Posts Tagged ‘Pep Talk’

Destination: Toronto (For Keeps)

April 9, 2013 Leave a comment


Sometimes life takes us down strange and unexpected paths.  Sometimes those paths cause a great deal of anxiety and stress at first, but they usually work out well in the end.  I’m going to trust this is one of those “work out in the end times”…

My wife and I are moving to Toronto.  We found out about 2 weeks ago of a change in her summer placement and have been scrambling to find a place to live (and deal with our current home).  With less than 4 weeks’ notice until her placement starts, it’s been a whirlwind – thinking through the unexpected task of packing (and downsizing), arranging for all of our service providers, and changing all of our summer plans.  We need to be moved and settled by the end of April.

At times it’s been a schedule strain.  We’ve made 4 separate trips into Toronto to view apartments.  This has led to a lot of canceled training sessions, a few canceled date nights, and even a few rescheduled work meetings.

At times it’s been an emotional strain.  Facing moving to a new city that we neither expected nor asked for – rationalizing the implications of an unexpected change on our finances, our social life, and our home.  There has been tears, and there has been ice cream (more of the latter than the former, thankfully).

My wife has been a trouper – her life has been turned upside down.  In addition to our home relocation, she’s had to adjust to a new job: new clinic, new city, new preceptor.  I’ve tried to be helpful and supportive – not always sure I’ve done a great job, but I keep trying.  I’ve noticed the impact to my training.  I’ve missed quite a few training sessions because of last minute apartment hunting trips (or having to work at odd hours due to apartment hunting).  My sleep has been off, and my mood has been turning sour as the stress and reduced exercise take their toll.

Sometimes I just want to sleep... anywhere

Sometimes I just want to sleep… anywhere

I’m not concerned about missed training from a race perspective – sometimes life > training.  But I notice the impact it has on me.  An experience like this reminds me how much I enjoy training, as a hobby as much as for race preparation.  It reminds me how much I use training as my own thinking time (or non-thinking time, as is sometimes more needed).  Sometimes I need my training time not only to keep moving faster, but just to keep moving.

Today we got confirmation of our new apartment in Toronto.  After several search sessions (and anxiety all weekend waiting to hear we were approved – we knew we would be, but the waiting game is still tough) I feel like I can turn a corner.  I can start making plans, knowing we have a new home waiting for us.  I can start getting excited about Toronto.

I can start to look for jogging trails in my new neighborhood.

I can start to look for community centers with pools in my new neighborhood.

I can start to figure out where the hell I’m going to store a bike in 700 square feet of space (I’m going to miss having a house with a basement)!!

I can start looking for a pub for post-training carbs 😉

There are lots of positives to take from this unexpected experience.  My daily drive to work will suddenly disappear – our new home is walking distance to our Toronto office.  Though we had a few great friends in Hamilton, we have more family and friends in Toronto who we will get to catch up with.  And I’m looking forward to a summer in the Big City, with all the pubs and cafes and activities and culture the city has to offer.  I think this will be a good thing for us (if not an expected thing).

We now have 2 1/2 weeks to pack, and purge, and plan, and get the hell out of Hamilton.  It’s going to be busy and anxious and stressful (and will probably continue to wreck my training plans), but once we get there it’s going to work out in the end.



Stuck in Neutral

April 1, 2013 Leave a comment
okay... it's not that bad...

okay… it’s not that bad, for the most part…

I’m sure this image originated from The Simpsons at some point, so I’ll give them credit

It’s now been 8 days since Around The Bay.  I’m kinda stuck in neutral.  I fully intended to give myself a few days off after the race day to recover (and to mentally take time off from training – the mental break is as important as the physical break).  The funny thing about getting off the horse is how tough it can be to get back on.

And that’s not to say I haven’t had any training sessions in the past week – on Wednesday last week I got a good session of swim drills in.  And on Friday last week I did a 5k “fun run” with my wife at a surprisingly brisk pace (aka “her pace”, which is much faster than mine).  That’s nice… but it hasn’t gotten me back into my routine.  Getting off the couch for a workout is easy.  Getting off the couch a second, and third, and fourth time until it becomes routine is tough.

I need a little help getting going – sometimes the best way to do that is to put your plans out in public.  Keeps you accountable (so they tell me).  So that’s what I’m going to do… in case you hadn’t gotten there yet…

Tomorrow’s possibly overly ambitious training plan:

  • 60 second plank first thing in the morning.  Get the heart rate going.  #PlankADay
  • Swim drill before work.  200m warm up; 5 x 100m 2:00 sprints; 100m kick board; 5 x 100m 1:45 sprints; 200m cool down; 5min hot tub
  • Stationary bike session at the gym after work.  2km warm up; 4 x [3km race pace 1km sprint]; 2km cool down
  • Strength Work.  Iron Workout #1 from The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies after my bike work… or at least most of it
  • Stretch after my session.  Must remember to stretch.  Must remember to stretch.  Must not race home…
  • Get home from my day in time for the Blue Jays season opener tomorrow night at 7:00 (Not missing that!! Got the beer in the fridge and the jersey out of the closet already.  Let’s Go Blue Jays!!!)

Wednesday and Thursday my wife and I are taking a little mini vacation to celebrate almost 11 months of marriage (What?  Doesn’t everybody celebrate their 10 3/4 month anniversary with a mid-week vacation?  This seems normal to me).  So my follow up training session is going to have to wait until Friday.  Not sure yet what I’m going to do then – maybe my first brick of the season (can’t believe I’m actually excited about that).  Regardless, it says here I’ll do another post on Friday to keep myself accountable.

Until then, have a great week everybody!  Get up and off the couch!

– DO’G

Around The Bay – Perspective

March 19, 2013 1 comment

Photo from the start line of the 2012 Around The Bay Race

Image from the Around The Bay Facebook page

T-minus 5 days until Race Day.  To say that I’m nervous is an understatement.  I got one last long run in this weekend – a 25k effort that was a lot more painful than I expected it to be.  I feel like I’m playing the waiting game a bit at this point – the anxious waiting game of counting down the days until race day.

Not that I’ve done a lot of races to date (4, to be precise)… but I don’t think I’ve ever been this nervous leading up to a race before.

Okay – I think it’s time for some perspective.  It’s time to remind myself why I’m doing this in the first place…

I’m not a runner – at least I don’t consider myself a runner.  I’m a triathlete.  As a triathlete, I have to run.  And I’m a really lousy runner.  Up until 6 months ago, I would have said I was even scared of running.  Scared I would hurt myself.  Scared I would embarrass myself.  Scared I couldn’t do it.

But I love triathlon and I want to get better.  So this winter I signed up for some running races to make sure I kept running.  In November I ran my first 10k race.  Last month I ran my first Half Marathon.  This coming weekend I’m going to attempt my first 30k.  If nothing else, I’ve accomplished one thing:

I’m no longer afraid of running.

I can do it!  I can run.  Okay – I can’t run fast.  But that will come with time.  I can run.  And after this race, I’m so fucking done with these long runs!  Seriously!  20k+ is insane far!  I know a lot of people like long distance running – I applaud you, and would love to hear your race stories over a beer.  But right now, I need a break from long runs.

After this race it’ll be April (well, close enough).  It’ll be spring.  It’s time to re-focus on the upcoming triathlon season.  It’s time to return to my 5k and 10k runs.  It’s time to start working on my Fast instead of my Far.  I’m actually really looking forward to re-focusing… but first I need to get through this 30k race.

I found this blog post from Simcoe Fitness Seeker courtesy of the Around The Bay Facebook page.  She does a great job of having a little fun with the race, and asks a few fantastic first-time-Bay-racer questions (and props to the first commenter who answered her questions!).  Read it!  It’s Fantastic!!  Reading it is really helping me to calm the race week nerves.  This weekend I’m going to go out and have fun.  I’m going to finish this 30k race.  It’ll be slow, and kinda messy, and I’ll probably hurt a bit after, but I can do it.  I’m not afraid of running.

– DO’G

Waiting for spring

March 4, 2013 Leave a comment
A cheery picture for a Monday, courtesy - as always - from Google images

A cheery picture for a Monday, courtesy – as always – from Google images

I’m finding this winter particularly difficult.  Maybe it’s because last winter was especially mild?  Or maybe it’s because this winter I’m training more (and trying to run outside)?  But it just feels so cold, and so dark, for so long.

I can’t wait for spring.

I can’t wait to step outside and not be instantly uncomfortably cold.

I can’t wait for the sun to rise before I leave for work.

I can’t wait for the ice to melt on the sidewalks.

I can’t wait to stop wearing long johns when I run.

I can’t wait for the sun to break through the everyday grey sky.

I can’t wait for spring!

This weekend’s long run didn’t go well.  It ended a lot earlier than it should have (and not nearly as early as I wanted it to).  I just couldn’t get my muscles to warm up; my legs felt like those concrete drums you drop to the bottom of the lake, weighing me down with every step.  In the end I only did about 10k (and really only 5k of that at any semblance of training effort).  I just couldn’t get warm.

Tonight I got to cheer myself up by firing up the BBQ.  I’m a big believer in year round BBQ.  The snow and cold can’t keep me away.  I feel like it’s my way of bringing warmth, and light, and fire to a cold winter night.  Plus, who can say no to a good rack of ribs?!

Tomorrow evening I’ll take another shot at a long run.  I need to get a few more in before The Bay.  Then, next morning I’m getting on a plane for a ski vacation in Whistler B.C.  I’m looking forward to seeing the extended family and getting away for a few days.  It may be cold, but it won’t be the same cold as home.  It won’t be 5:30am alarms, going to work in the dark, in the cold.  It’ll be adventure and activity.  It’ll be family and friends.  It’ll be the warm I need right now.

And when I get home, it had better be spring.  I can’t wait…

– DO’G


Is February the toughest month?

February 15, 2013 1 comment

FebruaryAlarmimage: Training Peaks

Happy Friday everyone!  Hope you all had a happy Arbitrary-Overly-Commercial-Tell-People-You-Love-Them-Day Valentine’s Day and a great Get-Drunk-and-Eat-Pancakes-Day Mardi Gras!  What a fun week for holidays!

I’m on an email distribution list from a company called Training Peaks (Note: Seriously fantastic training software IMO, if you don’t mind a little cost and an overload of options and information).  They sent me an email titled “Is February the toughest month for athletes?” with the above picture.  I don’t know that I got any further into the email than the title and picture, but it sure got me thinking about how tough February is – in a lot of ways, not just for athletes (although that’s sure where I notice it).

Yesterday I got my morning run in – it was tough as hell, I blame the icy sidewalks and not being 100% recovered from the flu.  Tomorrow I have my long run scheduled.  I went to bed last night thinking I would get up this morning and do a  lazy Active Recovery 5k run this morning.

The picture above reminded me of my morning, as I slapped the alarm off at 6:00am and rolled right over.

February is a funny month – we all come out of the holidays and into the new year with fantastic intentions.  Gym Membership enrollments spike in January – people are determined to keep their resolutions, make changes, get healthy… whatever they resolved to do.  And they even stick to it for a few weeks.

Then February rolls around.  It’s cold.  It’s dark.  We slip into bad habits.  Our resolution-inspired self starts to disappear (along with the money we’re now paying the gym) and laziness starts creeping back.

Sucks, doesn’t it?

I don’t know that I’ve found a good way to fight it yet.  This morning I sure didn’t want to get out of bed to run.  And once I’m out of the training habit – as last week’s vacation led to – getting back in the habit, in February is TOUGH.  I think the trick is to relax a bit – stress less about the downs and take some pride in the ups.  Allow myself to enjoy the breaks when I take them, not feel guilty for missing a workout, but let it refresh me and get at it for the next one.  That doesn’t mean planning extra days off, but listening to the body and taking them when I need them.  Rest days are like “Mental Health” Days Off at work – every now and then you wake up and just need one.  It helps you stay strong in the long run… right?

Have a great long weekend everyone!  Happy Arbitrary-Statutory-Holiday-Because-Holy-Crap-Do-We-Ever-Need-A-Day-Off-In-February-Day Family Day (or for my American Friends, Happy President’s Day, which is a lot less weird than our Family Day)

Is February a tough month for you?  How do you fight it?

Back to life, back to routine

February 13, 2013 1 comment
The cruisin' life

The cruisin’ life.  Not so great for tri training…

I’m really struggling to get back to reality.  After spending a week in the Caribbean Sea, I got back to snowy Ontario late Sunday night, only to work one day on Monday before being hit with a flu.  Go figure – a week on a 3000 person incubator of a cruise ship and I came away with a bug.  My souvenir, I guess.

The cruise was amazing.  7 days of constant sunshine and 25°C+ weather.  Unbelievable.  We had a great mix of active exploration and lazy lounging.  We got to visit 5 islands we hadn’t previously seen (most of which we would go back to in a heartbeat).  I now understand why so many Canadian “snow birds” go south for the winter.  Getting away from the snow was A-MAZE-ING!

But I was ever aware of my training plan (and how everything I did was kicking it in the teeth).  We made it to the gym twice during the week… not a lot, but not nothing.  We took the stairs all week instead of the elevators (our room being on the 2nd floor, and the food/deck/pools being on the 9th-11th floors)… again, not a lot, but not nothing.  I tried to keep somewhat mindful of portion size (I was aware at least, when I was eating copiously large portions at the buffet… seriously – why are the plates at the buffet over a foot in diameter?!?)…

… actually, I really did do nothing to help out my training plan.  But it was a great vacation!  And by the end of it, I’d only put on 6lbs.

So now I’ve been back for three days.  And thanks to the 2-day flu I brought back with me, I haven’t run once.  I have a half marathon in 11 days.  My first half marathon.

Holy Crap!

I had a bit of a freak out moment with my wife tonight, to which she sympathized, then promptly put me in my place.  “Just run” she said.  And she’s right (she’s pretty usually right).  I can’t stress about missed time, or broken training plans, or gained weight, or post-flu muscle weakness, or any other lame excuse that comes up because I’m scared shitless!  I just need to get out and run, and get back into a routine.

11 days.  Here I go.  Back into the routine of a real world.


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Need a kick in the ass

February 1, 2012 Leave a comment

I have not done a workout now in over 3 days.  Not since I swam on Saturday afternoon – I haven’t run a step, nor lifted a weight.  Sunday I planned to run, but it snowed pretty heavy and I got cold and lazy and stayed indoors.  Monday I was in Toronto after work – lots of fun, not so much exercise.  Tuesday I planned to swim, but personal life at home got in the way (although I blame it on the pair of goggles Brigid and I share, which were left in her gym bag at her pool).  Tonight I planned to run, but chores got in the way.

Great intentions, sure, but nobody ever improved their Personal Best time  by intending to train.  Improvements come with hard work.  Sacrifice.  Perseverance.  Or at the very least some work.  Intentions alone aren’t going to cut it.

Tomorrow my intentions are to hit the pool.  I’ll let you all know how it goes (hooray for public accountability).  Friday my intentions are to run – again, I’ll let you know how that goes (although that post may be delayed a bit – the run is scheduled to be followed by a long overdue date night.  Date night > Blog posting).

I don’t want to get down on myself too much.  Sometimes real life does trump training.  I think I still have some work to do in terms of defining my priorities, and where training actually false.  Training > TV shows.  Training < Family time.  But there’s a wide range there in between, and that’s what I’m still hammering out.  Because ultimately our actions speak pretty loudly of our prioritized values (louder sometimes than our words).

Right now, I think my priority is to go to bed.  G’night all!


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