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! :-)