Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Biggie

I’m ridiculously hungry.

As I sit here writing, I can feel my tummy starting to growl (and I just finished eating!). I suppose it is my body’s way of reminding me of the weekend that just past. This is pretty typical for me, two-days after a big set of workouts is usually when I get the deep hunger. You’d think it would happen sooner, but for some reason, two-days after is always when it hits me the hardest.

If you haven’t guessed by now, this past weekend was a biggie. In fact, the whole week was pretty big ~ a good solid 15-16hrs of training.

By the time Coeur d’Alene actually hits, I’ll probably look back and laugh at the fact that I felt like this was a big training weekend, but right now, at this time of year, as I build back my base and get reacquainted with my bike seat, it feels pretty large.

And it was – in comparison to the fall and the holiday season (where I may have slacked off a little).

My body feels a bit tired, and as much as I wasn't super keen to sit on my bike for 40km on Sunday, after having spent 80km in the saddle on Saturday, I'm enjoying feeling the strength come back into my body. As cheesy and cliché as it might sound, through the heavy legs, I can feel a nice foundation being built.

Last week, while on the higher volume side, was fairly typical. I spent a few mornings in the pool and followed up most swims with a strength session. I spent my lunch breaks running and busted my ass at trainer class. I ate. I worked. I slept. I even sat on my butt and logged some good ol’ TV time.

The weekend was mostly spent on my bike. 

Even though the fog had engulfed Victoria, I am pretty dang thankful for the dry, warm days we've been having. It's so nice to be able to get out and ride for a few hours without having to worry about snow or ice (like the rest of the country) or being soaked to the bone by a deluge of rain (usually accompanied by massive wind gusts).

Saturday was a pretty comfortable ride that saw Shane, Kirsten, Dale and I cover 80km from the Westshore, through Saanich and the Peninsula. The fog was thick and there were definitely a few times I was kicking myself for not having a light on my bike (it was sunny and blue sky at our house when we left that morning ~ amazing what a little elevation can do) but there were lots of other cyclists out on the trails and the roads and we all made it back, safe and sound.

I'm really trying to work on my fueling this year, and I felt like my nutrition was good during the ride, although my refueling post-ride could have been better – which I think I paid for a bit on Sunday.

Sunday's workout was a 40km bike, followed by a 10km run at race intensity (+ 3km cool down). It definitely took me a bit to get going on the bike. My motivation was a bit low, and my body was just a bit sluggish out of the gates (this is where the bad post-workout fueling on Saturday came in). Not to mention, we were riding around Shawnigan Lake, and while I love our neck of the woods, I've ridden that loop so many times that it is not my favourite anymore.

Anyway, I got into a better rhythm by the second lap, and even though I was lagging behind the group a bit, I was happy to stay working at my own aerobic pace and wasn't too worried about the sluggish feeling. I was in a good head space, even if my body wasn't totally doing what I wanted it to do.

Shockingly, the run off the bike felt great! Shane and I stuck together at the start, but my legs were itching to go, so we strung out a bit as the run wore on. My pace picked up as the kilometers ticked off, and before I knew it, we were into the cool down and back at the truck.

It was good. Finishing such a big weekend with a solid run definitely left me with a pretty positive feeling heading into a new week.

Monday was a glorious rest day! And now the new week picks up right where we left off. Another biggie is ahead. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


At the beginning of December I gave up the yoga class that I had been teaching since early 2012.

I came to a point that I felt like I was doing the ladies who came each week a bit of a disservice by the fact that I wasn't feeling inspired or truly engaged in the classes I was teaching. I suppose, it just started to feel a bit stale. Every Thursday night, I would almost dread the “commitment” of having to be there, and wasn't necessarily enjoying leading the practice like I once did.

I decided stepping away from the class would be a good opportunity to focus on my own practice a little more. Not to mention the fact that during Ironman training, I’m out of the house enough and was longing for more time at home with Shane and Rusty.

So, have I spent more time on my own practice? Not really, but I have spent more time with my two favourite guys, so it's been worth it.

On top of that, I've had the opportunity to sub the odd class, which has definitely helped keep me involved and in the yoga “teacher” mindset.

On Monday night I ended up subbing for Kirsten, as she has been taken OUT by the flu that is plaguing so many people in Victoria right now. She teaches two classes back to back (you can sign up through Panorama Rec if you’re interested), with the first one being a downDAWG Yoga class (essentially, flow yoga + hip hop music = downDAWG Yoga).

I am not trained or certified to teach downDAWG, but since Kirsten was in a pinch, I was her best option. By nature, I tend to teach a very gentle style class, so any sort of power class is a little out of my wheelhouse, but I've been to enough power classes, that I figured I could make it work.

So, I let the women in the class know that they wouldn't be getting a downDAWG class that night; but that we’d still use the fun music and I’d still give them a challenging yoga class where they could work up a sweat and have a good stretch. They were totally game and well, I think they were secretly (or maybe not-so-secretly) happy to be getting a slightly easier session to start the New Year.

We shook our bums to the music, blasted our cores, and then cooled it down with a good round of hip openers (among others things). It was a lot of fun, and a nice easy and welcoming atmosphere to be in.

Round two (aka. the second class of the night) was a “Yoga for Athletes” class.

This style of class is definitely more up my alley and allowed for my more natural “gentle” style to be front and center. That said, it didn't come without some new-to-me aspects.

It was a much bigger class than the first one (16 people) with over half the participants being men. Having done my yoga teacher training in a group full of women, and then teaching at women’s only gym, teaching men was new to me. It was not a bad thing, and it was actually pretty cool to see so many guys taking part in a yoga class (rather than the token 3 or 4 you often see in a studio full of women), it just took me by surprise.

Once class got going, it really made no difference that half of the participants were male and half female. Some women had good proprioception, some didn’t. Same goes for the men, some seemed to be naturals, while others not-so-much. The young guys giggled during certain poses, much like the young girls often did in my Thursday night class. In the end, the atmosphere was similar to what I was used to, but little things made it feel fresh and new.

Anyway, while Monday was a long day (that saw me eating mini-eggs for dinner), it was nice to do something a little different and to feel a bit excited about teaching again. I may have even been a little keyed up with yogic adrenaline at the end of the night. :)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Glance Back, A Look Forward

Glancing Back…
2013 was a pretty good year. I didn't do very much racing (in fact, I didn't do one triathlon the whole year), but I certainly had some fun new adventures and probably learned a little about myself along the way.

Highlights include running my first stand-alone marathon (well, I ran 30ish km of it and shuffle/walked the rest) and diving head first into the wonderful world of trail running. Obviously, a week spent running through the Colorado Rockies was a major, MAJOR highlight and something I won't soon forget.

Through it all, I definitely had some ups and downs and certainly struggled at times, but I finally got some race photos I'm happy with (ones where I don't look like Sloth from the Goonies) and found a whole new appreciation for multi-sport.

Don’t get me wrong, I really loved hitting the trails and being off-road and don't plan to ditch the trail running anytime soon, but I also realized the variety of triathlon is what makes me truly happy. The smell of chlorine on my skin after a hard swim workout is something that will always make me smile.

Looking Forward…
While I don’t really have any true resolutions that I feel the need to declare as we start 2014, I did think it would be fun to do a little list of race goals and other silly/fun things that I would like to accomplish this year.

1) Swim 500m with flip turns. (I totally stole this, but it is such a great idea. I’m always saying I want to learn to flip turn consistently, this might just be my push).

2) Actually get my butt out of bed on a Saturday morning and go to a Duncan Masters session. It will take me out of my comfort zone for sure (both socially and physically), but it will be good for me.

3) Do a cyclocross race in the fall. I had so much fun when I did a couple races back in 2011 and I would like to give it another go.

4) Try not to be so shy around new people. As in, introduce myself to others rather than standing around looking awkward waiting for someone else to make the first move and introduce themselves to me.

5) In keeping with the above thought, I think it would be fun to get out to more group workouts and make some new friends who share similar interests.

6) Run a sub 22 minute 5k. This really shouldn't be that hard if I actually pace myself properly. I've been very close the last couple years (22:01, 22:06 & 22:07) and well, I know I've got it in me.

7) Run a sub 1:45 half marathon. I haven’t really raced a half marathon since 2010. At that time I set my current PB (1:50:53). I think I am a stronger, more confident runner now and so I’m pretty sure I have a faster half in me. Who knows what the year will bring, but I’m thinking that if all goes well and I’m not totally burned out by the fall, I might see what I’m capable of at the Victoria Half in October.

8) Race a perfectly executed Ironman in Coeur d’Alene. For me this will involve nailing my nutrition, talking nicely to myself throughout the day, having fun, and most importantly leaving it all out there. I had a time goal of sub-13hrs in 2012 at IMC, and while I still want this, I want all the other things to happen first. If the time on the clock starts with a 12, well that will just be the icing on the cake.

9) This one may be a bit cliché but: Talk nice to myself. Judge Less. Get out of my head.
Shane said something the other day that is very true… my “failures” in racing aren't because I don’t train hard or because I’m physically not capable; they are because of this *points at head*. I'm pretty sure my future successes will be found in the same place.

I have some other more “financially responsible” goals and habits I am hoping to form and have written down in my own special little place, but that is boring stuff (you don’t really care if I bring my lunch to work more than I buy it, do you?), so we’ll stick with the fun sport and health related goals for now.

And with that, I leave you a passage that I once read on Clara Hughes’ blog that seems very fitting at this time of year. 

“The goals I have now are small and most likely invisible to others.  Goals of changing the words inside my head to nicer sentiments.  Goals of simply enjoying what I do no matter how small the deed.  Even more than enjoyment, letting myself feel some sort of satisfaction and accomplishment with these small things.  Not simply moving forward like a freight train though all the beautiful moments, forgetting to stop and feel the wonder of it all.”