is my quest for better vision. That’s right, I’m getting my eyes did. LASIK-styles.

On December 8th I am going under the light saber in hopes of never needing to wear glasses or contact lenses again. There are a bunch of rules about recovery which will keep me out of the pool and any heavy sweat sessions for a couple weeks.

So, December 8th plus a couple weeks "recovery" leads to Christmas. Which leads to my birthday. Which is followed by New Year’s… and then, oh look, it is January already. So yeah, LASIK will likely prolong my lazy ways, but I think that is okay. February 10 might really hurt though.  

Friday, November 23, 2012

From Triathlete to Trail Runner?

I’ve found myself looking ahead a lot to next season and feeling both excited and nervous for what I am about to embark on.

I think I mentioned in one or two of my earlier posts that Kirsten and I have officially signed up to take part in the TransRockies Run in August 2013. We actually signed up before Ironman Canada this year, as the early bird rate was too good to pass up. At that time, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to do this race/event and was in a bit of denial – refusing to really talk about it or think about it until after Ironman and Age Group Worlds in Auckland. It isn’t a secret, running is not my strong point, nor is it my favourite sport.

So, why would I shell out the big bucks and commit to something that I wasn’t super keen on?

Well, obviously no one was holding a gun to my head. I am an adult, so I do make my own decisions (most of the time), but this decision was made from a very different place than most of my other sporting and triathlon goals.

When I first got into triathlon, the goal was to get in shape while trying something new. When I signed up for my first Half IM it was to push my endurance limits and see what I was capable of. When I decided on a full Ironman, it was to prove the doctors wrong and redefine my version of moderate.

As for TransRockies, well, there was a different motivation…

Kirsten has been talking about wanting to do TransRockies for a long time – probably since 2010 when we trained for our first Ironman together (which I kind of dragged her into). Running is Kirsten’s passion. She’s been a runner a lot longer than I’ve been a triathlete and even though we may not have been the best of friends growing up, as we’ve become adults she truly has become my best friend (not to mention one hell of a training partner).

So, my main motivation in August when Kirsten asked me yet again about TransRockies (aside from the huge money savings of signing up early) was not wanting to disappoint her. I didn’t want to be the person standing in her way of getting to do something she’d been dreaming about for years. I didn’t want to stop her from putting a big check mark beside this item on her bucket list.

Also, selfishly, after two Ironman training cycles together, I didn’t want her to share this 6-day, 120-mile adventure with someone else. I knew it had to be the two of us.

So, with the 2012 season behind me, I’m ready to think about TransRockies. I’m even ready to talk about it.

2013 will no doubt be a different year. I’m going to have to face some fears and really focus on running (maybe even a marathon?).

When I first started thinking about TransRockies, I was really afraid of leaving triathlon behind – that probably sounds weird, but it has been a huge part of my identity for the past 6 years or so. When people ask me if I’m a runner, I always kind of shrug and say, “Well, I do triathlons, so I guess I’m a runner.” This year, whether I like it or not, I will truly become a runner.

That said, I’ve come to realize, I’m not really leaving triathlon behind, I’ll always be a triathlete – it will simply be taking a slight back seat to trail running for a short period of time. It definitely won’t disappear off my calendar all together; as I’m pretty sure I need swimming and biking to keep me sane!

However, I am not going to put pressure on myself to achieve any crazy triathlon goals. Any races I enter will be purely for the joy of it. No secret “get faster” goals. No secret “try and qualify for Worlds” goals. The goal for triathlon in 2013 will simply be to experience the joy of swim, bike, run.

As nervous as I may be about this change in focus, I think it will be kind of cool to start on a fresh new adventure.

Watch out Colorado. Two girls in sneakers are heading your way!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

New Zealand Ramblings

It has now been one week since we returned to Canada after 4 weeks in New Zealand. Slowly, I’m starting to feel normal again (and I’m not talking about the jet lag, as I actually felt like I bounced back from that pretty quickly). More than anything, it has just been a bit strange getting back into the regular routine.

At work, I spent the first few days feeling totally out of the loop – even though I wasn’t, as really nothing major has changed. I just don’t think mentally I was prepared to be back at work and back to “normality”. I enjoyed my month of zero responsibility and doing (and eating) whatever the hell I felt like.

That said, I am starting to get antsy to get back into a more structured training routine.

I really haven’t been training much, just kind of doing what I feel like. A 30’ ride on the rollers here, a 1500m swim there, the odd easy run… Oh, and a return to trainer class (by far my hardest workout in weeks! Although I must say, it felt flippin’ great!).

Next week I’ll meet up with Kelly and debrief the season and chat about what is on tap for next year.

In the meantime, since I’m missing New Zealand, I think it is time to reminisce (aka. indulge in enjoyable recollection of past events).

Checking out the surf at Manu Bay.

Waitomo Caves
Picton Harbour
Playtime in Picton.
Ferry to the South Island.
(Definitely made me realize we have nothing to complain
about when it comes to BC Ferries)
Riding the Rails.
Beautiful Queenstown
Jet Boating in Shotover Canyon.

Kayaking in Milford Sound.

First (and last) whitebait sandwich of the trip.
The start of an amazing day.

Getting extreme with a little Zorbing.

Followed by some Luge action. Oh yeah.

Some other random observations about New Zealand from this foreigner:

1) The speed limit is 100km/hr no matter what the road is like – and there is not a straight road in NZ!

Take the above as an example. That yellow squiggly line is a road. On the edge of a cliff. With no shoulders. The speed limit is 100km/hr. I’m pretty sure we barely got over 30km/hr.

That said, we were warned that NZ drivers are "maniacs" and while they did manage to drive about 100km/hr on any type of road (impressive), I found them to be courteous drivers who were much less territorial about their space on the road compared with Canadian drivers. That said, I wasn't the one doing the driving, so maybe my perception is skewed.

2) Bottled/canned drinks are bloody expensive. From a monetary perspective, you are probably better off drinking beer than you are drinking pop or juice.

3) Speaking of money. I think Kiwis have their monetary system figured out! I loved the fact that prices are advertised with the tax in - what you see is what you pay. Oh, and the whole rounding system is wicked awesome. Take note Canada. Take note.

4) The landscape reminded me of a cross between Vancouver Island and Hawaii. Two places I love. Yeah, it was pretty spectacular.

5) There were sheep everywhere. EVERYWHERE! And I loved them.

6) I never once felt unsafe, even in Auckland. I felt like everyone was super welcoming and wonderfully mellow. The country just has a great vibe to it. Oh, and I found it to be very clean and very eco-friendly.

7) NZ has some very creative and funny road signs. “Merge like a Zip” was my favourite.

8) It seems that once you are outside of Auckland, most Kiwis are not too fond of Aucklanders. Oh, and the rivalry between the North and South island is very interesting.

9) Pedestrians do NOT have the right of way. At. All. Not anywhere in the country. End of story. Look both ways before you cross the street. Then look again. Right, then left.

10) Overall, NZ is a great country. Warm and friendly people with visually stunning landscapes. A wonderfully relaxed place. Plain and simple – it is incredible and I’m so thankful I got to spend the time there that I did.