Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Day in the Life ~ Yesterday

5:03am  Wake up and look at clock. Hmm. 10mins until my alarm sounds. Think about getting up and instead lay there and wiggle my toes and flex my ankles in hopes of awakening my legs first.

5:11am  Finally suck it up, turn off the alarm (before it actually starts blaring) and sleepily wander into the washroom. Take care of all the usual business that needs to be taken care of first thing in the morning and then get dressed into my run gear. Flick on the light in the loft so I can actually see (it's so dark!) and notice that Rusty is cutely curled up on his dog bed. Tip toe back into the bedroom to say goodbye to Shane (I always try to be super quiet and gentle while saying goodbye, but I'm sure I startle him awake every time I do this, haha). Once I've said goodbye to Shane, it's time to go give Rusty some cuddles and then coax him out of bed with the promise of breakfast.

5:15am  [As noted in a previous “Day in the Life” post, I actually take longer than 4 minutes to do all that needs done in the washroom, but I set my alarm clock ahead by approx. 12-13 minutes – so I often make it downstairs with the same time on the clock as the “time” I get up]. Get Rusty breakfast; finish packing my lunch for the day while pounding a huge glass of water and give one last check to make sure I have everything I need for the day ahead.

5:25am  Load Rustbeast and my bags in the car and roll out of the dark driveway for the drive down to my folk's place.

5:45am  Pop into my parent's house so I can put Rusty's dinner in the fridge and grab a poo bag – trying hard to be super stealthy and quiet so my Mom doesn't wake up. Fail! She has supersonic hearing and I can't get in and out undetected. I've woken her. Have a quick chat before heading out to walk with the Beast.

5:48am  Walking with the pup. The streets are super quiet and dark. Usually it doesn't bother me, but something feels slightly eerie today. Try to put it out of my head and just keep trucking along, enjoying the silence and the furbabe's company.

5:52am  The skies open up and within moments, Rusty and I are drenched. Keep walking.

6:13am  Arrive back at the parental units, towel dry the beast, say goodbye to Mom and get back in the car to head into town.

6:32am  Park downtown by my office, locate satellites on the trusty ol' Garmin and head out for an easy 30min+ run (+ = hill strides). It's a mostly good run – a nice out and back past the parliament buildings and toward the water. My calves are a bit tight, and my easy pace feels a little harder than I would like or expect it to, but the rain has stopped and downtown is quiet and calm. I stop for a quick bathroom break on the way back before heading down to the causeway and finding a nice hill to do my strides on.

7:10am  Arrive back at my car, grab my work clothes and towel and head into the office building for a quick shower. It's time to try and make myself look somewhat presentable for the day ahead.

7:32am  All clean, hair brushed, smelling a little fresher than 20 minutes ago and I'm back at my car. Hop in and drive up to see the wonderful and amazing Lysanne for a much needed massage.

7:39am  Eat my yogurt and granola while sitting in my car listening to the radio before it's time to head into the massage clinic.

7:50am  Massage time! Bliss (and torture and pain) for one full hour.

9:03am  Now that my massage is done, it's time to get to work. Once parked, I wander to the office, grabbing a coffee on the way. Drop my lunch off in the fridge in the lunch room, and finally plop myself down in my desk. Work. Work. Work. Twitter. Facebook. Read some blogs. Work. Work. Work. It’s a pretty typical morning, although it is definitely a bit quieter than it has been the last few days.

12:02pm  Can't wait any longer. Must.Eat.Lunch. Head down to the lunch room, heat up my leftover quinoa casserole from the night before and proceed to inhale it in about 2 seconds flat.

1:05pm  Decide to head out for a short wander as the sun has broken through and the need for some fresh air and a little leg stretch has taken over my thoughts.

1:32pm  Back at my desk (it was only a short walk today due to my late start this morning). More work. A bit more slacking (yep, it's super quiet in the office today) and more work.

1:58pm  A co-worker and I are both so hungry we decide that afternoon treats are in order. So, I guess that means it's time for another little break. We head to the box office first to drop off some stuff and then onto the coffee shop. I clearly didn't bring enough healthy snacks today.

4:26pm  Sneak out a few minutes early to change into my CX gear so that I can get a bit of a jump on traffic and make it to tonight's cyclocross "race" on time.

5:04pm  Pull into the parking lot at Layritz. Get the ol' bike out of the car, helmet and shoes on, and hop right into the course for a warm up loop.

5:30pm  CROSS CLUB! 'B' group 'race' start. I hang back a bit as usual so as not to get in anyone's way. This was a long course compared to the last couple weeks, but it was a super fun course with some awesome mud puddles, lots of twists and turns, a couple little ups and downs. I definitely feel like I'm improving at this whole CX thing. Don't get me wrong, I'm still not great, but I definitely think I'm getting better. Tonight was the first time I found myself wishing I had started closer to the front of the group, and getting a bit frustrated as I was feeling a little "stuck" behind people that were taking the turns slower than I would have liked. That said, it did give me the opportunity to make a few fun and fast passes and I definitely ended the night having passed way more people than passed me.

5:57pm  Not quite done my final loop, I have to pull out of the course a little early, as we have company coming to stay for the night and I know I need to hit the road if I'm going to make it home on time.

6:15pm  Stop and pick up some take out for dinner. Feel an overwhelming happiness in my heart every time I look down and see my mud soaked legs. I think I love this crazy cyclocross thing.

6:30pm  Home, home at last! Laura, Ash and Bradley have arrived as well (yay!). I quickly rinse my bike and bike shoes (have I mentioned the mud?) and hop in the shower before dinner.

6:42pm  A lovely evening at home visiting with awesome friends begins. We eat, we chat, we try to keep Rusty from licking Bradley's little hands and feet and just relax and enjoy a long overdue catch up.  

10:30pm  After a few hours of visiting and catching up on all that has happened in our lives over the last few months, we all head off to sleepy-time village. I think I'm asleep within about 3 seconds of my head hitting the pillow.


Friday, September 12, 2014


I'm now firmly into week 2 of a more structured training regime again. Following a plan that Kelly has laid out for me, and actually introducing some speed work into my life ~ and let me tell you, that first fartlek hurt! < --- and this sentence totally just made me giggle.

Week one = pure awesome. I was pretty stoked to do every workout and was generally just really excited to be back in a routine. Hitting my paces during my Sunday long run was just icing on the cake.

Week two however, well, it started off a little rockier. On Tuesday I was scheduled for a 55-70' aerobic run. Nothing crazy and really, it should have been totally manageable. But man, I could not drag myself out of bed on Tuesday morning! I was so tired.

I packed my run gear and brought it with me to work with the vague notion that I would run when the workday was done, but by lunchtime I had tossed that plan clear out the window. Even the idea of changing into my run clothes made me feel exhausted. My desire to run that day went from almost none to completely below zero. Nada. Nothing. Wasn't going to do it.

So, I didn't.

Wednesday things started to turn around. While it hurt, I managed to put in a pretty solid effort on my morning speed workout and then spent the day anxiously awaiting my Wednesday night plans.

So, what were these plans and why so anxious?

Well, I've decided to do some cyclocross this year. I tried it a few years ago, and even though I actually really loved it and had a tonne of fun, I always seemed to find a reason (aka. excuse) not to do it again in the following years.

So yeah, Wednesday. There is a Cross Club in Victoria that meets at various locations around town and does fun little "races" on Wednesday evenings. I realized the only thing holding me back from going out to Cross Club and doing something I actually enjoy was the fact that I didn't know anyone (I'm fairly shy around new people, so while it may seem like nothing to most, this is a big thing for me).

Anyway, I decided to suck it up and join – and I'm so glad I did. It really is SO.MUCH.FUN!

It's funny, because I was probably one of the slowest people out there, but I didn't really care. I enjoyed the challenge of the course and just how different it is from my everyday activities. And you know, even though I didn't really know anyone and was probably one of the last people to finish, it was all good and I was so happy with myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something that scared me.

So, my goal for next week is to be a little more fearless and push a little harder. I can tell I have good enough fitness and endurance to easily handle the courses, but I'm definitely a bit timid about crashing or getting in someone's way, and so I found myself holding back a bit. Give me a few more weeks and I'm sure I can overcome that.

Moving on...
Thursday's workout was good (but nothing really to write home about). 

Then today happened!

Today (Friday) was supposed to be a day off, but I ended up having to come into town with Shane this morning so figured I might as well do my Tuesday run that I had skipped, today. I hadn't really intended to swap my Tuesday and Friday on the calendar, but I felt like running this morning and had the time, so I went with it… and HOT DAMN – best run I've had in ages!

It was one of those runs where absolutely everything felt great and was totally clicking. I was floating. Endorphins were flowing and everything was absolutely right in my world.

As I was running I even found myself thinking about my goals for the half marathon and saying "Ya, I fuckin' got this!" (complete with bad grammar and swears, haha).


I guess sometimes it pays to listen to your body and just go with the flow.

My post-run, high-on-life, Facebook gush.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Beer Gut

I bit the bullet today and registered for the Victoria Half Marathon. I've been saying for a couple months now when asked “what's next?” (which is a question I get A LOT!) that I'm “thinking about the half in October, but we'll see.”

“We'll see” has turned into an actual training plan and a desire to get back into it. It's turned into a time goal and a desire to push myself as hard as I can in this race.

I've learned a lot about myself over the last two years in terms of what my body is capable of [so much more than I think] and also, the realization that the best races might not be the fastest races. Most of my goals have been very much the opposite of wanting to see a time on the clock. They've been about so much more. About joy and fun and determination. It's been awesome. I had my happiest and most successful IM to date. I've felt stronger and more confident on the run than I have in years, and well, now I want that same feeling of happiness and confidence, but I also really want to see a certain time on the clock.

So, my goal for this race is 1:45:00 or less.

Is this a lofty goal for me? Yes.
Is it one I think I'm capable of? Yes.

If I don't achieve this will it be a failure? No.
Will I be disappointed? Maybe, but it will totally depend on the day and if I've given it everything I'm possible of giving.

So, I'm putting it out there. Telling the whole wide world (or maybe just the world wide web) what my time goals are in hopes that the universe will listen, and hell, if I say it enough, my brain and body will hopefully start to believe as much as my heart does, right? Right.

Other than that, life has been trucking along. Summer has been full of fun times (friends, food, weddings, conferences, etc. etc.) and sunny SUNNY weather (Victoria has had it good this year).

My 'training' regime has consisted of doing what I feel like, when I feel like.
  • My commuter bike has acquired a lot of kms.
  • My running legs have gotten very comfortable with 45-60min runs (although there have been a couple longer outings thrown in as well, which I'm happy to report went very well).
  • I ran a very hot and humid 5km in Grapevine, TX (more on that in a bit).
  • I hit the trails this past weekend and realized it's been far too long since I've done that sort of running, as I was/am far too sore for my liking.
  • I've swam a bit, but not enough. I miss the pool.
  • I've gotten into a much more consistent walking routine with the pooch now that he is becoming a frail old senior and can't run as much. I think it’s been good for both of us. We're developing good routines that will hopefully make some changes that are coming this fall a little easier to maneuver.
  • Also, I've drank a lot of beer. Both my INR and my weight have been a little higher than I typically like due to that fact, but that's okay. Just means, well... Sober-September here we come!

As for the hot and humid 5km mentioned above. It is a fun run/race that takes place at a conference I attend every summer with work. This year, the conference was in Grapevine, Texas. I love the heat, but I don't get much of a chance to work out in it (let alone humidity), and it is definitely both of those things in the big state.

Anyway, the TLCC Fun Run/Race. AKA: probably the only race where I ever have a shot at winning.

The conference usually holds the 5km fun run/race on the Tuesday morning of the conference. I usually participate as I'm up running or swimming anyway, so why not. Also, see above: ‘probably the only race where I ever have a shot at winning.’ While the competition isn't super stiff, a win is a win and it still feels pretty darn good. Plus, there are Starbucks gift cards on the line.

I'd guess there were about 100-150 people participating on a two loop course. It's very casual and low key and just a nice chance to try and run harder than I would if I was plodding along the running trail or treadmill on my own.

Right off the bat I settled in at the front of the pack with another girl. The pace was hard, but not too too hard. It was 6:30am and probably already about 30*C (aka. not Victoria-like weather). I suppose I could tell that I hadn't pushed myself harder than Ironman pace in quite some time, but figured, it was 5km, so maybe I could hold on.

Through the first loop I was holding on well, about a step or two behind the lead girl, but as we turned the corner for loop two, she dropped the hammer and gapped me in a huge way (while she looked like she was working hard, I have a feeling she was just playing with me on that first loop) and while she never got too too far ahead, I just couldn't close the gap. I checked over my shoulder a couple times to make sure 3rd place wasn't closing in on me (she wasn't ~ phew) and happily crossed the finish line for 2nd place female.

I grabbed some water (have I mentioned how hot it was?) and ran back out on course to meet one of my coworkers and finish her run with her. We then got the best post-race treat ever – the hotel opened their water park early (yes, the hotel had a water park) and we got to take a lap in the lazy river. It was magical.

And that is that. Onward to Victoria Half! 
Happy September Friends.