Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring Break, Old Friends and New Friends

Well, it looks nothing like spring, but despite old man winter's blatant refusal to curl up and die, I am taking a break!

Today was my last day of classes. It marked the end of 3 months of classes with my 6am class and my 5:30pm class. Working with people for 3 months affords all kinds of rewards. I have seen these women change their minds, their bodies and their lives. I have seen transformation on all levels and have had the honor of being at the helm. I feel beyond blessed that I have this role, and that I have created a community within a community. I am a lucky woman, and I take none of this for granted.

But for the next 2 weeks I am off! I am looking forward to relaxing, recharging and replenishing my body, mind and soul. I am spending my first week off in Jasper with my BFF from Calgary, Celine. She is bringing her 2 doggies and I will have H-Dog, our plan is to run, hike and drink coffee while wandering around the peaceful utopia that is Jasper. I have really missed Celine and am really looking forward to spending some good girl time with a great girl friend. Since leaving Calgary, we have made some great friends up here. But nothing takes the place of someone who has a history with you, a friend who has supported you through some of the toughest times, as well as some of the most fun times. Those friendships both take time to build, and withstand time apart.

Speaking of old friends, one of my bestest is in town, and I will get to see him tomorrow. Cam and I met when I moved to Calgary in 98. We were great buds the whole time I lived there, and saw each other through some pretty major life changes. He and I both got married in Oct and we haven't had a chance to see each other since well before that. We have much to catch up on and celebrate and I am excited for some good laughs and great company tommorow.

Training this week has been recovery (read: SWEET!) and until today I don't think I broke a single bead in any of my workouts. Today's was a doozy and I was finally able to push the levels I wanted and even made a mini puddle in the floor with the sweaty effort. Swimming was a bust most of the week, but tomorrow morning I have a pool date with Lady Leduc, so I am guaranteed at least one swim!

Tonight D and I drank some wine and downloaded enough music to get us through the upcoming OUTDOOR season on the bikes. It was good times, and the memory of finding those tunes together will be reinforced all summer long as we listen to the tunage we picked out together.

Gratitide for friends, new and old. For love that it is unconditional, and crosses the planes of time and space. For memories, dreams of the future and shared goals.

And finally, for the world of bloggers. An unlikely and unforeseen world of support and inspiration and laughs. Thanks to all you kooky and crazy blog-land buds that have encouraged, reassured and motivated me through the winter from hell!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Back to Blogland...

I have been a lazy blogger. The good news is I have not been a lazy triathlete- and that is what counts right?
Last week I got my first "A" in a while. Meaning I nailed all my workouts and had a solid week. I finally had a long run at goal pace and swam a strong 6km for the week. I did some great trainer rides and a peppy treadmill speed workout to boot. The final ride on Sunday emptied my tank and I pulled the plug after 90mins of the 2hr workout. I could have probably pushed through, but the quality was done and my heart rate kept getting lower...
Yesterday was a rest day and this is a recovery week which I am happy for. I have to say, this winter has been the toughest training season of my life in terms of motivation. Motivation has come relatively easy in the past- a big goal like Ironman has always had enough of a fear/excitement factor to carry me through the winter training. I took that easy motivation for granted, until now.
This year it has been a struggle. I have had to work hard each day, and often each moment, to stimulate myself to train. I am not a quitter though, and my strength is in my ability to remember the big picture, and do the work even when I don't feel like it.
I remind myself that I want to keep the fitness I have worked hard over the past 5 years to gain. I want to be able to enjoy riding outdoors, running for hours on the trails and racing to my potential. I also know I love to eat, and without training it would be a bad situation :-)
I know that this tough winter slogging is the means to that end. But it hasn't been easy. It is mentally tough to feel such a lack of desire to train. But I always, always feel good once I get going and even better when I am done.
So I will continue to force the motivation, and perservere. One day soon the grey skies will retreat, the sun will shine and this snow will melt. One day soon I'll feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, my pale sheen will turn a golden brown and I'll again feel the wind in my face (it is GP after all) as I ride with scenery that changes.
Until then I'll be in the basement, forcing myself to train.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The longest winter ever

I have procrastinated blogging because every time I go to blog all I want to do is whine and moan about the weather. D says complaining about the weather is as effective as complaining about the markets. Bah.
Training last week went really well. I had great bikes and runs and swimming was just ok. I did one water running session with a client which was fun for a change. The weekend was really great with a run outside and a killer bike session with the crew.
I managed to jam up my lower back/SI joint though and am a bit gimped out today. Massage, heat and stretching seem to be helping. Just say NO to drugs :-)
I am looking forward to nailing some good swim workouts this week. My swim mojo has gone on vacation but I will push through and do it anyway.
Anyway, that is about all I can say before I rip into a whiny tirade about how freakin cold it is here, and how it snowed for the last 2 days, undoing any progress that was made in the melting process on Saturday and how it feels like we are in Siberia and the winter will never ever ever end....
Here are some shots of D's shoveling Sunday. Not once, but twice. And then I shoveled again this morning. And it needs to be done again...

Now, take a deep breath and say OMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The rest of the story

I think it was a Saskatchewan thing- the guy on the radio who told the stories behind the story..and always finished by saying "and that, is the rest of the story".
Well this post has nothing to do with a story behind a story, or Saskatchewan, or the radio. It is just the continuation of the rest of the Jasper weekend.
Saturday D took H-dog fir a run the morning while I just relaxed. My legs were a bit pooched from the run on Friday so I was happy to chill. At about 10 I needed to move so I got ready to go to the pool. Shortly after D came back and was keen to join me for a short swim and a stretch in the hot tub. We made it just in time to catch the last 1/2 hr of lane swim, but it felt so good to just stretch out. 
After the swim we went for a latte and then got ready to ski. We headed out to the same trail we skied last time we were here, hoping there would still be good snow. The snow was great and except for some wind, it was a perfect ski day. We did and hour out and just under that back. We got to go down some sweet down hill which was really fun! 
Next up was a big dinner, with our friends Jason and Twila from Hinton. Despite the huge meal I was still hungry! We then went to see "Slumdog Millionaire" which was a fantastic movie. After the movie we hit up Mac's for some snacks to try and fill the bottomless pit that is my stomach. 
Sunday morning started slow, and we decided to spend some extra time lounging. We debated what to do, finally deciding to take Harley for a hike. We did a great trail that goes up over the town and loops back. It was just over an hour I think it was just right for all of us. By then I was ravenous so we had a huge breakfast feast at Smitty's before hitting the road home. 
It was a stunningly wonderful weekend. I can't wait to go back in a month! 

Friday, March 6, 2009

Life is Good in Paradise

I decided to exercise one of the perks of being a business owner, and took off on Thursday to start my weekend early. Harley and I packed up the Jeep and hit the road for Jasper about noon. The roads were really bad, so we drove sloooow, but I wasn't in a hurry. I had a Paulo Coelho audio book to keep me entertained (Brida) and I knew D wouldn't be there until 5:00 or 5:30 so we putted along doing about 80km/hr. 
We still managed to beat D to town so I went and picked up some stuff to make dinner and some bottles of vino to enjoy. D was happy to see us early and we had a great dinner and a relaxing evening together. 
This morning I was planning to sleep in, but was up at 7am with D, had breakfast and then lounged for an appropriate amount of time given it was my day off. I was actually waiting for the temp to come up from the frosty-24 that it was when we woke up. About 9:30 it broke the -20 barrier and I decided it was almost time to go out. First though, a second breakfast of eggs and toast. Thank goodness I made that choice, as it turned out I needed the added energy. 
H-dog and I finally hit the trails about 10:30. I tried out a skiijoring harness system that my friend Kelly lent us, and it worked great for running. The leash has bungee material in it so I don't get jerked forwards and the harness kept Harley from choking himself and still allowed me to reign him in when needed. 
We started out on our usual trail that starts behind the Activity Center and leads up up and above the town. We continued on this trail until we came to a junction to take us up to Pyramid lake. I decided to take this route as I was feeling awesome and absolutely loving the run. The trails around here are, for the most part, very well mapped and marked. It is almost impossible to get lost. But I managed to get close to lost. I took a couple of turns when the marked trail ran out and was following a ski trail for a while. Then the trail veered off and we started following another trail that I think was a wildlife migration path, as it just kept going further and further into the mountains. I kept expecting to loop around and come back towards town, but at the 90min mark I decided I had better turn around and double back. I was feeling great, but hadn't brought any food or water and my cell phone was dead. I always say I want to stay in Jasper forever, but this way ;-)
We followed our rough trail back (it was a tough slog through some deep patches) and finally reached a road. I decided to take it, even though it wasn't as fun as the trails I wanted to get back before I found out my limit for running on fumes. Eventually the road met up with the same trail we had started on and I felt confident enough to venture back into the trees and followed it back to our starting place. 
It was a 2hr20min adventure, longer than planned, but sooooo fun. I love running in the mountains, and kept thinking that I was so glad I've been doing all those boring treadmill runs, so that I can be in good enough shape to get out and enjoy the beauty of nature like this! 
It was one of those days I felt like I could run forever. With only the sound of snow crunching underfoot and my breathing, the crisp and fresh smell of the trees, and beautiful vistas around every corner. I felt such joy and gratitude it felt like I could fly. 
Unfortunately D had to work today, but I am glad I had Harley to share it with. He enjoyed every minute of it, and promptly crashed on the couch when we got home. I told him to rest up, D will be looking for a running partner when he gets off work, and I am done for the day! 

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Time To Update!

Wow, it is Tuesday already. We had a super weekend, we seem to be developing quite the training crew up here- we are becoming the Boulder of Northern Alberta! Friday I missed my swim but got a TON of crap done and it felt great to go into the weekend with loose ends tied. D came home Friday night, we had a nice dinner and he did a bike ride while I took H-dog out. Then we had some wine and relaxed together, it was awesome. 

Saturday morning we were up to meet the crew for a run. We missed the memo that they were meeting a half hour earlier to get in some additional miles, so we were surprised to see so many of them already frosted up. It was -22, and I was expecting to be the only girl there, but there were a whole pile of guys and gals braving the temps. We did 11.1km in about 53mins, once again I started at a good pace and started to fall apart by the last km. It will get better, I know.  We had a long coffee and visit with everyone and then headed to the farmer's market to get some goodies. The rest of the day was pretty chill, and then we had a nice dinner with Ross and Sonya. It was great to have friends over to celebrate our first year in GP. It is hard to believe we have been here a year, and we took some time to look back at our first year and realized we have really accomplished a huge amount in the time we've been here. We are also really enjoying being a part of a great athletic community with some fun and strong athletes. 

Sunday we were up early again to hit the pool. There were quite a few of the crew there and I had a fantastic swim. I am really surprised at how much I am becoming a morning person. Really? Me??? I know. I am loving having 2 workouts done by noon. During the week I can get a class taught, a client trained and 2 of my workouts done before noon. I am usually in bed by 8:30, but that is ok. 

After the swim we came back to our house for a tough 90min session on the bikes. I worked really hard and it felt amazing. My bike fitness is the one area I feel real progress this year. I am looking forward to hitting the open road to test this out. 

Monday was a rest day and I had only 2 clients in the morning which left me the afternoon off. I had plenty of computer work to do but I spent most of the day just reading and drinking starbucks. I also put together a fantastic dinner of Pita Pizzas. Yummmmmy. Here is a shot of them ready to go in the oven. I used whole wheat pitas, pizza sauce, Yves vegetarian pepperoni, spinach, mushrooms, olives, red, orange and yellow peppers and some cheese. 
Harley kept careful watch in his favorite spot (at my feet)
And here they are ready to eat! 
Harley thought they looked good too :-) 
Yes he is wearing a running shirt. 
Yes I am a dork that dresses her dog. 
But look at the smile it brought to hubby's face as he was greeted at the door after work :-)