Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Aloha B!tches!!!

Hahahahahahahahahaha!! See you all in two weeks...

I'm outta here!


:) :):)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Breaking Barriers

This week was all about "making it count." It was the last week of this running block I've been on and whooo baby did I need all the mental strength I could muster. Thursday's tempo run was very hard, especially the last set of 10 minutes. I tuned out my pain and just got 'er done.

Then, Friday, I felt rather sprightly for my 1.5 hour steady run, and took off like my dog chasing a gopher.

Of course, that lasted the first 60 minutes...then it was back to digging deep, really deep for the last bit. HOLY MOLY was I pooped, but I kept thinking back to my coach's instructions to "Make it count." Saturday's ride just about fricking did me in -- main set was 5 sets of 10 min. at 1/2 Iron pace and I increased my watts every time. I was gritting my teeth by the end, knowing that I had a 30 minute STEADY run after that.

The grand finale was a 2 hour hilly run on Sunday followed by a bike afterward. Of course I went back to my snow-eating hill -- hee-hee!!

I was exhausted after all this -- actually I was exhausted for pretty much all of it.

But, the one big lesson I have been learning (and relearning) this year, is that physical pain and even fatigue can be pushed through. Whoopty-do, you might think. Well, it is a big whoopty-do for me. Continuing to bike as hard as I can even when my mind is screaming at me to stop, and my legs are locking in refusal; continuing to run even though every muscle below my waist feels like they are spasming (word? heh-heh!), and continuing to swim even though my arms are throbbing -- these are examples of the lesson I am talking about.

It all started with the Arizona camp -- I learned there that giving 100% one day did not automatically negate giving 100% the next day, or even the next. In fact, the body learns to adjust pretty quickly! AND the body gets even stronger. I've been re-defining what is a "hard" workout. And the more I think about it, the more I believe that there is no such thing as "hard." It's all relative, eh?

When I first started swimming, swimming half a lap was HARD. Having-to-stop-and-stand- in-the-pool-to-catch-my breath kind of hard. I would make sure my ribs were out of the water because the pressure of the water made it too difficult to breathe -- Hahahahahaha!! I am not joking!

Fast forward to today and I LOVE the water. I love attacking my swim workouts and getting them done even though my arms start off just as sore as when I'm finished. :)

So...what I'm trying to get at here is beyond learning a new a skill. It is about going beyond period. (I've always wanted to say "period" in a sentence. Double the emphasis, eh? LOL!) Consciously throwing out what you believe is too hard or too difficult. This is why I love triathlon so much --- it has shown me how limitations are self-imposed. I truly believe that we have all the answers we need within; it is just a matter of turning off the static and our ego to HEAR them.

Before I met my coach, I thought I knew what pushing myself was all about. I now know that I know NOTHING about it...yet!! LOL!! I know a bit more than last year, but I have many more barriers to bust through still. And most of them are mental. Physical pain is easy -- it hurts, it's sore, it's falling off (EEP!), etc. It's the mental stuff that is tricky: "It hurts so you better stop or you'll injure yourself," "It's sore, so you have really done it this time, why not take up chess instead?"

I learn so much about myself when my mind tries to make me slow down or stop. I'm learning how the mind is sometimes the enemy, and it is best to turn it off and let the body do what it knows. I'm learning that the mind has a myriad of tricks to help explain away and justify why it is better to slow down or stop. And, I am learning that the mind I've lived with for the past 33 years, is a mind that I don't know as well as I thought.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Mom, My Hero!

What a difference five weeks can make...

Five weeks ago my Mom slipped and fell on some ice and fractured her hip. She was rushed to the city where she got a hip replacement later that evening. Today, she went to the hairdresser's where she showed off how all the physio exercises have paid off. She walked UP the stairs BY HERSELF.

Red Cross loaned her a walker, a big raised toilet seat, and a bath bench for three months. When she went around town yesterday, she didn't use her walker or a cane!! SHE ROCKS!!!!!!!!

She amazes me -- I have seen people with far less severe injuries whine and moan about how this hurts or that hurts (ie myself included. LOL!) Her scar is about 18 inches long and was held together with staples. She was in so much pain, but she fought and gritted her way through it. She has been doing her exercises 4 times a day and obviously the work is paying off!

The hairdressers at the salon and their clients were all mightily impressed with my Mom. My Mom felt especially proud when another woman came in with a cane -- she had a VERY difficult time walking...and she had a hip replacement 8 WEEKS ago!! Hee-hee!!

Who knew my Mom was that competitive? Now she is even more motivated to heal and improve!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quick Update

I have to apologize for falling off on my blog updates...I find it such a chore to type anything of substance -- I'd rather read and comment on everyone else's blogs! :) And, I am not exactly a quick typist. Heh-heh!

So -- I'm going to keep things short and sweet.

I am on the last week of this crazy run cycle I've been on -- crazy because my arms are hurting just as much as my legs. In fact, I don't remember what it's like to swim with "fresh" arms anymore. Pain is a familiar friend. Hahahahahahaha!!

I had a great run on Sunday -- I was on a mission to eradicate my odd snow-eating behaviour of last Sunday's adventure. I was on a mission to beat myself -- and go further than last week.

I was prepared too -- I carried a water bottle with me and brought a gel for the point at which I felt I was going to fall apart. Last week this occurred during the fourth hill -- I only managed to do 3.5 hills (1 hill = 1 up and down -- in case you needed to have it explained -- LOL!) This Sunday, I was ready -- at the end of the third hill, I sucked back the gel and settled in to beat my record.

It was snowing and snowing and snowing -- the kind of wet heavy snow that accumulates, but when a couple of cars drive through it turns into muddy slush. Toby always has a blast -- she does this capering puppy-dog dance each time we get to the bottom of the hill and I turn around to go back up. The walk that never ends! Hahahahaah!!

In all, I did 5 hills and I was quite tickled with myself! At the same time, I was mad that I was such a bonehead last Sunday -- because if I could have done 5 hills this week, I sure as heck could have done them last week. It was because of my own ill-preparedness last week that I out-performed myself by that much. By copping out and not carrying a water bottle I actually impeded my training -- so that was a good lesson I learned. :) :) :)

As I ran down the hill for the last time, I purposely (this time) went over to the side of the road and ate a handful of snow to ingrain this lesson in my mind. ;)

Hawaii is beckoning...9 days and counting. I am so excited to be able to bike outside!!!!! And run outside without multitudinous layers!! Oh, man -- I'm going to get a tan! AIIIEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) :) :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

New Lows...

When I was in my early twenties, I used to be fond of saying, "You'd better get to know your basement before it finds you." As with pretty much all my beliefs of that epoch, they encompassed an ignorant (yet innocent) naivety that was sometimes peppered with actual truths.

I wrote a letter to myself when I turned 21 to be opened by myself when I turned 31. For ten years I lost and then refound the sealed letter enclosed in an envelope with a unicorn on it. (When I was in grade 5, I wrote a book report and argued the existence of unicorns using Einstein's quote: "Anything is possible, if only you believe." Yeah, I know -- I still have that dorkiness! Hahahahaha!) When I turned 31, I was really excited to read my letter -- I had completely forgotten its contents.

I waited until just before I went to bed...It was funny, I had put a personalized sticker "Julie" with a rainbow, to seal the envelope shut. Hahahahaha!! It was pretty emotional reading the letter. I found myself becoming nostalgic for the younger me -- 10 years had changed me so much, and I felt an almost sisterly fondess for this younger version of me that was reaching out through time.

I clearly remember sitting down to write the letter, and for a moment, time had no meaning -- I was connected and connecting to myself. :) :) :) I was surprised at some of the pearls of wisdom and advice this cheeky 21 year old was giving to me -- surprised because in some ways she seemed much more wise than I was. I had forgotten lessons I had already learned and it was like a breath of fresh air to be reminded...

Of course, the younger me made some really, really dumb pronouncements too -- Like the time I was in Grade 5 and argued with the teacher that the sun was not the closest star to earth....I was so stubborn -- Mr. H valiantly tried to make me see the light (LOL!) but it wasn't until later that evening I finally figured it out.

Or the time I was 19 and I was talking with a girlfriend about how Van Gogh cut off his ear... I said, "What's the big deal? It grew back didn't it?" Eeeeep.


In this roundabout fashion, I'm getting to news of training. I thought I'd learned what it feels like to scrape the bottom of the barrel through IM training and racing -- but oh no!!! I reached an all-time low on Sunday!

I decided to run up and down this hill for my long run. I usually only do this hill for my 1 hour run, but thought -- what the heck! Time to really push it!

You can see where this is going right? LOL!!

The first two hills were fine -- that is what I normally do. During the third I noticed I was getting a little weaker and oh MY GAWD, by the time the fourth one came around I took a brief sojourn to another planet and was momentarily possessed by my otherworldly twin.

On the way up the hill, I stopped 6 or 7 times and scooped up snow and sucked on it. Hahahahahaha!! I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE!! LOL!!! I was hurting, and I think my body was resorting to desperate measures to keep me moving forward by focusing on something else. I think? LMAO!!!!!

Finally, it was time to turn around, and it was as I was sproinging downhill, I came back to myself. Everything appeared really bright too.

Hahahahahahahaha!! I can just imagine the comments from this post -- you all have so much material to choose from! LOL!!!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Random thoughts...

Training is going very well! My coach provided me some valuable insight to my running form -- mainly that I run like a turkey, so I now know exactly WHAT I have to do to correct that. Namely, not run like a turkey. It's sort of like swimming -- when I am in the zone, it feels effortless. When I think too much about it, I slip out of the zone. :) :)

And what do you suppose this picture is? Hmmmm??? I went to Costco and bought this big honking bag of baby carrots, only to discover the biggest baby carrot ever! Hahahahahahaha!! Yes, this is the most excitement I have with my clothes on these days! LOL!!!!!!!

I have a new countdown beginning...We will be going to the big island in a couple of weeks!!! :) :) :) :) :)

I can't wait to get some more biking in --- and I still can't get over that there is a FREE PUBLIC POOL! Mike is going to snorkel day in and day out, and my coach has told me that there is a paved road (Saddle Road) that is like Mt. Lemmon. I Can't WAIT to sweat all over Hawaii!!! Hee-hee!!!

I really can't wait to run outside too, without having to layer up with 4 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, toque, ear warmers, and balaclava. I think I just might bliss out. :) :) :)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Now comes the running focus...

Hoorah!! I've officially entered a running block. Lots and lots of running -- running at tempo, running up hills, running steady, running bricks, running, running running!

I've been doing hip strengthening exercises since I met with my coach in December, and gradually, my weak and puny muscles are getting stronger. The weakest part of my body is at the very top of my legs where my legs join the torso. I could really feel those little muscles working overtime yesterday during my hilly long run.

The only place for a hilly run in the Pass this time of year is up the skidoo trails. Up to a certain point, the trails are somewhat solid, but when you start getting back up in the mountains, the trails are not packed at all. Yesterday, with every step I would sink to my ankles or to my shins. I had to get creative with the negative-speak that kept popping into my head. And boy did those little top-leg muscles work!!! WHOOIIEEE!!!

This morning I had my first swimming workout with a pair of fins. The set was right at the end of my workout -- and I was getting excited about how it would feel to put on a pair of fins. It was really cool -- you can really zip with those things, eh?

I have a tempo run later this afternoon and am ready for any negative self-talk that might crop up when I push myself again. I am ready for it!!!! :) :) :) :) :)