Saturday 31 March 2012

March in review

146 days to my A-race
Scheduled March training 48.40 hrs
Completed March training 56.10 hrs
Issues: Fatigue (stress related)

Overall, not a bad month. I stayed on top of my workouts, even when fatigue plagued me. I woke up most mornings this month feeling like I had just gone to bed. I also have a twitchy right eye which is a sure sign that I am a little stressed out. I figure the increase in stress is due to a busy spring real estate market, and general daily life stuff. I have been researching fatigue, and stress can really knock you off your feet. There is nothing I can do to lower my stress – it is what it is for now – so I am taking extra care to eat well and get as much rest as possible.

The good news is the month zoomed by (not like last month), and the last few workouts have been awesome.  I ran today after a long indoor spin (5 minutes only). It was my first run in 2 months. I can still feel something in my heel, but it was not painful to run. The next couple of days will determine if I can slowly resume my running training. My fingers are crossed.

Mt. Lemmon (cant wait!) 
My new bike is on it way!!!! Like an expectant mother in her 9th month of pregnancy, I am due and getting impatient. Impala Bikes called, and said that it has been shipped, and is expected to arrive this week. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like I will have enough time to get used to riding it before I have to ship it down to Arizona. I was really looking forward to training on it in Tucson. I am flirting with the idea of taking both bikes. I guess I need to talk to the coach.

So tomorrow is April, the beginning of a month that I hope to be running… a month that is better for riding outside… a month where the days are longer, and getting warmer. And, the month will end with a tri-training bootcamp trip in Arizona. For some reason, this month feels like the official beginning to serious training.

Saturday 24 March 2012

Rush, rush, rush…

I always seem to be rushing. To a client, to a staging, home to make dinner, to the gym, to the many assorted physio, chiro, acupuncture, massage appointments, and of course, to my second job as “mom’s taxi service”. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. I crash on the sofa at night, exhausted from the day’s events. These past months have been a blur.

When I finished my pool run today, I had a rare, glorious hour to kill. Kids were out, husband working, dinner at the in-laws was not for several hours. What was I to do? I thought, maybe I would stay in the pool for a extra hour, run some more, or do 50-60 laps. Hmmmm, what would my coach say?….“This is a recovery week, time to rest”.

So, I left the pool and headed for the steam room. I have never really had a steam. It is usually broken at my club or I am in too big a rush. But today, the stars aligned.

I grabbed a few towels, including the iced mini-towel conveniently provided at the door. I entered the white-tiled room just as the steam valve began to pump out the hot, moist mist. A pleasing citrus fragrance hung in the haze. I took off my terry-cloth robe, laid it down, hopped on top, then covered my face with the freezing cold cloth. Happy to be alone, my modesty not challenged, I began to feel my muscles melt. Time slipped by slowly. Mentally and physically in the moment, my body sucking up every second of this vacation from life. I could only hear myself breathing and the valve hissing.

With the room now heavy with steam, I was unable to make out the woman who disturbed the peaceful bubble I was in. A current of cold air flowed through the open door before it closed behind her, cooling my hot skin. Time to leave I thought, as my modesty kicked back into gear. Those quiet, private, unbelievable minutes did more for me then any stress-relieving workout, or tension releasing massage. Ahhhh, the steam room. Now a new (must do) part of my training regime.  

Monday 19 March 2012

An Irish morn…

The weatherman got it wrong… very wrong. It was suppose to be a warm sunny Saturday morning, and instead we left for our ride in a cold, misty fog. Barely able to see 10 feet in front of us, I was concerned about the cars and their ability to see us.  Thankfully, not many people were out on the road.  

As we headed to Goodwood again, the normal chit-chat was kept to a minimum. We held a tight single-file formation, riding cautiously, not tempting fate. I felt a little sheepish. I had pushed for an outside ride today, claiming that the weather was going to be “awesome”. I even teased some of the members of our group for bailing last week, taunting them into coming out this week.

What an awful morning, but no one complained. So hungry was everyone to get out on the road, that they kept their moaning to themselves. Our streets have not yet been cleaned from the winter, so the mud and stones flicked up into our faces. Barely able to see, I ditched the sunglass that were protecting my eyes from the flying debris.

Happy to be out with the old gang again.

When we got to the bakery, Marc’s face was covered in mud. Clearly he needs to spend more time in the front (LOL, just teasing Marc). We cheered each other up kidding around and telling jokes, hoping that the when we were through the Irish-like weather would have passed. But, it didn’t… and our damp clothes pressed against our skin, making it even more uncomfortable for the return ride.  As we neared home-base, Judy yelled out that she had a flat – uhh, a perfect finish to a “perfect” ride. It wasn’t like last week, but I’m happy to be with the old gang again. No matter the weather.

Sunday 18 March 2012

5… 3,2,1… ok…

For the last couple of weeks, I have been leading the 5:30pm, Thursday night spinning class at Absolute Endurance.  I am not “teaching”, exactly – that would require some sort of expertise, which I do not currently possess. But I can tell the time (well, Julie might argue that point), I have a pretty loud voice, and I also like to lead. So I guess I fit the bill for this very temporary position.

Each week Alan develops a different workout for me to deliver. My duties are, first, to decipher the lesson (not always easy… Alan speaks “coach” – a language more confusing to me than French), then to fire up my iPod (I desperately need to update my music… I don’t think the owners of AE appreciate me playing Cee lo Green…”F-You”), and lastly to yell out when to start, how hard to go, how fast, etc.  The more I do this, the more I like it. I am now considering getting certified – maybe this Fall, as I’m just a little busy at the moment.

Working out in the 80's was way more fun! 
(I think more men watched this than women, LOL)

A lifetime ago, I use to teach aerobics at a women’s only club.  Styled around the famous 1980’s “20 Minute Workout” TV show, I would jump around in tights yelling out instructions.  I loved teaching that class. I almost pursued a career as a phys-ed teacher or a physiotherapist, such was my love of sports, but life has a way of leading you in alternate directions. There is no doubt in my mind that had I followed that path, it would have been an equally rewarding career for me.  

So Tara Norton, take your time coming back. Enjoy your new bundle of joy. I’ll help hold the fort while you’re gone. As they say in coach, “5… 3,2,1…take it up another 5 watts…"PUSH,PUSH,PUSH".

Sunday 11 March 2012

My Ruby wheels….

I hit the road today. I don’t remember my last ride in the late fall of 2010. I’m sure I wasn’t aware at the time that it would be months before my wheels would touch the pavement again. All week I eagerly watched the weather report, hoping for a dry, warm(ish) day. What we got was near perfect.

Only a few riders showed up at my door. With the threat of high winds and a chilly start, most bailed, leaving the hard core, badass women (Judy, Julie and me) to launch the season. The three of us headed out after a quick tire change and a few adjustments to our layered wardrobe.

What a day. We were all so excited to be liberated from our computrainers. Our legs, strong from all of the indoor training, felt like the winter never happened. I didn’t even mind the cars (except the one that almost took out a large peloton of cyclist coming towards us).  Yup, the season has begun.

30 minutes in, we pulled over, all of us overheating from our efforts and layers. Following a quick peel, we were off again. Wind at our back, sun on our faces, it was just what the mental health doctor ordered (for me anyway). When we got to Annina’s Bakery in Goodwood, the familiar smells greeted us at the door. Pastries and coffee…yumm.

After many laughs (at the expense of our wimpy, no-show teammates), we headed back. With heavy winds, our efforts multiplied exponentially. Pushing hard in front, I reached zone 4 quickly and stayed there for most our return journey (sorry coach). I didn’t mind, I was outside again.  Tiny patches of snow in retreat, my Ruby wheels spinning on bare pavement, it was a near perfect day.

My morning yuck-fest….

…starts with one glass, a little water and an assortment of vile flavoured, energy boosting, health food powders. This self-imposed ritual of torturous gulping did not come as a suggestion from my coach, or any one else. I put this concoction together on my own, in my pursuit to obtain more energy.

You’d think I would mix this stuff with fruit, or peanut butter, anything to make it taste better, but that takes time and I am barely able to put this together. As Drew and the girls watch my morning ritual, they giggle every time they see and hear the involuntary reaction my body makes. I can’t stop the mournful sounds from escaping from my mouth, as the last syrupy mess makes it way to my stomach. Then, immediately after, I take an even more disgusting spoonful of fish oil (for my omega hit), and last but not least several vitamins.

Sounds gross and it is – but it’s working, I am staying on top of my ever-increasing training, 13+ hours a week now. It is also my busy time of year at work, so a lot of energy is going into managing my business, my staff and stagings, stressed-out homeowners, demanding Real Estate Agents, prima donna contractors, etc. My teenage girls, can suck up a lot too… can you say hormones?

So, I begin everyday, chugging this strange brew, torturing my taste buds. All to stay on top of the demands I am placing on myself. And….believe it or not, I am loving every second of it!

Saturday 10 March 2012

I miss running!!!

I have been cross-training on the elliptical, and pool-running for a few weeks, but they are poor cousins to actually running. Last night after the spin class I jumped onto the elliptical (again) and tried to get into my “happy” place, but I just couldn’t get there.  I kept looking over at my friend Julie (a future Ironwoman in training), and wished that I was running on the treadmill beside her.  So like an addict in need of a fix, I found myself, moments later, on that treadmill next to her pushing on the speed button. I began to run.

“Don’t do it!!!!”  Julie pleaded, “don’t do it”. So I stopped, frustrated and still in need of a fix. 

I miss running so much I wrote a story about my first race. This is why I run….


I’m squished. Squished-in like corralled cattle. Thousands of people joined together on a narrow 2-lane street for one purpose – to run. The noise of the crowd is deafening, but I am alone in this pack and in no need of a voice.  Silently, I wait for the sound of a gun.  I can barely form a thought.  My heart is pounding through my chest. My legs feel drained from the excitement.  I am petrified.

BANG!!! The pistol goes off, but no one around me moves. We are blocks behind the elite runners, and it will take a few minutes for the wave to be upon us. Slowly, the firmly packed herd moves forward – the anticipation still demanding precious energy from my limbs. The rubber matt is in sight. Once crossed the voyage to the finish begins. I fixate on the black carpet with its electrodes, waiting to start the timer that wraps around my ankle.  
At the finish of my first race.

The sounds have changed and my attention now shifts from the road to the drove that is in front of me. There are thousands of runners, bobbing up and down, visible only because of the route’s decent. I am overwhelmed – overwhelmed by this magnificent sight and my emotional reaction to it. The journey that has led me here has been a long, personal one, and I am in the moment.

Elation keeps my feet from touching the ground. Floating down the road, I feel a tear stream down my cheek. A fleck of embarrassment is quickly rejected when another follows. I give in to the emotion, laughing and crying, I wipe tears away for 2k of this 10k run.  

This is my first race.