Almost (but not quite) a treadmill kind of day

It takes a lot for me to choose the rotating belt over a run outdoors.
On Sunday morning, I braved the 90 kph (56 mph) wind gusts and glare ice underfoot because about 20 of my friends were out there with me. I wasn’t stoked about it, but it wasn’t too terrible either.
Then yesterday, when I was emailing back and forth with some friends trying to decide if we could face the -13K wind chill at 5am, I had almost resigned to the treadmill. Almost. And then one of the girls said, “Well, I will run outside if someone else will…” And before we knew it, 5 of us were committed to meet at the usual time and place. I’d be lying if I said any one of us didn’t question our sanity as we stepped out of our cars this morning, but misery loves company. We made the most of it as we tackled 6 hill repeats in freezing, blustery conditions while almost every house we ran by remained dark. 
There is nothing like the feeling you get after tackling a run like that… at least until you step in the shower and every inch of your body stings! Yeouch! 
What does it take for you to choose the “dreadmill” over the streets?
*Sorry about the spacing… computer not cooperating.*

Tuesday Tidbits

  • I am a bag lady. I’m often at the gym in the morning, going straight to work, then tackling another workout at lunch. And I need a lot of food!

  • Leaving the pool building in January sucks. It usually takes until the time I am curled up in bed wearing furry socks, fleece jammies and a hoodie for me to feel warm.
  • Why did it take me so long to add pickles to my salad? Emz was really on to something.

  • 6am Body Pump is a whole different kind of hurt. Why do the weights (and my own body) feel so much heavier in the morning?
  • I attempted to prepare beets for the very first time, but under-roasted them. I’ve been eating them in my salads anyway, but they aren’t so good with the consistency of an under-cooked potato. How do you enjoy eating beets, and how do you prepare them?
  • Diaper rash cream is magical for curing chafe war wounds. I had some extremely sore spots after a long run in pouring rain (ew) on Sunday, but after slathering on the good stuff at night, they were almost completely healed up the next morning.
  • In my next life, I want to be a dog…

  • There is currently a wide open can (no lid, no cover) of curry sauce in the communal fridge at work. Really, who does that??
  • Check out our new gym room:
  • But today I rode my bike in the living room because that’s where the PVR (DVR) is. Had to catch up on some TV!
That’s it for now!

Life goes on…

So here I am again after yet another unforeseen absence. Life has thrown a pretty big curve ball my way recently, but I am not comfortable going into details here [yet] so please bear with me being so cryptic. Let’s just say that things are and will continue to be quite different and difficult. I have an endurance race ahead of me that doesn’t have a finish line or a medal – only “aid stations”, as a dear friend pointed out, in the form of support from our family and friends. Hopefully there will come a time when I can open up in such a public way, but that time is not now and I thank you if you choose to support me and continue reading nonetheless. Another great friend suggested that I might find writing therapeutic, regardless of the topic, so I am attempting to dust off the ol’ blog.

Of course I also have the journey to Ironman Lake Placid ahead of me, for which training began officially on the 1st 2nd of the year. As I’ve mentioned, I am now working with a coach, which simultaneously takes some pressure off and puts more on. I felt a noticeable weight lift off my shoulders in that I no longer have to make decisions or come up with a plan week by week; I simply have to do as I’m told. At the same time there is pressure in knowing that I have someone to report to; every single interval split, stroke count and average heart rate counts for something and it’s not as easy to say “ehhhh I’m not going to do this today.” I suppose that’s what this coaching thing is all about!

Along the way I have decided not to post detailed weekly training summaries as I have for my last few cycles. It’s not that I am trying to keep anything a “secret” (I’m still posting everything on DailyMile), but I found that it was also adding unnecessary pressure – wondering what I was going to say about each workout, worrying what people might think of the stats and trying to remember to take a picture of everything I do. It often felt like a scramble to publish those posts early in the week (and I realize this is only imaginary pressure that I was putting on myself), which – to be honest – not a lot of people were reading anyway.

A few notes on what I’ve been up to:

– I have switched over to time and heart rate based training as opposed to the distance/pace approach that I have used for so many years. It is certainly an adjustment, and a daily struggle to trust the process (and my coach).

– I am so thankful for the Saturday morning group I joined for long trainer rides. We are instructed by a pro triathlete, the 2 hours fly by, there’s great company and it makes hate the trainer much less. This is the only way I will survive this winter!

– I am still suffering through a lot of my runs as I endeavour to get back in shape. Man oh man, did I ever let it slide! (Remind me not to do that again.) Thankfully I am often lucky enough to have a handful of enthusiastic friends ready and willing to join me and make it a whole lot more bearable – such as the 3 awesome ladies who trudged through hill repeats with me this morning at 5am.

– Here is a rough breakdown of how my weeks are shaking out in this initial base-building month of training:

Monday – bike and swim
Tuesday – strength and run
Wednesday – bike and swim
Thursday – strength and run
Friday – rest 
Saturday – long bike and short transition run
Sunday – long run

– Friday rest days are also an adjustment since I have typically taken Mondays off after the big weekend workouts. Having four solid days of workouts ahead of me after the long sessions on Saturday and Sunday is grueling – mentally as much as physically. That’s what I signed up for! 

With respect to the above alluded-to “curve ball”, it will almost definitely impact my training but to what extent, I am just not sure. The goal right now is not to look too far ahead. I’m taking things one day, one step at a time for now. Training, for the most part, keeps me happy, healthy and grounded – a combination which can only be positive.

Now, bring on my rest day.

Out with the old, in with the new

2012 was quite a ride! I don’t have a compilation of stats and records like I usually do. To be honest, I don’t even know how many miles (kilometres) I ran last year. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about that but I don’t seem to be scrambling to figure it out.

After an aggressive year of training plans and PRs in 2011, my focus shifted quite a bit in 2012. I still logged all of my workouts, but I rarely followed a training schedule, nor did I pay much attention to the figures. I ran more “for fun” and the experience of running two World Majors, slowing down a lot in the process. Do I wish I could still run a 3:3X marathon? Of course. Is it demoralizing to compare my paces to the previous year? Yes. But do I regret it? No.

Meanwhile I shifted my focus towards long distance triathlon, completing my first two half iron events and registering for my first full (Ironman Lake Placid, which is now this year – eek!).

Unfortunately, I also let things slide a little too much in the “off season” (and let it go on a little too long), so now I have a lot of work to do. Like many, I’m sure, January is a fresh start for me; a whole new training philosophy, hiring a coach for the first time, and learning to eat like an athlete again.

I haven’t had a lot of time or motivation to blog lately, but hopefully that will change in the coming weeks because I definitely plan to document this journey as best as I can. I hope you’ll join me!

I’ll stop here for now and wish you a Happy New Year from our home to yours! Here’s hoping that 2013 brings many good things to all of us. 2012 will be tough to top – from running the Boston Marathon side-by-side, to falling in love with our puppy who is so much more, to moving into our (hopefully) forever home, I’m not sure it could have been any better.