Friday, 26 July 2013

Feeling the pull again

This year's focus is rather different from last year.  Instead of getting in 15hrs or workouts a week, I'm getting 15hrs of extra work hours in.  :)  New job, new technologies, new challenges - my priority is to ramp up fast and no hold back deadlines.  I am enjoying it, though, with the mental challenges beating me up like last year's physical challenges.

With the work focus, there's been little exercising - I don't even call it training anymore.  Solid work days and full mornings and evenings with family have been the norm, and I'm loving it.  My daughter's doing Storm Troopers kids triathlon training again this summer and she's so awesome and fun to watch.  Lots of good fun together on the nice summer evenings, lazy weekends, relaxed times.  Life is good.

This week though, among all the usual stuff, were seeds of inspiration that started to feed me.  Ironman Lake Placid is this weekend.  The athlete's guide for Ironman Mont Tremblant North American Championships was released.  News of a man that finally ended is 9-mile-a-day running streak - 45 years long to the day.  A friend asking about swim training, and my recommending Storm Triathlon's age group masters.  Seeing Storm's Greg Kealey getting kudos from Simon Whitfield for restarting the Sharbot Lake Kids of Steel race - Simon's first ever triathlon.  It all stirred a little something in me.

Desire.

I remember all too well how I felt last year with my training.  The strength, the pride, the adrenalin, the amazing achievements, the love and support of my family and friends.  It was a journey that I will forever cherish and never forget.  And I relive that with every Ironman race that is run, every ITU race I watch on television, every question I answer about training, every bit of advice I give to others starting their journey.

No matter how far away that is for me now (I'm not signed up for any races, I'm not training, and I'm back over 200lbs again), it still feels oh so close.  I know what it takes to get there again, and I know I can do it again.  The desire wasn't there at the end of last year, but it's starting to come back.  And to be honest, it's exciting.

So this year, I'll be on the sidelines watching races, watching training, watching my daughter train.  I'll be cheering hard and loud, all the while reliving my version of that story.

I think I'm getting ready for another iron.  Not sure when, but feeling pretty sure that there's another one in my future.

Good luck to all racing in Lake Placid and Sharbot Lake this weekend (and in Ottawa too - I think there's a race...).  I'll be cheering the whole time!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Well, it's certainly been a while.

Yes, believe it or not, I'm still here.  Life goes on, work goes on, and I'm still somewhat active.  It's been a strange year so far - being so busy, everyone getting really sick, job changes - and with the weather being unsettled and cooler, June has certainly sneaked up on me.

Work's good.  Family's good.  Can't ask for much more than that.  I'm certainly blessed.

I've been out running and biking inconsistently, and I'm slowly trying to improve upon that.  I find that if I got "whole hog" into it, I do too-much-too-soon and then I'm out again.  Slow and steady generates new habits for me.  Bike commuting is common for me, but with the office only 10min away, it's certainly not enough to incur any aerobic benefit.  :)  I do enjoy it, though, and I love racing the cars and buses along the way.  Last weekend was a good 1hr rainy ride with a couple good friends, and the week before that was a 3hr easy ride - from a cycling perspective I still have something from last year.  It may only be muscle memory, but it's still there.

As for the running front, I cannot say the same.  I've been working hard at staying motivated and ramping up easily, but my inconsistency is not helping matters.  The mental barrier to overcome isn't what it was - now, my mind still believes that I'm in the shape I was last year.  I go out way to fast and hard, spike my heart rate up above LT, and then try to hold on for the rest of the run.  I know those are great workouts to do, but not on every run.  :)  I'll try again tonight, and I'm thinking I'll have to swallow my pride and move back to aerobic intervals with walks between - I want/need my aerobic efficiency back.

And the swim?  Nonexistant.  Although I now do have one item for my birthday list - a swim pass.  I loved swimming, feeling the benefits of an efficient and powerful stroke, and the fitness benefits are incredible.  I haven't made it a priority to hit the lanes again, but more and more I feel like getting pulled back in.

And all of this probably needs to pick up again, and I don't think it's just me that is driving this.  My lovely wife (who supported me oh so much in the years past - as my past blog entries detail) seems to be egging me towards another Ironman.  She's certainly more subtle than my daughter at this ("C'mon dad!  You're an Ironman, remember?!?") but I'm pretty sure she's planting the seeds....or at least adding water and fertilizer for the ones that are already planted.  :)  I will admit that the new announcements out of Mont Tremblant has certainly stirred up the desire to tackle another big race, but I know how rational I need to be with this - time, money, vacation, family.  We'll see what the future holds.

But until then, I'll keep hitting the bricks...and doing it more often.

Thanks for reading again, folks!

And to all of the riders doing the Rideau Lakes Tour this weekend, enjoy it!  (Perhaps I'll be joining you next year!)

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Square 1 seems too far back now

Just wrapping up my first week at my new job, and loving it.  Spring is here with vengeance, and everyone's getting out to enjoy it.  It's been very helpful for family outings and commuting to work - of the 15-20min travel time, about 10min of it is walking.  I've run home from the office on one occasion this week, and tomorrow I'm biking to the new office for the first time (and as an added bonus, I'm getting my daughter from school on the bike, and we're biking home together).

Things have really turned around (again), and things are feeling good.

As you can tell from this blog, there wasn't a hell of a lot of anything through the winter - I was saturated from Ironman Mont Tremblant last year, and I enjoyed every bit of freedom and indulgence.  Now I'm paying the price for that...actually, saying that makes it sound like a regret, and it's not.  I loved the break, the time with family, doing things that I hadn't done for months.  What I should say is that I've let my Ironman fitness fade away, and now I'm back rebuilding.

What I think is funny is this:  mentally, I'm in AMAZING Ironman shape still!  My habit for running is to still start out easy at a 5min45 pace.  Well, it doesn't take too long for my body to speak up.  :D  I can run and bike still, just not as fast or as long as I could before.  It just seems hard to remember that right now.

But no matter - I'll get it back.  I plan on biking to and from the office most days (if not all), and I plan on running home after work.  Peter and I will get some runs in on the weekends, and the family will continue to do our weekend rides.  I may not reach my previous fitness level, but I'll keep working it and see where it leads.

Back at Square 1?  Almost...but not quite.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Finally - stability (for now)

"Instead of praying for an easier life, pray for a stronger back."

I don't know the last time I wrote something positive on this blog, let alone writing anything on it.  The last few months have been a blur, and any form of training has not taken a priority at all.  But this has been one crazy-ass ride lately.  Stomach flu, workplace "politics," another change in work.  It all seems to have taken its toll, and I keep thinking of the quote above.  The minister at our church said that once, and it has stuck with me.  And with that in mind, there's been a lot of praying the last few weeks.

"When one door closes, another opens."

I wasn't surprised when I was laid off - I had sensed that something was up for months.  I didn't trust my gut, and did my job, and did it better than anyone else in that role.  It didn't matter.  But this was different this time - instead of worry and remorse, I was filled with excitement and pride.  I did what I was hired to do, and I wouldn't change a thing - I did nothing wrong, after all.  Their loss is another's gain, and I proved it in under two weeks with two offers sitting in my inbox.  I start on Monday with an exciting, forward-thinking company on a really good growth curve.  Better yet - it's a 15min commute.

"Actions express priorities."

Now as the dust settles, and things start to return to some normalcy, I'm proud.  Tired, fatigued, restless, and very, very proud.  I did what was needed through all of this.  My priorities were properly set, my actions were well thought out, and my efforts paid off once again.  My family was my team, and we worked together on everything - and we're stronger for it.

As for training, it'll come.  I did the odd run here and there, but it was for mental reason rather than physical ones.  That's one of the great things about being active:  it serves you well both physically and mentally.  That was refreshing for me to remember that, being reminded that it's not always about getting faster or stronger or going longer.

No matter how dark the cloud, there's always a silver lining.  You just have to know where to look.


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Ah...memories

That actually makes me want to get back in the pool.  For me, that reminds me of all of the HTFU moments when training...belting out sets before most people were even waking up.  It's something you have to experience, and can never really explain.

Awesome.