Just cuz it’s time

I often think I would like to write more often as I find it so cathartic . But I just don’t have enough to write about each day and I know I don’t have that many followers on this blog so really I think sometimes I’m just writing to release some thoughts. That’s the purpose of today’s blog. Here are some random thoughts.

1. I’m enjoying the new me. It’s taken me a while to feel comfy in my new skin but I am getting there. Lower key me, more relaxed , less rules, more weight :). Since my stress fractures and all the time off I’ve gained some extra weight and as much as it’s been a bit mentally hard to feel tighter clothes and more weight when I’m running, I know this is healthier for me and to be truly honest I feel stronger, less fragile and happier. A work in progress and let’s just say I’d gotten carried away for a bit there. I intend to keep it in balance and keep everything in better perspective. A stronger athlete needs to have this to succeed and stay injury free.

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2. I love who my daughter is becoming. I think this goes along with the more relaxed me, too . She’s 11. She’s such a free spirit as many kids are but also has this intense side of her. A true combo of my husband and I. Can you guess which is which ? Ha yah not hard. She’s maturing, respecting the expectations more and working harder in school . She’s a smart kid but thought she could get by without really putting in the work. Till she failed a test. Since that day about 3 weeks ago she’s been doing work ahead of due dates, studying for tests and putting effort into her assignments. And LO and behold she’s produced some awesome results. She’s sweet, caring and helpful. Yes I still need to beg her to clean her room , brush her hair and take showers but over the last few months I have seen this little tween emerge. I hope the next few teen years go as smoothly ( although I won’t be in total denial that there will be bumps along the way)!

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3. Lowering my running expectations is hard. Before I had my stress fractures I was running really well. However I think I was always running faster in training than I should have been . “Easy ” runs were the same pace as my regular runs as my tempo runs which were probably more like speed workouts and those were like races. So you get my point? I was never good at easy. I think this too contributed to the problem! So now that I am trying hard to run more relaxed I get anxious that it’s not as fast as before. Then I need to talk myself down from that and say…..Hey if you were running as you should have before on easy days you are likely getting closer to that pace! Also I’m trying hard not to get too worked up about my pace as this time of year is for base building anyway. My ego is getting better at going slower and my body is also thanking me. My foot expansion is getting a bit worse but it will be a reminder that long run days are done for me if I want to be able to wear shoes :). Frustrating a bit but it will be a trade off and one I will need to continually reassess.

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Well that’s all for today I think. I have been wanting to journal my thoughts for the last couple of weeks and life has been a tad busy so I feel good that I got some of these thoughts down and am okay to share them. Honesty is so hard sometimes especially in blogging where so many people’s lives look so perfect.
Have a wonderful week! I can’t believe the last month of 2014 is almost upon us. The next post will likely be a 2015 Goal setting one!

Sometimes life is unfair

A couple of weeks back my neighbour got some bad news about her brother in law. He was diagnosed with secondary liver cancer. This week they found out it is in the bile ducts as the primary source with many metastasis. He’s 45. A runner. A dad of two young kids , 10 and 6. A husband. A son. Etc etc. Treatment will be about prolonging his life for those around him vs. for long term survival. It sucks . It makes me question life and how this awful disease strikes anywhere and anyone. Healthy young fit people. Why? Why?

I spent a lot of yesterday in a fog. I was sad for her and for her family . I tried to comfort her as much as possible. I used some advice from a mom at my daughters school who lost her 45 yr old husband last year to brain cancer. Three young kids, a full life still ahead of him. She said she could look at her day in two ways: positively or negatively but either way it did not change the outcome. I have taken that with me and used it when I needed to. It does help.

A week ago one of my best friends lost her mom to this horrible disease six weeks after diagnosis. It’s just so scary . I choose now to enjoy every moment of life as best I can. The little things we get so hung up on don’t matter. What matters is telling those around you how much you love them. Going out and taking in the sites and sounds around you. Buying that extra whatever because it makes you feel good. Exercising because you know it is good for you and makes you feel alive.

No matter what, life will take us on a journey. It’s hard to understand why cancer strikes who it does . I’ve been touched way too closely lately, but I am so thankful that my family is healthy and I am healthy.
Go out and live every day to the fullest. Life may be too short and we don’t even know it.

My first trail running experience

This past weekend I went for my first real trail run. I have run a short portion of one before near where I live but it is more just a dirt path with some ups and downs . This time I actually got to jump rocks ! To me that is more trail like plus the single track portions .

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I always shied away from trail running. Being a total creature of habit this was not something I really wanted to try. I also have always loved the ease of running which allows one to just walk out their door and away you go. I will drive 30 mins to ride on weekends but would never think to drive to run! So why not??? And it's way closer to drive to runs than where I Ride! Makes total sense .

I went with a map in my pocket and a phone in my Fitletic waist band. That way I could both take the obligatory Twitter photos and have access to GPS and "someone help me I'm lost" phone capability. I don't usually run with my phone so I had comfort knowing I could access it.

This was my first wearing of the Mizuno Wave Hayate trail shoe. I'm in love with this shoe. Not that I have any other comparisons to make in trail shoes but it was lightweight, agile, sturdy on the uneven terrain but forgiving at the same time. When I ran on the pavement portions it was also very comfortable. I can't wait to trail run again so I can wear it them. They will also be my go to for snowy runs.

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After the run I had to have the well deserved Starbucks latte. I always like to reward myself with one after a good workout out of the house. Just something about it .

What did I love most about the trail run? Being off the pavement, seeing the fall colours, not hearing cars, the freedom I felt .
Now about that navigation ability. I need to work on that or I see short runs turning into lost adventures. Maybe that’s part of what trail running is all about though. It’s a far cry from the ‘exact science’ world I tend to place myself in.
I’ve already mapped my route for this weekend !

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Covering All the Bases

So it’s been 8 weeks since I have been back to running after my pelvis and hip stress fractures. It’s still not feeling 100% natural and definitely not easy but I guess that is what comebacks are all about. Patience is the key and making sure all the bases are covered so it does not happen again. On that note here are the bases I have covered.

1. Gait check. I saw my physiotherapist, Greg Lehman to check on my gait. Six years ago I went from a heel striking over strider to a basically forefoot quick turnover runner. I stopped getting injured and I felt so much better after runs. It allowed me to build back to 22km long run again after cutting things back to 10-11 km as a long run. So did I think my gait was to blame for my injury? Not really but I wanted to make sure . He said I could slow my cadence of 186! down a bit and even heel strike a bit if I popped off my toes but I could just not do it. That stride is so not on my radar anymore. My goal is to relax my body a bit more ( I look stiff when I run and my arms swing out to the side ) and run more mid foot as this may also halt any further progression of my mid foot collapse I have going on post bunion reconstruction from 2010.

2. Nutrition check. I wanted to make sure I was getting every thing I need nutritionally as I get back to running and more training or exercise hours as I call them . Training as a term is too aggressive for my current stage. Training instills a sense of must vs want for me sometimes so better to call it something else . Being a vegetarian, protein is often the question mark but she said my diet was good and if I wanted to top up the protein just a bit I could do in the form of clean supplement either in a shake or a adding powder to other foods. I have been experimenting and have started to make egg white protein powder plus fruit and PB pancakes. Really good and satisfying. Plus these Martin Apple Slices are so good too. Just dehydrated apples. Nothing more.
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3. Strength routine . Keeping up with my gym workouts has been great. My leg still does not have the strength it did but it’s getting better. Between work in the gym and the hot yoga I am getting in some form of strength 3-4x a week. I plan to continue this for maintenance. I used to only use the gym for the pool but I am really enjoying being back. I’m even liking the elliptical and the rotating stair case for a bit of pre weights cross training! Who knew?
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4. Loose planning. I came home from my run today and told my husband I wanted to run Tuesdays Thursday’s and one day on the weekend then go back to 4x in Dec or Jan. He said “why do you always have to set days ? Why don’t you just run every other day? It doesn’t always have to be those days .” In some ways he’s right. But he’s not Type A like me and we Type A’s are planners! And that’s how we stick to our routines. He just runs whenever except for his clinic days . If he doesn’t go he doesn’t really care. We are Type A and Type Z! Anyway my point is he has a point. I will keep things loose, continue to do what I feel like when I feel like it but still try to stick to X days a week as long as things stay healthy. I am also working my cycling in there and plan to get back to once a week swims for now . My old shoulder issue has been a bit cranky so I backed off swimming but I’m doing my rehab for it so I should start up again in the next week or two. I am also pretty consistent with my one day off exercise per week to 10 days. As hard as that is mentally for me. Exercise is like brushing my teeth and it starts my day. But rest is also key to the healthy equation.

That’s it for my base covering. This past weekend my daughter and I walk/ran the Toronto Women’s 5km. We have done these for the past 6 yrs. Some together and some just me or just her. She doesn’t train at all and she ends up walking a lot then whining a lot but she claims to like it. I’ve told her she doesn’t have to run and we volunteer anyway, but we will see what happens next year. The one she did on her own in May she ran the whole way solo and had no one to complain to! It was great for me to participate in an event this year. I forgot that feeling of crossing a finish line! It was also fun to hang out with the gang of Mizuno Ambassadors and our fairy Barb!

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Volunteer duties await after the run.

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My Mizuno girlfriends. Christina where’s your purple??:)

Just before the run

Just before the run

This weekend I’m going to try a trail run. I’m kind of excited to try something new. Let’s hope I don’t get lost!

Excited to try my Mizuno Wave Hayate trail shoes.

Excited to try my Mizuno Wave Hayate trail shoes.

Fall Coffee Talk

Love my Nespresso!

Love my Nespresso!

I love the theme people use on their blogs on what I would talk about if we went for coffee. So I thought I would try it. Let’s meet for a coffee!

First of all I don’t know how people find so much time to blog. I started this one on the weekend and it’s now Wednesday and I actually had to restart it as I think I just kept shutting my computer down without saving the draft. I would like to blog at least once a week or every 10 days or something, but I guess I’d also need something interesting to talk about.

I love fall. I just don’t like what comes next. I love that first time you put on a pair of jeans or cozy sweater. I love to reacquaint with the clothes I purchased last year, or ones I have not worn for a while. Let me tell you there are too many of those! I need to lockdown my spending. I love to shop. It gives me that enjoyment some people get out of a piece of chocolate! Don’t get me wrong I like a good piece of chocolate, but if I am feeling down or need an outlet and it does not come from exercise, shopping is the next best thing. Problem is I shop more than I should. I always say I could have redone parts of my house by now if I was not such an instant gratification kind of gal. It’s not expensive things I buy, but all those little $50-$100 purchases add up. Okay so I got onto a bit of a tangent here. But that’s what happens when you go for a coffee with a friend, right??

My running is going well. It’s going well in that I have not had an ounce of pelvis or hip pain since I started. Clearly that time I started a few weeks prior to the confirming X-ray it was not ready. Now it’s ready. I am up to a 2.5 mins run and 2.5 mins walk repeated for 35-40 mins as of the next time I go out. I have done 2 mins and it’s fine. I am trying to reconnect to my form and decided to have a gait analysis done next week just to make sure. I changed to a more mid foot to forefoot stride and quick turnover about 5 yrs ago and was running injury free up until this year.  I am more than convinced my pelvic stress fracture was related to overtraining and not my stride, but good to cover all the bases. I am obviously no where near the fitness I was in terms of my running, but I have no time limits placed upon me for an upcoming event, so I plan to continue to take it very gradually and just let it happen. Mentally, my fear of running is gone now as when I first started back I was so afraid I would break something again. That was no fun. Now running is fun again and I am enjoying my walking breaks! Still loving the hot yoga and really just not having the stress of a must do training plan. Still taking it day by day and doing what I feel like while not overdoing it at the same time. Oh and I love the excitement of putting on new Mizuno fall run gear and shoes!

Awesome featherweight tight and Wave Hayate shoes.

Awesome featherweight tight and Wave Hayate shoes.

Trying to get through this book. I think I am almost 50% through and while the writing style is really good, I’m still not sure I am liking it, but liking it enough to not dump it. Now that I read on my Kindle, it is far too easy to just “dump” a book, but at the same time I have about 103 on my ‘to read’ list and so I don’t want to waste time on something I’m not enjoying.

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I guess that’s about it for now. Oh one more thing, I have gotten so much more into cooking now that it’s not so nice out that I feel badly for being inside. I am ADDICTED to Pinterest. So many great recipes. So many great ideas. I have been making energy balls like they are going out of style and other “real” food snacks for pre-post workout and when I feel like something sweetish that is not a bar. If you haven’t yet tried them, you should, plus they only take about 5-10 mins to make once you have all the ingredients.

Energy balls. Great for pre and post workout real food!!!

Energy balls. Great for pre and post workout real food!!!

Okay until the next coffee date…….

Elise

Random thoughts from my ride this morning

I could not put just one tweet up this morning so I thought I would write a little blog entry. Here are some random thoughts and happenings on my ride this morning .

    I was the Houdini of cycling . Three stops . Two for clothing strips and one to change the glasses lens from yellow to “the suns out”. That’s fall riding.

    Thought I would do an extra 5km to make it 75km and longest ride of the season cuz I felt so good going out . Yah that’s because the 33km/hr gusts were at my back! Thankful for aerobars.

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    Big head wind on way back and tail wind on way out!

    Big head wind on way back and tail wind on way out!

    Fueling with real food on the bike in the last few months has made a big difference to the clean feeling in the stomach and my energy level. I ate Zuchinni Almond Bars,chocolate chip oatmeal peanut butter balls and drank Honeymaxx . A great combo.
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    I don’t mind riding solo. I used to get very nervous before I would ride myself. Once I was out there I was fine. This summer it just worked out that my regular riding partners have either not been around or joined big groups. I’ve been enjoying my solo time and keeping to the pace I want to ride .

    If someone told me to move in here I would not say no. I bet I could have one of those roll out plastic container drawers instead of this pet peeve of mine!

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    I love cycling!! It’s easy on the body. I love the fresh air , and freedom it allows. It satisfies my thirst for endurance activities now that my long run days are done for a while if not for good!

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    Looking forwards to next weekend .

Lessons I Have Learned Through Injury

I am officially healed from the pelvic and hip joint stress fractures that plagued me suddenly at the Sporting Life 10km on May 11. The X-ray I had last Tuesday was clear. Left looked like right. With each appointment I went to I went in with high hopes. And came out disappointed. This time I went in with an open mind and came out feeling like a weight had been lifted from me. I had been feeling quite at peace with everything I had been through and how I had altered my exercise regime. However after leaving and getting the green light to begin my ultraconservative walk/run plan I knew that something had been missing. I really did miss running and being a part of that community.

I’ve been thinking a lot through this whole rehab process about what I have learned along the way about myself and what I want to do athletically going forwards. Here is a bit of a summary :

1. I need a break from being a “triathlete”. This has been the biggest hurdle for me to overcome. As I have stated in past I have been doing tri’s for 18 yrs. In the last half dozen years I have placed in the top 3 of my age category in almost every race I entered. In the last year or two I have placed many times at the top of the podium. The allure of this dragged me in and sunk me down. I overtrained, I used this as a big part of who I was and how I felt about myself. It became toxic I think. In the last 4 months I came to realize that I don’t think I can stay a triathlete and stay healthy and grounded at the same time. It’s part of my all or nothing personality. So I am stepping away at least for another year from the 3 sport madness. I may do one casual all women’s race on little actual tri training, but just for fun and not for competition. Otherwise, I am not going to plan out a training season around tri’s. It can always be there in the future.

2. It’s okay to take breaks and try new things. One of the things this time away from running and racing has provided is a way to try things I would never have had time for. Let me re-phrase that….things I never made time for. I said I would never do hot yoga. I am now addicted to hot yoga! It has brought a sense of calm to my life. It has helped my chronic mechanical foot issue. It has helped to strengthen my weakened pelvis post injury. Mostly though, I feel the calming effect on my whole being. I also returned to the gym and got back into weights and started to really like my elliptical workouts. Next year I want to try trail running. It seems like a great way to be nicer to the body and a fun race scene.

3. As much as everyone tells you “everything happens for a reason” it’s still hard to accept. A few of my twitter friends and others I know have recently been on the shelf with injuries. These same people along with many others all said “be patient”, you’ll come back stronger etc etc. It’s so hard to accept that when you are in it but so much easier to dish out. We all need to remember that things do happen for a reason. It’s looking past our frustration and emotions in order to see it. I learned eventually to focus on what I could do not on what I could not. I learned to find the silver lining in injuries and having extra time to spend with family, friends, reading, etc. Things I did not give enough time for when I was in the thick of training.

4. My sport does not define who I am. I wear many hats in my life as most of us do. Mom, wife, Physiotherapist, friend, daughter, sister. Triathlete is not one of those definitions or provide me with a sense of self-worth but I let it for so long. It’s my hobby not my job. I can still be all of those things and be happy without needing to be labeled as a triathlete. It did set me apart from many of the other people I came in contact with and it made me feel different or special. But I can still be a great human being without it.

5. Listening to my body is key. Especially as I entered the 2nd half of my 40’s this is so important. My mind thinks I am in my 20’s but my body says pay more attention. I also love to be active and in order to do this I need to stay healthy. Listen to when I am tired, (or try not to get into that in the first place). Listen when something hurts beyond the every day aches and pains of exercise, rest more, and enjoy it. I don’t ever want to get back to where I was this spring. It really opened my eyes.

6. Take the time to smile more, enjoy life and those around me. This winter I was so serious about my training, trying to make sure I got in every workout, let some other things in my life go etc. I was so tired all the time, I was grumpy, short tempered and always rushing around. I now find myself smiling at the store clerks, strangers and overall just far more relaxed. I’m calmer as a mother, less reactive and making better contact with extended family too. We only get one life to live and I want to make sure from here on in that I enjoy all these things more.

So these are a few things I have learned along the way. Four months ago I sent myself into a tailspin. I was despondent at my situation and all I thought about was when I could return to my sport. I do eventually plan to start to think about entering races again. I am thinking more along the lines of short run events (5-10km’s), trail runs, and maybe the odd tri, or duathlon. I have not been enjoying swimming lately and thinking why must I force myself because this is what triathlon demands? I have to do things because I want to, not because it’s all I’ve known. This winter I am going to continue to stay healthy in both body and mind. I’ll be okay if I don’t get in every workout I want to. I won’t plan a schedule as then I won’t need to stick to one. I am disciplined enough to stay active on a regular basis. I need to set a healthy example for my 11 yr old daughter. She’s far more observant than I know.

For anyone else who is going through injuries, try to think about why you got there in the first place. Sometimes it’s biomechanics in which case doing some exercises to change that can help. But so many of us get injured because we get ahead of ourselves in our training and neglect some of the things that are telling us we need to slow down.

Here’s to a new chapter in my life and one that I am more than excited to begin.