Monday, October 29, 2012

Are Triathletes Masochists?

Tonight was the last Monday of the month.  Or, as my swim coach likes to put it: Last, Fast, Fun Monday.  She says it with this evil glint in her eye.  Occasionally she'll apologize with a very insincere expression.  I don't think she bothered with the fake apology tonight.  She just scared us by telling us it was going to be hard while refusing to be specific, and then sent us off on our warm up.

After warming up and doing some drills, it was time to really work.  Fast 50s.  Truth be told, it wasn't quite as bad as I expected.  (Crap, if she's reading this, now I'll suffer.  It only wasn't as bad because I was expecting it to be really really hard.)  But, it was still hard.  50 metres is long enough that you have to pace, but short enough that you can really make it hurt.  Then 50 metres recovery, and off again.  And again.  And again...  Sets of 4 (5, if you were in the fast lanes, which I'm not), a rest set, then repeat, and repeat, etc.

The awesome thing is that I was almost holding my time in these sets.  Now, "actually" instead of "almost" would be even more awesome, but pacing over multiple sets has long been a weak point for me.  To be *almost* holding pace without sandbagging was great.

And that brings me to my point, and the title of my post.  Are triathletes masochists?  Because, even as I was inwardly cursing the workout, and my arms were screaming for me to stop, I was simultaneously loving it.  Even though I had to push off again when I felt like I could have rested another 60 seconds, I rejoiced in doing so.  It might hurt, but it's an absolute adrenaline rush.  And when you finish you feel amazing (and are unable to sleep, so instead sit at your computer blogging).

I know why I do this.  The payoff is huge.  But, is this something that exists in a lot of us?  Are we wired to enjoy that pain we get from pushing ourselves?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Searching for balance

So, it's been a couple weeks since I re-entered the workforce, and I am really enjoying it.  I am actually now on my second job.  Things were great at the massage studio, but then I got a phone call from the sports centre in town.  I made the decision to take that offer.  In addition to some short term perks (slightly better pay, free membership), there's some long term career possibilities there.  Spud was just excited when he found out we could go skating more often (since it's included in the family membership I get).

I'm really happy to be getting out and interacting with other people.  My life as a stay at home mom is centred around the kids, and my life as triathlete is largely solitary.  As silly as it sounds, it's nice to have regular adult interaction other then my husband.

In addition to the new job, we've had some household chaos.  Our dishwasher was found to be leaking.  Unfortunately, we didn't realize it until it destroyed a section of our floor.  So, right now, there is a big hole in the kitchen floor (just to the sub floor), and no dishwasher.  Oh, how I miss my dishwasher...

The thing that I am struggling with is finding balance.  I've missed more then one workout, and it's because I haven't planned ahead far enough.  Some of it was unavoidable, like the couple of days where I was training at my new job and still working at the previous one.  I completely lost my training time for a couple of days.  Mostly, I just need to get into a routine.  I'm not beating myself up about it; I just need to find the balance.  It's a matter of getting organized in the morning for the training I'm going to do in the evening.  Or getting ready the night before.  I still have the time, as my job is only part time and I have a wonderfully supportive husband.  I just need a routine.

So, I know I've said in the past that a lack of blogging usually means I'm having a rough time.  I'm not.  I'm simply in a period of exciting transition.  Busy, exciting, transition.

Friday, October 19, 2012

I think the plan has changed.

Ironman Canada has been front and centre in the triathlon community lately.  First it was the Challenge Company coming in and the Penticton race changing hands.  Then there was the suspense about where Ironman Canada would end up.  The announcement: Whistler.  And, on the exact same day as Challenge Penticton.  

Way to split the triathlon community!  Two iron distance races, in the same province, on the same day...

Now, while I observed all of this with interest, it was a somewhat detached interest.  Because I didn't think it really affected me personally.  My plan has been to do Ironman Couer d'Alene for quite some time.  2014.  That's the plan.  I'm sticking to the plan.

I've had a number of people warn me about the challenge of doing a June Ironman.  I'd be doing some awfully long trainer rides, and that can be pretty mind numbing.  It doesn't leave much room in our climate for open water swims before the race, or a tune up race either.

But, I've maintained that I want to be able to train while the kids are in school, and then I want to have at least part of the summer without the pressure of a heavy training schedule.  My first year doing triathlons, my big race was in September, and I hated the conflict I constantly felt between spending time with family and getting my training in.  This past summer, my big race was at the end of July, and I was completely happy with that.  I utilized some daycamps for the summer training before the race, and had some commitment free time after.

The close races have always been Canada at the end of August and Couer d'Alene at the end of June.  So, I was decided.  Ironman Couer d'Alene, 2014.

Until now.

Now, it's been announced that, after the first year, Ironman Canada will be at the end of July.  A bit later the Couer d'Alene, meaning more good bike weather in the lead up, more open water swim time, time for a tune up race.  A bit earlier then Challenge Penticton and the old Ironman Canada, meaning I'd still have a month left of summer after the race.

I'm pretty sure that I've just changed my mind.  Ironman Canada, 2014.  That's the plan.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

It still lingers

People that have followed me long enough know that I started out with an intense fear of the water and swimming.  When I first started swimming laps, I swam to the edge of the deep end, then turned around and swam back.  Then, I left a flutterboard beside the point where the pool goes deep.  I'd swim to that point, then swim with the flutterboard the rest of the way.  I'd put it down again when I reached the point where it got shallower.

I have basically conquered the pool fear.  I don't think twice about swimming through the deep end anymore, and that was a big deal for me.

I've even mostly conquered the open water fear.  This season, I stopped avoiding contact, and the starts involved a reasonable dose of bumping, jostling, and I even felt my head pushed down a couple times.

Today I was swimming (play swim, not training swim) with my kids, and my son wanted to jump off the starting blocks at the deep end.  I climbed out of the pool, went to the end, and climbed onto the starting block next to the one Spud was on.

I looked down into the water.

And panicked.

Okay, I didn't exactly panic, but I did feel it rising up within me.  I've jumped plenty of times from the edge of the pool, but that extra couple feet made it seem like so much more.  I didn't jump.  I got down and jumped from the edge of the pool instead.

I knew I was being ridiculous, so when Spud wanted to do it again, I came out, and climbed back onto that starting block.

And climbed back down and jumped from the edge.

Sometimes 5 year olds have a non existent attention span.  Other times they will do the same thing over and over and over again.  Today was one of the latter ones.

So, out of the pool, back to the starting block.

I've conquered a fear of swimming. Of deep water.  What was holding me back from jumping off this stupid platform?  Seriously.  Feet first.  No more then a couple extra feet.

I climbed back onto the platform.  Counted to three,

And jumped.  (then did it again over and over again.)

I may not ever completely conquer my fear of water.  Maybe there will always be aspects of it that freak me out.  However, I have learned that the fear doesn't need to stop me.

That is what matters.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Finding balance, and entering a new phase

Life is all about balance.  Work, family, life, self, etc.  You could break it down into infinite categories.  Often the balance is listed as simply work/life or maybe throw in the family.  But I'm selfish, so I included self in there too.  ;)

For the last six years, work and family have been completely entwined in my balance.  As a stay at home mom, my work was my family.  It took me a while to find a balance that included me, and that really came about when I started my triathlon journey.

Now the balance is about to shift again.  Because, for the first time in over half a decade, I'm going to be working outside the home (I did have a brief foray running a craft business, but even that was mostly at home).

We made a decision in the summer that I would pick up a part time job this fall.  In truth, the last month has been incredibly stressful.   When my blogging frequency drops the way it has, it's usually a reflection of my mood, and this was no exception.  I don't deal well with uncertainty.  And I had underestimated what it took to just "pick up a job".

It didn't help that I was picky and didn't want to work somewhere mindlessly stocking shelves.  While I considered going back to serving (the money is good), the thought of actually doing it made me shudder a bit.  Then there's the fact that most of my career experience was working with children, and quite frankly, I give that part of me to my own kids now.

It seemed like everyone wanted availability around the clock.  I wasn't even getting interviews at the places that I deemed worthy of applying at.  Doubt set in.  Frustration.  Not quite so simple after all.

But sometimes things happen for a reason.  Somebody that I met recently, and really connected with, mentioned a reception opening at a place where she was going to be teaching fitness classes.  I didn't hesitate to apply.

Today, I accepted a position at a massage studio/fitness centre (The Rose Wellness Centre, for those of you that are local).  I'm beyond excited.  I get to work somewhere that I believe in, somewhere that I care about.  I'm sure there will be some unexciting, boring aspects (filing papers, while necessary, isn't the most inspiring), but I can't wait to be a part of a team that is dedicated to helping people find their own balance.

So, where does this leave my triathlon journey?  In a really excellent position.  This past month, it's weighed heavily on my mind that this hobby of mine is one of the bigger optional expenses.  That load is taken off my mind.  The hours are such that I can still achieve a balance that leaves room for my training, and races.

Right now, I feel like I have the best of every possible world.  Stay at home mom, part time job in an inspiring place, triathlete, and pretty fabulous wife to boot.  It will require a bit more organization, but I'm up for the challenge!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cars, Bikes, and Shopping carts

One of my pet peeves while grocery shopping is people that don't drive their shopping carts properly.  They go down the middle of the aisle.  They stop randomly without checking to see if somebody is behind them.  They fail to shoulder check.  They walk on the left, meaning at busy times, they completely block the aisle for somebody going the other direction.  It seriously annoys me.  In fact, sometimes it really pisses me off.

I'm sure there are others that feel my pain.

Yesterday, there was another bike/car "accident" in my neck of the woods.  The story is here: Story  The story is like many other road rage stories.  Driver is mad that cyclists are on the road.  Driver proceeds to use motor-vehicle as a weapon.  Cyclist gets injured.

What annoys me the most about these stories is the comments on them.  Because every single time people use it as an excuse to start complaining about the inconsiderate cyclists.  About the cyclists that don't ride single file, that ride down the middle of the road, the bike couriers, etc.

The thing is, in this story, there is no indication that the cyclist is at fault.  There is every indication that the driver is.  Now, I am not denying that some cyclists are jerks, but that's irrelevant in this situation.

Let's get back to my shopping cart example.  One of these days, I might just snap.  Perhaps I will just get SO MAD that somebody is pushing their shopping cart in my aisle that I will lose my temper and start ramming into them repeatedly with my own cart.  (I realize the car didn't ram "repeatedly", but given the fact the shopping cart does less damage, we'll stick with it.)

If that happens, am I going to get everybody's sympathy?  I mean, surely they'll understand because of those darn shopping cart drivers right?