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!