Saturday, November 14, 2015

Disappointment is like the salt of life

I've mulled about making this post for some time now, but I feel that it is a relevant lesson I have learned, and one that can make me both a stronger (and better) athlete and person. On top of that, I need an outlet to dispose of these thoughts so that I can move onwards.

For the last several weeks I have felt a strong sense of disappointment. It sits at my core and reflects itself in everything I do. I can't pinpoint whether it is directed towards one individual in particular, or whether I am feeling disappointed in myself. This feeling has been eating away at me, from bringing out foul moods when I should be joyful, to reducing me to near tears and frustration while dealing with a flat tire. This is not how life should be- I should be soaking up every long run through the beautiful pacific northwest, and laughing at my inability to use a CO2 cartridge and subsequently hitch-hike home a greasy mess from Central Saanich. Disappointment is breeding negativity, and negativity is certainly not welcome here.

I have been confused, hurt, blindsided to say the least, and left with this consuming feeling. Am I disappointed in myself because I should have been smarter than that? Or am I pointing the finger at another? What I've realized now, and what the lesson is, is what does it even matter? Ok, you're disappointed and not yourself.... now what the hell are you going to to about it? I think that this applies to many athletes in the world of injury. We are so critical and demanding of our bodies that every little break and tear we immediately seek to blame ourselves. But we have to stop being so self-critical! Yes, something shitty happened... but as an athlete you are so much stronger than that one misstep, rise above and make that next game plan. What can you do to help yourself? This is as simple as fall down seven times, stand up eight. It may even be possible to find some valuable lesson from the situation, as disappointment isn't called the "salt" of life for no reason! Yes, in excess disappointment may burn like salt on a wound, but a little dash of it may prove to help keep us on track. Without disappointment and failure you never get to truly know what hard work is, or how sweet success can taste.

So what am I doing? Simply putting my head down and doing work. I plan on kicking this disappointment in the ass, and keeping my head positive when my mind begins to wander into self-doubt. Motivational mantras or even reflecting upon a few short things I am grateful for seem to be doing the trick. Above all, have courage, and be kind to yourself. No one ever said that running that extra mile was ever easy.

Thanks for reading

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Just let it go

Those four words. I've never been very good at following their directions. "Just let it go," you say, oh how very simple that seems until we are faced with the actual act of letting said thing fall to the wayside. Be it goals, ambition, a race or even a personal matter, letting go of things is always easier said than done. Except in my case with blogging...  I suppose the ease of loosening your grip on something depends on just how much it means to you. The deeper something is intertwined into your being, the harder it becomes to cut away those ties and escape to see things from a new perspective. This is how I define my relationship with sport. At first running, and now triathlon was not just something I did for fun, it was, and still is a huge part of my identity as a person. I cannot "just let it go."

This past spring forced me to take a step back due to severe illness and I had to learn that it was OK not to train 2-3hrs a day, not to spend my day revolving around school, training and appropriate recovery time. Life had dealt me a tricky set of cards and I needed to learn how to prioritize, and put what was most important, which was my health, at the top of the list. I spent almost a month of going in and out of the doctor's office, hospital and sleeping for hours on end throughout the day. My life went on hold: school, training, everything and it was so beyond any of my control. And in the end, everything was OK. The mental struggle over not training and chasing my goals finally calmed down and I learned once again to focus on the long term. Instead of forcing myself into a situation that was not ideal for my health and attempting to train through it, and believe me- I initially tried so hard to battle through the fatigue to get that 30min run in (which yes, would only exasperate the situation and stall my recovery)- I simply let go of the now and looked at the bigger picture. Because in reality, how am I to say that in x years I will be on my way to Kona? Yes, that is my goal in the sport and I chase it daily, but it can't consume my life to the point where I risk my health to get in that next workout. I love this lifestyle and to quote Simon Whitfield, I love and thrive off of "the pursuit of excellence."

I think I have finally learnt how to put things in perspective and sort through what matters in this game of life. Hacking through a 3+hr ride on 4hrs of sleep (yes, I was doing this) is not the kind of material that will get me anywhere in the sport. I now know that a proper 8hr sleep would have served my body so much better than straining it through a workout that probably resulted in losses rather than gains. In dealing with a current injury I am probably for the first time in my life able to sit back and not push to train through it. I've already had one solid race this season, and if I'm patient and rehab properly, I may be able to get in another decent race. I live for the progress and journey, and with it come setbacks to which I have to be equipped to deal with. If I am not able to let go of the small things, how will I ever be able to progress as an athlete, never mind a person!?

The same thoughts apply not just to training and racing, but to everyday life as well. I have found myself thinking more about the bigger picture and doing things that make me happy. Yes it is important to have some give and take and do things for others, but your life can't revolve around making others happy. Making changes to who I surround myself with and the energy of those people has made a huge difference. I have fought long and hard to fit certain people into my life (to what benefit to me I'm not sure), only resulting in lost energy and an ultimate drop in my own self-respect. Letting go of that fight has been hard and is still something I am continuously working on. Surrounding yourself with kindness and compassion from both your own self and from others is key. Just let it go. Think big picture and ultimately, think about what is best for yourself. Just like when in an airplane, put on your oxygen mask before you help others. If you aren't functioning to your best, how in the world can you properly help others and reach your highest potential?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bad Blogger

I could possibly run for title of "most forgetful blogger" or something of that sort as only recently I remembered that I had this little site and that it was over due for an update. Where to start? Well I'm just going to keep things short and to the point... it has been a LONG winter/spring! All was good until early March when suddenly I was having to lift my leg just to get into my car... running was so out of the question it wasn't even funny. After seeing two physiotherapists, having an x-ray, bone scan and now waiting for an MRI my doctor, who specializes in sports medicine, still doesn't have a definite answer as to what happened. Most likely scenario is that I stress fractured the neck of my femur... random place, but I am prone to stress fractures! The other option was just a bad case of tendonitis where my rectus femoris inserts. Either way after almost 3 months off I am in the clear to ease back into running! You never realize how much you miss something until you can't do it! This put a huge damper to my racing plans as I wanted to race the Subaru tri-series and focus on the half distance. But, keeping optimism in check coach Noa and I think that maybe I can return to racing in July provided that all heals up with my hip/femur injury. So please send your positive healing vibes my way :)

School is out for the summer and I have received word that I am finally into the kinesiology program at uvic, just in time to finish the very last of my courses. Hopefully only a few more semesters until I graduate with a BSc in Kinesiology and a minor in Biochemistry. For the summer months I am working out at the Running Room in Langford- so come see me if you want some new runners! I have a summer bucket list of fun things and personal goals that I would like to achieve so I am planning on working to check each one off my list by the time september rolls around!

Well that's it for now- and I promise I'll update a little more frequently as now I am back to running I am finally feeling more like my old self and the drive to compete is back!

Beautiful Thetis! Water is warm already!

Back to running- wooohooo

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Goodbye August

With tomorrow being the first of September I thought that I should post a little update about my season so far and my fall plans. August had two races for me, the SRI at the beginning of the month and the Kelowna Apple two weeks later in mid-August. The SRI was my break-through in my 10km run- I finally nailed the 45min mark... right on the dot to be exact! I am so happy that I have finally been able to reach that goal, as it has been nagging me for years to reach that point! With each race this season my 10k time has dropped bit by bit, which is great considering I am STILL having foot issues! When I raced Kelowna 2 weeks later my time was still 45:xx so I am happy to say that it was not a fluke!

More on breakthroughs, Kelowna was my breakthrough race this season! The swim was non-wetsuit and my first time ever swimming in a draft pack. Myself and three other girls broke away and swam in a pace line for the entire 1500m swim... it was awesome! I've never had so much fun during the swim! On to the bike I told myself to keep up to another Victoria local and not let her out of my site for the entire ride. I rode hard and hoped that my legs would have something in them for the run. Luckily they did and my run felt pretty good. Finishing 6min faster than the previous time I raced kelowna, I am very pleased with my performance. 

Now I am just finishing my last week of work and cutting back to Saturday morning shifts only until the end of October. I loved my job and fabulous co-workers this summer, but the early mornings and long hours definitely put a dent into my vigor for training. I've never been so exhausted in my life! I am really looking forward to balancing training with school work, and slightly more sleep than just 5hrs a night! I am in a hard block of training as I am gearing up for my first 70.3 race down in Grand Coulee, WA at the end of September. I am pretty nervous, but trying to keep an open mind and just wait and see what my body can do come race day! 

Time to start my day (I've already been up since 4am for work) and head into a long ride/brick and swim! Happy training and thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

race report on race report

Since I fell off the blogging train here is a quick little race recap of both the Subaru Victoria and Vancouver races!

Victoria Olympic
The Victoria race was back in June, held in the beautiful venue of Elk lake. The lake was perfect- minus the nasty tasting water. The swim was a 1 loop 1500m course. Once again in T1 I had trouble with my wetsuit... a 2min transition is a bit on the long end. Looks like I'll be spending a large amount of time practicing getting that thing off! The bike course for Victoria was on a familiar route along W. Saanich and out towards the airport. Plenty of hills to go around for everyone made for a challenging ride, and my legs were certainly feeling them. About halfway through the 45km course my legs felt dead... no power and all I wanted to do was to get off my bike. Thinking that my dead legs would carry over to the run, I was happy when I started on the elk lake trail and my legs felt strong! The run was good and I focused on keeping a steady pace while slowly picking people to hunt down and pass. Overall I was happy with the race and felt that it was another solid addition to the season. For full results see here!

Vancouver Olympic
A more recent race, the Subaru Vancouver event was last weekend. A true Olympic distance of 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run, I wanted to use this race to see how much improvement I had since my last competitive olympic distance race at the Kelowna Apple in 2011. The swim was a 2 loop ocean course at Jericho Beach. I had my first beach start, which was a fun experience! The beginning of the swim was hectic as per usual and I received a few kicks to the face, but luckily my goggles stayed put! Near the end of the 1st lap I got a headache (probably from drinking half the ocean) and it just wouldn't leave me. Exiting the water at the end of the swim I had the lovely sensation of wanting to spew my guts... obviously I need to work on not drinking so much of the water I am swimming in! I attempted sitting down in T1 to take my wetsuit off- slightly faster and less hopping around like an idiot were all that resulted from sit-down take-off. More practice for sure! The bike course was awesome! Only one hill up to UBC made for a super-quick 40km ride. Off onto the run my legs were feeling fresh, but my stomach and head were not in the game. As soon as I stood up to run it was cramps galore. Flat bits of the course were ok, but any slight downhill made for one unhappy girl. After 5km things finally felt better and I was able to run without holding my sides. I ran next to another woman for the last 3km and it was so motivational to have someone to run with! That extra amount of competition made the tail end of the race fly by! Finishing in 2hr21min this has been my best olympic distance race to date! I am happy with my performance and now am eager to go LONG! 70.3 in September here I come!!
Post-race was spent eating the most amazing sushi and touring metrotown for some well deserved shopping. For full race results click here.

Thanks to coach Noa for helping me have a successful season, my supportive friends and family, and of course CEP Canada for helping me look awesome while I recover!

Up next- the SRI in victoria! Happy training everyone!

Recover in style!

Where's my bike?! 
Perfect race venue

Starting the run in Vancouver
Travel partner & supporter extraordinaire Sean
My fave restaurant!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Shawnigan Lake RR

Being back into the swing of things, I thought that I should put together a small race report of Shawnigan Lake triathlon from this past weekend. This was my first olympic distance race of the year, and of course my nerves were sky high. Having not properly practiced transitions or the flying mount with shoes already clipped onto the bike, I was just hoping for a solid race overall. And I think that is what I got. Also, a plus- Sunday was my 21st birthday... so a little bit of birthday luck helped me out!

Swim 1500m: 23:32
The water was not nearly as cold as I had anticipated! A nice and comfortable 17 degrees C. The course was a clockwise two loop layout. All of the olympic participants started out together, but I found that this start was not nearly as crazy as some of my previous races. I felt strong on the swim and I think that in the future I can definitely push it harder out there. Overall I am super pleased with my swim time, as it is 40s off of my fastest from my last year of racing.

I couldn't get my wetsuit off quicky....

Bike 44km: 1hr20
The bike course was a 2 loop course around Shawnigan Lake. It was hilly, but nothing too difficult as most hills ended up as rollers. I felt strong on the bike, even though the cold was making me feel a bit sluggish near the end. My only complaint was the lack of control for the motor vehicle traffic let on course... with the sprint racers out on the course it became very congested and cars were stuck behind cyclists while impeding faster riders wanting to pass the car and slower riders. Maybe next year one lane of traffic could be closed to help alleviate this problem.

Faster than T1 luckily!

Run 10km: 47:11
I had been a bit nervous for the run, as I now have two neuroma's in my R. and L. feet... and they are aggravated by running off of pavement. The course was a flat-ish out and back along the Trans Canada Trail. Luckily the trail was flat and solid enough that I had zero foot pain! The run felt alright, but I know I was dragging my butt somewhere between 5-8km. In the end my time is a faster time that was I usually run at the end of a triathlon, so I am happy seeing some improvement there!

Post race: Celebrate birthday with my wonderful friends and family!!

Overall I am happy with this as my first race of the season. I know that there is a great deal of room for improvement throughout this season and I am looking forward to seeing how the summer months unfold.

 Nina, Danyel and I

 Last stretch 

 Mum and I

21st celebrations

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

'Hot dive into frozen waves'

Figured I would post another quick update on what has been happening as of late... the point of having a blog is to post and write down snippets of things I find relevant and interesting- so why not post?!

Lately (more like for the past 18 months) I've been having some second thoughts about my future as a medical student and ultimately a surgeon. It's not that I don't want to pursue that career path, as it would be one of my dream jobs, but it is reality that has got me thinking of plan B, C, D and maybe all the way to plan Z. My current grades are not going to cut it for med. school. It's a pretty simple fact and one that I need to face. I chose to study biochem/micro at UVIC because I didn't want to enter the kinesiology program as it was not geared enough towards medicine and science. Instead I chose biochem, thinking of it as a tie over until I got into medicine. I never wanted or envisioned myself with a career in that field, so finally, I've decided to get out of it and switch into something that I have passion for! Starting this summer I will be taking some philosophy courses (and maybe even a class on the history of vampires!!!) and preparing myself to write the LSAT and apply to Law school. I'm excited to take some courses in which I can have an opinion and some creative handle to my work. It's been a long 3.5 years of straight sciences. So I am taking a 'hot dive into frozen waves' and trying something new, hopefully finding something that will make me a happier person in my academic life.

On the training side of things everything has been going well! I raced the Bazan Bay 'world championships' 5km this past weekend. Results here. Overall, I am satisfied with my result because it is 30s faster than last year... but I am frustrated that I still can't get that elusive 20min mark yet. Time, patience and hard work will eventually get me there, and in the mean time that's all I can focus on. Having goals and benchmarks are some of my great motivational tools. Speaking of goals, I have decided that I want to make the BC Swimming 'A' 800m freestyle standard. It is slightly faster than the TriBC provincial elite standard of 11:45 for an 800m in SC, at 11:38 in a long course pool. If I am going for one benchmark, I might as well try and push for the next! Not that I plan on doing anything with the BC swim standard, I just think that it is a good goal to have... maybe then I can officially believe that I am a swimmer, not someone who jumped in the pool 3 years ago and started swimming!

With that, I should probably go get ready for a ride in the bike cave. I'll leave you with a song that's been stuck in my head for weeks