Monday, December 31, 2007

Bye Bye 2007!

It's hard to believe another year has gone by... As always, on New Year's Eve, I take some time to think about the past year and reflect on what I have accomplished. For me, 2007 was a milestone year. In 2007, I started designing the Master Plan of what I want my adult life to be.

2007 was a great year and I'm grateful for:
- Buying my first house with JF
- Moving into this house and making it a home
- Getting settled in my position at work
- Completing my first 10K race, and my second one too
- Learning to swim and completing my first triathlon
- Adopting a new family member - Jake, our English Springer Spaniel
- Believing a bit more in myself
- Making new friends and strenghtening some of my existing friendships
- Putting myself first and standing up for myself

Tonight, I will participate in the Resolution Run in Ottawa and I will take advantage of those 5K to make up some goals for 2008. Hopefully, 2008 will be as good as 2007 was!

Saturday, November 03, 2007


This week, I accomplished 2 things that I am very proud of:

1- I ran 30 minutes non-stop for the first time ever
2- I swam 2 lenghts of the pool doing breast stroke

Lately, I've been running on the TM, because I find it more convenient and more safe, and also because I was recovering from my injury and my ART guy asked that I run on the TM. On the TM, I can lower the speed and just run, run, run, without needing to stop for a walk break. When I run outside, I always go out too fast and I can't slow myself down, so I need frequent walk breaks. On the TM, I can think of stuff and just keep running for as long as my body will let me. This week, I ran for 30 minutes without a walk break and I could have kept going if the TM wasn't programmed to stop after 30 minutes. (Time for me to shop for a new gym)

Then, on Thursday, I went to the pool for my swimming lesson and I finally understood the breast stroke. I was able to swim 2 full lenghts of the pool non-stop - woohoo!!! Suddenly, my goal of doing a Sprint Tri in 2008 seems achievable, because I'll be able to swim the breast stroke when/if I need a break.

If it weren't from my skin allergies to chlorine, I'd be more willing to go to the pool more often. But with the allergies, it's a hassle to get myself into and out of the pool without agravating the allergic reactions. The upside is that I'm more motivated than ever to go to the pool and i'm finally starting to feel as if I can do this.

What a wonderful feeling!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Injured - Struggling - Breaking Records - So Happy!

It's been a long time since I updated my blog. I guess after the Montreal race, I needed a physical and mental break from training, and I didn't have that much to say.


I got injured during the Montreal 10K. I pushed so hard that my whole body broke a little... Following the race, I was sore, but nothing out of the ordinary. However, the rest that I allowed myself didn't help me recover, in fact, the pain in my shins, in my right ankle and my hip flexor wouldn't go away. I kept on running, because I still had 2 important runs to do in September: the Run for the Mouse and the Run for the Cure.

Following the Run for the Cure, I admitted that I was injured and that I needed rest and treatment. I am now starting to feel better, and I am back at running on the treadmill, short distances and very slow.

I had 3 weeks when I was fed up with running, or any training in general. All I wanted to do was to have a normal life, you know, sleeping in on the weekends and not rushing to get your training done after work... And so, I allowed myself that and I am now finding running more enjoyable.


I've been struggling through my running injury, but I've struggled even more in the pool. This semester, I chose to take 2 swimming lessons with 2 different instructors. I had a few weeks when I would come back from my lessons discouraged because it's just not natural to me to be swimming and I sucked, compared to the other people in my class.

I was reconsidering my triathlon goals, wondering why I should put up with this when it was so hard... I was desperatly hoping for a breakthrough.

Breaking Records

While trying to run off some work-related anger on the treadmill last week, I ran continuously for 26 minutes! My previous record was 20 minutes non-stop. :D

The only reason why I stopped was because the treadmill had a 30 minutes limit and I had used 4 minutes as a walking warm-up. Because I'm still recovering from my injury, I also didn't want to push it.

Next step: 30 minutes non-stop.

So Happy

I had my breakthrough session at the pool tonight. All of a sudden, I understood the breast stroke AND the butterfly stroke. I am so happy and so grateful that this happened today of all days. I had a crappy week at work, and I didn't need another depressing swimming lesson.

I am thrilled!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I'm 30!

I turn 30 today. Some people are depressed when they turn 30, but I'm not. Looking back on the person I was on the day of my 20th birthday and the person that I've become during those 10 rollercoaster years, I am in awe at how much I did during my 20's:

- Moved to Montreal
- Completed a B.Sc. and a M.Sc.
- Got impressive work experience during my studies
- Moved to Ottawa
- Went to Europe, visited London and Paris
- Went to Cuba twice
- Met JF
- Adopted 2 cats and a dog
- Bought a house
- Got a permanent position (and a few promotions)
- Gained 50lbs, lost 25 of those pounds
- Started running
- Ran my first 5K race and my first 10K race, and many more running races
- Fundraise money for good causes
- Learned to swim
- Completed my first triathlon (followed by a second one)

On a personnal level:

- I became more assertive and more confident
- I improved the way I manage stress
- I made peace with a few things from my past
- I stood up for myself on many occasions
- I learned to reach out when I needed help and to voice my needs
- I learned to let go of some of the things I can't control (still working on that)
- I decided the kind of life I wanted to have and the kind of people I wanted in my life and acted accordingly
- I "burnt out" at 26 and learned how to better take care of myself from that experience
- I let go of the feeling that I must be good at everything, be everything to everyone and live my life to respond to other people's expectations
- I understood that you can't have it all and that you need to make choices in life, otherwise, you waste your energy fighting too many battles that are not that important
- I became a much stronger person, both physically and mentally

I felt that my 20's were very difficult, but it's because of what I pursued during those 10 years. I wanted to become a more balanced person, and I had to go through a few difficult years in order to grow. When I turned 20, I ran away from a life that I didn't want and I spent years trying to identify what I really wanted. Now, I feel like I'm running towards the life that I want. During my 30's, I would like to accomplish the following:

- Live to see my 40's
- Strenghten my relationship with JF
- Confirm my current professional level and settle down in my current job
- In a year or two, start looking at horizontal career moves to work in the field of work that I've always wanted to work in (sustainable urban development)
- Travel to Europe again
- Visit Boston, New York and San Francisco
- Run my first Half-Marathon and my first Marathon
- Complete my first Sprint Triathlon, my first Olympic Triathlon and maybe even a Half-Ironman
- Make a decision on whether to have kids or not and live with it
- Strenghten my existing friendships, revisit them from time to time
- Learn to forgive (for real)
- Try to become a more patient person and a less judgmental one
- Lose 15lbs and keep my weight down at 140lbs
- Learn to meditate
- Be on the lookout for new opportunities that life will undoubtly throw at me. Make the best out of those opportunities.

Here's to my 30's: may those years be filled with health, love, strenght and happiness!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Triple PB!

Yesterday, I participated in the rbk 10K race, as part of the Festival de la Santé de Montréal. It was my second 10K race, and I was really hoping to better my 10K time from May. Having gained a lot of speed over short distances and confidence over the Summer, I thought I could easily PB, unless something terrible happened.

Then, on the train, on Saturday afternoon, I thought about a long discussion we had on Running Mania about the fear of failure. I am the type of person who sets objectives for myself that I am very likely to reach, possibly because it's so hard when you don't achieve your objectives!

Therefore, my goals for this race were:
1) Run the 10K under 1:15
2) Have a good mental race
3) Cross the finish line with a Kenyan (a HalfM one Wink)

I achieved 2 of my 3 goals.

Goal # 1: Run the 10K under 1:15

I did it! Very Happy I decided that my goal couldn't be just to PB. I knew that PB'ing was very likely to happen, and so I decided that 1:15 was a much more ambitious goal, and that it would motivate me to push through when it would get rough.

During the night of Saturday to Sunday, I had terrible lower back pain and I started thinking that I would DNS or DNF. I wasn't willing to risk serious back pain for a 10K race. I was very disapointed about that, but you don't control these things. I decided to wait until the morning and see how the walk to the start line went because sometimes, my lower back pain goes away when I walk. In the morning, I had some eLoad, which I puked. It wasn't the stress of the race, my stomach was just really upset with the eLoad. I walked out the door discouraged - with a hurting back and an upset stomach.

The walk to the start line helped relieve the back pain, and so I decided to start the race. I did start and I did finish. My Polar footpod even tells me that I triple PB'd this race! To try not to be a pain in the @ss for the people running around me, I ran on the outside part o
f the course, and so I ran more than 10K - 10.42 to be more precise. These poor people who were doing a very good job at pacing themselves had to put up with my anarchic run/walk strategy.

I completed the first 5K in 36:29, which is a PB.

I ran the second 5K in 35:52 and beat the PB that I had set 36 minutes ago!

I ran 10K in 1:12:21, and then I was about 400m from the finish line, so I kept on pushing.

My official time is 1:14:51 - a PB by almost 5:30!

Goal # 2: Have a good mental race

Not so much. As I always do in races, I mentally crashed, somewhere around the 4K mark. What was different this time, was that I picked myself up and kept on moving forward, without caring about my pacing or my frequent and disorganized walk breaks. I didn't
follow the original plan and I ran this race triathlon-style (run when you can, walk when you need it) rather than by doing 3:1, 5:1 or whatever run/walk combination.

I was very angry at myself for crashing mentally... But then, I saw my friend Crash cheering for me and it brought a huge smile to my face and gave me the energy I needed to keep on pushing.

I always find some positive in my apparent failures, and not letting myself sink into the lows of my own self-doubts was a real victory for me.

Goal # 3: Cross the finish line with a HalfM Kenyan

Done! Very Happy

He probably was the 25th-30th HalfM to come in, though. Wink The winner of the HalfM passed me when I was about 6K into my race. I was shocked.

Next Steps

Officialize my 5K PB at the Rattle me Bones 5K at the end of October: shoot for 35 minutes.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I'm REALLY a triathlete now!

I did my second Try-a-Tri yesterday. This event was special to me because last year, I went to watch the Try-a-Tri and I told myself that I could do this and made the goal of doing that one in 2007.

Unfortunately, I wasn't excited about this race in the weeks leading up to it. After I did my first triathlon, I realized that I was 6 weeks away from the rbk 10K race in Montreal on Sept 9 and that I had better get ready for this race. So, I slacked off on the triathlon training and concentrated on my running. On Friday night at the M&G, I was really hoping to become excited about the race, but nothing.

At 4am on Saturday morning, I woke up and all of a sudden, my stress about the race hit me. There was a lot of internal debating as to whether I wanted to do this race. I finally identified the problem: I was terrified at the thought of making a fool of myself during the swim. After much debating, I "decided" (read: forced myself) to face my fears and try to do my best, race my own race and live with the results. I still wasn't motivated, but at least I knew which demons I would be fighting during the race.


I am thrilled by the way I swam! I just kept going, doing front crawl first and then back crawl for most of the swim. The thing that I am the most proud about is that I only stopped a few times and I didn't walk much (10-15 meters maybe?). In my first triathlon, I must have walked half of the distance.

What was great was to have JF and Karine and Eric's family cheering for me during the swim. I could hear their cheers and it was cool.

I couldn't run out of the water, I was so tired. When I reached the T-zone, there were a bunch of Maniacs cheering for me, which took me totally by surprise (but what a pleasant surprise!). I was so in my zone that all I can remember is seeing Scrummy, SuperBob and Andy.


The transition went smoothly. I really couldn't run out from the T-zone to the mount line. I tried, but my legs wouldn't let me.

A few kilometers into the ride, I told myself "Wait a second! The guy you saw in the cheering squad can't have been Andy, Andy is racing right now... Oh no, I hope nothing happened to Andy and he couldn't do his race". And then, I realized that I had confused Crash for Andy! This made me giggle a little.

Saw Brian and Andy on the bike course, which was cool and which confirmed that it really wasn’t Andy that I saw cheering for me. I was relieved that Andy was out there, doing his race.

Close to the half-way point, my bike started making a strange noise, as if something was rubbing against the tire. I stopped to the side of the road to look at everything, but didn’t find the reason for the noise. After one minute of riding, I heard the same noise again, but louder. I stopped again and took a closer look at my brakes. Sure enough, one of the pads was brushing against my wheel. I loosened it a little, and left again. I was still hearing a strange noise and I was praying that I would make it to 15K without problems. Eventually, I noticed that my bike computer wasn’t working and I thought that probably one of the sensors came loose and was
“tack-a-taking” against something, which explained the noise I heard.

Tailwind on the way back. Woohoo! The 15K ride itself must have taken me about 43 minutes, which i'm very happy about.


When I got to my transition zone, there was a bike on my spot and another one on my stuff. I wasn’t happy. I put my bike somewhere else and pushed the bike away from my stuff.

I hit the lap button on my watch to know exactly how long it would take me to cover 5K. After about 500m, I saw the infamous Hula Girl on the side of the run course, playing with a dog. So, I say “hey Hula Girl!”. Nothing. I say again “Hmm, Hmm, Hula Girl” and then she looks up, sees me and cheers me on as if she didn’t know me. A few seconds later, she recognizes me and goes “Oh, Go Claudie, Go, etc.”

The run itself was uneventful. I ran, I walked, but I achieved every one of the little challenges I set for myself “run to the next pylon”, for example. I even shared this tip with a fellow runner, who seemed to be struggling. When I passed her, she told me she couldn't stop thinking about the hill coming up. I told her "just keep running to the next pylon, and then the next, until you reach the finish line". I promised her she would make it. She didn't seem like she believed it. After I passed her, I started thinking about the hill and I had a bit of hesitation, but after a few minutes, I got back into "my zone".

Saw Jesse the photographer, and then Jesse (Scrummy) and Jo-Jo again later. So cool to see so many people I knew out on the course!

I raced without music, which was a first for me, and it went well. Yesterday, I was in a mental zone that I really can’t explain. I was doing what I had to do, and trying to enjoy the moment. I hope I can re-create that zone in my future races.

5K completed in a little less than 38 minutes… 30-40 seconds away from my 5K PB.


I had a good time out there yesterday. I feel like I can now call myself a triathlete without feeling like I’m faking it, because I feel like I really swam yesterday.

I didn’t crash mentally during the race, which is also a first. I managed my energy levels well and I am very happy about that. When I got to the finish line, I had nothing left in me for a final sprint, so I just kept running. I wish I could have impressed my cheering squad at the finish line
with a good sprint, but I didn’t have it in me. I’m glad I listened to my body more than to my ego.

y stats: on the swim, I was 93/95; on the bike, I was 74/95, on the run, I was 86/95. Overall, I was 84/95, but the woman who finished in front of me started the swim in the wrong wave, so she should have finished at least 5 minutes behind me.

I didn't really enjoy my first triathlon, probably because I was too nervous about it. Yesterday, I became a triathlete who enjoys doing triathlons. Woohoo!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

It's Taper Time!

This morning, I did my last long run before my 10K race in 2 weeks. I was supposed to run/walk 9K doing 4:1s, but the run didn't go as planned and I did just about everything: 4:1s, 3:1s, 5:1s, 2 minutes sprint and a lot of walking. It took me 1:22 to complete 9.4K. Needless to say, I walked a lot: 35 minutes running and 47 minutes walking. Not exactly what I wanted to do!

It was too hot, then too humid, then my lower back was hurting, then I didn't feel like running anymore... It was a bad day.

It is now time to taper. First, for my next Triathlon, which is next Saturday and then for my 10K race on September 8th. Exciting times ahead!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Life goes on...

I didn't update my blog for a few weeks. Time goes by so fast!

I'm getting prepared for both my next Try-a-Tri and my next 10K race, which happen one week apart of one another. Following my first triathlon, I got a cycling injury (thumbs) and I am getting a professional bike fitting tomorrow morning. I have only been on my bike once since my Triathlon and I'm looking forward to going out for a Stardust ride!

I've been running a lot. After my first triathlon, I went into panic mode about the Montreal rbk 10K on September 8th. I really want to run this 10K and I realized that I had a lot of work to do to get there. Since my first 10K at the end of May, i've been running 3-6K runs, but I started increasing my mileage and I did a 8K LSD this morning. Not being able to slow down when I run, I decided to take it from the start and try to keep that speed for longer running intervals. At first, I did 2:1s for a week, this week I did 3:1s and I'll be doing 4:1s this coming week. I should be up to 5:1s by the time I race in Montreal.

I seem to be on a roll right now with my running. The last 2 runs have been very good: 5K in 37:40 on Saturday doing 3:1s (almost a PB!!!) and 8K this morning where I was very disciplined and did all the 3:1s I was supposed to do. I have to admit that I have been more consistent in getting my 3 runs/week in and it's starting to pay off. I'll do my best to keep that up, even when the racing season is over.

I went back to the river for open water swims a few times. I'm still freaking out sometimes, but my performance on September 1st should be a bit better than the one on August 4th. This is all that really matters to me.

I've received the Fall schedule for swimming lessons offered by the city, and I'm pondering my options right now. I'll take a lesson for sure, but maybe I'll take two. I really liked how I improved with 2 lessons/week this Spring and having 2 different instructors may be interesting.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Impossible Made Possible - My First Triathlon!

I did it – I completed my first Triathlon!!!

I got to the race site very early this morning, and I set up my Transition area, just like everyone else – like I knew what I was doing!

And then, the long wait started… The doubts crept in… Right before the swim start, I didn’t want to go anymore and I almost started crying like a baby.

The Swim

I got into the water and I started crying a little bit. Just a little bit, to relieve some of the pressure. Not enough that anyone could notice, but I was really scared. I’m not sure what I was scared of, but I think it was probably a mix of the unknown and the fear of failure. What if I worked so hard and I didn’t achieve my dream? I would have been devastated.

I placed myself at the back of the pack and heard a girl telling her friend “I suck at swimming”. I really wanted to tell her: “YOU think you suck at swimming? Watch me”. It turned out that we both sucked at swimming, and we followed one another during the whole swim. She finished right after me. I was amazed that I wasn’t the last one out of the water!

The swimming was not fun. I’m not used to swimming outside, and it showed. The rules for this Try-a-Tri say that you could walk, as long as water was higher than your belly button. I did take advantage of this, when I needed to calm down (yes, I needed to calm down – during the whole swim, I was somewhere between panic and uneasiness). When I was swimming, I was mostly swimming on my back. JF told me I was not swimming in a straight line, it looked more like I was doing zig-zags… Confused

Eventually, the swim was over and I told a volunteer that the worst was behind me now. I saw Joe at the exit of the swim and he took pictures and gave me a high-five. JF told me that I wasn’t the last one out of the water. Woohoo!

I ran and walked to T-1. The last girl out of the water passed me during T-1. My swim time + run on the beach + T-1 was 12:45. For 200m, that’s a lot of time, but I will improve!

The Bike

I decided to ride Stardust even if I’m not comfortable riding it yet. It was the BEST decision I’ve ever made!!! I rode 20K in 52:39 Very Happy. This is unheard of me. The best 20K time that I got with the nameless hybrid bike was 1:03.

The bike consisted of two 10K loops. You went mostly on a slight downhill, and then you came back mostly on a slight uphill. The first loop was very speedy for me: I was passing many people, some of them being Try-a-Triers who beat me on the swim. I completed the first loop in 23:xx and I was Shocked when I saw this. However, the second loop on the way back was slowed down by head wind. I thought it had suddenly gotten windy, but I thought I was imagining this because I was tired. After the race, JF told me the wind did pick up during my second loop.

I started enjoying my Tri at some point near the end of the first loop on the bike. I was so happy to be riding Stardust and I loved the speed! At one point, I got passed by a guy with high-tech wheels. I heard him coming – sshhhhhhh – and I loved hearing that sound when he passed me.

My shoulders hurt during the ride, as did my lower back. I made a mental note to go get a proper fitting ASAP.

My bike time, including the 20K, the walk to/from transition to mounting line, was 55:50. I was 51st after the run, 43rd after the bike. Very Happy

Here I am, coming back from the bike and heading into transition. JF asked me how I was feeling, I told him “this is so hard!” and he replied “You’ll whine when you’re finished. Keep moving!”. Now, this is not what I call “great support”… Wink

The Run

I was expecting the run to be hard, and it was. I followed Sara’s advice and although I had my foot pod and watch, I didn’t turn them on to track my run. I totally ran by feeling: walking when I needed to, and running when I could. The run/walk was uneventful until I saw Jesse close to the 1K mark taking pictures – I did my best to smile for the camera!

At the turn around point, a man made me laugh when he told me he was trying to draft off me. I told him he shouldn’t do that, unless he wanted to walk a lot! He laughed and he ran passed me. Very Happy I started to realize that I would finish this thing past the 3K mark. I knew I would make it under 2 hours (which was my original goal) and that maybe I would even finish under 1:50. I thought that I would officially become a triathlete in the next 15 minutes and it cheered me up.

This is when I saw that stupid hill, and Jesse taking pictures at the top of it. Just my luck... there was no one around me, so she was shooting pictures of me from 100m away!!! I had planned on walking up half the hill and then run the rest of it, but Jesse messed up my plans. Twisted Evil I sucked it up – the things you do under peer pressure – and started running up the hill, while Jesse was shooting. As soon as I passed her, I took a walk break. Twisted Evil

A few hundred meters later, I saw Joe, who shot pictures of me going a slight downhill – much better - and then… I turned a corner and there was the finish area! JF was waiting for me 300m from the finish line and when I saw him, I almost started to cry. I was very happy! I picked up the pace, and then took another walk break. About 150m from the finish line, people were cheering me on and one woman told me to give it all I had left. I answered “but I have nothing left!” and I started running again. I didn’t stop until I passed the finish line.

I finished in 1:49:44, in 44th place (out of 51 participants).

I am a Triathlete!

I spent over 20 hours training in the water in the past year. I biked for 323km. I ran a little less than 400km since I started training for my first triathlon, a year ago. These numbers don’t seem much to me – but they tell me how much I can achieve if I put more effort! Very Happy

I would like to thank all my friends of Running Mania for instilling the triathlon dream in me. I would never have dared taking up this challenge if it wasn’t from the great inspiration that I got on this Forum. I truly believe that I am surrounded by angels, who help me push myself to reach the unreachable, and achieve the impossible. Thank you Running Mania.

Today's T-Day

I'm nerveous this morning, but not as much as I expected... It's probably all going to implode when I get to the race site... I think I'm in denial right now.

I can't wait for the Tri to be started, because only then, will I stop worrying and start enjoying. A race report will follow later on today.

Friday, August 03, 2007

16 hours away from my first Tri...

I picked up my race kit today. I guess this means that I'm really going to do this tomorrow! I'm torn between excitement and fear, but I suppose it's normal to feel that way.

After my last post on this blog, I received the following quote by email and it changed my perspective on this important milestone in my life:

"Pressure is a word that is misused in our vocabulary. When you start thinking of pressure, it's because you've started to think of failure."

I realized that I was preparing myself in case I failed to complete my first Tri or not live up to my own expectations. After thinking about this for a while, I decided that in this case, failure would be to not race tomorrow. Finishing last wouldn't mean failure, because I would still have faced my fears and kept moving in spite of it.

As long as I show up and I do my best, I will have succeeded.

Tomorrow, I will Tri. I will prove myself that I am stronger than I think I am. I will move forward with everything that I have. I will enjoy the moment. I will conquer my fears!!!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

T - 3

We're 3 days away from my first Tri and I'm stressed out. It probably doesn't help that I'm on vacation by myself and have all the time in the world to stress about it. I'm not sure what is stressing me out... I can't put my finger on one thing, so it has to be the fear of the unknown. I'm losing sleep over this and I'm upsetting my digestive system with all this unnecessary stress.

Today, i'm going to go for my last bike ride before the Tri and then to the chiro to get some pre-race ART. My calves and shoulders desperately need some hard work... Tomorrow is back to work for me, which is fine with me as it will make me think of other things. I can't believe how this Tri has taken over all my thoughts!

I think I feel like I have something to prove. I wouldn't say I need to prove it to the world, but I need to prove it to myself that I can be a triathlete. I probably was the least likely person to ever complete a Triathlon, but here I am: trained and ready to bike and run, less trained and less ready to swim.

Is that possible that I've become a whole different person since that night when I swore I would take care of my health? Is that possible that the fear of dying that I felt that night turned me into a determined athlete? Whenever I look back, I can't believe how far I've come. It's been quite a journey for me, from couch potato to runner, then from runner to triathlete. Triathlon training is the hardest thing I've ever undertaken, and I can't see any better reward than "wearing" the "Triathlete" tag at the end of this week.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

First Tri Stress Dream

I had my first Tri stress dream this morning. It was race day, and nothing worked like it was supposed to. The swim took place in a very tiny pool, no one would tell us when we were finished swimming the required distance and at some point, there was no water... Then, I realized that I didn't get bodymarking (which I am so looking forward to!)... I couldn't find my bike and I didn't remember setting up my transition area... and then, I realized that it was super hot and I had only brought a shirt with sleeves... No one was respecting the rules, and people were all over the place... Worst - no one enforced those rules! I gave up on the Tri during the bike course, because I wouldn't know what I was supposed to do and it made me so frustrated. I hope this is not what will happen!

It's official - I am now one level away from being freaked out about my Tri.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Riding Stardust

On Thursday, I got my bike fitting in the morning and I went for my first ride with Stardust in the afternoon. I only went for about 5K, just to see how it felt and I was... speechless. Stardust is wonderful!

The difference between Stardust and my nameless hybrid bike is unbelievable! I was shocked during the whole ride at how light and fast Stardust is. On flat ground, Stardust kept going forever without me pedalling... i climbed a small hill without ever going below 15 km/h when I would reach the top of the hill at about 9 km/h with the nameless hybrid.

My knees didn't hurt or crack AT ALL. My quads didn't work as hard. The only problem is that my shoulders hurt so badly - they already hurt a lot before I went for the ride, even when I sat around doing nothing. The road bike position, which is totally new to me, probably isn't helping.

I love her already. I can't wait till tomorrow to go on another Stardust ride again! :-)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Further Outside of my Comfort Zone...

Yesterday, I was writing that buying a road bike and trying the clipless pedals for the first time was completely outside of my comfort zone. Today, I moved even further out of my comfort zone by trying an open water swim. I don't think I swam more than 25-30m at once, because it was so scary! I couldn't really see the bottom of the water, and all I could think of was how I had no idea where I was going... I will admit that I panicked a little at first. I tried again a few times, and the last time I tried, I was able to swim a little more comfortably.

I had been thinking about doing the Try-a-Tri which takes place in Ottawa next weekend, but I'll pass. I will make sure I do open water swims in the coming month to get used to the feeling of swimming outside...

The journey to becoming a triathlete is a much harder one than I would have imagined at first.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New Bike and Clipless Pedals Adventures

I am about to receive a backpay cheque from work and I decided to treat myself to a new bike with this money. JF and I went shopping and I looked at/tried on every main brand that had a road bike that could fit my needs and budget. This morning, I finally found THE ONE:

A 2006 Specialized road bike, at a clearance price, with good quality components and even aerobars! The perfect bike for me. The one that they just put together was my size - perfect! I tried out the bike outside and I really liked it, so I decided to buy it. I'm getting my bike fit on Thursday morning and since I'm not planning to make any changes to it, I will probably bring it home before the end of the weekend! Yay!

Now that I'm getting a road bike, I decided that I really need to start using the clipless pedals that I bought last Winter. I've been so scared of using them, that I kinda forgotten about them for many months... Today, I decided to be courageous and install them on my hybrid bike. JF helped me out and showed me how to clip and release from the pedals. We went to a soccer field and I practiced...

I fell twice. The first time, I lost balance and fell on the side where my foot was clipped. I scratched my knees, elbows, upper thigh... and bruises are now appearing and I'm hurting. The second time, I tried to clip without success and just when I decided that I would put my foot on the floor and start again, my shoe clipped and I fell. This time, I fell on my handlebars and I hurt my pecs. This is very painful right now, and I'll probably have a bruise.

After the second fall, I decided that it was enough practice for today. I will try again tomorrow. With this, I am officially completely out of my comfort zone.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Time Trials

Yesterday, I went to the pool. I ate crap all day prior to going to the pool and it really affected my swimming (note to self: eat better next time). As a result, I wasn't able to swim for 200m yesterday, but I did 100m twice. The first one took 2:45 and the second one took 2:15. Based on that, i could say that my baseline for swimming 200m would be somewhere between 5:00 and 5:30.

As I already mentionned, my baseline for the bike is about 48 minutes, and my baseline for the run is about 41 minutes.

This would give me a finishing time of 1:34 for the distances. Add 5 minutes for the transitions, and my overall Try-a-Tri time would be close to 1:40 on September 1st. If I had done a 1:40 Try-a-Tri last year, only 3 people would have completed the distance after me... but then, the results state that the run distance was 4.7k last year... which means I could have cut about 2 minutes off my time, for a 1:37 finishing time. At 1:37, 4 people would have finished after me.

The challenge is to reduce my time on the bike, and the time spent in transitions. I will concentrate my training on this, at the same time that I'll try to improve my swimming and maintain my running.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I REALLY can do this!

This morning, I woke up and wondered if I should go to the gym, run, bike or try a brick. I decided to do a brick - something like 10K bike, 2K run - had breakfast, relaxed a little and got ready to go. As I was getting ready to leave, I thought to myself that I should bike for 15K, just to get a sense of how long 15K is. I figured 15K would take me about 45 minutes and that I could go for a short run around the neighboorhood to make my workout 60 minutes long or so.

My bike ride turned out to be a 16K one, completed in about 50 minutes. At some point during my bike ride, I was feeling quite good and decided that if I kept feeling this good, I may as well try to go for a 5K run. I got home, did my transition from biking stuff to running stuff, and off I went. My legs were so heavy, I couldn't believe it. I had tried to stretch my calves on the bike, but I didn't feel a stretch and I thought they must be loose enough. Turns out they weren't. I had to stop after 3 minutes of running to stretch my calves. I felt like I had a huge knot in my calves and that they were so tight!

On top of this, I decided to try a new path, which was a mistake because it was a slight uphill for about 0.5 K. My calves were screaming: "if you don't stop this now, we'll just seize and you'll fall to the ground and never be able to get up again". So, I stopped another time to stretch the calves and I walked a lot. Despite the stetches and the walking, I wasn't doing much better until I was back on a flat path again. At some point, even walking was difficult. But I kept at it, within my capability, and I did run about 2 minutes and then walked about 3 or 4 minutes.

I was surprised to realize that I was running way faster than usual, although I felt like I was going so slow. I had been told that this may happen, but I didn't think it would be that way: I felt I was running 8:30/K when in fact, I was running 7:00/K. The problem is that I couldn't slow down, even if I tried. My legs wouldn't let me slow down, as if they wanted this to be over.

After about 3K, I started feeling better and my legs felt looser. I was very grateful for that, and decided that I was doing 5K today. And I did it! :-) Despite the fatigue, I did 5K in a very respectable time of 41 minutes something. I was expecting to do it closer to 48 minutes, which is my slowest 5K ever - and this was achieved without having done a 16K bike ride before!

That was SO hard physically. When I finished, I was overwhelmed by emotion and I couldn't stop crying. I can do this. I have no excuse now. I can be a triathlete. It's up to me.

Wow. What a great feeling!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SO proud!

I went to the pool tonight and I followed a part of Vicki's advice to do a time trial. I say I followed a part of the advice because I didn't time myself, I only covered the distance without stopping.


It was the first time ever I swam that long, non-stop. I'm very proud of myself and I'm more confident about my triathlon on September 1st. I should say I swam at least 200m, because I did 10 lenghts of a pool that's somewhere between 20m and 25m long. The best part is that I did half of it by swimming front crawl - I still can't believe I was able to do this!!!

One year ago, I couldn't swim. I was uncomfortable in the water. I didn't even want to do a triathlon yet, I was just dreaming about learning to swim... A year later, after many hours of hard work in the pool, I can swim at least 200m!!!

I can do this triathlon thing:

Swim 200m. Bike 15K. Run 5K.

I can be a triathlete!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Bienvenue dans la famille Jake!

Nous avons adopté un nouveau membre pour compléter notre famille. Il s'agit de Jake le chien, un épagneul Springer anglais de presque 4 ans. Jake était un chien d'élevage, et il est placé dans notre famille pour vivre sa 2e vie. Nous sommes allé chercher Jake hier dans la région de Peterborough, à plus de 4 heures d'ici. L'éleveur avait apporté 2 chiens à sa maison pour nous les faire rencontrer: Jake et Danny. Danny était un Springer noir et blanc de presque 6 ans et il nous a tout de suite adoptés. Jake avait un peu peur au début, mais il s'est par la suite habitué à nous et nous a laissé le flatter et le coller.

Malheureusement, nous devions faire un choix car ces chiens doivent être dressés complètement et un seul chien demandera beaucoup de travail. Après de longues minutes d'hésitation, nous avons décidé d'adopter Jake, même s'il était moins amical à prime abord parce qu'il semblait le plus énergique, parce qu'il est plus jeune et parce qu'il a un physique plus athlétique que Danny. Danny faisait de l'embonpoint, et n'était pas loin d'être obèse, alors on s'est demandé s'il serait le meilleur chien pour nous.

Dans la voiture, Jake a été un ange. Il a même dormi! Nous sommes arrêté dans quelques haltes routières sur le chemin du retour, mais Jake ne voulait pas manger, marcher ou faire ses besoins. Il avait peur des camions et des voitures. Nous sommes finalement arrivés à la maison vers 10h hier soir, avec un chien stressé et peureux et des chats intrigués et pas très heureux de le rencontrer. Heureusement, tout s'est passé de façon pacifique malgré quelques grognements de Jake, causés par le fait que Maia et Litchie allaient tout près de sa cage et le fixaient intensément, ce qui devait le rendre mal à l'aise et incomfortable.

Ce matin, JF a fait sortir Jake dehors assez tôt et comble de malheur, c'est ce matin qu'un transformateur situé dans un poteau chez le voisin a choisi pour exploser et faire un gros vacarme qui a effrayé Jake. Heureusement que nous avons une cour clôturée!!

Lorsque JF a donné un peu d'intimité à Jake, celui-ci a décidé de faire son premier pipi. Il était temps, le pauvre n'avait fait aucun pipi depuis 2:30 hier après-midi et il était rendu 1:30 aujourd'hui! Depuis ce temps, il a fait un bon nombre de pipis, mais nous attendons toujours qu'il se sente assez à l'aise pour le # 2!!! ;-)

Bienvenue dans notre famille Jake. J'espère que tu t'habitueras à nous et que nous aurons de belles années avec toi!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Emilie's Run 2007 - My Heavy Mental Race

Q: Why is Kelodie a BOP (back-of-the-pack) runner?
A: Because her mental is too heavy


My goal was to PB on this course. It’s a flat and fast course, and I thought my 10K training would have helped me improve my 5K times. But then, life happened: I hurt my toe while in Victoria and wasn’t able to wear shoes for 10 days; I had a tough cold; I travelled for work to both ends of our country. In the 4 weeks between my 10K race and Emilie’s Run, I ran 3 times only and it never went well.

Still, I thought I could PB if I got my mental on. The mental part was crucial for this race, because I’d have little outside motivation to keep me going when it got difficult - there aren't a lot of spectators on the course and this race wasn't an A race for me. I knew my legs had had plenty of rest and that they were good to go, but I wasn’t too sure about the cardio and the mental.

What Happened

I was on track for a 35min finish after 3K, but I lost a lot of time walking and trying to talk myself into being strong between the 3rd and the 4th kilometre mark. My stupid mental won!!! It’s so heavy that sometimes I feel like I carry a pack sack full of rocks with me when I run.

I missed my PB by the time it takes to say “I almost got a PB but my mental was too weak that day”… 7 seconds!!!

My splits:
@1km 7:01
@2km 14:00
@3km 21:56
@4km 30:02
@5km 37:14

- I’m impressed that I achieved such a result after 2 months of “almost zero training”
- Last year, I ran this course in 40:45. I shaved 3:50 off last year’s time!
- I tried to focus on running with joy and being grateful to be out there – it worked for a while, but then I didn’t care about joy anymore!
- Having a plan (be as close to 7:00/k as possible in this case) and sticking with it works, as long as the mental doesn’t interfere
- There was an article in RW about how going all out on a 5K race was a good strategy, even if your second half was slower: I tried it and it works good (again, as long as you don’t crash before the end!)
- It was great that Joe was shooting pictures at the 4K mark: it motivated me to keep running to have great running pictures (and my pictures are amazing!!!)
- I “forced” my parents to come see me do this race. You should have seen my mom at the finish line: it was priceless how proud she looked. This sure made me feel good.

Bottom Line
There will be other races to get my mental on and PB.

My thoughts on this race a week later...
Looking at my stats for this race, I realized that my HR was very high during the whole race (average HR was 175 and it went up to the 180s many times). A HR that high can't be a good thing and certainly explains why I needed frequent walk breaks. I'm happy that I didn't feel too bad after the race, like I did after my 10K, because I could easily have puked and felt very sick after keeping my HR that high for so long.

From this race, I understand that I need to get back to consistent running. This morning, I ran by HR. It was quite discouraging to be back at doing 1:1s, but if this is what it takes to get back to where I was, I'm willing to do it. I still have the endurance to run longer, but I don't have the ability to do it within healthy HR ranges and I have to do something about it. I can't run at my lactate threashold all the time!

I'll be back with a revenge next year, you can count on this, Emilie!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Emilie's Run is coming up!

On Saturday
I will run with a smile
As fast as I can handle
I will enjoy the day
And be grateful to be out there
Because Emilie can’t

When it gets difficult
I will keep pushing
I will keep breathing
I’ll just keep moving forward

I believe I can do this
I can run faster
I can beat last year's time
I am strong

I believe.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

100m - done!

I have been having some self-doubts about this triathlon project of mine lately. Not only do I doubt my ability to ever be able to swim for a long time, but I also doubt my general ability to be a triathlete at all. I'm rolling my eyes at myself, really: now that I got rid of most of the self-doubts about my running, am I really going to start doubting my ability to swim, bike then run.

Tonight, I went to the pool, after having had too much for dinner. It made the swim hard, and I only lasted 25 minutes in the pool before I wanted to puke. Anyway, while I was there, I attempted and succeeded at swimming for 100m without stopping. This involved a lot of swimming on my back, not even doing the back crawl, but at least, I kept moving. I suppose that if I add 25m every week, i'll be good to swim 200m on September 1st AND still have energy to bike 15K and then run 5K afterwards.

I am really trying hard not to give in to the self-doubt. I swear I am doing my best.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I hate being sick!

Almost everytime I fly or take the train somewhere, I get sick when I come back. I am sick with a cold now and i feel miserable. I hate being sick in the Summer. I just needed to complain. Poor little me, sick with a cold, when other people have cancer or other illnesses.

I didn't run since my 10K because I hurt my toe last week. Today was the first day I was able to put on shoes since the incident. I don't think I could have run. I'm starting to think that the PB I have planned for my next 5K race (Emily's Run) won't happen. Oh well, I'm sure I can beat my time from last year on this course, which was 0:40:45.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Some dreams are worth the struggle - long version

(The abridged version of this report can be found on in the Race Reports section)

I did it! I ran my first 10K ever yesterday and I am so proud!

If you read my previous post, you know how long it took me to get to this start line. When I started training for my 10K this time, I had less physical barriers because I had more knowledge of my body’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, I knew from the start that I could not follow any of the popular 10K programs out there because the quick increase in mileage would put me at risk for injury. One January day, I developed my own “4 months program to your first 10K”, which consisted of a 3 runs/week with a slow increase in LSD distance and a cut-back week every 3 weeks.

During my 10K training, I discovered that the challenge was 90% mental for me and I developed strategies to develop mental strength. This winter, I ran my first 6K, 7K, 8K and 9K. I PB’d on the 5K distance. I learned to swim to cross-train and prepare me for the next step: triathlon training. I learned that believing is the first, but crucial step, to achieving anything good in life. I learned that it's OK to be discouraged, but that you have to pick yourself up and keep moving forward. I learned that a great support system makes all the difference!

The first part of my training went very well, and I slowly but surely got from 6K LSDs to 9K LSDs. There were some tough runs, but I found the strenght in me to push through them and to be proud of my accomplishements. I started feeling like I was "a real runner", even though people kept telling me I became one a long time ago. Somehow, this title didn't resonate with me until after I had run my first 7K.

The last month wasn’t very good for my training. After I PB'd at Run for Reach, I lost a lot of my motivation and didn't run much. A few weeks I only ran once, or 2 time maximum. I revised my original goal of 80min to 90min. I figured I would be happy with anything under 90 minutes and I would be very disapointed if it took me more than 90 minutes. I really thought I could do under 85 minutes, but nothing close to 80 minutes. Still, 80 minutes was my whisper goal.

I knew that I had to take control of "my mental" if I was to have a good race. I knew the enemy would be the negative thoughts and the self-doubts and I had to come up with a plan. I wrote up a race plan and dedicated each of my 10 kilometers to someone or a special event, in order to keep my head off negative thoughts. I figured if I had many subjects/people to think about, this wouldn't leave any room for anything negative.

My plan looked like this:

Km 1 = how I got started running and my first race ever
Km 2 = enjoying the time that I would have on the course and reflect on the achievements of the past months
Km 3 = the strong/tough women I know and how I want to be like them
Km 4 = injured people, and one special person who is working so much on herself right now, trying to put herself back together (I could also have put this person in the “strong people” km)
Km 5 = the people who believed in me, even/mostly when I didn’t
Km 6 = my friend Liette, with whom I started training for my first 10K two years ago, who got injured in the process and still hasn’t started to run again. I so wish we were doing this together! Thinking of her made me push through the hill.
Km 7 = JF and my cats. JF has been a great support for me and put up with my anxieties, discouragement, negativity… thank you sweetie!
Km 8 = someone who helped me enjoy the process during my 10K training. At that point, my friend Kiza ran with me for a little while and it helped keep my mind off the race. Thanks Kiza!
Km 9 = enthusiastic people cheering on me with their orange pom-poms, and not minding being BOP as long as they had fun
Km 10 = I ran for me. Because this has been so hard, and I conquered my fears, anxieties and self-doubts!

My plan also included doing 5:1s, only looking at my intervals (not the stopwatch or my speed) and sticking to the plan. My #1 objective, though, was to complete those 5 minutes intervals and to slow down to make sure I could complete them. I followed the plan!

Many times, I thought of a certain ultra-marathoner who was running 100K that day. I kept her company for a while – while we were both accomplishing something important for us. Congratulations Krista - you did this!

I had the pleasure of meeting John Bingham at the Expo on Saturday and being congratulated by him in advance. I knew I had to live up to The Penguin's congratulations. I though a lot about his famous quote on Saturday: “the miracle is not that I finished; the miracle is that I had the courage to start”. It is really miraculous that I got into running. I have never been an athlete in my whole life, and now look at me! This is unbelievable!

Tears of joy were shed a few times during the race. Tears of joy were shed in the chute area, when I crossed the finish line and when I got my medal. Tears of joy were shed when I found JF and he hugged me. Tears of joy are shed as I write this report.

My finish line plan was to take a walk break from 500m to 300m to the finish line, and then run as fast as I could to finish strong – this explains why I was walking when I saw many of my friends cheering for me so close to the finish line. At 300m, I started running again, according to my plan.
At 200m, I picked up the pace enough that people in the crowd noticed and started cheering very loudly for me, it was AMAZING and certainly one of the highlights of my life. All those strangers I didn’t know were giving me my 2 minutes of glory - me, the supposedly non-athlete! I passed the finish line, cried, got my medal, got my picture taken and ate nothing because I came in when there was nothing left.

I made the mistake of drinking Gatorade on an empty stomach after my race. Not long after, I started having terrible cramps and I felt like I was going to pass out. We finally made it home and I had a shower, but I couldn't get better. I wasn't able to fall asleep and I woke up during the night and couldn't go back to sleep. I guess this is what you get when your average heart rate is over 170 for 80 minutes. Oh well, I survived!

Yesterday, I conquered “my mental”. I reached my whisper goal of running an 80 minutes 10K. I don’t know what else I could ask for.

Some dreams are really worth the struggle.

Friday, May 25, 2007

t minus 1

Tomorrow is the day I have been waiting for almost 2 years: I will run my first 10K ever! :-)

Two years ago, I was doing my first race ever - a 5K - and I had a great time. This first race changed everything in my life. It gave me confidence that I could do whatever I decided to do, in every aspect of my life. I remember being on a high for about a week afterward because the non-athletic me had succeeded at running a 5K race! I would never have thought i'd ever call myself a runner.

After my first 5K, I decided I wanted to try the 10K. Over the summer of 2005, I increased my mileage and even signed up for a 10K clinic which started at the end of August. It all went downhill from there. I had a very bad experience at the clinic. First, my friend Liette got injured right at the beginning of the clinic and had to drop out (she still hasn't been able to run since, which is SO sad). Then, I injured my lower back myself while lifting boxes and I pushed through the pain while running and made things worst. At the same time, the clinic itself took its toll on my self-esteem and I gave up, both mentally and physically hurt.

I saw a chiro for 2 months and it didn't really help with my injury. In December, I saw my osteopath, who helped me get rid of most of the pain. I increased my mileage again and started to train for my first 10K when mid-January, the pain was back, only 10 times worse than before. I went to see a physio to treat the injury and try to strenghten whatever was causing the injury. A few months later, in May of 2006, I was able to run the 5K again at Ottawa. Following Ottawa, I developped severe shin splints, which took many months to heal enough that I could run through the pain. I started getting Active Release Techniques treatments which helped a lot. In August of 2006, I decided to learn to swim and do a triathlon before I turn 30 (this Summer). The minute I announced my new goal, I stopped being so depressed about my running. A new dream was born! :-)

Over the spring and summer of 2006, I got much stronger from working with a personal trainer at the gym. This led me to a 5K PB in october 2006. :-) The rest is history - already documented on this Blog.

Tomorrow is the big day. I am very excited about it. I know the race will be a bigger mental challenge than it will be a physical one. I worked on my mental preparedness this week, and made up a plan: each kilometer will be spent thinking about an event or a person, rather than the pain, the doubts or the negative stuff. Tonight, i will go to bed happy and relaxed, for I have done the training, battled my demons and came out of these 2 years stronger than ever.

I'm ready. Bring it on!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A little disapointed

I was kidding myself when I said I was OK with not doing the Early Bird Triathlon today. I wasn't ready at all, and I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it, but my heart is sad that I didn't do it. It's a big triathlon weekend: 2 friends of mine have done/will do their first Tri and I'm so proud of them and I wish I did it too!

Whenever my heart says I wish I'd done it, my head says "you weren't ready". A third voice, the voice of my inner critic, says that I suck at swimming and it's why I wasn't ready. I had 8 months already to learn to swim and I still can't swim for 100m? Pathetic!

Oh well, let's hope this disapointment and my friends' successes will add to my motivation to work on my swimming and get to a point when I can swim 200m in time for The Canadian Triathlon on September 1st (if not before).

Congratulations to Jesse and good luck to Vicki! You guys worked so hard on your swimming and you inspire me to do the same.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Postponing my first Tri

I registered for the Early Bird Try-a-Tri in December, thinking i'd be able to swim 100m by May 19th. Since we bought the house, I have been hesitating to do this Tri, because I knew I'd have a lot on my plate already with the house and the 10K race. I had given myself yesterday as a deadline to make a decision.

When I went to my swimming lesson yesterday, I decided to test myself and see if I could swim 100m non-stop. If I could, then I would do the Tri; if I couldn't, well, then I would postpone my registration. I was only able to do 30-35m non-stop yesterday and I was very disapointed. So, I decided to postpone my first Tri to the Canadian, on Labor Day weekend (unless I get better before and I can participate in the one in July).

This morning, I'm feeling a little better, but still very disapointed. I was able to swim 100m once last Fall, and my technique has improved. I should have been able yesterday.

I'm struggling with my running as well these days. I've slacked off too much lately and I'm facing the consequences now. On Monday, I had my worst 5K ever and yesterday, my third worst (NCM 5K last year comes second). My plan is to run every other day until NCM, be more careful with what I eat and cross my fingers that this will be sufficient to bring me back into the shape I was a month ago.

The house painting is going very well! We work like crazy, but it's paying off. We're almost done all the painting we wanted to do. The bathrooms are left, as well as the upstairs hallway. This house needed to be painted badly and I'm glad we did! I could never have lived in a house where the white walls have turned yellow because of the cigarette smoke. Gross! Here's a proof that I am working hard:

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A long awaited breakthrough in the pool!

Today was a crappy day. I am sleep-deprived from all the excitement from the house and the stress at work, and last night, I had a bad night of sleep. I woke up very grumpy and impatient this morning. I had to force myself to go running because I simply didn't feel like it. I was out at 8:30, and I went for 8K. I was surprised that I managed to do 8K this morning, because I didn't run all of last week, and only twice the week before. I have to admit that my 8K took longer than it should have, but I did it. I was soaking wet and freezing when I got home, but I felt like I had evacuated a lot of stress and frustration.

Tonight was my first of 8 adult swimming lessons. I signed up for lessons offered by the city. The session I signed for is twice/week for 4 weeks. I signed up for level 1 (of 3). I think i'm really going to like this class. It's like semi-private lessons! The instructor asked everyone what their level and goals were, and she offered each of us individual coaching. I like that she gives me some tips and stuff to practice, and I get to practice 5 minutes before I see her again. This is a great formula!

The instructor watched me swim and decided that I would graduate to the level 2 right away. :-) I couldn't dream of something better: I'm the BEST in my class!! I'm always surrounded by people who are so much better than I am, but this time, i'm the one who's best! This is great and just what I needed! 2 people in the class came to me and told me I was very good. I don't think I've ever heard this before from someone refering to my swimming! It's great to be a model for others.

The breakthrough happened at the end of the lesson, when the instructor explained the basics of breathing to 2 of my classmates (she said it was too basic for me, can you believe it?). She was telling them how their hips should remain parralel to the bottom of the pool and that only the upper body should twist when breathing while swimming. I tried that, using a floatation board, and miracle: I could breathe like I was supposed to! I didn't try it without the board tonight. We'll see on Wednesday if I can do it without it!

My day was crappy, but it ends so well! :-) Now that I have spent all my energy, I hope I get a good night's sleep. I need it desperately!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Enfin notre maison!

Aujourd'hui, nous avons pris possession de notre première maison. Nous sommes passé chez le notaire ce matin pour finaliser la vente et obtenir les clés. Heureusement, les vendeurs nous avaient invités à voir la maison hier soir, alors j'ai eu hier soir la déception habituelle que j'ai lorsque je vois ma nouvelle demeure non-meublée. Aujourd'hui, j'étais plutôt excitée! Nous avons déjà commencé à arracher des choses que nous n'aimons pas: des miroirs, des barres à serviettes, une petite armoire dans la salle de bains... Des vrais petits rénovateurs!

On a commencé à nettoyer et à faire des plans. Les 3 prochaines semaines devraient être plutôt occupées: entre nos emplois, la maison, notre entraînement et notre appartement, on ne va pas chômer.

Je trouve encore difficile à croire que je suis maintenant co-propriétaire d'une maison. C'est un étrange sentiment qui me rend un peu anxieuse. Bien évidemment, mes émotions sont plus positives que négatives, mais elles m'affectent néanmoins et je dors mal, je digère mal et je suis moins jasante. Je suis heureuse d'avoir 3 semaines pour me faire à ma future vie!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

First Outside Bike Ride of the Season!

It's beautiful outside today! Rather than to go to the gym this morning, I decided to go for my first bike ride of the season. The weather was perfect, sunny and somewhere between 15 and 20 degrees. I took it slowly and did 8.42K in 31:28.

If I compare this first ride outside to my first ride of 2006, I see many differences. The most important one is that my butt isn't as sore as it was last year! :p

That was much more fun than to be stuck inside at the gym. Tomorrow will be my first outside run in shorts (or should I say skirt!). Yay for Summer!

Monday is a very important day for JF and I: we're getting the keys to our first house! This is very exciting, so much that I am losing sleep because of the excitement. It was to be expected, but the constant hangover feeling isn't fun at all. I'm sure I can survive this! ;-)

Monday, April 16, 2007

“I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself”

Those of you who know me well, know that I love music. Music accompanies me on every day of my life and helps me express my emotions. I ran a 5K PB yesterday at Run 4 Reach, and one line from a Dashboard Confidential song comes to my mind when I think of the past week and the huge support that I received from my friends: “I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself”. They said it all along that I had it in me to overcome my struggles, and my friends were right, I now see it!

We all doubt our capacities to tackle life’s challenges sometimes. When my turn comes, once every 3-4 months, I usually turn to my friends for support. When my doubts are related to my running, I turn to my Running Mania friends. These guys have a way of making you realize how far you’ve come and how much potential you have. When I shut up the voice of my inner critic and listen to what the rest of the world thinks of me, I find my balance and strive to push past my limits.

After hours of back and forth posting about by self-doubts on Thursday, I went out and ran a sub-40min 5K. This was only the third time in my life that I achieved this, the first time in training, and I was very proud of myself. All of a sudden, I started wondering if it would be possible for me to PB at Run for Reach. I told JF: "I want a PB". My former PB was set at the Rattle me Bones 5K, in October 2006. That day, I had run a 0:38:23 PB. The other time I had run a sub-40min 5K was in August 2005 in Quebec City, and I had run about 0:38:38.

My friend Nancy and I have been planning to run together for many, many months now and never got around to it. Yesterday was the day. Nancy told me we'd run at my pace, and that she would stick with me until the end. Knowing that Nancy is faster than I am, I included her in my plan for a PB without telling her!

All Friday and Saturday, I blocked the negative thoughts from my mind and only let room for the positive stuff. PBs were allowed, PWs weren’t. On Sunday morning, I didn’t feel up to the challenge and a tiny little voice in me started telling me that a sub-40min would be good enough. I did everything I could to ignore this little voice and think harder of a possible PB.

After the Halfers and 10Kers were off, I had about 90 minutes to spend before waiting for JF at the finish line and then it would be time for me to go. I decided to go back home, to keep warm, eat breakfast, repeat my positive mantras and just remain positive and excited about the race. When I went back to the race course, it was raining and it was cold. I waited for JF to cross the finish line and PB, which he did by over 4 minutes!!! It was unbelievable how great he looked when he finished. He was so happy!

We started our own race and the first kilometre mark came fast: under 6 minutes! I really tried to slow us down a little, but I just couldn’t pace myself. We ended up running the first 10 minutes, and then 5 minutes here, 3 minutes there, depending on how I felt. We took walk breaks when I needed them, and Nancy followed me without complaining about my lack of pacing skills! ;-)

The 4th kilometre was the toughest one and I had to dig deep to make myself run just a little longer than what I thought I could do. I repeated “I can, I can, I can” non-stop at the rhythm of my footsteps until we reached the 4K mark. Sometime after 4K, Nancy told me that no matter what happened, I was PBing today! This made me so excited that I started running way too fast, hoping to smash that PB! And I did, by over 1 minute. We finished 5.11K in 37:08.

The best things about yesterday were:

1) Nancy sticking with me and pushing me to run outside of my comfort zone (thank you so much!)
2) JF yelling PB, PB, PB as we approached the finish line
3) Maniacs lining the course and cheering for us - I felt like a hero!
4) A great meet n' greet at the Striders - thanks so much for inviting us!

When you have great friends who empower you to believe in yourself, PBs happen.

Thank you my dear friends!


The picture was taken by a very talented photographer, who's also a Running Mania member. You can visit his company's website at . Thanks Joe for the wonderful pictures!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Feeling Inadequate...

I'm feeling down about my running today, and I know writing usually helps me get the bad feelings out.

I know I am reacting to everyone's success in their running/triathlon training and wondering why is it that I can't be as good as everyone else seems to be. I keep reading things like "I started running a few months ago, and I am now training for my first Half" or "A year ago, I was training for my first 5K, and a year later, i'm training for my first Marathon", etc. I started running 2.5 years ago and I'm training for my first 10K. This doesn't sound glorious to me at all...

What's wrong with me? What is it that I do wrong? How come I can't go from 5K to Half in a year, like most people? It's not that I don't want it, I do. I feel that I have been training hard in the past year, but even though I feel like I'm getting stronger, I'm not any faster or more endurant.

I feel like other people find clinics that are just fine for them, where they find their place, but the few times I tried running with others, I felt so inadequate compared to them that now, I just refuse to run with people, unless they pressure me. When I'm alone, I only compare myself with myself and I'm generally happy. Make me run with someone, and I'll try to follow them, only to realize that I don't have the same capacity as they do. Then, when I'm done and I'm alone, I beat myself up for not being good enough.

People sometimes tell me that I inspire them, but I don't know how I can do that: no one wants to be inspired to be mediocre or to come in last place! Or, I inspire people to start doing something, and then they're so much better than I can ever be and I hate that. It doesn't do me any good to inspire others - it gives me more people to compare myself to and bring myself down with my lack of success compared to them. Come on, how can I feel good about my stupid little try-a-tri when many people who tell me I inspired them jump right into a Sprint Tri and succeed?

I really wonder what I'm doing so wrong that after 2.5 years of running, 10K is still a challenge for me. I've tried to find a single person who had the same slow progression around me, and I don't find any. Some people will tell me that at least, I keep running despite the fact that I have no natural talent for it, but this is not comforting to me.

After 2.5 years, I should be much tougher than I am, but I am not. I wish I knew why, so that I could make up an action plan to get better and be as good as I can be.

I think the bottom line is that I'm sick of comparing myself to others and that I should stop saying "yes" when someone asks me to run with them. Now, that would be a solution. How to say no to someone who only wants to show you their support by offering to run with you? They're being nice to me, after all... (sigh)...

Any ideas on what I can do to get better are welcome. Ideas on how to say "no" to running with people without hurting their feelings are welcome too...

Friday, April 06, 2007

50K... 100K... 9.2K... Not a new type of triathlon!

It's been a while since I updated my Blog and a lot happened... First of all, I ran 50K in one month for the first time ever in March!!! It took me 7:15:50 to cover the distance: I ran 5:09:00 and walked 2:06:50. In the process, I burned 3,993 calories! :-)

In March, I also walked over 100K (1,595 minutes!!!).

Last Sunday, I planned to run 8K in a different way: run to the gym, run on the TM and then run back home. From our apartment to the gym, there's 2.8K and so I knew I would have done 5.6K just for my commute to the gym. While I was on the TM, I decided to run an extra kilometer on the TM, and to run my first ever 9K that day! I did it! :-) It was very painful at the end, and I was very tired, but I toughed it out.

I was very happy that I decided to run 9K while I was doing it. This way, I didn't have time to apprehend it and be scared. I really liked running to the gym, and then on the TM, and then back outside again - it made the 9.2K go faster. I will now need to rest my legs a little because I feel an injury slowly creeping in.

I'm ready for my 10K, and I decided that my longest training run would be around 9.75K, so that my first 10K is at NCM! :-)

Monday, March 19, 2007

I believed... and ran 8K!

After my terrible PMS last week, I got back into a more positive attitude over the weekend. I was very nerveous about my first 8K run, which was planned for Sunday morning, but I decided to try to be positive about it and to look forward to it. To me, 8K was a very important milestone, because 8K is closer to 10K than it is to 5K...

On Sunday morning, I felt good. I would even say I felt calm. I had all sorts of positive thoughts in my mind, such as "You can do it", "Take it one KM at a time" and "Enjoy the journey". However, right at the beginning of my run, I started to visualize the word "BELIEVE" written in big bold letters on the window in front of the treadmill. I said it in my head many times, and it helped make the run less difficult. This 7-letter word turned something difficult into something wonderful. :-)

I believe.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I'm done

I am having a terrible day today, which involves a lot of crying... thinking and more crying. I have never wanted to reach my objectives to feel good about myself, I wanted to reach them in order to get recognition from people from whom I should not be expecting any. Why is it that as you grow older, your parents care less and less about you and you care more and more about them? I am reconsidering the reasons why I want to run and do triathlons, and until I come up with something better than "to get some recognition from others", I decided to put my plans on hold.

I will continue to train for my first 10K, but I'm not so sure about my other plans. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My first outside run of 2007

Tonight, I took my running outside, after almost 4 months of treadmill running. Since I took up running 2 years ago, my first outside run in the Spring always took place in Vancouver because I travelled there for work. I always had a wonderful experience when doing this run - nature was blooming, the air smelt fresh, the sun was warm...

With all these memories in mind, I put on my running shoes today, expecting nothing less than pure bliss. I didn't get this. I was tired from a long day at work, nothing is blooming and the air smelt of exhaust because the only place I could run was on the side of the road. So much for a wonderful invigorating run!

I was so nerveous about this run. I had doubts I could run for 10 minutes outside, like I can on the treadmill. Determined to run for 10 minutes, I headed out and toughed the longest 10 minutes ever. Then I crashed, and ran 2 minutes, walked, then ran 5 minutes and then walked back home. I had calves cramps during the whole thing, which could have been caused by uneven pavement or the small incline on the road. I was also running too fast, although I felt like I was slowing myself down the whole time.

To borrow one of The Killer's lines from their song This River is Wild: tonight, I didn't like the line I walked (or should I say, ran).

I'm trying to focus on the upside, and the upside is that I was able to run for 10 minutes straight and that the first run outside is now behind me. It can only get better from here! Right?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The hardest thing I have ever done

Training for my first 10K is the hardest thing I have ever done. It is so difficult mentally to do all my runs and complete my distances that I really wonder how some people can run longer distances. This week is a cut-back week, so my long run today was only 5K. It should not have been hard, but it took everything I had to tough it out. I was thinking about how hard this was during my run and I was overwhelmed by a feeling of sadness and self-doubt.

I feel like every time I go out for a run, a swim, a ride, a walk, a strenght training session, that I am fighting against my non-athletic genes. I can't help wanting to be a runner, just like everyone else. I want it easy, just like other people, who start running and run a Half- or a Full-Marathon a year later. I feel like such an imposter, sometimes, pretending to be a runner or even a triathlete.

Of course I can be a runner, of course I can complete a triathlon, but how can I ever be a Marathoner when I struggle so much through my 10K training? What if what I want the most is out of my reach? What if i'm never good enough in my own eyes? Why can't I just be satisfied with what I can do? Why must I push myself out of my comfort zone all the time? Why, oh why, am I being so demanding towards myself?

People tell me that I will appreciate it more when I reach my goal, and I hope it's true. This training is very hard mentally and I hope it pays off.

On a brighter note, I bought myself (another) running skirt today: the Brooks Motion skort. I already have the 2006 model and I love it. When I saw there was a turquoise one this year, I had to get it. Good news: they had it at the Running Room and I fit into a Medium! :-) Last year, I got the Large because the Medium wouldn't fit. Despite the lack of movement on the scale, I'm losing inches! Yay!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

72% done!

Today, I ran 7K for the first time! :-)

Well, it was 7.21K, because I wanted to be running when I reached 7K and then I needed to cool down a little. The first 5K were OK, but the last 2... Oh. My. God... It was very difficult, both physically and mentally. The girl I was a year ago would have stopped after 5K and thought she was not ready for 7K, but the new me pushed it and succeeded!

I was very clever to create a new playlist on my iPod with all the songs that I love to run to. It helped me tough it out and run a little faster than usual. Overall, I ran a little over 48 minutes and walked about 16. This is pretty good for me, the highest number of minutes I've ever run in one run!

After my run, I was SO tired.. I just couldn't read or think or talk. My digestive system was upset, and I wasn't sure if I would vomit or not. (I didn't, in case anyone wonders...) I tried to take a nap this afternoon, but I couldn't fall asleep, so I just relaxed. Something tells me i'm going to sleep very well tonight!

The best part of my run was not related to running: a week before my laser eye surgery, I was running on the TM at the gym with my glasses on and I decided to notice everything I could in order to be able to compare the difference in my vision after the surgery. Conveniently, the TM at the gym face the street, and businesses have signs with different text sizes. Anyway, everything was mostly blurry since my surgery, I could read it, but it was never clear. Well, this morning, during my run, I noticed that one of the signs across the street was VERY clear and it was one of the most difficult to read a few weeks ago. When I blinked, I lost the clarity, but at least I had it for a few seconds!!! After all, there may be hope that I get 20/20 vision once this long healing process is over!!

I'm 72% done reaching my 10K goal. Next milestone will be 8K on March 18th.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Swimming 100m, another first!

Tonight was another first: I swam 100m non-stop! :-)

It wasn't beautiful to see, but I did it once, then I did it again. I'm very tired right now from all this swimming, but mentally, I feel great! I guess I can do this...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Many Firsts to Celebrate!

Ever since I decided to try a 2 weeks hard/1 week easy training schedule, I feel like I have wings! I didn't miss a single run in the past 2 weeks, even though I had mentally-challenging runs. Last Sunday, I had the most awful run: 6K of talking myself through it the whole time. But I did it, in fact I did 6.3K, and I was very proud! It was the first time I ever run more than 6K. :-)

Tonight, I had a wonderful run. I almost felt no pain at all while running and my cardio was excellent. I ran for 16 minutes in a row for the first time ever! I could have kept going, but my 30-minutes limit on the treadmill was up.

On Sunday, I'll get into my "easy" week, where I'll run a shorter run on Sunday, see Duane the miracle-maker chiro on Monday, go to my first ever spinning class on Tuesday, to the pool on Wednesday, rest on Thursday and Friday and do some strenght training at the gym on Saturday. This will bring me to another big day: Sunday the 25th when I'll run 7K for the first time!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

How far I've come...

I had some difficult moments in the past 2 weeks. They were mostly related to my difficulties in learning to swim and the discouragement that followed. I'm still not 100% comfortable in the water, and therefore, it's very difficult for me to go from point A to point B in the pool without swallowing water or having difficulties breathing. I decided to postpone my first triathlon, which was planned for the weekend after JF and I move into our new house. There's going to be so much stress involved during this period of my life that I thought it would be best to postpone to August or September.

I started having calf pain again when running and this contributed to my discouragement. I thought there was no way I could ever run 10K... But then, I gave myself a week off, and I came back to running well-rested and ran 6K for the first time ever last Sunday! :-) I was very proud of me for toughing this run, because I had pain all over and was very tired.

After many trials and errors, I think I found the magic recipe for me: 2 weeks hard training, 1 week cross-training or little running. This has worked in the past in keeping me injury-free and I'm ready to give this a try by planning those cut-out weeks.

When I posted about being discouraged about my non-existing athletic capacities, someone on Running Mania asked me to stop and look back at how far I've come. Here's how far i've come:

* 3 years ago, I weighed 25lbs more than I weigh now;
* 28 months ago, I couldn't run more than 30 seconds at a time and needed 4 minutes to recover;
* 2 years ago, I didn't have much self-confidence in both my running and my life in general;
* a year ago, I didn't have as many runners as friends;
* 6 months ago, I couldn't swim at all;
* 4 months ago, I wasn't mentally tough enough to run 10 minutes non-stop;
* 2 weeks ago, I wasn't strong enough to face some adversity in the pool.

Ian was right, I have come a long way and I should focus on that! :-)

Friday, January 26, 2007

JF and I bought a house!

JF and I have been saving and planning to buy our first house for about 2 years. We decided that we would start to get serious about it this January. Our plan was to get pre-approval on a mortgage from different banks and then visit houses and eventually, make an offer on a house. Well, things went much faster than we anticipated and we made an offer on the 5th house we visited, on our 2nd day of intensive visits.

The past 2 weeks feel like they lasted 2 months. One day, we were visiting houses, the day after we were making an offer, and then waiting to hear back from the sellers, and finally accepting their counter-offer. All the while, we were having appointments with banks to discuss mortgages, finding a trustworthy house inspector and notary. It was all worth it, because on Monday, January 22nd, we became future home owners!!!

Of course, this proved to be quite challenging for our training and eating habits, but we didn't do too bad. This week, I got back into running and I ran about 12K (3 runs). Pretty good for someone who was off from running for almost one full month! I'm back to doing 10:1s. Some are easier than others, but I think that the more I "force" myself to complete the 10 minutes of running, the easier they will become.

I haven't gone back to the pool yet to try on my "new eyes", but it's in the books for next week.

My eyes are pretty much stable... I can't say that I saw much improvement this week. Yesterday, I received a bottle of eye drops in the mail. The eye doctor I saw 2 weeks ago had forgotten to give me stronger drops to put into my right eye 4 times a day. D'oh! I was pretty anxious about it, afraid this would ruin my recovery, but the nurse I spoke to said not to worry and that if I took the drops diligently for the next 2 weeks, I would be OK. I may call them back on Monday and ask for another follow-up appointment, just to make sure the damage isn't too bad...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Day 29 after PRK... my astigmatism is gone!

Today is Day 29 after my laser eye surgery and I noticed for the first time that my astigmatism is almost all gone!!! When I try hard to notice it, I can still see a little bit of astigmatism (my computer keyboard looks twisted), but in general, I don't notice it any more!!! :-)

Last Monday, on Day 25, it was raining and I got rain in my eyes. What a wonderful feeling!

Today, I went for my one month follow-up appointment and was very happy because I was told that my capacity to see details has increased a lot and that I could stop using the steroid drops in my right eye and reduce the drops regimen to 2 times a day for the next 2 weeks for my left eye.
I really hate those drops, they give me an awful taste in my mouth.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Back at the gym!

Day 23 after my laser eye surgery. My vision has improved a lot this week. It is still very blurry, but I have moments (seconds) where I see clearly! I still get headaches before my eyes need to work so hard, but I'm expecting the headaches will leave once I get rid of my cold and my vision improves.

Today, I went back to the gym, after more than 3 weeks of absence. Needless to say, it was very tough. I was expecting to have lost a lot of strenght during this time off, but I didn't. I can still do the same exercises, but they feel more difficult. I biked for 20 minutes and it went well, but then I almost fainted at the end of my strenght training. I decided to call it a day and went home to rest. Tomorrow, I'm going for a run! :-)

JF and I got pre-approved for a mortgage today. We're starting serious house hunting in the coming weeks!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Day 18 after PRK... I can focus!

Today is Day 18 after my laser eye surgery and I had a pleasant surprise while taking a shower: my ability to focus is back! When I put shampoo in my hand, I could see my hand clearly and the shower wall was a blur behind my hand. Woohoo!

I find that my recovery takes forever, which is normal for PRK surgeries according to the optometrist I saw last Thursday. Sometimes, I wonder why I chose to have PRK or laser eye surgery at all because I get so frustrated at not seeing much improvement day after day. Today was a very small thing, but it gave me hope that things will improve. Really. It's not just the optometrist trying to reassure me.

And when this long recovery is over, I know I'll be happy I was patient and kept my eye on the prize...