Monday, January 30, 2012

You can get new teeth...

Today I made it to my coached swim session.  So, Angie has decided that the last Monday of every month will be the "last, fast, fun Monday".  Then she changed the "fun" word to something else because she commented that maybe fun isn't quite the right word...

I was afraid of this swim.  Not because I didn't think I could do it.  I knew I'd be able to do it - to some extent.  I was afraid of seeing just how much fitness I've lost.  After the blow to my ego following my run yesterday, it made me sad to think how far my swim fitness may have fallen.

The good news?  I've still got it baby!  After our warmup, she had us doing 25 metre sprints.  I did the first one in 25 seconds.  Now, I've done 25 metres in 25 seconds before.  BUT, that is the fastest I have ever done 25 metres.  So, to be able to knock off a few equivalent to my fastest ever made me feel good.

The mediocre news?  My endurance is still down.  As we went on, I could feel my form starting to slip.  It was a hard workout though, and I got through it.  Swimming is one area that I've had to work the hardest to see gains, so it's nice to see that those gains haven't just gone in a puff of sickness smoke.

So, what's with the teeth comment and that scary picture of me?

Completely off topic actually.  After the swim, I was chatting with some of the other triathletes there, and we were talking about Banff, one of the races I did last year, and the hilly bike route.  I mentioned that I still struggle to stay off the brakes and go full speed down hills.  And she told me her mantra when descending.

"I can get new teeth.  I can get new teeth."

I'll have to try that one.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Trusting your body to get you there

Today, I had a rough run.

It was my second run since a two week period of virtually no activity (due to sickness).  I knew it wasn't going to be fast.  I knew it likely wouldn't be easy.  I didn't expect it to be quite so hard.

In the end, I did 6 km (3.73mi) in 44:19, giving me an average pace of 7:22/km (11:52/mi).  It left me feeling wiped, like I'd worked really hard.  To think that just a couple months ago, I was doing 20+km (12.4mi) LSD runs at a much faster pace.  It feels like I've lost all my fitness.  :(

This, just a day after my first swim in almost 2 weeks.  Yesterday, I felt like I needed a break every hundred metres.  Towards the end, I did do a 500 metre steady swim, just to prove to myself that I still had some endurance.  I have some.  But, it was a heck of a lot slower then swims I did even in December.

Having said that, I have to remember that my body will come back from this.  I probably won't get back to my blazing fast (for me) speeds from the fall right away.  But, I learned how to run from nothing, less then 2 years ago.  I'm starting from a heck of a lot more then nothing right now.

And, hey, if I'm running slower, it just gives me more time to look at the scenery...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Our bodies are meant to move

 So, while I've tried not to whine too much, I've also made no secret of the fact that I've been sick.  Back to back illnesses.  I'm not really sure if I had two different bugs, or if there was a third one in there as well.  On top of that, sick kids and the attached sleep deprivation has made the last couple weeks a challenge.

Training fell by the wayside.  Until today, my last run was Tuesday - not two days ago, but one week and two days ago.  Truthfully, I've been incredibly inactive during that time.  I was barely getting up to make meals or do laundry, let alone train.

I've been feeling irritable, and achey.  Yesterday, a niggle started in my knee.  When I'd squat down to talk to the kids or pick something up from the floor, it just wasn't happy with me.  And, the knee was feeling off in general.  Concerning kind of off.  Like, not right.

So, today I had a run on the plan.  I was even feeling up to the run.  I was doing garmin testing, so the plan was laid out for me, but it was one that worked perfectly.  Ten minutes done four times, easy, steady running.  It kept me from going super fast, but was still a nice steady workout; perfect to get my body back into the routine.

And afterwards?  I felt more balanced then I have in weeks.  My knee (which was annoying me again this morning) feels totally normal.  So much for overuse injuries; it seems my body is more likely to throw nonuse injuries at me.  
After my run, feeling good.
And, because I'm taking more pictures, I remembered to bring my camera to the kids' last swim lesson.  Pictures of Spud are mostly splashing water and and a blurry head, but here's a cute one of Sweetpea.

Ironman World Champion 2036

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

11 Randoms + 11 Questions

So, there's one of those tagging games floating around in the blogosphere.  Nicole tagged me a while ago, then Leigh tagged me too.  I'm finally getting around to responding, though I'm going to break the rules...

Here are the rules:

1. Post these rules
2, You must post 11 random things about yourself
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer
5. Go to their blog and tell them you've tagged them
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people!

11 Random Things about Myself

1. I am not a winter person.  I never did any winter sports growing up.  Despite the fact I live near the mountains, I didn't even learn to ski until I was 24 (when I met my now husband).  Convincing myself to run through the winter was a big step for me.

2. By nature, I am an introvert, but I have put serious effort into making myself more extroverted.

3. I have great skin and always have.  I had hardly any pimples as a teenager.  Now that I'm a bit older, I've realized I should moisturize it more though.

4. I am a killer monopoly player.  I take no mercy.

5. There is no place where I feel more peace then in the midst of the mountains.

6. I like almost every vegetable - except radishes and turnips.  I'll still eat them though.

7. I only eat natural peanut butter now (the stuff that is only peanuts).  Since switching, I find that the processed kind turns my stomach.  It's not the same thing at all.

8. Growing up, I never ever thought I'd become a stay at home mom.  Now, I can't imagine life any other way.

9. I rarely get my hair cut.  It's been about 2 years.

10. I am very tall (5'11).  I like being tall, but I wish it was easier to buy clothes for my height.  And, since I have hips, buying men's clothes is not an option.

11. As much as I would like to buy more food locally, I have a soft spot for tropical fruit.  Pineapples and mangoes are never "in season" where I live, so I will never follow a 100 mile type diet.
Nicole's Questions

1. How many languages do you speak? What are they?

Basically one - English.  I used to be able to speak French, and I know the odd (Dora style) word in Spanish.

2. What side of the bed do you sleep on?

I sleep on the right.  We switched it for a little while when Spud was a baby because it worked better with our room set up.  Drove me crazy.

3. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

A morning person.  I'd way rather be up for a 5am run then still awake at midnight.

4. What's your biggest time waster?

Ummm.  My blog?

5. Mac or PC?


6. Can you drive a standard transmission car?

Yes.  It's all I've ever owned, and I still try to clutch when I drive an automatic.

7. Where did you go on your last trip?

The iceline and whaleback trails with my husband.

8. What's your favourite game (board or video)?

I like playing cards.

9. Did you play any sports growing up?

I played soccer in Junior High.  I was pretty good on defense.

10. What's your favourite number and why?

Truthfully, I don't think I have one.

11. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

New Zealand.  ;)  Or Canmore.

Leigh's Questions

1. if you could be any superhero, which would you be? 

Not quite a superhero, but I'm going to go with the blue chick that could shape change in the Xmen.  I won't be evil though.

2. if you could be on any TV show, which one would it be? 

I don't watch much tv, other then a couple reality shows.  I used to really want to be on Survivor.  I'm Canadian though, so not eligible.  It would be cool to be on the Kona broadcast...

3. if you had to take either a calculus or physics class, which one would it be? 

I'll go with calculus.

4. what is your favorite and must have beauty product? 

Right now, my flat iron.  It has solved my frizzy haired reality.

5. do you burp or fart in front of your significant other? 


6. who said I love you first in your relationship? 

I did.

7. if you could change one thing about your wedding, what would it be? (if you are married of course!) 

I have great memories of my wedding.  Looking back, the only thing that sticks out as a big annoyance is the bartender that smoked right outside the doors after we had announced that we would prefer the deck to be a smoke free zone.

8. who is your blogging idol? 

Oh man.  I'm not going to pick one.  There's a couple of "bigger" bloggers that I love to follow.  But, I really connect with some other bloggers that I feel like I relate to.

9. if you could do anything better, what would it be? (ie: run faster, become a better cook or baker, etc) 

I wish swimming came more naturally to me.  I've seen huge improvements, but I've had to work very hard and put in a lot of time to become a fairly middle of the pack swimmer.

10. have you ever peed in the shower? 


11. do you get embarrassed really easily?

Not particularly.  And when I am embarrassed, I'll act like I'm not.  It makes me feel somewhat less embarrassed.


This is where I cheat and don't finish the rest.  These games are fun and easy to pass on when they first pop up, but by now, most everyone has been tagged.  It's kind of like a pyramid scheme; at some point it collapses, and I seem to be one of those points.  ;)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Being sick - when to train and when to rest

One of the most frustrating things for an endurance athlete is getting sick.  You have a training plan.  You're good to go.  Your body fails you.

Sometimes you can train right through it, and you actually feel better.  Sometimes, training is just going to make you feel worse.  So, how do you know which is which?

I'm no expert, but I'm going to list some of the things I consider when I'm sick.

1. Is it above or below the neck?

This is one of the most common rules you'll see quoted when talking about training through illness.  If it is just a head cold, chances are you're okay to train.  In my experience, sometimes training makes me feel better.  It's like it clears out the sinuses.  If it's in your chest, you have to consider it a bit more.  Just post nasal drip?  I'm often still okay.  A deeper cough or chest thing?  Not necessarily.

2. How's your energy?

Now, when I'm sick, my energy is at least somewhat sapped.  This is where I try to consider whether I actually have no energy or just feel like I have no energy.  In the last week, most days, I've been wiped out by walking across the room.  That's a good sign that I don't have a run in me.  On the flipside, sometimes it's when I start getting active that I feel better.  If you're really not sure, one test is to just give it a shot.  In my experience, I usually start feeling good about 5 minutes in.  Or I feel like I'm going to die when I've barely started.

3. Can you keep down food?

Food is fuel.  In order to train you have to take in fuel.  If your stomach is treating you in such a way that you can't eat or can't keep it down, you can't train.  Period.

4. Do you have a fever?

If you have a temperature, it probably means your body is fighting an infection of some type off.  The temperature itself isn't the primary indicator, but if it's there, you likely don't have much training in you anyways.

Now, in this very scientific list, I've failed the "should I train" question in every one of my categories over the last couple weeks.  I felt mostly better for about three days, trained a bit, and was thrown back down.  Now, it could be that I relapsed, but I actually think it was that one of my resident plague carriers infected me with something new.  (Good thing I love them!)

Whether it's right to train while sick is an entirely subjective thing.  You have to listen to your body, the same as you do when you get that niggle in your knee or your ankle starts twinging.  If you do decide to train through, it might be wise to adjust the intensity.  I'd lie if I didn't admit that where I am in my training plan has an effect as well.  If I was peaking for my half ironman race right now, I might have fought through this and trained anyways (and possibly paid the price by staying sick for longer).

So, what about you?  How do you decide whether to train while sick?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. The rainbow has seven colours: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.  Basically the colours all blend together.  Here's my question though: Why is there a recognized colour between blue and violet (indigo) but nothing between green and blue (such as aquamarine or turquoise)?

2. I'm sick again.  I think it's a different sickness, and I was doing fine and training through it at first, but now I'm back to taking it easy.  I also can't talk, and I can't tell you how frustrating it is to parent two preschool aged children when I can't make my voice heard across a small room, or over the sounds they make.

3. I'd like to thank you all for your support in the quest to get me an endless pool.  :)  I find it amusing that I even got an endless pool representative commenting on the post.  It's not actually a possibility though.  I don't really want to give up an entire room in my basement to house it.  Besides which, swimming is one of my more social workouts.  Even if I have to venture outside to get to the pool, I don't actually have to stay outside to swim.  I can do it even when it's cold and it keeps me from being a hermit.  Oh, and my husband said that if you all thought I deserved it so much, that you could contribute to the fund...  ;)

Bonus thing: It actually has warmed up now.  I believe it got up to about -20c (-4f) today.  Now, for some of you, that may still seem really bloody cold, but it was actually a nice relief, and if I was feeling better, I could probably have run outside.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I just need an endless pool

Yes, I am wearing a hat and scarf inside.  Look at that face.  Don't you think  I deserve a pool in my basement?

Well, it's official.  Going outside sucks right now.  Including windchill, the temperature got down to -44c (-47f) this morning.  Apparently, it will get even colder tomorrow morning.

Now, it occurred to me: I already have a treadmill and bike trainer.  If I could just get an endless pool in the basement, I could train without ever leaving the house.  Brilliant idea, don't you think?

The husband isn't going for it.  He seems to think endless pools are expensive and they take up lots of room.  Hmm, maybe I can find one second hand?

Monday, January 16, 2012

I'm just not that good a Canadian

I'm a strong believer in the fact that you choose where you live.  And, because you choose where you live, you shouldn't complain about it.

Where I live has some really good things going for it.  I'm in the foothills of the Canadian rocky mountains.  With an hour of driving, I can get to places that people come to from across the world.  Literally.
Minnewanka lake (in Banff national park) last winter

Kananaskis last Spring 
I'm complaining.

I'm tough.  I've run in some really cold temperatures.  But today, I just want to hibernate.  If it wasn't for the fact that I'm somewhat responsible and feel like my children really ought to go to school this week, I'd crank up the temperature and pretend I'm a bear.  As it is, I will certainly appreciate the fact that I now have a treadmill.

The view from my window.  Can you feel the cold through the picture?
-30c (-22f) this morning before windchill.  Including windchill, it's -38c (-36f).  It's supposed to get down to  -39c (-38f) this week, not even including windchill.

I'm becoming a bear.

On the plus side, in my come back run yesterday, I did an easy 4.5 miles (7.2km) on my treadmill.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I'm back baby!

Last week was a rough week for me.  I dragged all week long.  I attributed it to being tired and run down from dealing with sick kids and a lack of sleep.  Then Friday, I woke up and felt horrible.  I spent most of the day in bed and I considered my parenting job for the day a success because my children didn't starve, nor play with knives.

Based on the way this illness ran it's course with Sweetpea, I expected to be completely out of the game for a couple days and partially out for a couple more.

Then Saturday morning rolled around and I was feeling a little better.  Not great, but enough that I felt like I could deal with taking Spud to his first skating lesson.  I even put a bit of effort into my appearance before we left.  (I live in a town after all, and there's a high likelihood of seeing people I know when I go out.)

As the day went on, I just kept feeling better.  I realized that I wasn't just laying in bed, but walking around the house.  Making dinner was no biggie for me.  I'd expected to still be in bed at this point.  By the evening I wanted to run.

I restrained myself, but when I woke up this morning on my own, it was with energy.  It's the first time in ages I've woken up on my own, rather then to an alarm or a child.  And, I am excited about training!  I've felt like it's something I "have" to do a lot of the time lately, rather then something I want to do.

Now, I'm not going to be a dummy.  I'm taking it easy.  I'm even treadmill running.  (It is going to be -29c (-20f) with windchill today.)  While I've run in that weather, when getting over being sick is not the time to do it.  I am still a bit congested, so I need to remember that I am not 100 percent.  I'll start with a walk, then a slow run and see how I feel.

But, right now, I feel great.  I'm back!

Just for fun, here's a picture of Spud in his skating lesson:

This is actually the first class of his second session of skating lessons.
While you're here, let me mention a friend that has just has started a blog.  Kelly is a person that has inspired me in ways I can't even describe.  We've been in and out of each other's lives since University.  She's just started running, and I know her journey will be exciting to watch.  Check her out at Surviving the Couch to K Program and show her how supportive the blogosphere can be.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Come now, I couldn't really get off scot free...

Sweetpea came by for a cuddle.
With Sweetpea being sick most of the week, I've been feeling run down and tired.  I was expecting to get sick a couple days ago, and when I didn't, I allowed the hope to surface that maybe I'd avoid it.  No such luck.

Yep, I'm sick.  Pretty sure it's the flu, and I'm once again kicking myself for not doing flu shots this year.  I feel almost normal - as long as I'm laying down.  Sitting is almost okay.  Standing makes me dizzy and walking from one room to another isn't so good.

Training is out, until I've at least partially recovered.

It's frustrating.  This was the week I was going to get into my routine.  The good part is, I feel like I'm doing okay training-wise.  While my HIM plan doesn't start until March, I already feel like my base is there.  That may not be the case after I'm done being wiped out by this plague, but I've still got the time to build it back up, if need be.

Today, I just have to make sure my children don't starve or play with knives.  Then it's the weekend, and I'll have some help.  I take some heart in the fact that Sweetpea is pretty active today, so it may not last too long.  Maybe I can get into that routine next week instead?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What a difference a year makes

One year ago today, I wrote about my very first coached tri swim.  I still remember that day.  I was SO nervous.  I practically went into shut down mode beforehand.  Getting past that intimidation and going anyways led to me not only learning to swim better, but learning to push my barriers and believe in my ability to do more then I ever thought I could.

On Monday, we had the first session of the new year.  Rather then being terrified, I was excited.  Rather then being tightly strung, I was ready to work.  Despite swimming much faster and better then a year ago, I'm still in the "slow" lane.  The make up of the group has changed.  Less beginners.  I have no shame in being in the slow lane within a group of triathletes, many of whom are already Ironmen.  I had to laugh when Angie referred to the lane designations as the "fast lanes" over here and the "less fast lanes" on the other side.

Thank you for all the kind thoughts about Sweetpea.  She's still sick, but at least the fever is gone.  She's got a bit more energy, and the brightness is back in her eyes.  It seems like such a small thing, but the hardest part of seeing her sick was when I looked at her and her eyes were glassy and the brightness was missing.

A picture of Sweetpea from our family walk last weekend.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

And then sometimes, you don't get to control the routine...

So, after my last post about getting into the routine, I got taught a very real lesson that sometimes you don't get the control.  This is particularly true if you have any plague factories (aka children) living in the house.

Poor little Sweetpea is sick.  She's running a fever (not high enough to be a dangerous one, thank goodness) and coughing a lot.  So, her going to school?  Nope.  Those swimming lessons this morning?  Not likely.  She's still sleeping and the lesson starts in two hours.  If she miraculously wakes up feeling better, we might go, but I'm not expecting or planning to.

And, I'm feeling really run down.  A lesson for me: I need to get more sleep myself.  I'm not sick (yet), but if I don't get to bed when I get the chance, I'm going to have a heck of a time completing my own training, even when I can get it - which is often, as my husband is wonderful about giving me time in the evenings.  I also have both a treadmill and bike trainer, so I can do a lot without leaving the house.

Now, my picture resolution.  I could not bring myself to take and post a picture of my pathetically sick little girl, so instead, here's a picture of a vegetable thing I've been making lately.

This one has red, yellow, and orange peppers, as well as snow peas, red onions and carrots.

I have not been feeling the raw veggie love lately, so one of my favourite things has been to roast up a bunch of them.  I usually cut them up mid-day sometime, so when supper comes, it's easy to throw together and in the oven.  I toss them with a little olive oil and italian spices, then throw them in at 375 for 30-40 minutes.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Back in the routine

So, this week marks the week where things really start getting back into a routine.  The kids go back to preschool.  Coached swim restarts, as does spin classes.

As a bonus this month, I get three weeks with the kids in swim lessons twice a week.  I managed to schedule said swim lessons at exactly the same time as each other, during a lane swim time.  Yay for me!  This means some extra pool time.  I've been very happy with my swimming progress of late, and a short block with a swim focus can do nothing but help.

Although my half-iron plan doesn't officially start until March, I want to get into the routine of doing same number of training sessions.  I figure it will help me decide if it's maintainable, so I can tweak it if need be.  It will also get me used to juggling it.  There's always going to be some flexibility required when unexpected events happen.  I have to make sure that I can follow the plan as it is under normal circumstances though.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Running with the guys

Garry and Deon after the run.  I'm becoming one of those annoying bloggers that takes pictures all the time.

Today I headed into the city and ran with a few friends.  I've been running with most of these people for almost a year now.  Most of the time, there ends up being two pace groups, split along gender lines.  Generally, I've ran with Jen or Heather, and there's some others that have joined us at times.  I've done parts of runs with the guys, but usually finish it off at a slower more comfortable pace with one of the gals.

Today, when we all arrived, there were four of us.  Myself, Deon, Garry and Pat (who I just met today).  There was some discussion as to whether Heather was going to come.  Eventually we concluded that no, she wasn't.  That gave me three choices: go home (not really an option), run with the guys, or run my own pace on my own.

Now, a few months ago, I wouldn't have worried enough about running with faster runners.  Back then, I was hitting milestones and seeing my speed improve my leaps and bounds.  Then after my half marathon and during the holidays, I let my run volume drop and a few pounds creep on.  I was worried about whether I could keep up.  So, here's the run broken down by kilometer.

Km 1: 6:10

Crap, crap.  Heather's not here.  Am I going to be able to do this?  Am I going to die by the side of the pathway.  Hmm, actually, this isn't so bad.  I can probably hold this pace...

Km 2: 5:51

This is fast.  FAST.  They make it look so easy.  I'm working my butt off and this is just a casual jog for the boys.

Km 3: 5:44

Heather, where are you?!  It would be much easier running a bit slower.  We're doing 7 kilometers today.  I don't know if I can handle it.  Ah, we've turned around.  Hey, this is easier when we're not running into the wind.

Km 4: 6:31 (including a stop at the car, since I didn't have my garmin set to auto-pause.)

Pat wants to drop off jackets at the car.  I can go for that.  It's around my waist anyways, and it will give me an excuse to stop for a few seconds.

Km 5: 5:49

Alright, more then halfway done.  I can handle another 3 kilometers.  This is pretty doable.

Km 6: 5:47

Forget that!  Another TWO kilometers?!  I'm dying.  Dying.

Km 7: 6:31 (Including another brief stop while we chatted with Pat, as he split off a bit early.)

Hang on.  Just hang on.  What?!  You mean we're not turning off here?  Who made this route?  Where is my map?  Garry told me I was "kicking ass".  I just used two full sentences to tell him I was barely hanging on.  Hmm...  Easier to talk then I thought.  Almost there...  Ah, there's that garmin beep.

After: Hey, that wasn't so bad.  I could have gone further.

Now, I probably will not run with the guys every week.  Sundays are supposed to be my long slow distance runs.  Even with a drop in my running volume, 7km wasn't too long for me, so I felt okay pushing the speed a bit.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Modesty is optional

Yesterday evening was a treadmill run for me.  The great thing about training in your own basement is that it doesn't matter what you wear.  Generally, less is good, because it gets warm.  I can open the window in the guest room and let some cold air in.  I can also use a fan, but it still helps if I don't wear too much.  One nice thing is that I can wear clothes I wouldn't wear out of the house.

In this case, I have a pair of running capris I bought online.  They're great to run in.  Super comfortable.  Probably the best feeling running bottoms I've ever used.

They are also kind of transparent.

Then there's the sports bra.  I've always envied women that can get away with just wearing a sports bra while running.  That will never be me though.  Right now, I'm not happy enough with my weight.  Once I get down, I'm pretty sure there will be extra skin I want to cover up.  I'm okay with that.  But, when I run in my basement, I can wear my see through capris and my sports bra sans shirt.

And, now, since I'm making sure to take pictures, here's a couple from yesterday (don't worry, no view of the see through capris and sports bra.)

I love raspberries!  I can't wait for summer, when they'll be less expensive and taste better.
Alright, you can see a bit of the capris.  ;)  Here's my new running shoes on the treadmill.
Do you give up on modesty when you work out in your own home?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Okay, I'll make one resolution.

Yesterday, I was dropping my mother off at the airport and she reminded me again that I need to take more pictures and forward them to family (particularly my grandparents).  It's something I already knew.  Despite the age of digital photography, there are large swaths of time when there are very few pictures of my kids.  I do think it's important to experience the world with your children rather then simply watch them experience it from behind a camera lens.  Having said that, there is a balance somewhere in the middle there, and I need to pull out the camera more often.

Then there's my blog.  My blog is important to me.  I've heard some bloggers refer to their blogs as a third child, and I won't go that far.  However, it's probably in the realm of a favourite family pet.  My blog helps me reflect on my journey.  It lets me share the steps.  It acts as an outlet for me.  It would be better if I had more pictures on it.

Now, I've got a couple excuses for my lack of pictures.  One of them is the camera situation.  We have (had) two cameras.  One is a big one with a 10x optical zoom.  While it's a nice camera, it's a pain to carry around, so generally I don't.

The other is a smaller camera, which I used to like.  However, the zoom on it didn't work anymore (probably from being dropped).  It could zoom in, but you had to turn it off to get it to zoom back out and sometimes it would get stuck midzoom and refuse to take pictures entirely.  There was also an issue with the  bit that closes over the lens, as it would get stuck halfway open (possibly from being dropped as well?).  Then, about a month ago, I did something really dumb.  In the place of the memory card, I accidently put a dumby memory card in (not an actual memory card, just the place filler for our laptop).  It wouldn't come back out.  Attempts to get it out left the camera in two pieces and when they were put back together, it was completely non-functional.

So, when I arrived home to find the purolator guy bringing me my late Birthday present, the timing was perfect...

It fits nicely in my hand.  And see the word "tough"?  This camera is built to take a bit more then my previous little camera.

As I stated before, I consider a resolution to be a decision to change a habit.  I think a lot of people mix them up with goals.  For example, one of the most common resolutions is to lose weight.  That's really more appropriate as a goal.  To cut out processed food and exercise more might be a resolution.

In this case, I'm making a resolution to take more pictures, post more pictures, and send more pictures to family.  In fact, for the next week, I've decided I should be one of those crazy people that is always taking pictures.  1. It's a good way to get into the habit of taking more.  2. It's a good way to learn my camera.  3. It's a good way to make sure I like the camera while I could still return it if it doesn't work for me.

So, a bit of crazy shutterbugness...

Admittedly, this picture of Spud was taken with the older big camera, but it's cute, so I'm posting it.  This was right after we told him we'd put the milk away if he kept acting crazy.  He got a little protective and said he looooves his milk.
Sweetpea just found Daddy and Spud in an early morning hide and seek game.
My kids (particularly Spud) LOVE this 3D snakes and ladders game.
Trying out the "portrait" setting.  The new camera doesn't make them smile naturally though.  
Even took a picture of Bella right before getting a spin in last night.  See the blog is still about triathlons!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Setting a goal - giving up a race

So, in my very last post, I talked about how I wasn't quite ready to set my 2011 goals.  Now, I've made a decision on one of them.

Trust the plan and follow the plan

Because I'm self coached, I don't have the option of having a plan tailored specifically to me.  There are a lot of plans out there, and I've chosen one that I think will work well.  It's a fairly aggressive plan, including 3 each of the swim/bike/run plus a brick every week.  From this book:

Now, despite that, my initial reaction was to add extra run mileage.  Because, somehow in the last year and a half of getting involved in triathlon, I've amassed more knowledge then Matt Fitzgerald.  I mean, sure, he wrote an okay plan, but I know more then him so I'll just tweak it...


Last year, my biking suffered because I prioritized the running.  Now, I'm actually okay with the results of that.  I couldn't run before starting this, and I could bike.  So, a bit of imbalance was okay for a while.  Not anymore.  In fact, I think one of my other goals for the coming season is going to be related to getting stronger on my bike.  The bike is a very important part of the triathlon.

So, with that in mind, I've made the decision not to do a spring half marathon.  I already know that I can do the distance, and a stand alone half marathon is not really the same thing as the run in a HIM anyways.  It does not fit into the plan, and if I really want to prioritize my half iron, I have to keep that in mind when choosing other races.

The only alterations I'll be making to the plan are to make it fit with my schedule (ie: changing the rest day, since I have coached swim on Mondays, doing a tune up race on a different weekend because of when it's available).  Obviously, if life throws me a curve ball like illness or injury, I'll also have to adjust things.  But, what I won't do is change things because I think I know more then the person that wrote the plan.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Make those resolutions when you're ready

So, as a general thing, I don't exactly believe in "New Year's Resolutions".  I do believe in general resolutions and goal setting, just not specifically doing it just because the calendar says it's time.  I think everyone has different points where they become reflective and are ready to set goals.

Having said that, I often do set new goals for myself near New Years.  It's largely because my birthday is the end of December.  I find my birthday to be a time when I become reflective.  They are practically on New Years, but not quite.  As a triathlete, it often makes sense to set those goals near the New Year as well.  Mainly because it's often the time you start focused training for the next season.

Having said that, I haven't quite pinpointed some of my more specific goals for the year.  I don't know if I'll be setting resolutions* as well.  I've had my major goals decided for a while, but I know there's going to be some more specific things I want to work towards as well.  Just haven't quite figured that out.

So, the point of my post is to say: make those goals and resolutions when you're ready.  Because I have a blog, I've been feeling the pressure that I ought to spell it out right now, but I'm not there.  I'm moving forward with my pre-training plan (my actual HIM plan starts in March, but I'm making sure I'm ready to start it right now), so no worries.  I'm not being lazy.

* I consider goals to be specific objectives with a specific timeline, and resolutions to be a decision to change/create/end a habit.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Races for 2012

I've got a goals and resolution post turning around in my head, but for now, I thought I'd just cover the basics: my 2012 race calendar.  Parts of it are concrete, and there are parts I haven't decided upon yet.

March 17: St Patty's day 10K.  (Definite, though haven't actually registered yet.)  I did this race last year and had a great time.  I won't decide what my specific goals for it are yet, but I know I'll definitely be shooting to beat my time in this race from last year (1:00:12).  I'll likely be shooting for a PR on the course, even though it's a hillier course then I set my current 10K PR.  Of course, this race also has a "win your weight in beer" draw prize.  Admittedly, I'm not a big beer drinker, but it would still be fun to win it!

April 29: Police Half marathon.  (Maybe.)  This was the half marathon that I ran in a blizzard last year.  There's a big part of me that wants redemption on this course.  On the other hand, I'm well into my half Ironman training plan by this point.  In the past year, I prioritized my running and my biking suffered because of this.  I'm considering not doing any running specific races at all while training for the HIM (half ironman).

May 27: Calgary Half marathon.  (Maybe) This is an either/or situation.  I'll only be doing one half marathon in the spring, if at all.  On one hand, this one is a bit deeper into my HIM training plan so the mileage amount works a bit better.  On the other hand, it's right before triathlon season actually starts, and I don't think I want to do races on back to back weekends.  My concerns about training for a run race are the same as listed above.  Having said that, I like the confidence I get from the half marathon distance when it comes to the run portion of the HIM itself.

June 2: Vulcan Tinman Sprint triathlon (Probably, though not registered).  This was the first triathlon I did and it was a lot of fun.  It's kind of like a warm up triathlon and I think it's good reminder of the whole experience.  Plus, they have a low-key, fun kids race, which Spud did last year.  This year, both kids could do it.

June 16: Chinook Olympic Triathlon (Definite, and registered already): I definitely want to do another Olympic distance triathlon before I do my HIM.  This one fit into my schedule and is local, which makes it easier on my family.  It's also supposed to be a nice course.  The swim is cold, but won't be as cold as Banff was or as cold as my HIM will be.

July 29: Calgary 70.3 (Half Ironman) (Definite and registered already):  This is the "A" race of the year.  All of the races leading up to it are training races, with this one being what I'm training for.

Sept 8: Banff Sprint triathlon (definite and registered already): This one is for fun.  I loved doing Banff last year.  This was the one where the course itself inspired me.  Having said that, the timing of it isn't good for me to make it one of my key races.  I don't really intend to train in August.  After my HIM in July, we'll be going on family vacations, camping, backpacking, etc.  My running shoes can come with me most places, but I don't want to be stressed out about following a schedule.  I figure I can still knock off a sprint distance (and have fun doing it) on residual fitness and whatever training works for me.

Oct/Nov: I definitely want to do a race in the fall, but haven't figured out what.  Likely a half marathon.  Maybe a full marathon?  Possibly a destination race?  I have some time to make this decision.

I'd also like to throw a 5K race in there somewhere.  I've never been able to let go of the fact that I just "sort of" broke 30 minutes in my last 5k, a year ago.  Granted, I have no doubts that I'm capable of a sub-30 5K now.  It's a foregone conclusion.  I still want to do it though.

So, that's the current plan, some of it subject to change.

  What are your 2012 races?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 - The year of breakthroughs

Well, another year has come and gone.  Almost at least.  As I'm writing this, it's 10:10 in my time zone.  I probably won't make it till midnight.  I'm old like that.  When you have kids, and you give up sleep on one end of the clock, you don't get it back on the other (by sleeping in).  (Edited to say that I did not finish this post last night, so it's getting published this morning.)

So, one more year.  What do I have to show for it?  Well, when I look at then and now, I start to realize it's lots.

As 2011 rang in, I had just completed my second 5K race, with the frustration of only "kind of" beating the 30 minute mark I had been aiming for.  Having said that, I was entering the year as a runner and a triathlete-in-training.  My longest runs had reached distances of about 12 km (7.5mi) and I could swim a non-stop 1500 metres in the pool (albeit very slowly), a measly 7 months after learning to swim.

At the beginning of the year, I started a swim program that changed not only my swimming, but my outlook on my abilities.  Most importantly, I started to question the limits I had unconsciously set for myself - something that became a theme moving forward through the year.

In March, I did my first race of the year - my second 10K race.  I went into it with a goal of beating 1:02, but found myself running faster then I'd expected and finished in a surprising 1:00:12.  It gave me a 6 minute PR over my first 10k, but it gave me a taste for more.  It showed me that the sub-60 minute 10K wasn't quite as out of reach as I'd previously believed.  I also changed my blog name in March, from DebShrinks to DebTris, recognizing what my blog had become and the person I was becoming with it.

In April, I did a race that I will always remember, my first half marathon, and probably the most brutal weather I will ever experience on a race course.  And, when I say that I mean it.  I doubt I will ever again hit the highways when I read the words "travel is treacherous and not recommended" on the road report.  That race was a lesson in dealing with what you are dealt - in that case a blizzard.  I fell near the start, and made some mistakes with pacing and nutrition.  In the end, I did make it to the finish line, in 2:40:08.  A learning experience.  No regrets.  Even if I wouldn't repeat it (because I'm not keen on getting injured at the beginning of race season, or getting into an accident on the highway).

Around this time, Bella, my road bike made her outdoor debut.  Along with the debut came a right of passage - the clipless pedal fall.

This happened about 5 seconds after I told my husband I wouldn't be falling over for a picture.  What's that saying about pride and falling?
Along with the clipless pedal fall was the reminder of the lesson my son learned recently in skating: You might fall down, but you just have to get up and try, try again.

Don't look too closely at my bike position or fit.  I've had a better fitting done since this.

Meanwhile, some of my biking continued on my hybrid, pulling a little extra weight behind...


When June rolled around, it meant one big thing: triathlon season.  It was hitting the one year mark since the day I'd pledged to do a triathlon, and the time was drawing near.  At the beginning of June, I did my first sprint triathlon.  It was exhilarating.  I had the bug.  No doubt.  No argument.  What I'd once thought was a "one and done" thing had become anything but a bucket list item.  I was dreaming bigger.  I was dreaming iron.

In the swim session after that first tri, Angie asked me to say four simple words.  "I am a triathlete."  I'd hesitated to claim that title so soon, but as I drove home that evening, I repeated it to myself over and over again.  During those 10 minutes in the car, I went from just saying it to believing it.  I am a triathlete.

The summer moved on and I swam in open water while on vacation with my family.  I also panicked in open water, at my second triathlon, and the first one with an open water swim.  Then, I swam in open water  again.  And a few more times.  Remembering that lesson about falling and getting back up.  Or, I suppose in this case, drowning and getting back out.  (Okay, I didn't really drown.)

I didn't do any running races over the summer.  I didn't need to.  Triathlon was my focus and I did a race every month from June - Sept.  August was Strathmore, and then the time approached to do my big race of the year, the Banff Olympic distance triathlon.

I nailed Banff.  I was incredibly happy with my execution, and the race itself was spectacular.  Something pivotal happened to me during that race.  Prior to the race, I'd estimated how fast I thought I could do it, and considered how I should pace.  One thing I'd hoped was I could do the run at a 7:00/km pace or better.  I thought that I should hold myself to no faster then a 6:30/km to keep from blowing up.  Once on the run though, my garmin didn't work properly (perhaps the mountains messed up the satellite signal?).

I was left to run by feel and ended up doing the run in 1:01:05, a 6:06/km pace.  If I had realized how fast I was going, I would have slowed down. That taught me one of the most important lessons I learned that year: it was my mind holding me back, rather then my body.

After that race, I placed a renewed importance on losing weight, and shifted the focus largely back to running.  I entered an Autumn full of growth and discovery.  Every time I broke through a barrier, I found another one and shoved it out of my way, while passing through.  I destroyed my 10K pr, finishing it in 56:33, proving that the 60 minute barrier was simply a line in the sand, easy to step over.

I reached new distances while training for my last race of the year, topping out at 25km (15.5 mi), giving me huge amounts of confidence going into that race - another one where I destroyed a previous record, beating my time from the Police half by over 30 minutes.

In the midst of all of this, I made other breakthroughs in swimming and biking.  Things started to click for me in the pool.  I could finally really feel the water and my swimming improved by leaps and bounds.  Meanwhile, I did my first spin classes and got taught just how easy I'd taken it on the bike in the past, and how much harder I was capable of going, setting the groundwork for some serious improvement in the coming season.

I tried a running streak, and abandoned it in less then a week - learning another lesson.  Balance works for me.  As much as I love to run, running every single day doesn't bring me balance - at least not at this point in my life.

Then I entered a down time.  I took it a bit easy, letting my run mileage drop (but not stop).  I gained a few of those hard lost pounds back and started to feel a bit down about my progress.  Then, a few days ago at the pool, I ran into Angie again and commented on my recent slacking.  "That's okay.  Everyone needs a rest sometimes," she casually commented.

She's right.  I did need a bit of a break in the intensity.  I'm getting ready to gear up again, but the downtime is part of what has got me ready to do that.  It's been one hell of a year.