Sound bites of summer

“Dropping in!” (can refer to anything from trampoline time, bike rides and hurling one’s self off the top bunk).

“Mom! Watch me!” (can refer to anything from trampoline time, bike rides and hurling one’s self off the top bunk, and let’s not forget everyone’s favourite: handstands in the shallow end).

“HEY! Don’t touch my XYZ!” (any child at any given moment referring to any given thing).

“Can I have a freezie?” Rinse and repeat.

“Aw, do I have to?” (refers almost exclusively to showering).

“Can I have something to eat?” (why, why, why are they always so HUNGRY?)

“Have you seen my XYZ?” (refers to everything, including the clothes they are currently wearing.)

Parents, do you feel me?

#summer.

Consistently inconsistent

I mentioned this briefly in my last post.

Has anyone seen my giddy-up? You’d think that with a break in racing and structured training, I’d be raring to go. Seems I work the opposite way: the less I do, the easier it gets to skip the next workout. The more consistent I am, the more consistent I want to be.

**Noted: same goes for blogging. Or keeping the house clean. Or getting work done. Yeesh!

Lately, every time I make up mind to get back to it, in some way, I get jolted into some stupid stop-start routine. Typically, it’s about 4 days of training followed by 4-5 days of travel/work/etc. that wipe away any progress made whatsoever. It doesn’t help that my drive is driven (see what I did there?) mostly by incentive (races, adventures, etc.) With nothing on the calendar to give me a kick in the pants, it was too easy to kick back and do nothing.

Also? Event food is the worst when you are tired and will power is at level nil #allthecandy.

Therefore, I can summarize training this summer as consistently inconsistent.

My options were: continue to try to get my act together without a looming race (success level: negligible), or sign up and have a race loom (success level: TBD).

So it’s a trip back to Texas for me. It fits the work schedule and it’s far enough away that the looming isn’t so… loomy.

Onwards.

I hear the roads in Austin are bumpy. Getting a head start.
I hear the roads in Austin are bumpy. Getting a head start.

 

Summer snippets

It’s Monday. A holiday in the USA. Technically, a work day for me. The house is messy, my inbox is overwhelming me and deadlines loom.

Kids are running wild, shooting cap guns and refusing to eat the healthy snacks I put out, instead choosing to subsist on freezies and crackers.

I realized the other day that I had completely dropped the ball on summer camp registrations, and now I’m staring down a summer of kids using this house as base camp for all manner of adventures sprinkled with statements of “I’m bored”.

I honestly have no idea how parents find the time or the inclination to helicopter parent.

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Summer got me like…

Since April, and the last race I did, all motivation to train and be fit and put in the work required to do well at the exercise contests I am so fond of evades me.  Life gets in the way, excuses become too easy to concoct and the reality is that I need a carrot at the end of the proverbial stick to get myself going. Doesn’t help that my training buddies are just as busy with life as I am (I hate the “I’m busy” excuse, but we’re all prone to it) and one of them is baking a new bébé.

So I’ve taken to scouring the race calendar and trying to entice friends to sign up with me. Beware friends, my powers of persuasion will soon be turned on you…

Oh. Wait. I did another race. The Test of Metal ended it’s 21 year reign and I felt an obligation to take part. Was I undertrained? You bet. Did I not want to do it one bit when I woke up? 100%.

I changed my attitude on the start line and ended up having a ball. Truly. 4.5 hours of muddy good times. I won’t lie: I’m proud of myself for that one.

This morning, I was up at 5:30, per usual. Will woke a full 5 hours later. Is 10 the new 16?

I am not ready for this.

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I’m jealous.

I have a deep, unabashed affection for summer beach reads. Anyone in the internets have any suggestions? I just finished House of Wives and Engaged. Both highly entertaining reads.

Does anyone else feel like summer break totally snuck up on them this year? I survive by repeating my motherhood mantra:

Fake it till you make it.

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Invictus Games 2016

Snippets from my 2 weeks at Invictus Orlando:

Days were long, hot, sweaty, stressful, tiring, a mad rush, long waits, flurries of activity. I was alternately elated and frustrated, buzzing with energy and exhausted. But the Invictus Games were nothing short of inspiring and gave me a whole new level of perspective. Many of these men and women shouldn’t be alive, let alone smashing themselves in wheelchair rugby or diving into that beautiful pool. 

I saw an alligator. Granted, it was from the comfort of a car going 100km/h, but now I know how tourists feel when they come to Whistler and see a bear. There was squealing.

Mickey rules all in Orlando. Including the food.

“Are you Nick’s sister?” I hear this a lot. Games gypsies are a small family. Nick led the way for me. Working these types of events allows me to meet people from all over the world and make life-long connections. Best of all, my crew was made up of 2 of my most favourite people. The late-night giggles and inside jokes were all-time.

Volunteers make the world go ’round.

Yes, I met Prince Harry. The “he’s royalty” factor wears off pretty quickly when he admits to being just another ginger suffering in the sun. His dedication to these athletes and hands-on approach was admirable and unexpected.

We invented a new game called “Spot the Secret Service”. We thought we were pretty good at it. We probably have no idea what we are talking about.

We met a Harry Stalker. That was something.

I loved how family-driven this event was. Each athlete was invited to bring along 2 or 3 supporters with them. It added a completely different dimension to the Games.

The best part of being away and working myself into the ground for 2 weeks is coming home to cuddles and hugs from my people.

Invictus Toronto 2017?

Orlando OUT #boom.
Orlando OUT #boom.

 

In defence of average.

A few weeks ago, I wrapped an event that held a whole new component for me:

Parents.

And not just any parents. We’re talking hyper-competitive, overbearing, over thinking, call-you-16-times-a-day parents. Parents that make triathletes look like acquiescent kittens. Parents of – wait for it – 12 year old athletes. 12 year olds who are meant to be participating and enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 12 year olds who are not, let’s be perfectly clear, destined to be Olympians.

No fun was had during this bike ride.
No fun was had during this bike ride.

Parents who seem to have forgotten what it’s like for kids to have fun.

To be fair, I probably only remember the bad ones; after all, they are the ones who make the most noise, demand the most attention and make the most waves. The good ones step up, help out and just plain old, get-the-job-done. The good ones quietly support their kids, no matter what. A quick hug, a pep-talk when needed: those are the parents I strive to emulate.

Our kind of perfection
Our kind of perfection

 

What I witnessed still boggles my mind. A father who flew out private coaches for their child; a mom who broke down in tears over her child’s seemingly poor performance. I wanted to walk up and shake them and say:

GET SOME PERSPECTIVE.

Which brings me to my whole point. I think we’ve forgotten that sometimes, it’s completely ok to be “average”. Why do all our kids need to be the next great thing?

As a mom of 3, it’s taken me a while to come around to this point of view, but since then, it’s one I totally embrace.

You know what? I’m pretty certain we aren’t raising the next Cam McCaul or the next Katie Ledecky.

There's love here.
There’s love here.

And that’s perfectly, 100% ok with me.

My kids are happy to be good at what they love, to dabble in lots of different things, be lazy when they are tired, be creative if the mood strikes, to climb trees and skip homework and to be kids. 

Simple, average kids.

Will I discourage them if they show interest in high-performance anything (sport is just one facet of life, let’s be perfectly clear)?

No. I will support them to the best of my ability. Will I encourage them to try new things and get out of their comfort zones? Always.

To be clear: in no way do I discourage competition (wouldn’t that be ironic, given that my favourite thing to do is race). After all, it seems like everything is a competition in this house. And generally, it’s healthy competition.

However, I’ll only push so far. I want them to have the opportunities to find what they love; to make mistakes and to fail; to conquer fears and test their boundaries and to figure out that, sometimes, being average at whatever they try is ok.

Guess how many targets he hit? Zero is a good start.
Guess how many targets he hit? Zero is a good start.

And if being so-called average means being happy, healthy and satisfied, sign me up. I’m all in.

Let's face it; sometimes it's about how you look!
Let’s face it; sometimes it’s about how you look!

Texas 70.3: my report card

I’m having a hard time coming up with anything truly interesting to say about this race. Let’s face it: race reports are boring. So instead, since it was report card season for the kids right before I left, I’ll grade the experience.  Imagine this read in the voice of your grade 9 math teacher.

Pre-race

While Christine generally exhibits good pre-race planning and preparation, she seemed to treat Texas 70.3 as a university final. One for which it was appropriate to “cram” and/or “party all night long the night before”. By cram, we mean “pack the day before flying without a checklist” and by party all night long we mean “work a super high-stress event and neglect sleep, nutrition and training” for 8 days.

Unfortunately, this also meant that Christine was peppering her pre-race talk with pre-emptive excuses, making her “that asshole”. She can do better.

Actual pep-talk from coach.
Actual pep-talk from coach.

Grade: C+

Travel + Texas

Christine was able to use her web surfing prowess to secure a beach view Air BnB (which did not have a working coffee maker or cutting board, but whatever) and comfortable air travel while skirting bike fees. However, she failed to read the Athlete Manual and was that idiot who showed up at the race venue looking to swim… at a venue that was clearly closed.

Regardless, beach swims trump lagoon swims. Therefore:

Grade: B+

Race day

Christine flat out refuses to get up at 4:something, so the alarm was set for 5:01AM. She was able to choke down coffee, oatmeal and other flavourless foods and accompany friends/roommates to the venue with little fanfare. She also, apparently, harshly shut down the stranger trying to make small talk (unbeknownst to her). She then forgot her wetsuit in the car parked miles away, earning her extra warm up time.

Grade: A (because no one likes early morning chit chat).

Poor Carlos can't even touch the ground.
Poor Carlos can’t even touch the ground.

Swim

Christine tends to treat the swim as though it’s some kind of leisure activity. This is not an acceptable way to begin a race. Therefore, her esteemed coach told her to get her butt in gear and focus; which we believe she did, sorta. She successfully swam over people, as well. While still molasses-uphill-in-January-slow, it’s believed her work in the pool is paying off. Somewhat.

Grade: B-

What you get when you race a lot.
What you get when you race a lot.

Bike

Christine really loves to ride her bike, and it is evidenced by the fact that she passed roughly a billion people.

Grade: A

 

I actually said this to myself many, many times.
I actually said this to myself many, many times.

Run

Christine learned the hard way that 8 runs in 6 weeks does not a good half-marathon make.

Grade: C

Finish line

Christine looked skyward as she crossed the line as if she’s been through war, not some catered exercise contest. Next time, she should try harder to look presentable.

Overall, Christine earned a solid B on this race due to the fact that she was able to earn a 4 minute PB. Surprisingly, 8 days of pre-race slacking does not completely negate some solid months of training. Therefore, Christine is encouraged to continue on in this silly sport and should look for another race to do.

The end.

I feel like I beat the Blerch.
I feel like I beat the Blerch.

By the numbers:

Texas: 4000km away from Pemberton

Swim: 38:15   Bike: 2:40    Run: 1:54

Total: 5:15:54

Fake it till you make it.

I’m 5 days post-event, that event being one of the bigger projects that I have worked on in recent memory.

I also happen to be 2 days pre-race, that race being my first 70.3 of 2016, here in Galveston, Texas.

That right there demonstrates my excellent time management skills.

Editor’s note: “First 70.3” implies there are others coming up. That is not the case. I have not planned beyond Sunday, 1:30PM, at which point I will be at Sonic Burger.

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Doesn’t this stunning post-nap self portrait scream “Let’s do this!”

In a nutshell, I’m pretty tired.

But, *shrug*, that’s ok. I’m here to have fun. Swimming and biking have been going well, and running hasn’t been going anywhere until the last 2 weeks (I seem to have gotten on top of this stupid knee pain and can shuffle again).

Everything came to a screeching halt 10 days ago when work took precedence over play. So it was time for some race goal re-evaluation: don’t freak on the swim, crank the bike, survive the run.

I mean, how much fitness can you lose in a week, anyway?

Well, let’s just wait and see!