Wednesday, February 25, 2015

an evening of discoveries

One might say that I had an eventful evening yesterday...

Got home from work a little later than usual. Found that the postman had left us a couple boxes on the front steps. Running goodies from Left Lane Sports (new Smartwool socks! gotta have woolies for winter running this year). And a box full of 1oz packets of maple syrup from Slopeside Syrup (who needs synthetic goo when you can have all natural and delicious tree juice?!)

Found a dead raccoon by the shed while replenishing the bird feeders. Poor little guy... I knew he was around. He's been getting into the bird seed, and the compost. And while I didn't want to have him hanging about the place, driving the dogs to distraction... I certainly wished him no harm. So, had a little moment of horror, nausea and sadness, and then had to dispose of his body.

Took Remsen for a high speed 1.5 mile hike/ jog/ fall all over the place on the ice...When walking on ice, it can be hard enough to stay upright on the ice on one's own, but with an 80 pound dog (with a low centre of gravity and high level of torque) pulling enthusiastically... it can be quite the adventure!

Maya and Lando were much more sedate... happy to be out walking and socializing.

Had a quick bite to eat, and then headed once again to the pool. Swimming lessons (not coached by TNT, but by an instructor at my local pool) started last night. Even though I can tell that I am improving weekly, I thought that some additional instruction on the nights that I'm scheduled to swim on my own anyway couldn't hurt.

Let's just say, the first lesson was a bit of a disappointment. I was expecting structure and instruction... but didn't really get it.

What was NOT disappointing, however, was the maple syrup. Ran for 30 minutes on the treadmill and then had a shot before hitting the pool. It was delicious. And kept my energy levels up for the full hour of swimming.  Huzzah!!

Monday, February 23, 2015

she made it look like dancing

so, I went to the gym to ride the bike this evening... but there was a Zumba class just starting right next door, and it looked like fun.

man, am I white!

and 40-something!

those moves just aren't in my repertoire...

I tell you what though... when I wasn't flailing about, facing the opposite direction from everybody else, and laughing at my own attempts at booty shaking... the instructor had us do a LOT of squats and ab work, and made it look like dancing.

After an hour of that, I got on the bike.... felt good. Felt stable. Felt familiar.... but, kind of boring.

So, I'll Zumba again next week... why not? If I can learn to swim, I can learn to Zumba... there's no drowning in Zumba.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Welcome to the Hive

As anyone who has ever run with me knows... I love Honey Stinger chews. A lot. Especially the Cherry Blossom and Orange Blossom ones.

the "fuel" shelf in my pantry

It took me a long time to find an energy product that didn't either make me gag (due to taste or consistency) or upset my stomach. I like honey. I like to eat natural products with ingredients I can pronounce. I like to eat organic whenever I am able. But most of all I actually enjoy the taste and texture of Honey Stinger chews.

So, when I saw that Honey Stinger had put out a call for athletes seeking sponsorship for 2015, I thought I'd give it a shot. I may not be a high level athlete... but I've been getting myself out there quite a bit in recent years, and show no sign of stopping any time soon... why shouldn't I try for sponsorship?!!!

A few hours later, this arrives in my inbox...

Woo! My Honey Stinger addiction is now being subsidized. How about that??

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

at last, snow!

these deer were out on our road during our drive to work this morning, eating salt...

I am an unabashed lover of winter... but, real winter... with snow. None of this grey and chilly for 3 months nonsense. Give me mountains of snow!!

This morning when I let the dogs out at 5:17, I braced myself for the cold... but the winds of the last few days have finally dropped. There are about six lovely, soft and hushed inches of snow covering everything I could see, and my heart started singing!

Maya and Remy had a good old race and romp about the back yard... kicking up clouds of snow. And I broke out the shovel and cleared the deck, in my slippers and bathrobe.

There are lots of closures this morning, and the roads were not great. But, I tell you what... if the pool is closed this evening and I miss swim practice... Remy and I are going for a long and snowy run tonight. And that won't make me sad at all.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

reason #1 that i run and fundraise to find a cure for cancer

You may recall that a few weeks back, I wrote about the 26 reasons I continue to run with Team In Training, and fundraise to help find a cure for cancer.

Reason #1 was my mom... in part because I ran my first half marathon with her, in part because she continues to be my greatest supporter/cheerleader in all my running endeavors... and in part because she was diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma in  2013 (that is, cancer of the eye).

She had a series of surgeries to remove the cancer and then reconstruct the eye in 2013 and 2014. Last week she had to go back under the knife (which she could see with the eye they were operating on, while they were operating on it! just imagining that makes me feel a little nauseated...) to remove several more discolored areas on the eye ball that were causing concern, and a dark growth on one eyelid.  We are still waiting on the biopsy results...

I spoke with my mom this morning and she's in good spirits. A week after the surgery she says that she's no longer in pain... it just feels like someone threw a handful of sand and bees into her eye.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

care package!

ti-training care package compliments of Crank Bike Shoppe, in Brockville Ontario

I received my first ever triathlon training care package in the mail today. Huzzah! First, I love getting mail! Second, did you see the socks?!! This was from an old friend, who I've not seen since the late 1990s... what a treat to hear from him.

If you're ever in Brockville, go check out his shop (or shoppe!) and say hi to Scott for me.

Monday, February 9, 2015

triathlon training schedule for this week

I may have mentioned last week that I was feeling a little overwhelmed...

After last night's swim practice, I'm feeling a little better. I think it's just a matter of finding a routine, and I can do that. (i think i can, i think i can...)

For those of you who (like me 9 days ago) are not familiar with what the early days of training for an Olympic distance triathlon looks like, here is my schedule for this week:

  • 30 minutes cycling
  • 20 minutes strength training
  • 25 minutes running
  • 30 minutes swimming   
  • 35 minute cycling
  • 20 minutes strength training
  • 30 minutes running
  • 60 minutes swimming
  • 40 minutes running
  • 30 minutes running
  • 60 minutes swimming

Exciting, no?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Snuggie Bar Crawl & Scavenger Hunt - Success!

Well, what a hoot this evening turned out to be... 4 bars, approximately 50 people dressed in snuggies, looking for clues and collecting donations for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society... everyone had a laugh, most people had a few beverages... and we raised over $1100 for LLS.

I call that a complete success!

let us pause for a moment of celebration!

Last night, thanks to the very generous donation of my friend Melody, I reached a milestone goal... I have now raised over $15,000 for LLS (since I started fundraising for the 2009 Shamrock Marathon).

So I'd like to take a moment to celebrate the generosity of my friends and family. You made this possible!

And I am so grateful for your support.

New milestone goal... $20,000! Who's with me??

Friday, February 6, 2015

sweet treat for your sweetheart?

Looking for a little sweet treat for your Valentine? How about breakfast in bed with some homemade jam (or marmalade)??

Ask me about available flavours and sizes... yours for a donation to my fundraising!!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Update on Reason #4 that I train with TNT

You may recall a few weeks back that I wrote about Reason #4 (out of 26) that I was training to run a marathon...

Well, Brandon will be starting radiation therapy today.

I am dedicating each and every one of my up-coming panic attacks, near drownings, and celebrations of finally making it to the other side of the pool tonight to him.

If I am being completely honest with you here (and I do try to be), I have been asking myself all week WTF I was thinking in signing up to train for a triathlon with Team In Training. I truly did not comprehend the profound change in lifestyle that this was going to entail. But in my many moments of apprehension and doubt... I keep reminding myself that this is about so much more than me. Am I doing this because I want to challenge myself? Yes. Am I doing it to prove to myself that I can? Yes... Am I afraid that I might fail? Yes!!  But more importantly, I am training for a triathlon with Team In Training because I believe in the mission of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Brandon is a two time survivor. He is starting treatment today for a third time... and he is going to be a three time survivor because progress in treatment options and efficacy is being made. And it is being made possible in no small part because of research grants funded by LLS. Which means funded by you and I and everyone else who makes a donation to LLS.

If you've got a moment... please think of Brandon today, send him some healing energy or positive vibes, say a prayer for him, etc.

And if you've got a few dollars to spare, please make a donation to LLS (by clicking on the link to my fundraising page)... so that we can continue to provide the Brandons of the world more options, better treatment, and continued support in their struggles to survive, get well and thrive in their lives after cancer.

thanks in advance...

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

let me dazzle you with my amazing sense of style

I am a big proponent of wool socks... Canadian winters make them a necessity, and I still love them even though it never really gets that cold here in Virginia.

So, today I was wearing wool socks in my dress shoes. Not that anyone would know because my dress shoes are not Birkenstocks, and because my trousers are modest enough to cover my ankles.

When I got home from work this evening I did the usual scramble to tend to all the animal needs (food, water, exercise, shelter, etc)... make a quick dinner, and throw my gym gear into a bag before heading to the gym for our scheduled training ride.

When I got to the gym and opened my bag, I realized I had left my gym shoes by the front door.

What else could I do? I just got on the bike and dazzled them all with my gym fashion... cycling shorts, blue and green wool socks, and dress shoes.

"pictures, or it never happened!" the Facebook crowd said... and so, here it is:

unexpected results of triathlon training

Is it just me, or does anyone else wake up at 3 in the morning because they're so hungry?

I don't normally wake up for anything other than the alarm (or the sound of any of my dogs scratching to go out)... but twice this week I've had to force myself to go back to sleep after waking up hungry. I think it's the evening swimming... I have been snacking a little after evening workouts, but I don't want to eat a lot right before bed.

My schedule is all out of whack!

The problem is, I don't normally work out in the evenings when I am marathon training... and when I do, I typically run with one or more of the dogs. Effectively killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. I also used to have only two dogs, so running with one, and having a cool down walk with the other meant all three of us got the exercise we needed. And, when marathon training, I was running at best two evenings mid week, and two weekend mornings. That left plenty of evenings at home to maintain my home, etc.

Now, with three dogs to walk (two of whom don't like each other much, and anyway 200 pounds worth of dog is too much for me to handle at one time)... and with swimming or biking AND running in the evenings, I now find my entire evening is consumed with exercising either myself or my beasts!

I know lots of my teammates are scheduling their workouts in the mornings... I've thought about that. But, I already struggle to get up at 5:20 every day for work. Can't imagine getting up at 4:30 to workout... The gym and pool aren't even open at that time.

What do you think? Is it just a matter of giving it some time to get into a routine? Or do all triathletes find their training impinges upon the rest of their other daily activities?

Am I whinging a lot these last few days? I feel like I'm whinging... It's not that I'm not excited to be trying something new. I WILL rise to this challenge. It's just that it's very immediately more of a challenge than I had mentally prepared myself for.

I am up for the challenge. I am up for the challenge. I am up for the challenge. I am up......

UPDATE:  Thanks to Anonymous for the generous donation this afternoon!! Thank you for getting us one step closer to finding a cure for blood cancers.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

sad face after swim practice number two

you know that feeling when you decide to try something new... but that means you don't have as much time to do the things you used to do... and you're competent at the things you used to do but you really suck at the new things you're trying to do... and you kind of wish you could just go back to being happy doing the things you used to do?

that's how i'm feeling.

i'm so useless in the pool :(

obstacles to training as scheduled

I borrowed a trainer for my bike from a friend last weekend, and thought I had solved my "bike training in winter" problems.

Last night's workout was supposed to be 25 minutes of riding. So, I put on my bike shorts, set up the trainer and then tried to affix my bike to it... and, it won't work with my bike. At least, not without purchasing an adapter for my bike such that it will work in this particular trainer.


Three days into training and I've already missed a workout. Tomorrow's ride will have to take place at the gym, which I am fortunate enough to be able to go to, but which is certainly not as convenient (or as appealing) as riding in my living room.

This weekend, I will track down the necessary adapter. I am already feeling a little overwhelmed by the actuality of 6 days a week training, and at least 3 evenings a week away from home (at the pool).  So, removing any excuses or other impediments to doing my training is my best plan of attack.

When marathon training, I know that if I do all the scheduled weekly training, I will finish strong and probably have a good race time. But I also know I can get through the marathon without doing ALL of the training. Which, let's face it, is what happened last season with RNR NOLA training.

I can't do that now. I'm not a strong cyclist, and I'm a terrible swimmer... and the only way to change that is to do ALL of the training.

And so... I shall endeavor to do all of the training. Starting tonight with my first "on my own" swim practice (which I'm kind of dreading).

**claps hands, throws them in the air and shouts "YES!!"**

Monday, February 2, 2015

got the evening workout blues

There is something that I was not worried about regarding team swim practices, that I'm now a little concerned about... no, it's not the humiliation of being in a bathing suit in public, and it's not that my skin will be painfully dry and itchy from the chlorine, and it's not that I forgot to bring flip flops for the pool and am now convinced I'll have picked up foot fungus or something equally icky (though truth be told, all of those things have gone through my mind in the last 10 hours).

No, my new concern is the late hour.

Our team practice is Sunday night from 8:30 - 9:30. By the time we got out of the pool and got dressed and out the door, it was 9:45 and then I had an hour drive home. I don't know about you, but after vigorous exercise, it takes me a while to slow down enough to be ready to sleep. Driving on the 66 in snow and freezing rain to get home didn't help matters. By the time I made it home, chatted with my sweetheart who wanted to hear all about my new adventure, loved up the dogs a little, threw my sweaty running gear from the morning and my swim gear from the evening into the washing machine, had a shower to wash off the chlorine, and made myself some "let me help you get to sleep" tea it was 11:30. Even then, I couldn't get to sleep right away... and when the alarm went off at 5:20 this morning, it was a real struggle to get out of bed (and not just because my arms hurt!!).

Anyone have suggestions for how to get to sleep quickly after a late evening work out?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

swim practice... here's hoping i don't drown, or take anyone else down with me!

Here's the thing about me and swimming. The nearest swimming pool to where I grew up was 100 kms away. I grew up "swimming" in ponds and creeks and lakes... full of fishes and leaches and weeds and tadpoles. This swimming involved a lot of wading and splashing around, it involved some floating, and a reasonable amount of head-decidedly-above-the-water swimming.

It wasn't until my family moved to the city when I was 16 that I actually learned to swim. I promptly dove into the pool, with poorly fitting goggles, and washed several hundred dollars worth of contact lenses out of my eyes... You might imagine how my mother felt about that. It also made it very difficult to see what the swim instructor was telling us to do. But I persevered. I became an okay swimmer. Comfortable in the water, at least.

I've been an intermittent splasher since then, having never really developed a LOVE for swimming.

Smacking my face on some rocks, getting pinned under a boat and almost drowning (bleeding into a river full of crocodiles, I might add!!) in the mid-90s has done little to inspire and motivate me to get my head back in the water.

Tonight, that changes... tonight I face my fears.