What keeps me rolling.

“So, are you training for something right now?”

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I get this question a lot. Seems a given that you’d be training for something when free time is taken up by staring at a black line at the bottom of a pool or sweating in my garage on a Friday night. I mean, who just does that for fun?

Oh yeah. I do.

Yes, I’m training for something. Again. And always. fullsizerender-6

I promise I’m not totally nuts. I mean, I’m a little nuts, obviously. But not completely.

The truth is, I really enjoy training. I love the racing aspect of sport, I love the fact that I’ve met some of the greatest people through sport but training is part of the package and I legit enjoy sweating my ass off to bad 80s tunes in the garage. I’d rather talk about boys with my friends deep into the forest during a trail run than over coffee at Starbucks. Training is a perfect angst and energy outlet for this introverted extrovert.fullsizerender-10

Endurance sport tends to keep me focused, happy and energized. It makes me a better parent. It keeps my inner narcissist (don’t lie – you have one, too) in check. It keeps me honest.

If my mum were still around, I know she’s roll her eyes, keep watch from a distance and ask me when I’m going to pack it in and “grow up; take up a more recreational pastime (gardening? Reading?) And I have the answer for that: fullsizerender-12

When the fear of getting slower surpasses the fun of trying to go faster.

Does that even make sense?

Even though I’m in my forties, I know that I’m still capable of going faster.

Sidebar: my kids are so confused about my age. Is she 24? 44? Why does it keep changing? Let’s keep them guessing, ok?

fullsizerender-11 I truly believe that every time I set foot on a start line, I’m going to go faster than the last time. And why shouldn’t I? Older doesn’t have to mean slower. I’m smarter (thank the good lord) than I was 15 years ago. I don’t eat like an asshole anymore (most days), and I use the tools and resources I have (like my smarty pants coach) to my advantage as much as possible. Not to mention, I thrive on the challenge of trying to beat myself. fullsizerender-8

So I keep at it, notching little success stories where I can. Thinking of races and challenges I can take on, plotting and scheming how to get there, and get there in one piece.

Let’s face it, Mum. I’ll probably keep doing this even when I start to slow down.

Eventually, I want my kids to get the call from the nursing home that “She’s at it again, racing her walker through the hallways and taunting Mr. Jones in room 204 again. Can you please talk to her?”

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Off to the garage I go!

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Californi-EH

If we are social media pals, you may have noticed that I broke all kinds of posting rules a few weeks ago by bombarding my feed with pictures of Liz and I on a training trip to Sunny Southern California.

The purpose of the trip was two-fold: log some big miles, and race in the hot, hot desert sun at Desert International Tri.

I was going to write up some kind of recap of the week but Liz did a WAY better job than I ever could, and you can read about it here.  I will, however, bombard you with more pictures and my own race report.

Not unlike Liz, my level of caring about this race was hovering somewhere between “F&^ it” and “Can’t I just stay in bed?”, particularly when we got up in the morning, in the desert, to the sound of pouring rain on the roof.  Do you know what rain in the desert after jamming Instagram with pics of sunshine is? This is what it is:

karma

[kahr-muh
noun
1.

Hinduism, Buddhism. action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitableresults, good or bad, either in this life or in a reincarnation: inHinduism one of the means of reaching Brahman.

Compare bhakti (def 1), jnana.
2.

Theosophy. the cosmic principle according to which each person isrewarded or punished in one incarnation according to that person’sdeeds in the previous incarnation.
3.

fate; destiny.

4.

the good or bad emanations felt to be generated by someone or something:

Lets get out of here. This place has bad karma.

So anyway, yeah. It was raining. Hard. Oh well. We hearty Canadians squeezed into wetsuits, high-fived and got it done. Here’s how it went down for me.

Swim: I do believe that while my swim is improving, I still swam like an inebriated eel.  The saving grace is that I got through transition quickly and out on the bike efficiently.

Bike: The bike was totally flat, which usually puts me at a bit of a disadvantage, what with my huge size and all. I much prefer a course that has big hills on which I can pass all those big boys. No matter, I put my head down and pedaled my gradually freezing self to the transition. I didn’t race with a watch or a bike computer, so I didn’t really know where I stood. I just know that no girls passed me, so that was good.

When I got back to transition, lo and behold, there were no other bikes there. Neat! I fumbled to take off my helmet and shoes and off I went with frozen feet and hands.

Run: Also totally flat, also not my fave. I was off in lala-land for most of it, picking people off and focusing on moving my frozen feet. I finally warmed up for the last 3kms, passed Bobby within sight of the finish line (sorry, Bobby!) and managed to win my age group. So yay me!

There was no loitering post-race. We had one mission and one mission only in mind: In n Out burger.
Mission? Accomplished.

 

What would you have done?

This afternoon, I went to the gym for about an hour before picking up the boys from school.  Lately, I’ve not been wearing headphones when I’m there because I can focus a little bit better on what I’m meant to be doing but I suppose the downside to that is that I am privy to every grunt, gripe and conversation around me.

I was minding my own business in one corner as a ‘personal trainer’ was working with a client near me.  The client was a new mother – as evidenced by the new baby in the car seat by her side – and because I heard her say “It’s my second baby”.

I watched out of the corner of my eye as the ‘personal trainer’ guided her through a sees of basic exercises but cringed inwardly at her terrible form.  But, obviously, I said nothing.

Moments later, they pulled a mat to the floor and the client lay down, per the ‘trainer’s’ instructions, to do some ab work.  I continued to watch surrepticiously.  But here’s where I wonder if I should have piped up.

The client/new mom told her ‘trainer’ that her abs had split during her pregnancy.  The ‘trainer’ looked confused and said “what do you mean?”  The client then explained that there was now a sizeable gap in her abs.  The ‘trainer’ bent down, touched her client’s stomach, squealed and then jumped back saying “Ew!”  The client laughed awkwardly.

‘Trainerlady’ then proceeded the lead her through a series of exercises that she clearly couldn’t do.  Her only advice was “make sure you do the same number of reps on each side”.  Shortly after that, the ‘trainer’ signed off the day, telling her client to keep at it and that she’d see her Thursday.

Here’s my dilemma.  I had the same “condition” after each kid.  I have some pretty basic knowledge of what you can and can’t do in that situation.  The fact that this ‘trainer’ had never heard of the condition, let alone what to do with it when training a new mother, made me uneasy and wondering if I should have pulled the client aside after the ‘trainer’ left and given her some friendly, albeit unsolicited, advice.

What would you have done?

Accountability

I consider myself to be a reasonably responsible person.  I’ve kept 3 humans alive for 7 years.  I manage to get myself to work on time most days.  I have yet to drop the dog off at daycare and leave the kids in the backyard.  However, when it comes to being responsible for getting myself into “race shape” – I am stellar at talking myself out of pretty much everything difficult and/or challenging.  If I’m not accountable to anyone but myself, it ain’t gonna happen.  Enter Christine: I’m hoping that by working with her again I’ll re-discover my love of suffering and that she won’t let me off the hook.

Yesterday was day 1 of getting back at it.  I’d sort of forgotten about my love/hate relationship with intervals.  Here’s a glimpse of what went through my mind during the run.

I totally got this.

This sucks.

I only have to do this 8 times?

I can’t believe I have to do this 8 times.

I’m hot.

My hands are cold.

God, I hate this song.

This song is fun!

Uuuunnnngh

Oh good! A downhill.

Yuck.  Downhills.

Having stayed away from speedwork for almost a year, I like to imagine that I look like this:

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The reality is that I looked more like this:

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Guess I’ll keep at it, now that I’m accountable to all (8) of you readers!

Anyone want to join me?