Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Crazy or Not?

Well, it is official- I am either really adventurous or an idiot.

I have been sitting on the fence with wanting to try Actif Epica (a 85 mile winter endurance event on a fat tire bike in Southern Manitoba Canada) or to spend a little more time shedding my "green-ness" in the fattie world.  If it was up to me, I probably would have picked door #2.  But the ever adventurous-carefree- jump in with both feet husband of mine decided we should take the plunge and live life by the seat of our pants.

"Actif Epica is a one-day, do-it-yourself outdoor active living celebration that will involve communities along the Crow wing Trail (part of the TransCanada Trail) in southeast Manitoba.
Set against the backdrop of a 130, 162 or 200km bike or run ultra marathon in the cold weather and brutal winds of a Southeastern Manitoba winter, festival sites will glow with the warmth of community spirit, the strength of human ingenuity and the beauty of having fun whatever the temperature.
Actif Epica is a human-powered event, bringing communities together in a DIY celebration of human ingenuity in a cold (very cold) winter environment."

I am very scared of getting cold; like really, really scared of being really, really cold.  In the past, I have spent a lot of time on a snowmobile freezing my bageegee off and the idea of being stuck in the middle of nowhere in the freezing cold petrifies me.  We had a super cold spell here the beginning of January but for the past couple of weeks, temperatures have been warmer than normal; melting, almost spring-like temperatures.  We seem to be making the shift back into seasonal temps so more likely to have -5 C to -20 C on the day of the event. This gives me more confidence that the weather won't erode my self confidence.  We did do some rides with the cold temps (-30 C) and now also while it has been warmer.  Each ride teaches us a bit more on how to be prepared. 
It isn't just a case of can I make it ___ distance.  The weather is a huge challenge, no doubt.  There is a list of mandatory equipment to ensure our safety through extreme weather.  Knowing how to dress is another huge challenge.  Working up a sweat and being overdressed will immediately have negative ramifications.  So dress just heavy enough while moving at a constant rate to not sweat too much.  Any stops are very short as you will get cold quickly. It is also I think a bit more challenging riding a fat tired bike through winter.  Different muscles sore after a fat tire bike ride.  You built power riding a fattie in the winter.  Snow and sand require a lot of power, strength and effort.   
I am so stoked to try something new and experience something different.  Ideally, I want to be riding my bike into the Forks in Winnipeg toward the finish line but I am good with whatever happens that day.  If I need to stop then I will. The south part of Manitoba (where the event takes place) has received an overabundant amount of snow so far this year.  I expect that will make for a more challenging ride.  Looking at past results, I expect it will take us 12-16 hours to complete.  It is nice that the last couple hours of riding will be near and in the city.  More stimulation, more lighting. And the best part is my husband and I are doing this together.  The whole experience is so exciting but getting to do these things with him is priceless.
I anticipate it may be the kind of event where events and challenges build relationships between people instead of competition. I know it will be an event that tests character and resilience.  I know there will be tough times but I also know that I am so blessed to have the CHOICE to do things like this.  
So now - training.  What to do to prepare?  I am currently intertwining 2 different training plans right now, there isn't much extra room to add in much more.  I am sticking to my "A" "B" "C" raced events and prioritizing.  The spring marathon in April is my main event.  The other couple events (triathlon and bike ride) are very important but I will maintain my training plan to reflect the marathon.  
We are trying to get 1 solid longer ride outside each week (2-5 hours) and just hope the current training fitness will be enough.  Some weeks I have gotten out for a short ride after work but it hasn't been consistent.  Time on the bike is important but endurance gotten from other things will be good too.      
The more time goes on, it seems the less I worry/get nervous/fear the actual event(race) day and the outcome.  The journey getting there is fun, enjoyable, uplifting and energizing.  I am becoming a person who looks more at the everyday quality of life rather than a few pivotal moments.  If the outcome is what you go for- hats off to you.  You are the type of person that likes to push yourself and you can handle the pressure that goes along with it.  I will give it all I have on race day and leave nothing behind.  I will test myself and push beyond what I think I can handle.  I will learn that I am capable of so much more than I thought but I don't want to stress about the outcome.  There is freedom in experiencing the "cake" part of life not just waiting to get the "icing".
Have a wonderful day!

Monday, January 30, 2017

A 2017 Goal that is getting me FATTER every week

I like beginnings.  A fresh start.  A do-over.  A clean slate.
We have beginnings all the time.  Every morning, each week, month, season change, start of school terms and especially each year.  At each of these "beginnings", I take a moment to think about what I want to accomplish in that time frame.  And I don't think I am alone.

 Anyone else make a daily list of what you need to do that day, what you are making for supper, groceries to buy, errands to run, activities to go to, email or calls to make?  

Almost every Sunday supper for as long as I can remember, our family has talked about what is going on for the upcoming week for everyone.  And my kids are probably tired of me telling them that each new term in school is a new chance to be and do whatever you want.  It doesn't matter what happened last term, this is a chance to start fresh. 

A new calendar year is also a fresh start.  I like to have a big yearly calendar where I can see each month.  I start putting in events we want to do, house and yard improvements we want to tackle. We discuss finances and things we need to purchase and what we would be able to purchase from our wish list.  

Things aren't perfect for anyone.  We all have challenges with our homes, geography, community, friends, equipment.  We all have those things that just don't quite fit.

The geography of where I live is one of those things for me.  The winters are typically very cold, summers are warm- except for the never-ending mosquitoes.  Spring and fall are the best.  I can be outside, and maybe it isn't super warm but there are no bugs.  Our heavily forested areas and lakes are a motorized enthusiast dream.  Our highways are busy with no paved shoulders.  It isn't the easiest exploring and enjoying the outdoors safely as a cyclist.

So sometimes, as I spend my time on the trainer in the basement, I feel sorry for myself and I imagine how much "better" my life could be in a different place where I could be outside more often with less barriers.

Until now.

I have decided to embrace my place in life more, enjoy each and every day and bloom where I am planted.  This has become my daily motivation.

Hubby and I have been checking out fat tired bikes for awhile now.  You know you are officially part of the "cyclist club" when you dream and work to have a bike of every kind.  Fatties are awesome, like really awesome but it seemed to be hard to justify the cost of them (in comparison to a mountain bike) and how much I would actually use it.  With the spring events I have planned, it's a full-time job getting in all the workouts never mind adding more into the mix.  I just wasn't sure I would get outside enough to justify the purchase.

Anyway, Hubby decided to go for it, found a bike he liked, got a great deal on it and he wanted me to come along with him for the drive to pick it up (3 1/2 hours one way).  It seemed to me to be a good solution that he purchased one, to see what it is really like.  He has a more flexible schedule through the winter months than I do and if it was working great for him, I would consider it.

His bike was ready for him and he took it for a spin around the block.  I looked around a bit and the salesman asked why I wasn't also getting one.  I explained my reasons and he said it was so much nicer riding with someone else and they had a used demo, maybe I would want to try.  Long story short- I fell in love and we came home with 2 bikes in the back of the vehicle.

There are some things I just don't understand.  Sometimes I research, thoroughly check things out, think a lot and then finally make the purchase.  Other times like this time, it was truly a spontaneous decision but it felt really right.  The bike fit perfectly and the ride was so sweet.

So now, we are getting outside, embracing whatever the weather brings us and having the time of our lives.  The learning curve is steep, figuring out how to drive through the snow, battle the wind, what to wear, how to transport things, how to keep the toes warm and how to keep the water and nutrition from freezing.  And oh what fun!

One simple purchase. One decision.  A big change in my way of thinking.  There is now a willingness to try and embrace what I have perceived as uninviting.

So my encouragement for you is to bloom where you are planted.  Take something you perceive negatively and change it.  I thought the only way to remove barriers was to get rid of them.  Imagine my surprise to find out that the only thing that needed to be changed was my perception of them.

Monday, January 9, 2017

2017 Schedule

Here's what my endurance events schedule is looking like for 2017.  I have 2 main events (A) with a few B events and a couple C events,  I have also indicated events with a * as I have not registered for them yet but have them in mind.  Just waiting to see how my calendar and life is looking.

I pick usually 1-3 A events in the year depending on the training, life and event location.  My daily training obviously works around those events and I try to space them out pretty well to recover and keep building.
B events vary in number but mostly are to give me something to build up to the A event, to keep me motivated and work nicely in the A event training plan.   B events are also very important in terms of pacing for the bigger events.  For example, I would prefer to run a half marathon or two before the full marathon just to see what pace I can hold, nutrition and from that I get information on what I need to work on before the marathon.  Same thoughts exactly when tackling a half ironman or two before the full distance.  In an ironman event, it is somewhat difficult to determine how fast you can bike without blowing the wheels off the bus during the run.  It takes experience and trial and error and obviously, as fitness, strength and experience increase, the pace will also be able to change.  So this becomes an evolving situation.  Someone with many ironman distance triathlons or marathons under their belt will have a better understanding of how much they can push themselves but I am not yet at that point.  A work in progress.
  The C events are those that will be seen more as a fun event or I just happen to be in a certain location and don't want to miss the chance to try the event.



* 12 or 26- Hypothermic Half Marathon in either Saskatoon or Regina, Sask
*Actif Epica, 85 mile endurance race on fatbike, Winnipeg, Manitoba
*26- Duck Mountain Ski Loppet


12- Superseal Olympic Tri Coronado (C)
*26- Encinitas Half Marathon


1- Ironman Oceanside 70.3 (B)
14- Angry Gopher Marathon, Regina, Sask (A)



4- Ironman Victoria 70.3 (B)


*9- Prairie Gran Fondo, Saskatoon, Sask.
23- Challenge Penticton 70.3 (B)
30- Ironman Canada Whistler (A)


6- Grizzly Xterra Olympic Triathlon, Canmore, Alberta (B)
*19- Riding Mountain Triathlon Olympic, Clear Lake, Manitoba



28/29- END- TOMBED and ENDTRAILS (12 hour bike ride and 12 hour trail run) (A or B)