You don't have to go for a run.

There’s no shame in not running! Don’t run. It’s ok! Just go put on your running shorts. You don’t have to go running. Once you have those on, go ahead and put on a running shirt. Still, you don’t have to go running. But you’ve got to put something on your feet, so put on those running socks. And once that’s done, put on the running shoes.

Well, seeing as you’re all suited up, might as well go for a run!

And remember, you only have to run halfway. Once you’ve run halfway, turn around and run home.

You might be a triathlete if…

I remember reading this post a few months ago, “you might be a triathlete if…”

One of them, “…if you think an Ironman is easier then a Marathon because you don’t have to start by running fast.” is actually beginning to make sense to me.  I used to be a runner, and then I was also a cyclist. Now, I am becoming more comfortable in the water, and more nervous about the bike and run.  Weird.

So I’m going to share a couple of my favourite one-liners, stolen shamelessly from the Internet.  You might be a triathlete if…

  • Your first thought when you wake up is how high your resting heart rate is.
  • When people praising you for being able to run 15 miles you’re feeling insulted.
  • That charming “cologne” you wear to work is chlorine.
  • You have everything needed in your car to be Swimming, Biking or Running with 5 minutes notice.
  • When a co-worker asks if you are racing this weekend, you say “yeah, but I’m just running a 10k, so that is not REALLY a race”.
  • You have a $4000 bike strapped on top of your $2000 car.
  • Your car has at least one Power Bar wrapper and two sets of work out clothes.
  • You feel like you took the day off because all you did was swim 3000m.
  • When non-racer friends tell you they ran/rode you automatically calculate their pace to see if you’re still in better shape.

One hundred twenty three.

This was impossible, only two months ago.  I hadn’t been in the pool for at least a decade, and even then, “freestyle” wasn’t in my vocabulary.

I’m beginning to see that this is now becoming a real possibility. There is nothing preventing me from completing my first tri next spring, and nothing preventing me from giving it my best shot.

In 123 days, I will be able to officially call myself a triathlete.

Personal Record by Default: First Half-Marathon

Distance 21.1km
Gun Time 2:04:55.1
Chip Time 2:04:16.6
Place Overall 829/2197
Place in Sex 492/829
Place in Age Group 82/115

Niagara Falls International Half Marathon

It wasn’t the 1:55:00 I was hoping for, but it was longer than I’d ever (continuously) run ever before. Three of my ten toes hurt, my knees are sore, my tibialis anterior hurts, I’m having trouble with stairs. Pretty much everything hurts.

The day started early. Got up at 6:30am to get my race gear on and get down to the buses for the start line. At this point, everything was wonderful. It was a bit chilly, but I was dressed warmly enough. I enjoyed some conversation with a few fellow runners, and hopped on a bus. A 20-minute bus ride. 20 minutes, traveling in a bus, to the place where we start the race. About halfway along the ride, I realized: I have to run back to where we just got on the bus. When I got off the bus, I couldn’t even see the towers in Niagara Falls, except for a very faint outline of one building, and a tiny bit of barely-discernable mist over the falls; on the distant horizon. Yikes.

I kind of see this race in four parts: The first 9k, the next 9k and the next 3k, and the final 100m.

The first 9km were pretty much awesome.  Everything was smooth; heart rate was good. Solid.  I focussed on keeping a steady pace, without worrying too much about people passing me. I was running kilometres in 5:30 or so, and it felt good.

Next 9k, my legs felt like lead.  I relaxed into an endurable pace, told myself I’d just relax for a little while. My legs kept yelling at me, I’d yell back, but they just wouldn’t listen. So I ended up hovering around 6:00/km for the rest of the race.

The 3k leading up to the finish chute was probably the worst. Mentally, anyway. I could see Skylon Tower, and the towers near the finish line, and I knew it was almost over. At the same time, it was amazing. Emotionally: some new ones, at least for running. If I could have cried through this 3k, they would have been tears of joy.

100m to go. “FINISH” in GIGANTIC letters over the roadway. And then I see… 2:04:50… 2:04:51… I actually said, “Clock? YOU ARE NOT GETTING TO 2:05 BEFORE I GET THERE”.  So I pulled together what little I had left and just gave it everything.

And now I am sore, and it is past my bedtime. And the last 19 weeks of training have been put to good use. Now, onto the next race. It’ll probably be a 5k or something really short.

Taking myself seriously

I spent the majority of Thursday in transit.  A 3.5 hour flight to Toronto and a long drive into cottage country.  Bancroft.  When I travel, I make it a game of sorts, especially when I’m flying, to pack as light as possible.  So I’m not really sure why I chose to pack two pairs of running shoes, along with the pair I wore on the flight.

Maybe it’s because I take my sport seriously.  I’m beginning to, anyway.  I think the trick is to have a big red circle on the calendar.  It creates a context for the day-to-day.  I have about 4 more training runs, ranging from 30 to 90 minutes.  Those become the first thing to get slotted into my schedule.  And my family, who I’m visiting while in Ontario, are surprisingly supportive. Not that they’d be unsupportive, I’m just not used to people understanding my obsessions.

It's really no big deal…

Gun Time 53:05
Chip Time 55:22
Place Overall 126/740
Place in Sex 90/245
Place in Age Group 28/69

BMO Okanagan Marathon 10k

I ran my personal best 10k today, with a chip time of 52:22.  Everyone I know wants me to know how big of a deal this is, but it really isn’t.  Don’t get me wrong, though: I’m by no means suggesting that I’m not happy with my new PR.  All I’m saying is that there isn’t anything innately extraordinary about running 10k.

Anyone can do it.  I really believe that.  The only differences between us laypeople and the elite professionals: they have been doing it longer, they have been training harder, and someone is paying them to do it.  I firmly believe that anyone is capable of doing extraordinary things; it’s just that the majority of us don’t realize our own potential, myself included.

I am thrilled that I smashed my former PR, by over ten minutes.  I am scared though, that for my next 10k, I will be faced with a different measuring stick.

So I have a choice to make.  Do I rest on my laurels, having achieved a new standard?

At the same time, I don’t know what I’m capable of, and there is only one way to find out.  For me, the choice is simple.  I shall continue to push myself, and see what I am capable of.  I encourage you to do the same.

Training continues

Welcome.

I’m a runner turning triathlete.  I’m a middle-of-the-pack runner, a half-decent cyclist and a crappy swimmer.  Currently, I’m finishing up the last 3 weeks of training for my first half-marathon on October 24.  After that, I’m signing up for my first “real” triathlon: 750m swim, 20k bike and 5k run.

My plan for the winter: be able to complete a 750m swim, and work on the 5k run pace.

That blue sensory awareness potion

I remember one summer in my childhood. My brother and I were dropped off at the community centre daycamp, and off we all went to the woods. When we got there, our fearless daycamp leaders gave us each a jar of a mysterious blue liquid. This liquid, we were told, would enhance the smell of everything and anything it were to be applied to. Everything, that day, smelled so vibrant and intense!

Now, being a grown adult, and with the perspective that time brings, I know that this mysterious blue liquid was a placebo, and it’s efficacy was based purely on psychology.

But as a kid, I didn’t know any better.

And I wanted to get my hands on some of this mysterious blue liquid. I wanted so much to be able to experience the smells of everything around me, like I did that day in the woods. So of course, as I was known to do, I asked the leaders the next time we had a daycamp. Of course, nobody wanted to tell me the truth about that blue liquid. It was a guarded secret. But I kept pushing. I wanted to know how it was made. And they wouldn’t tell me.

About a week of this goes on, and by this time dear ol’ mom gets involved. She is the one who finally finds out the reality, that this combination of water and food colouring is nothing magical.

But looking back again, as an adult, with the perspective of an adult, I know now that the mysterious blue liquid really was magical. It was able to something for us kids, that we adults are often unable to do: to live in and experience the present. To be in the moment. In the now.

I like to tell people that although I am getting older, I have no plans to grow up. It is important, to me, to never give up on my excitement and wonder about the world. We so often lose touch with our curious selves. There is nothing wrong with being an enthusiastic and curious individual.

With vs. For

I had a conversation last week which led to a realization: The distinction between the two words with and for.  Consider the subtle differences between the two prepositions.  I’m looking particularly at the way in which they are used in the context of collaboration or employment.

With: Accompanied by, moving in the same direction, in concert and in proportion to something or someone.

For: In benefit of, or employed by someone or something.  In the service of someone or something.

As an idealist (according to Myers-Briggs, as well as the dictionary definition), I have a tough time dealing with offenses against the human spirit, and an even harder time dealing with what I consider at first to be offenses against my own human spirit (dreams, goals, ambitions, passions).  So it occurred to me, that perhaps the slight shift in usage between these two words might be a telling signal.

Consider phrases that use the preposition, “for:”

  • I work a 9-5 job for Super Mega Corp.
  • I make dinner for my family.

Now, consider:

  • I work a 9-5 job with a team of bright and talented individuals.
  • I enjoy an hour of my evenings with my family, cooking dinner, eating and talking about our days.

Again, it is subtle.  But I’m discovering that there is more power, and potentially more joy to be found by behaving collaboratively, building towards an ideal goal.  It starts with the way we focus our energy, and energy focus starts with the way we formulate our ideas and thoughts.  Life becomes less about enduring hardship, and more about overcoming it.  Choose a positive thought!

A Fish with a Bicycle