Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Journey of the Long Run

The long run takes on different forms, purposes and execution for every runner.  But in truth, the long run is similar to the journey of life for all of us; one foot in front of the other, mostly moving forward at varying speeds.  There are times you feel good, times you want to throw up, times you want to quit and times it seems you can go on forever.

My long run are usually always run with my husband aka roaringrunner.  Sometimes we run the entire time in silence with the exception of an occasional "Doing good" usually followed by a grunt. Some runs are spent getting everything out on the table that we have each had to deal with that week. We find solace, peace and healing in the miles despite the weather conditions or the problems that we are dealing with.

I think this is similar with most people.  Running makes you free.  The fact that running can often take on different forms is what is the best part.  There is and there isn't predictability. It become what you need and fills the tank that is the lowest.  It never lets us get to full of ourselves and keeps us on the road of learning.

My long run 2 weeks ago was a bit different.  It had been a big week.  In reality, when are they not? Besides the regular, there was a few more things on the table to deal with.  A trip to the hospital may or not have been on the schedule.



Me and my only running partner today.


Hubby's long run

Though I really needed a run, it was hard to enjoy it as I felt selfish guilt for running when he couldn't and I knew how badly he wanted to.  A week of pain, sleepless nights and chaos in the house resulted in emergency appendix surgery on a perforated appendix.  He didn't stay in bed long though- was up and about and making laps a few hours later.  
His first question to me in ICU after major heart surgery 5 years ago was if he could go for a run now. (He couldn't run for 5 months prior)  This time in ICU, the first thing he said was that he loved me.   

We truly don't know each and everyday how things will work out.  I wish that all the hours spent sitting in the hospital or in the vehicle driving (surgery was 2 hours away each way x 3 days) were actually spent on my bike or running, with my kids or experimenting in the kitchen but this was not the case.  Life is precious, lessons come in varying experiences and none of us are immune from interruptions from injury, surgery or life events. We get so caught up in the routine of life that sometimes we forget to appreciate.  

Roaringrunner has encouraged me to continue training hard and not to feel bad that he isn't able to.  I know it won't be long and he will be crushing things again.  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Skipbo still ROCKS and lake adventures

A couple of my kids and I headed to the cottage at the lake last Tuesday night along with a friend who is visiting for a few days.  A light brushing of snow was on the ground and the trees on either side of the road glistened and sparkled in the lights.  Snow always has that effect on me; magical.  The cottage was very cool inside.  Half hour later we were huddled on the floor in front of the roaring fire in the fireplace with blankets all around us, eating nachos and cheese, playing a mean game of skipbo.  Might be one of the best memories of the time there.  The simple things get you every time.
The next morning I went for a run on the snow covered road, doing the 6 mile loop that circles the cabins on the other side of the lake.  The clouds were so thick and close I think I could almost touch them, not a breath of wind and trees full of frost.  My favourite kind of winter mornings. Complete silence with only a deer to keep me company.
A hike to the Copernicus Look Out followed after brunch.  A 1 hour round trip hike taking us up a pretty steep trail to a lookout tower with a view of the lakes around.  Spent a fun 1/2 hour at the top talking and comparing who's phone had any reception.  Brace yourself for what I am about to share: yes there are places in this world where there is no cell phone coverage.  The lake we go to is one such example.  We thought to check though since we were so high up.  Had fun trying to text each other up there.

The next adventure was kayaking.  There was ice for about 30 feet along the shore so it took some fierce paddling to get through but wow, what fun!


Rounded the day off with pizza for supper then unfortunately had to pack up and head back home.  It was a great way to spend a day off.

The privilege of being in such a great place in this wonderful country was not lost on me this Remembrance Day. So thankful for those who have made this freedom possible.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Celebrate

It's been awhile folks.  Lots to say,  where to start?
Celebrating is a great place!

There has been a LOT of celebrating in our house lately.  My oldest son graduated the beginning of June with his diploma in Agribusiness from the University of Saskatchewan. He is looking forward to finishing the next 2 years and receiving his degree. So he wasn't keen on us making a big deal of this graduation but after the fact, I think it really encouraged him and he was glad we went.



The youngest graduated from grade 8 at one school and will be moving schools in the fall to the high school.  A very small school to a large one- she is very nervous.



The middle 2 graduated from grade 12 last week.  It was a wonderful celebration.  I didn't cry my eyes out ;yet.  It is such an accomplishment so it was time to celebrate that with them.  When they both leave in September, that may be the time I can be happy for them and sad for me.



I have been in a few events the past couple months.  I will be posting the recap for each soon.  Brandon Duathlon, Saskatchewan Marathon, Swan River Fun Run as well as and a bike event this weekend.

My training world is good now but I had a real rough patch of disappointment and discouragement through April and May.  An infection and adrenal fatigue have sidelined me so my plans for the summer have changed.  I am still staying active but have taken the "go hard" portion out for the most part.  The mind so wants to "go" but the body says it is tired.  I never once thought I was trying to be supermom- but being super busy does catch up with some people.
 I have come to enjoy the spontaneous training of doing what I want when I want to do it.  Biking is happening the most.  It allows me to explore, get a workout in and it isn't too taxing on the body.  I am loving the many hours of rides down quiet gravel roads, on mountain trails or on the highway.  Both my tri bike and cyclocross are getting a lot of action.  Sometimes a great run happens but mostly, it is a struggle.  I long to fly in the wind and run hard but it will come.  The water temperature at the lake is looking good and with summer now here, I am anticipating some great morning swims.
 
In everything I do and in each moment I am privileged to do it, I am thankful!

Nutritional and motivational support for hubby during his long run.  I just got chased for 1/2 a mile by a dog that was going to leave me with only 1 leg.  The only picture that turned out in a batch of 6 or so because I was still so shaky!  Maybe need to travel with bear spray.





Have a great day!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Written off

Morning
Mid week and I should be at work but am instead home on the couch, trying to count my blessing in between blowing my nose.  I have felt better.
But the sun is shining and it is certainly spring in Manitoba.  Nothing green yet, but I love being on the edge of it.  You know what I mean- it is so close but just not quite yet. That time is special.

Hard post today.  Not sure how to collect my thoughts and get them down on paper.  I have been hurt, maybe not intentionally but hurt none-the-less.  I am a people pleaser and I do care too much of what others think of me.  Not a good thing. I am getting harder and more confident in myself but still will always be a struggle to not let the opinion of others of me color how I see myself.  Sharing this on a blog post has the potential of being a catastrophic event.  But I also want people to see that not always is it our words but our lack of words that has the potential to wound.

I have told myself for the last 3 weeks to get over it and move on and I think I am.  Maybe writing it will be the cleanse that I need to rid myself of the baggage.

I have never had a coach.  Not for running nor now triathlon.  In the endurance world today, it seems like an anomaly to NOT have someone coaching you.  I have considered and tried with 2 coaches that are relatively close to me (3-4 hours away), both were hesitant because of the difficulty with the distance.
Fast forward a year. I know tons of people are being coached from a long distance so I thought to try again.  My thoughts about things we have a passion to do is that when you know better you can do better so getting more information from books, internet, other athletes, coaches is a great way to get better and smarter at what you do. A coach might just give me that extra boost of info that I needed to really feel like I was making progress. Not complaining, but I have very little in terms of "support" where I live.  It is just my reality.  No groups, no others training for long course triathlon events, weather challenges.  It's just different.  Everything on my own.

So I hooked up with a coach many miles away who seemed to share the same idea that I have and was around the same age. We talked, discussed a trial period of coaching because an event I was training for was 6 weeks away and it was best to not interfere with the current training plan. BAM; I got myself a coach.  The relationship would be a few phone calls to guide, advise and assist me with the last bits of training and how to approach the event.
I did get a couple call and a promise to track me at the event.  I don't know what the normal is or what to expect but I did think good luck wishes would be in my in-box a day before and I did expect a follow up email or call after the event.  But nothing- not a thing.
So just to add 1 more thing to the story.  I had another event the weekend before the half-ironman, which was the main event.  The coach thought it was a crazy idea to do both. I know it is silly to have events so close to each other.  Please before judging, understand, the geography of where I live does not allow for many events close by and if I am going on holidays and can take in a couple events that I wouldn't get to ever get to otherwise, I am going to take it.  Will this affect my performance at the half-iron event- absolutely and I knew it.  But I just couldn't pass up the opportunity.

The comment made was that instead of being a competitor, I was a participant.

I was bothered for days about this.  I do get very anxious before a race and my nerves can get the best of me.  I am NOT the fastest nor will I be on the podium in the near future.  I have always been very athletic and the funny thing is that now when I really want to perform well, I can't seem to find the formula to get there.  But I bring my game on just like everyone else there.  I am pushing myself, expecting my best and not holding back.  Everyone deserves a chance no matter what their ability is because if they knew how to be better and faster, they would be.

So, just like that I was labelled a participant.

And wrote off.

The other interesting part, maybe the hardest, was that I confessed to the coach in an earlier convesation that I was seriously considering Ironman Canada this summer (2015) but just needed a bit more confidence to know that I could tackle this.

So, coles notes version- I trained my butt off since Nov 2014 hoping to do well in Oceanside California March 2015 then would make a decision about Ironman Canada July 2015.  Left Oceanside with great memories but a slower time that I expected.  Disappointed and discouraged because I worked so hard and thought the results would show the effort that I had put in.  No confidence in myself or decision made about what to do with Ironman Canda.
 
The coach and I had discussed her coaching me after Oceanside to Ironman Canada.  Now nothing from the coach.

What should I think?  It is obvious my time meant everything.  Not my hard work ethic, nor dedication, nor careful nutrition, nor my passion and determination.  Not my desire to learn more and do better.

Just. my. time.

Maybe my small town thinking but I don't treat people that way.  I teach adults who need their high school diploma to move forward.  Traditional school didn't work for them and most of them made less than great decisions in their youth but my job is to get them to reach the potential they have.  Not to judge or with- hold.

Just to clarify: I don't need someone handling me with kid gloves and building my fragile confidence up.  I am a big girl.  But, I also know there are many others like me that are passionate people; who care so much and wear it all for the world to see.  My confidence isn't a roller coaster, I believe in myself and my abilities.  Just hurt when someone so openly judges.  Doesn't make you feel like you can tackle the world.

SO for all of you like me, passionate, caring people who are sensitive and compassionate; we need to build on these types of situations to make our foundation stronger despite what others think.  Because we will accomplish our dreams.  It may take longer or the road may be harder but the journey and victory is ours alone.

And to those who write people off because of a small insignificant thing such as number or time; well you are missing the big picture and I hope you find it someday.




Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Nutrition Plan -Finally

**This post sat in my outbox and though it was planned to be posted a month ago, the information presented is still very helpful (in my modest opinion) and I have still posted it.

I have starting to get a bit nervous that I haven't figured out a nutrition plan to my liking for my upcoming half-ironman.  Nutrition must be the hardest thing in the world to figure out because everyone is SO different in terms of what their system's can handle.
I am going to be real specific with brands here, not to build or tear down just to state what is working for me.  I am not sponsored by anyone or paid for any kind words.  Neither am I trained in sports nutrition.  Just what's working.

I have tried Hammer Perpetuum and it worked early in my triathlon racing.  All of a sudden, one race, I just couldn't stomach it anymore.
I have tried using water and bonk breakers.  Worked ok as I liked using "real" food. Especially on the bike.  I would use gels then during the run.
One race I lost my gel and took in some gatorade, though I have never trained nor used it.  Both gels and gatorade will only work on the short term with me.  I experience lots of bloating and energy surging and fallings.  No GI issues but I certainly don't feel great.

This training cycle (Jan- present) I planned and started using Poweraid Perform as it is the fuel used in Ironman events.  The decision was made to try to use the nutrition on the course as it makes life less complicated on race day. The main problem I had with Perform was it seemed to have too much sodium for my body to tolerate as I would gain weight with each sweat test.  As my bike time increased, so did my bloating.  I didn't have a lot of discomfort but just didn't feel well or have a lot of energy.  My response was then to take in a gel every 1/2 hour but that DID make me feel unwell with such a surge of sugar. The bottom-ing out though was worse. And the disappointing part was just recently finding out that Ironman will no longer have Perform at their events but Gatorade Endurance.  It is very expensive and not the easiest right now to get our hands on.

I didn't know what to do until I stumbled across another triathlete, who talked of UCAN and the benefits of the superstarch that doesn't have you on the sugar roller coaster.  It is kind to the GI tract and gives consistent energy.  It wasn't the easiest to find in Canada and I didn't have the full product line to choose from, but I did order a couple products; the 750 ml plain superstarch, a single serving of cranberry, raspberry, a single serving of the orange and the vanilla cream with protein.
I have been using the products for a couple weeks now for workouts lasting more than an hour.  To get optimal results in your workout, I have found that consuming the UCAN 30 min prior is best.  I then drink water through my run or bike.  UCAN seems to have some lag time in the sense that you don't get the instant pop of energy and when you have been using gels or candy and get that instant energy, this is certainly different.  As I have adapted though, I am appreciating the consistent energy.  I haven't experienced the bloating or any stomach issues.  UCAN is an easy product to drink in my opinion.  It does settle a bit so the bottle needs to be shaken up a bit before having a drink.  It is worse for settling with the plain UCAN but the other flavours don't need much of a shake.
My rule of thumb is to add a scoop for each hour I anticipate exercising for.  So a bike ride of 3 hours means I add 3 scoops to a large water bottle and take 3 additional water bottles with me and to the trainer I go.   Just to back up a bit- I get up mix up some protein UCAN (1 scoop 3/4 bottle water) and ingest that while getting dressed, bike tires pumped, movie or tv set up, mix up my other bottle of UCAN and additional water bottles.  Then when I am ready to get on the bike, it has been close to 1/2 hour since having the first bottle.  A 10 min warm up and I am ready to rock and roll.
I also like that whatever product (UCAN) that I don't finish during my exercise session, I add a little ice to it or more cold water and it is a great recovery drink also.

Food for thought.  Happy training!

Monday, March 9, 2015

My Love of Hemp

It is no secret in my house that I LOVE hemp- hearts that is.  And it is no secret either that a Manitoba girl such as I am can boast that these tasty little babies are home grown in my province.





Hemp hearts are so tasty and can be used in everything.  I use them in oatmeal, cookies, on yogurt, pancakes, power bars and in smoothies.  I also use them in main coarse meals like in meatloaf or lasagna or sprinkled on top of baked salmon.
 My latest hemp spotting happened when I needed to satisfy my desire for my favourite sweet; apple crisp.  What a winner I created!  The crew must have agreed as the pan was almost cleaned out 2 hours later.  I hid the last bit for lunch for myself tomorrow.  Don't judge; when there is 5 in the family sometimes a girl just has to be sneaky.

Hemp Heart Loving Apple Crisp

spray a 9 x 13 pan with spray and set oven to 350 degrees

ADD to pan:

7 apples, peeled and sliced thinly
Sprinkle of xylitol
healthy sprinkle of cinnamon (2-3 tsp cinnamon)
1/2 cup water

in a separate bowl mix together

1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 hemp hearts
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp coconut sugar

Cut in 1/2 cup coconut oil (mine is in solid form so I used my pastry blended and cut it in but you could use liquid coconut oil also) If too many crumbs, add a bit more oil.
Spread on apples and bake about 35 min until bubbly and slightly brown.
Enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream




Anyway, if you haven't tried Hemp Hearts, I encourage you to grab yourself a bag.  They can be purchased through manitoba harvest @ManitobaHarvest (IG and Twitter), #hemplove, #hemphearts #sweatpink

I was sent a bag (the smaller one in the picture above) as a sample but the other bag and the protein powder are my own.  Opinions expressed are clearly those of love!
Enjoy your day and insert some HEART!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Alignment

Hey everyone!

Anyone else sometimes feel like they may blow a gasket if they hear or read anymore about "balance?"  Ok, a bit dramatic I know.  It's not the word or concept that brings my blood pressure up to dangerous levels, it's the application and decisions that come with balance.  I know what my priorities are and what is important to me, that's not the trouble.  But, we all know that there are other responsibilities we have that may not be on the priority list.  For example, the volunteering responsibility that comes with having your child(ren) involved in activities.  Many would argue against, but I firmly think if you have your child in anything, you need to be willing to occasionally dish out a bit more than your checkbook.  So where do I put that on the priority list?
Well, since getting the job done keeps my reputation in fine condition and my reputation and values rate high on my priority list, the job gets a single digit number.