it’s almost easy

I feel insane every single time
I’m asked to compromise
Cause I’m afraid and stuck in my ways
And that’s the way it stays

Thank you, Avenged Sevenfold, for saying it better than I can.

This past week has been mentally challenging for me.  With a build cycle in my triathlon training, lack of sleep, interviews for part time jobs, work, Christmas, missing CrossFit, I just…broke. 

I’ve always been someone who tries to fit everything in.  I don’t want to miss anything so I try to cram everything into my schedule and then I panic and then I shut down. 

So when I shut down this time, I decided to NOT do a 70.3 next year.  I decided to not continue training with my coach.  I decided the easy way was the best way.

After getting a few good nights of sleep, I’ve come to the realization that these hasty decisions are not actually set in stone.  Looking at my schedule for this week in Training Peaks, I’m not looking forward to the rest workouts, and I’m actually craving 2 hours in the pool or 2 hours on the road (not 2 hours on the trainer, though. I have yet to develop a love for that).  My body can handle the heavy load, it’s my mind that needs some rest and training.

So I’m taking this week and embracing the easy.  I’m not going to worry about what I’m going to do next year.  I’m going to be thankful that this is the biggest challenge in my life right now, that I’m blessed enough that trying to find time to swim is the worst problem I have.  I am going to reconnect with friends, and drink wine, and go skiing with my husband.  I’m not going to make any big decisions until my head and my heart are rested and are on the same page.

And I’m going to laugh, especially at this Buddha wearing a Santa hat.  Because that’s just silly.

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It always looks so easy to solve problems by taking the path of least resistance. What looks like the easy road turns out to be the hardest and most cruel.
    –Winston Churchill

Going The Distance–70.3 Miles, In Fact

I’ve been struggling with this blogging thing lately – what to write, what not to write, who the hell even cares other than me (oh and Kyle, one of my CrossFit coaches – there Kyle, I mentioned you, are you happy now?).  I’ve decided to stop caring and to just write – cuz, ya know, that’s something I like to do on occasion.

For those of you who asked for a tutorial for the headbands I’ll try to whip something up this weekend or early next week – stay tuned! My biggest problem is remembering to photograph the steps.  I’ll do it, I promise.

Onto bigger things…

One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is that at the beginning of October I started working with a triathlon coach.  After 2 somewhat successful (in that I didn’t drown) try-a-tri triathlons, I had big goals for next season.  I wanted to start with a try-a-tri, then spend the rest of the season at the next distance, the sprint triathlon. 

Then I changed my mind, and wanted to start at the sprint distance and maybe throw in an Olympic distance race near the end of the season.  Or 2.

And then I went a little crazy…and announced my intention to race a Half Ironman distance triathlon next year. 70.3 miles. 6-8 hours of racing. So much swimming.  Also I use the word race lightly.

I haven’t officially signed up for one yet, because I’m still debating between 3 different races. Syracuse, Racine, and Muskoka.

Syracuse :
Pros:
I know people racing
Not too far away
Lake swim
Cons:
Early in the season (June…will I be ready?)
Could be hot
Could be hilly

Racine
Pros:
Supposed to be a good first 70.3 distance
Supposedly flatish
Lake swim
Cons:
July – could be super hot
Run is a double out and back – that could suck mentally

Muskoka
Pros:

In Canada! haha
Lake swim
Gorgeous scenery
Might know people racing
Cons:
HILLS
Later in the season, can’t necessarily do another if I’m hooked

Tonight I got an email about signing up for Muskoka.  At this point I’m kinda taking it as a sign but I need to sit down and talk to Shawn about it when he gets home from work this weekend.  I’ve heard the hills are brutal, but I’ll have nearly a year to prepare, and it’s close enough I could go up for a weekend or 2 prior to the race and ride the course.

So if ya’ll thought I was nutty before…I’m sure this seals the deal.  I’m still finding it difficult to figure out how to incorporate CrossFit in with my tri training but no worries – I may not be going as often right now but I’m slowly, slowly learning how to get the two to work together. Besides, I’ll need CrossFit to master those MF-ing hills, right?

Which race do you think I should do? Would you ever consider a half or full Ironman?

The One Where I Realize How Much I Suck

Sometimes I forget how far I've come.

I mean, not just about losing weight, although that is still a significant event itself. I mean in terms of my outlook on life, and healthy living, and exercise, and eating. I wouldn't say it's been a complete 180 but definitely close.

18 months ago, I wouldn't have guessed I would be working out as much as I do. I would never have even given a thought to doing a triathlon, let alone 2, let alone getting a coach for next season. If you'd told me that I would fall in love with Olympic lifting I would have stared at you blankly, especially if you'd mentioned the word 'snatch'.

I've been thinking about goals and where I want to go with both CrossFit and triathlons. With tris it's easy – get better. I need to improve all aspects of the sport before I can really truly see what I'm capable of. But regardless I love it just the same, and I know I can get better, and I will.

With CrossFit it's different. I am deeply, unabashedly in love with CrossFit. Without it I know I wouldn't be where I am today, and as cheesy as it sounds it really did change my life. I doubt i would have ever tried running, or triathlons, without the courage and faith in myself that I've developed through CrossFit. Cheesy, sappy, kool-aid driven, whatever – I love it.

So it's hard for me to admit that I suck at it. Now no need to boost my ego by telling me I don't (although telling me I'm awesome will earn you some brownie points) because I know I do. I'm not good at a lot of aspects of CrossFit and I just don't anticipate getting better. I don't improve as quickly as a lot of others at my gym. My times are slower, the weights are lighter, and I really, really am no good at gymnastics movements.

So there's that. It's hard to set goals for things that I'm horrible at. It's not like triathlon, where i know i can improve but have no delusions of ever standing on the podium. I want so badly to be good at CrossFit but I'm just – not. It's hard to sit back and watch others, so easily, do the things that I struggle with on a daily basis.

But then I still have to remember how far I've come.

And I have to remember to stop comparing myself with others.

I need to remember the things I am good at.

But it's hard sometimes, to remember.

 

Exercise Vs. Training–Why do YOU workout?

A conversation I had on Twitter last night kinda got me thinking.

There are plenty of workouts I could do at home – both general and CrossFit WODs, and yet I still choose to pay to attend classes at my gym.  I know I could get an excellent workout at home using bodyweight movements (until I convince Shawn to clean out the garage to make me a gym!). I know I could maintain my weight and save money by working out at home.  So why don’t I?

When I first started this weight loss journey, each workout was to get moving and to burn calories.  Of course I still picked activities I liked – RPM, BodyPump, yoga, running – but the ultimate goal was weight loss.

In the last year this approach to working out has changed.  When I step foot into the gym, or get on my bike or in the pool, I’m not immediately thinking “How many calories will I burn?” Instead, it’s more “How will this workout get me stronger, faster, closer to my goals?”.  I’m more interested in training  rather than exercising

So this is why I choose to still pay monthly to go to a CrossFit gym – I know I could exercise on my own, but I don’t think I could train on my own – I wouldn’t push myself to add weight, fix my form, or do scary things like handstands if I was doing it by myself.  It’s also why, for next season, I will hopefully get a triathlon coach – to help me figure out my weaknesses and to work on those.

Yesterday’s awesome WOD:

5×5 front squats

12 minute AMRAP
10 back squats (95#)
200m run

Front squats were 45 – 55 – 65 – 75 – 95 and then I did 2 at 105 (probably should have done all 5 but I wimped out).  I did the WOD rx’d and got 4 rounds plus 10 more squats. My quads hate me today.

Oh yeah – I also signed up for a CrossFit team competition (or was signed up for one?) yesterday for September 22!! Another reason to train and get after it in the gym the  next month.

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So tell me – do you workout for exercise or are you training? Is there a difference to you?

Subaru Triathlon Series–Niagara Try A Tri

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So yesterday happened. And it was AWESOME!!

17 minute PR, 6 minute PR on the bike leg, and I crossed the finish line grinning like a fool.

But let’s start at the beginning, where all good stories should start.

The Try A Tri started at 1:15pm, which is the latest I have ever had to be at a race start, but meant we didn’t have to be on the road until about 9:30.  I’m a bit obsessive about being early to things, and wanted time to park and figure out registration before having to rack my bike and set up transition.

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We got to Nelles Beach Park just before 11:30, and parking was easy to find and close to the transition area.  As with both of the Subaru Triathlon Series tris I have been to, registration was easy, simple, and so organized.  It took less than 5 minutes to fill out my waiver, get my numbers and my shirt and be on my way.  I staked out a spot on a rack in my age group, set up transition, and then waited for 1:15.

This time it was a lot easier to figure out the run up from the swim/bike out and bike in/run out areas.  The swim was a point-to-point, and started 375m down the beach from the transition area.  At about 10 to 1 Shawn and I started the trek down the beach towards the swim start.

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Swim 10:27

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This was my first time swimming in Lake Ontario, and that fact in and of itself really creeped me out, but I tried not to think about it (or swallow any water, either).  The water temp was cool, but more refreshing than frigid, and it was nice to see that I was in the majority with my lack of wetsuit.
The swim was along the shoreline, and shallow enough that I could touch the bottom at any point.  This was both good and bad, because as I started swimming I kept running into people that would suddenly put the breaks on and stand up, or people that were walking.  The good part was that this time, instead of hanging onto a kayak for a break, I could just get out of the way and stand for a bit.  I know that this is what saved me a lot of time on the swim.

Bike 26:46

Transition went smoothly, and then it was time to bike!  The bike had been my happy place in my first tri, and I expected it to be the same this time. Yeah, no.
It felt like my back brakes were on the entire ride– the whole bike portion was a struggle.  Also the description “flat as a pancake” was most definitely not accurate.
Near the 5km turnaround I started to play the “who can I pass” game.  Not only did it help me mentally, but I think in the end it helped me push harder (and ultimately go faster) as I picked people off on the way back to transition.

Run 19:18

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Run was uphill for the first 1km, on trails in the woods for 500m, then downhill for the last 1km.  This is where I sucked – slower than last time, but my legs were completely trashed from the swim and bike. I got the same weird cramp at the top of my left calf as I did on the bike previously, and basically I have no real excuse for why my run was crap.

I finished in 1:00:26, a freaking 17 minute improvement over my first Try A Tri. 

What I Learned

So let me preface this section by saying that I really didn’t do that much training for this race.  I did not ride my bike any distances since June 16 (only did some bike handling with the tri club) but I credit my improvement to the horrific magic that is the prowler.  I did some open water swims, and some pool swims, but clearly not enough.  It’s ironic that the part I trained most for, the run, is the one I sucked the most on.  But running is all mental for me, and I can talk myself out of running SO easily.  I need to get over that. So:

- I need to take swim lessons and spend way more time in the pool
- I need to practice running off the bike so that I’m used to running on tired legs (or just run more after doing 100000 deadlifts?)
- I need to get OUT OF MY OWN HEAD on the run and just RUN.
- Bike shorts are a must. Non negotiable. I will be buying these ASAP
- New bike before next year’s season starts

All in all, this race was a success.  I got over my fear of open water swimming, I kicked my own ass on the bike, and I actually PR’d by 10 minutes more than I expected.  I can’t believe it took me this long to find triathlons, and I’m looking forward to training over the winter for next season!

Running Errands (Literally)

(Did you know Rock The Dogs has a Facebook page now? I’d love it if you hopped on over and “liked” it! )

I’m doing my best to pretend I don’t have a race on Sunday. A triathlon. And that I still can’t swim to save my life (that’s a lie – I can save my life, just not swim efficiently or effectively or fast or, or, or…)

Last Friday I was supposed to do a long run of 6km, but I woke up in the middle of the night with excruciating stomach pains. They finally went away midday, so I headed to CrossFit for the 4pm class. The WOD was brutal:

1km run
50 bench press
25 back squat
1km row

I managed the run in 6:03 which I was pretty happy with, given how hot it was and how much I suck at running lately. I did the bench presses at 45# and the squats at 115#. It took around 23 minutes I think.

By the evening my stomach hurt again – I’d even laced up and gone outside to run, but didn’t think I could risk it.

The long weekend happened (I worked), and on Wednesday morning I met up with fellow FitApproach #sweatpink Ambassador Michelle of Push.Pump.Progress for a hilly trail run! It was neat exploring a new area and meeting a new friend, and the hills were ridiculous.

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Wednesday afternoon at CrossFit we did the WOD that I am STILL feeling today:

Every Minute On the Minute
10 deadlifts
100m row penalty for not getting 10 in a minute

I started off with the prescribed weight of 135#, but by the 5th or 6th minute my legs were BURNING and I just couldn’t continue at that weight.  We switched plates and I finished with 115#.  I love deadlifts, but not 100 in 10 minutes. (And I had to row 200m after, too).

And now it’s Friday and my hamstrings and glutes are still in some serious pain from that workout.  It made my long run this morning pretty difficult.

I had 8km planned for today, and the forecast was calling for thunderstorms.  I had gotten permission from a friend I’m cat sitting for to use her treadmill, but when by noon the rain still hadn’t shown up I decided to combine errands and running, and run the 4km to my friend’s house, check on the cats, and run home for a combined distance of 8km.

I gotta say that it was a lot more fun to run with a destination in mind.  I don’t really like out and backs as much as I like loops, or even better, point to point.  My run felt like it had a purpose beyond just covering the 8km.

My screaming hamstrings and glutes made my pace a lot slower than I’d intended, and led to some walking up hills, but overall I was pretty happy to be out running the longest run since my injury in March.

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Tomorrow is Fight Gone Bad at the gym – we are doing it as a fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. At this point I don’t think I’ll be participating, as I’m sore AND have a race on Sunday, but I’ll bring my gym clothes with me, just in case.  In either case there will be lots of pictures and a recap next week!

Have a great weekend!

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Have you ever “run” errands before?
Anyone else racing this weekend?

Training Tuesday

No, I didn’t forget the “Tri” (and yes I’m still doing it – August 12!) but yesterday marked Day 1 of Week 1 of Half Marathon training.

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My first #brilliantrun – more on that next week!

I’m hoping this time my knee will hold up and I won’t have any issues with runner’s knee or my IT band.  I plan on foam rolling A LOT.

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My physical therapist. Look at that steely look he’s giving me. “Get to work!”

To keep my knee and cranky ITB happy, I’ve modified the CrossFit Endurance training plan to suit my own needs.  I will be doing 2 CFE workouts during the week (1 short intervals, 1 long intervals) and then will continue doing my long runs once a week.  This way my weekly mileage will stay lower, I will get a bit faster (I hope) but I’ll still get in the long runs I love and need.  My longest run will also only be 17km (although I think I have it twice on my training schedule), which is also the longest run I got in when I was training over the winter.

This week’s schedule:

Monday
CrossFit
CFE: 10 rounds, 1 minute on, 1 minute off (did 2.3km in 20 min)

Tuesday
CrossFit or OFF

Wednesday
Open Water Swim
CFE: 5 min on, 2:30 off, 6 min on, 3 off, 7 minutes on

Thursday
Lane Swim
CrossFit

Friday
4km LSD
CrossFit

It’s busy but that’s the way I like it! As usual things may change – I hurt my back on the weekend so might take it easy on the CrossFit workouts this week.  I’ll see how it goes on a day to day basis.

Let the training begin!

Tri Training Tuesday & Weekend Recap

It was a long weekend here in Canada, so I spent Saturday and Sunday at the cottage.  The dogs were busy (sunbathing and sleeping).

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On Monday we went and saw the movie ‘Ted”,  which was both hilarious and heart warming.  I loved the little inside “Family Guy” jokes that were thrown in there as well.  It was a lot of fun!

Onto the training – week one in the books!

As I said before, I did a track training work out last Monday, and open water swim on Wednesday.  I also finally made my return to CrossFit after this wicked illness, and had 2 good WODs on Friday and Saturday.

Saturday’s workout was brutal though.  It was really hot out, and we did the workout in the parking lot.  I felt faint for a lot of the workout, so opted to just go slower and take more breaks.  This was the workout:

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We did 135# for the prowler pushes, and 15# for the ball slams.  I ended up doing air squats for the last 3 rounds.  My hamstrings were so sore on Sunday – the prowler is no joke!

This week’s training looks something like this:

Monday – CrossFit
Tuesday – CrossFit/Yoga
Wednesday – CrossFit/Swim
Thursday – Bike/Run (Maybe CrossFit)
Friday – Swim/CrossFit

I work this weekend so there will be no workouts scheduled, so I gotta cram everything in to the 5 days this week. 

As for swimming I’m hoping to build endurance in the pool, so that the distance is less daunting for me next time (since the open water part will be taken care of with the tri club).  I found this workout online and will be using it both times I swim this week:

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Alas, no tri club for me this week at all – there was no practice last night due to the Canada Day holiday, and I work Wednesday night this week and Saturday so I miss both open water swims.  I’ll make up for it next week though, since I can go to both swims (Wednesdays are just swimming, while Saturdays are swim/bike). 

I hope all my Canadian friends had a great holiday weekend, and I hope my American friends enjoy their 4th of July holiday!

Half Marathon Madness (Or, How I Took A Week Off and Survived)

For the record, I do not like being sick.

It has been a week since I have done any sort of physical activity other then turning NetFlix on to watch Lost (I did have to go to work but that was unavoidable).  This cold took me down hard, and instead of fighting it and pushing through it, I decided to give in to what my body was requesting – rest.

I took the self imposed week off and decided to finally come up with a half marathon training plan (don’t worry, it didn’t really take me a week to figure it all out).  The plan is a lot more complicated now, since it starts midway through July when I’ll still be training for my second triathlon.  

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I plan on running 3 days a week, and using the track day of tri training with the triathlon club as one of these days.  I’m going to use a hybrid CrossFit Endurance plan – I believe I need the distances that long runs will provide, but don’t want to have crazy mileage each week, so my other midweek run will be one of the CFE workouts.  2 shorter, high intensity workouts and 1 LSD.  Experimenting is FUN.

I’m not 100% recovered from the Illness of 2012, but I’m well on my way, so tonight will be my first foray into tri training with the triathlon club.  Bike and run tonight, open water swim on Wednesday. It’s time to get back on the training wagon – August 12 will be here before I know it!

Do you workout when sick? How do you know it’s time to rest instead of pushing through?

Tri Training Tuesday–Wait, What?

Yup, you read that right – I’ll be training for the next 8 weeks for the Niagara Try A Tri on August 12.  Oh yeah, while training for my half marathon, too.

I’m signing up with our local triathlon club and joining them tomorrow night for an open water swim.  They meet 2-3 times a week, once for track night (running and biking), once for the swim and then once for either a long bike ride or swim and bike.  I hope that the open water swims will help me prepare better for the swim portion of the Try A Tri.  Of course I’ll be putting in time at the indoor pool as well – the more swimming, the better!

I took yesterday off from everything and had an easy day at home, cleaning and getting things done around the house.  Today might turn into another rest day as I’m developing a cold (I think my body is protesting how much water I inhaled on Saturday) but I WILL be in the water tomorrow night.  It’s going to be something like 42C with the humidity here in Southern Ontario and swimming will be awesome in that heat.

So here we go again!

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