Sunday, December 14, 2008

.. Again with that pelvis!

I went to the RMT on Friday, and she said "oh my God, your pelvis is totally misaligned!". This was quite discouraging, but what can a girl do? She helped a lot, but she's no magician and she recommended that I see her osteopath colleague, who uses techniques that are apparently excellent for that type of problem. She "showed" me where the problem area was and said it was pretty tightly shut in there, as if it was trying to protect something. This reminded me of my sternum this summer, and how it shut tight after I broke my rib.

So.. I need to get my SI Joint worked on. I'll see the ostepath on Thursday. In the meantime, I think I'll take it easy on the running. I don't think the pounding is doing any good and I'm investing so much time and money into this that I don't want to ruin it. Yesterday, I've done some fast walking and I was surprised at how sweaty I got. Either I lost all my fitness or it really is a good workout. My lower back was working like crazy, though, so maybe this is a good way to build up some strenght in this area. We'll see...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Back at it ! (Take Five)

I started running again yesterday. I've been seeing a chiro and a RMT lately and things seem to be recovering nicely. So, yesterday I hopped on the treadmill for a short run. I tried to avoid going anaerobic, which means I had to run real slow and for only one minute at a time. But at least I ran!

My goal is now to build up to 5K and to run 5K at the Winterman in February. Then, I'll take it from there. I don't think I'll go back to the pool before January, with all the Christmas activities and the stress/tiredness from the new job. Also, it looks like I will be walking back from work each day if the STO/City don't do anything to improve bus circulation in downtown Ottawa. I live about 6K from the office, so it's definitely doable, but this will impact my ability to do anything else than walking and running.

The new job is great! At many times last week, I've been telling myself that I couldn't believe I was getting paid to do what I was doing. I think it's a very good sign!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Therapeutic Run

Lately, I've been under a lot of stress because of a new job that I am supposed to start soon. I've been stressed preparing for two different job postings: written exam, interview... and the worst part was when I had to choose between both jobs. Through all this, I was also injured, which added to the stress.

My injury is slowly recovering - the lower abdominal one, for those wondering which injury I'm talking about! I have been able to walk more lately and it's a great thing because it helps me keep sane through the injury. This morning, I decided that I would try to run just a little, to try and get some endorphins that I badly need. My cortisol level has been tested and is quite high right now, so I knew I had to be careful and not bring my heart rate up to the anaerobic zone.

And so, off I went on our treadmill downstairs. I sang along to my iPod while running to make sure I stayed in the aerobic zone (anaerobic produces cortisol and is not a good thing for me right now). I walked for 15 minutes, ran for about 5 minutes. It felt great! I had a bit of pain and I didn't push it. After this run, I stretched and did my core strenghtening exercises. I also decided that I would try and do a few therapeutic runs each week for now, until I am completely recovered. This should help keep my moods stable and it should slowly get my body back into running mode. Onward and upward!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

My list of injuries...

It has been a very crazy year! I was thinking about my list of 2008 injuries/illnesses the other day and it goes like this:

April: hip tendonitis and unidentified abdominal injury
May: abdominal injury (continued)
June: abdominal injury (continued) and bike accident: broken/cracked rib(s), broken/cracked cheekbone, shoulder injury
July: broken toe
August: broken toe (continued)
September: abdominal injury is back, major case of cold or flu
October: abdominal injury (continued), sprained ankle

I hope this is where it ends. It's November 1st, my ankle is still hurting and my abdominal injury has been diagnosed to a misaligned pelvis (pubic bone). I hope I get some relief soon!

On the positive side, I accepted a new job! November will be a stressful month, but for once, it will be mostly positive stress. Yay!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On the road... again!

I lost track of how many times I've started running again this year... Here I am, starting over again! I think this time will be for good, though (crossing my fingers and toes). I went running on Monday and I overdid it - surprise, surprise! I was so sore on Tuesday, it felt as if I had run a strong 10K.

Today, I biked to and from work. I have a bit of pain, but this is pain I can handle. So, I think I'll keep at it very slowly... and hopefully, I'll be able to consistently run a little until my hip gets fixed, but a little is much better than none at all.

I might have found the cause of all my hip/lower back problems... I'm very hopeful that I'll be healed and back at it sooner rather than later. :-)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

C'est l'automne!

Hier, JF, Jake et moi sommes allés nous promener dans le parc de la Gatineau. L'air était frais et la luminosité était parfaite alors j'ai apporté ma caméra. On a eu du bon temps, comme le témoignent les photos!

Je me remets tranquillement d'une probable grippe et l'air du parc m'a fait du bien. J'espère redevenir en pleine forme bientôt, puisqu'il me semble que je suis toujours handicapée d'une façon ou d'une autre depuis 6 mois!

J'avais recommencé à aller à la piscine et à courir, mais je suis revenue à la case départ suite à ma grippe. Je commence à devenir impatiente et à avoir très hâte de courir.. Pour le moment, la hanche tient le coup. Ça tire, mais ça ne fait pas mal comme avant. Mon orteil a de la misère par exemple. Dès que je marche 30 minutes, j'ai super mal à l'orteil par la suite. J'espère que ça va se placer bientôt!

Je relisais dernièrement la liste d'objectifs que j'avais faite quand j'ai eu 30 ans, pour voir ce que j'avais accompli dans la dernière année. J'ai accompli moins de choses que j'aurais voulu, mais j'ai aussi fait pas mal plus de progrès que prévu au niveau du travail. J'ai stabilisé ma situation en janvier et maintenant je suis en voie de faire un mouvement vers mon domaine d'expertise! J'ai peut-être été immobilisée physiquement cet été, mais j'en ai quand même profité pour avancer.

Cet automne sera une saison bénéfique pour moi à tous les niveaux, j'en suis sûre!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Rib pain is gone!

I noticed this weekend that the rib pain is gone. It has been at least a week since I had any pain. This is wonderful! :-)

Also, the osteopath thinks I may need to get my orthotics adjusted a little. He thinks the hip pain that keeps coming back is not normal and in his opinion, it can only be attributed to biomechanics. He thinks my left leg is very slightly shorter than my right leg and that it might be the cause of the problems I keep having. He advised that I insert a mini sole under my heel to see if it helps. When I left his office yesterday, he said my hip was well aligned. If the mini sole thingy works, then I'll get my orthotics slightly adjusted. It almost seems too good to be true - it's hard to believe such a tiny difference in leg lenght could create such problems - but it's worth a try.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Back to Square Three

I went running yesterday for the first time since June. I was off running for 3 full months and I had only run a few times in May and June while recovering from my abdominal injury. Let's say I have run next to nothing in the past 4.5 months. I wasn't sure how much fitness I have lost, so I thought I would just start running and see how much I could push myself.

I thought I'd be back to doing 1:1s, but I'm back at week 3 of Learn to Run, which is 2:1s x 6. It was very hard, but 2 minutes of running was all I could do yesterday. The first 90 seconds were not that bad, but then I had to dig deep to get to 2 minutes. Yikes!

My ribs hurt the whole 28 minutes it took me to cover a little less than 3K. I felt the pain in my bone, right where the biggest impact was. Man, that was hurting. The toe held up much better and I only had a tiny bit of pain for a few minutes after I was done. This is good news! But then, my SI joint started hurting towards the end, probably because I hadn't been pushing my body a lot in the past months and it was begging me to take it easy.

The mental is strong, although the negative thoughts were starting to take control of my head during my cool down walk. Bottom line is that I'll have to be strong and persevere in the next few months if I ever want to get back to the fitness level I was. We'll see how that new and improved mental of mine will hold up!


I also went back to the pool last Thursday. I didn't lose as much swimming fitness as I've lost running fitness. My ribs hurt a little, but my shoulders hurt a lot during my swim. I swam 280m and that was enough for one night. JF and I will go back to the pool this week. Hopefully, I can swim just a little more with a little less pain this week.

Baby steps...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The best summer of my life?

From the outside, people wouldn’t say this summer could possibly be the best summer of my life. However, when I think about it, it might as well be.

In March, I felt a lot of mental pain. My annual seasonal affective disorder hit very hard this year because of the imposed inactivity and sun rays blocking following my laser eye surgery. At the beginning of April, the cloud lifted, thanks to longer days and to an incredible training month. April has been the best running month of my life so far. During that month, I went beyond the mental barriers that were holding me back. I pushed through that invisible wall and I could finally say that I was conquering my mental during my runs. It was an incredible feeling, to be able to shut the inner critic down during my runs, and this new state of mind was also impacting my personal life. All of a sudden, everything seemed possible… and then I injured myself big time.

Since the end of April, I’ve felt a lot of physical pain. It all started with an abdominal injury that kept me off from running, biking or swimming for over a month. During that month, I sank into a depressive state and everything seemed complicated and difficult. I had to let go of my goal of doing my first Sprint Tri and I felt a lot of anger about it. I felt as if all these hours I had spent in the pool would have been better used doing other things. I felt like a victim and I was terribly worried that I would have lost all that I had built in the last few months, both from my fitness and my mental toughness.

Then, I broke down and someone shook me up. She stopped me dead in my tracks, made me realize I am not a victim and that I had something to learn from this injury: that injuries suck, but they are a part of life that you can’t always control. Therefore, you have to learn to manage them to keep your mental balance when they occur. She told me I should be more compassionate towards myself, that I should take care of myself instead of making myself a victim. That afternoon, that woman flicked a switch.

A week later, I volunteered at the Early Bird Triathlon. I had a few tears in my eyes that morning, but I cheered very enthusiastically for the athletes that ran by my water station. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the race, even if I wasn’t participating in it. I had a very good time and it felt good to give back to the triathlon community.

Another week passed and I volunteered again, this time at the race kit pick-up of NCM. Again, I had a few tears when I got to the Expo, picked up my kit knowing I wouldn’t run the race. But I put all that behind me and I did my best to enjoy every minute of the best running weekend in Ottawa! On Saturday night, I went out and cheered for JF who was running the 5K (instead of the marathon he had trained so hard for) and then for the 10K runners. My friend Nancy was running this race after coming back from months of injuries. I was so very proud of both JF and Nancy for being such great sports – even though neither achieved their original goals, they did the best they could in the circumstances and to me, this is what running is all about. On Sunday morning, I cheered the marathoners and half-marathoners like crazy: not just the runners that I knew – everybody! Man, did I have a great time! A lot of runners thanked me for cheering them on and I was very happy I could be there to help them during their race. At the group dinner that night, I congratulated everyone and did my best not to talk about my injury: it wasn’t my day, I could talk about my injury any other day. That day was about celebrating my runner friends and I had a wonderful time.

I started running again by mid-June and then I had my bike accident. Every minute of my life was painful; every sneeze a torture, every movement a battle. The basic things in life became painful: dressing up, taking a shower, getting in and out of bed… I physically hurt non-stop for the next two weeks... and just as I was starting to get a tiny bit better, I broke my toe. More pain, even more restrictions in my movements. This time, I couldn’t even walk. My upper body was a mess and now I couldn’t stand up. This was a joke, right? This had to be a joke.

And then, I remembered what I was told back in April: that this was a good time for me to learn how to manage injuries, so that I wouldn’t become depressed whenever I got one. I decided to do just that. I started keeping my mind busy with stuff that I didn’t have time for when I was training a lot: cooking and baking, cleaning, organizing, reading, seeing people. I cheered a lot and I hung out with my runner/triathlon friends. I celebrated their successes and supported them through their rough patches.

I also kept my mind full of positive thoughts. There were tough days, but I didn’t become depressed. For me, this is huge. I conquered my mind. I’m stronger than the effects of the lack of endorphins on my brain. I can control my brain, provide it with the much needed serotonin so that it doesn’t go into depression mode. I won. I conquered. I’m the boss of my own mood. I am in control. I’ve done it once, and I can do it again. I’ll just have to remember that I have it in me, that the power is there and that all I have to do is unleash it. I’ll just have to look back to the summer of 2008 to understand how much more powerful I am now.

I don’t know if I have ever been more proud of myself than I am right now. I keep thinking about how well I handled this summer and I am amazed that I could keep sane. I am much more capable than I give myself credit for.

And this, my friends, is worth a lot more than any medal I could have gotten this summer. Was it the best summer of my life? I think it might have been!

Monday, September 01, 2008


I rode my road bike again today, it was the first time since the "fear incident" two weeks ago. I have to admit that I was making up all sorts of reasons to postpone this ride.. my parents visited us last weekend, I was too busy going to the market on Saturday morning, then I had to go grocery shopping on Sunday morning and later, I was too tired to go. Even this morning, it took me until 11am to get going and I had to force myself to go.

The truth is that I was scared to be scared and the feeling was paralyzing me.

I have been riding my hybrid bike to work a lot in the past two weeks. I've become more confident on that bike and I've seen my average speed go from 14 kph to 16 kph in the last two weeks [this includes the time I wait at red lights and stop signs]. My maximum speed has also increased, and I thought this was a good sign that I was becoming more comfortable being on a bike again.

The ride was fine this morning. I can't say it was fun, because I was a tiny bit scared. I'm proud to report that I did not have a panic attack and I did not have visions of accidents and painful injuries. It was a nice change. At one point, a little girl decided it would be a good idea to ride her bike parralel to the path just as I was passing her even if I had yelled that I was passing. I cursed at her, but I didn't hit her - thank God, or I would have gone over my handlebars again. After that incident, I became more nerveous and I decided not to push it. I rode 12.5K.

I saw my osteopath on Thursday and he worked on my sternum, which was very tight. He didn't put much pressure on it and it was hurting like hell! Just slightly touching it now hurts a lot. The osteopath thinks my body went into protection mode and closed the rib cage up to avoid further injuries. Now is time to relax a little and let my body go back to normal... I think I'm not out of the woods just yet.

I got the yellow light to go to the pool: I can go, but I have to take it very easy. If I have pain, I have to stop. I can deal with those conditions! :-)

The bad news is that I will not be ready to do the Last Chance Triathlon in three weeks. I kinda knew it would come to this, given that I only got the yellow light to start swimming again, given my bike fear and given the pain I felt when I ran to catch the bus on Thursday. It really sucks, but I'm really zen about it. This is just the way it is for me this year.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I've been riding my road bike on the trainer a few times last week and my hybrid bike on road paths a few times as well. I didn't have any problems with those rides, other than when I was outside, I was riding very slowly.

Today, I went for a bike ride with JF. I rode my road bike on the closed Ottawa River Parkway. We need to ride on the side of the street to get to the Parkway and man, was that a miserable experience for me. I was very nerveous to be around cars and I kept having "visions" of cars hitting me and the pain I would feel if it happened. At some point, I even told myself that if it happened, I would be dead and I wouldn't feel a thing or I would be unconscious and I wouldn't feel the pain. On the bridge crossing over to Ottawa, we ride on the side of the road. There is a ramp to go to a park. When I got there, I looked over my shoulder to make sure no car was turning onto this ramp. Sure enough, there was a big black SUV on the lane, but it wasn't turning or coming towards me, but still, my heart rate went way up, I started sweating and a deep fear took a hold of me.

When we got on the Parkway, things got worse. There were bikes and rollerbladers everywhere. There were kids on bikes not looking where they were going. There were people using the full width of the lane so that they could chat while riding their bikes. I constantly had to make my way through people and I was so scared that one of them would change direction suddenly and I would crash. I could see it very clearly: me flying from my bike and hurting so much all over again. I could almost physically feel the pain. At some point, I started crying. All I wanted to do was to stop on the side of the road and wait for JF to pick me up. I just couldn't do it... but I kept going.

It was 13K of pure fear. I kept telling myself that if I fell, I would be dead and I wouldn't feel the pain. I kept picturing all the ways I could have an accident and hurt myself. I was hypervigilent to all sorts of dangers, most of them dangers that I was making up. I'm not the same person I was before my accident. I hope that I will feel safe again on my road bike one day, but I don't know...

I looked up the definitions and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Fortunately, my symptoms are not as intense or as debilitating as those of PTSD. However, they're like a mild version of PTSD. I hope I can work through this on my own.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back on the Bike!

My toe seems to be healing very well. It still looks weird, but its mobility comes back a little more everyday. I can bend it half-way now, which is a huge improvement! I walk with the slightest of limps and I hope to walk normally again in the next week, once the mobility is back 100%.

My ribs and shoulders/upper back are still hurting a lot, though. My osteopath is on vacation this week, and I will leave him a desperate message to see me when he comes back. I'm thinking that the upper back pain is most probably affecting the ribs pain. Maybe if I get the shoulders/upper back fixed, then I'm hopeful that the ribs pain will go away.

So... I got back on my bike on Sunday! My fitness level is terrible.. Yikes! I'm grateful to be able to ride my bike and I'm planning on improving my fitness by riding my bike. Because I'm not sure when I'll be able to run or swim, I'll concentrate on getting some exercise through biking for now. When I go back to work next week, I'll ride my bike for my commute. I think that if I take things one at a time, I'll get back to where I have once been. Stay tuned...

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Yay for vacations!

FINALLY... we're on vacation! I didn't think I would make it. Between the high stress at work in the past few months and the frustration of being injured all the time, my energy levels have gone down. You don't realize how great it is to be healthy until you're in pain for 3 months staight. I will make sure I remember that and be grateful everyday for my good health when it comes back. :-)

Last week, my physio freaked me out about my toe. When I showed it to her, she said "Oh my God! Did you show this to a doctor?" I said I did and that it was broken. I said I was a little worried because it was a little twisted and pointing downward. She said "yeah, it looks like it may be dislocated. If it was my toe, I would go see a doctor in the next few days". YIKES! So, I didn't sleep much that night, imagining the impact of having my toe reset on our upcoming vacation. I think I was less worried about the pain than I was about the plans we'd have to cancel...

So, off I went to the doctor once again on Thursday morning. The doctor thought it looked like it may be dislocated, so she recommended that I get another set of x-rays just to make sure. She said I could go to a nearby hospital and informed me that it didn't matter that I was a Quebec resident: they would accept my Quebec card at the Ontario hospital. I got great service once I got there and I was out in less than 90 minutes! The doctor said my toe was healing nicely, but that there was still a lot of swelling and that maybe the swelling caused my toe to look displaced. Also, because the fracture was right next to the joint, it looked worst. He said he could try to make it perfect, but that maybe he could make it worst instead. Anyway, all is healing well and I will be fine. Yay!

So, now is the time for a well-deserved vacation. Yay!

It started off very well. I went cheering on some fellow Maniacs at the National Capital Triathlon this morning: Jesse who was doing her first Olympic Tri, Cynthia who was doing her first triathlon ever and Vicki who came all the way from Vancouver to do a Try-a-Tri. ;-) Vicki's husband was doing the Swim-Cycle, but I never saw him until he was finished so I couldn't cheer him on. Everyone had a good time and I had fun being the cheerleader once again. After the triathlon, we had Vicki's family and Cynthia over for lunch and we had a good time.

Yay for vacation!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Coping with injuries

I always say that challenges life throws at you are learning opportunities. I have always had a hard time dealing with injuries: I get depressed and I go into victim mode very easily. I usually overeat and tune out from the rest of the world when I'm injured. I'm a big whiner and it's worse when I'm injured.

Having been injured almost non-stop for 3 months now, I had my share of challenges. I had to learn to grieve for the goals that would not be achieved and the excitement that wouldn't be had. I had to learn to find other ways to keep myself busy while injured. I had to talk to myself non-stop so that I wouldn't fall into the deep well of depression. It has been a constant battle, and it will probably continue for another month or so before I'm out of the woods, relatively speaking. I had to refrain from eating my emotions - I didn't gain a single pound (yet), and this is a huge success! I had to make efforts to reach out to others and be in the company of people who cared and were compassionate, but who didn't fuel my feeling of being a victim. It's been a delicate balance to achieve, and some days I'm better at it than others. But I'm alive... I'm angry, but I'm okay... I'm learning the hard way, but I'm okay...

In the end, I'll be okay. This is what I have to focus on.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

IMLP 2008

Today was a very exciting day: Ironman Lake Placid. I'm always energized and inspired to watch people complete their Ironman. This year, my friend James was doing his first and it was awesome to wait for him at the finish line, from the comfort of my home office. Congratulations James!

I am focusing on the excitement of other people's successes rather than on my own roadblocks and I like that better. Sure, I got a little teared up earlier tonight when I thought that I would not come close to a finish line any time soon, but being sad is much more manageable than being angry or feeling sorry for myself.

Small victory: I can now walk (limp) around the house. I was even able to run a few errands today, but I paid for it and had to take ibuprofen and stay off my feet when I got home. Tomorrow is back to work - I've been working from home last week. I'm a little bit stressed about the commute, because my only option is to take the bus and then wait for a shuttle. I'm not sure what time I'll get to my desk and I'm feeling a little guilty, but at the same time, it's not my fault if our office is in a crappy location with no possibility of daily parking. I don't perform miracles and since I'm on my own here, that's the best I can come up with. OK, I'm angry with that part: I can't believe my commute is so complicated, simply because walking 1.5K each way is out of the question for now.

So... I did a bit of thinking and I'm thinking I could do the Try-a-Tri at the Last Chance Triathlon on September 21. This race is 10 weeks after my fracture, and I should be able to run at least a little by then. This Try-a-Tri is 100m swim, 11K bike and 3K run. I can definitely pull it off. If my recovery goes well and I feel bold, I'll still do the Sprint Tri to seek some redemption and show the world that I can get knocked down, but I get up again, you're never gonna keep me down. hehehe

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Broken Toe

My bad luck this year continues... I broke a toe on Saturday night. It may be dislocated too, I'll find out when I get more x-rays done tomorrow.

I was just starting to recover from my bike crash. In fact, the day I broke my toe was the day that I got back on my bike for the first time since the crash! I didn't get x-rays done after the bike crash, but I know that three ribs were either bruised, cracked or broken, that my cheekbone took the hit and that I bruised the bone to the side of my little finger despite the fact that I was wearing cycling gloves. My road rash on my shoulder recovered nicely, but the shoulder itself is messed up from the crash. I'm getting ART for it and it's helping.

So, I got on my bike last Saturday and went for a short ride. My shoulder and neck were hurting a lot while on the bike and I was scared of something else happening to me during my ride. I used my breaks a lot on downhills - which sucks, I was just starting to be more comfortable with speed! The most important thing though is that I enjoyed my ride.

Then, I broke and possibly dislocated my toe while going down the stairs that night. Should have done some speed on the bike! :p

What started out as a great training year turns into a succession of injuries. This is very frustrating.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bike Crash

Yesterday, I wanted to go for a bike ride, because we'd been eating lots over the long weekend and I wanted to get some exercise in. JF offered to come with me, and off we went for a slow fun ride. We turned around after about 9km, and 0.5K into our ride back home, we saw a turtle on the bike path. JF decided to stop to move it away from the bike path. I was following too close and was in a gaining speed phase, and I hit JF at 20km/h+. All I remember is seeing my front wheel hit his back wheel and then my face was hitting the pavement.

As it turns out, I tried to break and hit JF's back wheel, went over my handlebars, fell on my left shoulder then on my face. I couldn't breathe at first, and all I could think was that I had to move to the side of the bike path or else, another cyclist would hit me and it would hurt a lot. I couldn't move, because every movement was painful. I managed to move to the side of the bike path but I still couldn't breathe much. Then, I started losing vision from the left eye and I started saying "I'm gonna pass out, I'm gonna pass out". A woman had stopped and she told JF to pour cold water on my back. It helped - I didn't pass out.

I sat on the groud for a few minutes, trying to assess the situation. At that point, I knew I would have a bad road rash on my shoulder and I was concerned about broken ribs and/or broken jaw bone. My face was pounding and every breath was painful. I couldn't take a deep breath without having excruciating pain.

Eventually, I got up. I looked at my bike - the front wheel will need to be fixed, the handlebar was twisted and the seat has a inch-long tear in it. I tried to get on my bike, because we were 8.5K from home, but it was way too painful. We decided that JF would bike home to get the car, and I would bike to the nearest intersection with a street and wait for him there. I started walking on the grass beside the bike path. As luck would have it, there was a snake a few cm from my feet. I was too shocked to react, but it scared me and I decided to walk on the bike path...

Some people are very nice: people were stopping to ask if I needed any help. Two people offered to drive me home, someone offered to go to her house until JF could pick me up (JF was already gone and I had no mean of reaching him, so I said no). I noticed that the people who showed concern were either cyclists riding expensive bikes or mothers/moms-to be. I know I would have offered my help to someone else if I had come across this situation, but still, I was touched that so many people offered to help.

Walking was fine. Some sort of miracle happened where I didn't hurt my legs or hips, only my upper body and face. I walked to the nearest interesection and waited for JF. I'm not sure how long I waited, probably 30 minutes. At first, I was fine. Just assessing the road rash and the pain in my ribs. Discovering that if I hadn't worn my brand new cycling gloves, I would have a bad road rash on my left hand as well. Paying attention to the headache, that came and left every 5 minutes.

Then, what happened hit me and I started to want to cry all the tears I had in me. I couldn't cry, though, for 2 reasons: the main one was that it would make me dry-heave, which was the last thing I needed while I waited for JF; the second reason was that it would hurt my ribs and make my breathing even more difficult if I was crying. So.. I kept the crying at bay and told myself I could cry when JF picked me up or when I was home.

Because of the pain in my ribs, I didn't sleep very well last night. This morning, I feel like I've been hit by a truck, but my breathing is back to normal. My left breast is hurting a lot and so does my road rash on my shoulder... but I'm fine. I'm just a bit shocked.

Lessons learned:
- Don't follow too close; don't break too suddenly
- When JF sees any sort of animal, he stops - remember that!
- I must get a road ID made and carry it all the time - it was freaking me out that if this happened to me while I was alone, no one would know who I am
- When possible, carry a cell phone and a long sleeve shirt
- Put some travel wipes and bandages in my saddle bag

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Riverkeeper - A great performance on the bike!

This morning, Team "Two Sweet Chicks and One Crabby Broad" completed the Sprint Tri Relay at the Riverkeeper Triathlon. This team name really made me laugh from the first time I read it (it was Jo-Jo's idea, so Kiza and I assumed that the crabby broad was her, but apparently, it wasn't her intention to call herself the crabby one! :p ). I laughed a lot when I went to pick up our race kit: the volunteer asked for our team name and remembered reading it. I reassured him that I wasn't the crabby one and he thanked our team for sending one of the sweet ones to race kit pick up.

When Jo-Jo first talked about putting together a relay team, I was so excited about it and even more when her and Kiza accepted me on their team. I've never been one people accepted in their sports' teams, and it made me feel very good that I would be part of a team. Still, I was a bit nervous about this relay, because my teammates, Kiza and Jo-Jo, are very strong in their discipline. I came into this triathlon with the intention of giving everything I had in me, to suck it up and be strong the whole time. The last thing I wanted was to come out of this race feeling as if I could have done better. To me, being part of a team is a very important responsibility and although I wanted to have fun while with my teammates, I wanted to work very hard when I was on my own, on my bike.

So, the Crabby One and myself watched 5-months pregnant Sweet Chick # 1 try to get into her wet suit. Poor Kiza got a bigger workout from twisting herself to fit into her wetsuit than she did swimming 500m. Being the other sweet one, I was encouraging to Kiza while the crabby one was laughing out loud! ;-) Kiza and baby on board got ready for the swim start. Jo-Jo and I watched the swim start and then headed to T-Zone. Kiza being a fast swimmer, I had to be ready when she would come in. And I was! With a "see ya" to the girls, I ran as fast as I could run while holding a bike. There was a bit of a crowd at the mounting line (which was too narrow, if you ask me) and I got stuck for a few long seconds behind a girl who couldn't get her shoe to clip.

I started very fast, I wouldn't go under 30km/h for the first few kilometers. My quads were on fire but it was great! And then the course was not as flat and the wind was in my face and I slowed down a little. Still, I was riding much faster than I thought I would and I started to worry that I would get to T-Zone and Jo-Jo wouldn't be there yet! I was making all sorts of calculations, and not knowing where the turnaround point would be for the second loop, I didn't know I would end up riding 21.5 km. I don't think the fear of getting there before Jo-Jo slowed me down, but maybe it did subconsciously.

I made a rival out on the course. About halfway into it, a guy passed me and told me he'd been trying to catch and pass me for quite a while. I told him I would pass him again on the second loop! And I did... But then, he passed me again at about 17K because I had slowed down because of the stupid wind. I couldn't catch him again, but I kept him in sight. It was hard for me to believe that I had a male rival, riding a Cervelo bike! Not an unfit person with an hybrid bike, but someone who looked fit who saw me as competition. I guess I was stronger than he was on flat ground and downhill, but he was stronger than I was uphill, with the wind in our face.

When I got off the bike, I almost tripped over because my legs were heavier than they've ever been after getting off the bike. My quads were on fire and my lower back was hurting like hell, but I rode 21.5K in a little over 50 minutes! I was elated!

The best part was running with Sweet Chick # 1 and the Crabby Broad across the finish line, and finding out we placed third for Female Relay teams. My first placing! Woohoo!

After the race, we were talking about doing this again and Jo-Jo talked me into joining her for a relay team for K-Town next year. I accepted and then asked how long was the bike and if it was hilly: 56K of rolling hills! Yikes! Oh well, I like challenges and I have one year to train. Jo-Jo is a bad influence on me: first, she talks me into doing my first Half in Vancouver in May 2009 and then, she signs me up for a 56K hilly bike ride!

Saturday was a great day! My confidence is back!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Back at it!

Woohoo! I ran this week after more than 4 weeks off. I went to see an osteopath who partially put my hip back in its place. The pain has moved from my abs to my sciatica, but at least, I can run and bike without pain!

The run itself was good and bad at the same time. The muscles were fine, but my cardio was not as good. At the same time, I thought my cardio would be much worse than it was. My mental was partially on, probably because I had had a very tiring day at work and I was really tired. I'm going for another run tomorrow, we'll see how this one goes... but I'm back at it!

I *may* be doing Emily's Run, but the Canada Day 10K is out of question now. I've lost too much fitness to be able to safely pull it off. Now that I have learned my lesson again, I'm going to take things slow and focus on getting back to running 3x/week consistently. If I'm in pain, I'll back off and go get treated before it turns into a full blown injury.

* * *

Despite being sidelined, I had a great weekend during the Ottawa Race Weekend. I volunteered at Race Kit pickup on Friday and had a great time. I cheered on my fellow Maniacs on Saturday night and Sunday and I have to admit that I had a blast! I had a lot of fun being on the lookout for my running friends, and to cheer as loud as I could when they ran by. I also cheered everyone else and a lot of them thanked me. I felt as if I was making a small difference in their race and it was a wonderful feeling. :-)

Joe immortalized this weekend by taking a few pictures of the official RM cheerleader. I'll be back next year!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

R.I.P. Spencer


Today was a sad day, the last one of your short life. I was deeply saddened by the news of your passing away. Yet, at the same time, I'm glad that the suffering is over. I'm glad you won't have to be in the hospital anymore, away from your school, friends and Scupper. I know you will be missed and I know you will live on in many people's hearts.

I've been choking up all day Spencer. Thinking about the unfairness of it all, thinking about this huge fight that you had to live. I've also been thinking about your legacy and how you touched my life even though we have never met. I kept thinking that you didn't want us to cry or pity you and I tried real hard not to cry but I couldn't help it. The world has lost someone who could have been a positive leader in this world. In 13 years, you have inspired so many people and I'm sure you've changed many lives. For that you will be remembered.

Your legacy to me is three-fold. First, you remind me not to take my life for granted and to not waste it. I'm lucky enough to have lived all those years, and I want to make the best out of whatever time I have left. I always get angry when people complain about growing old, because I think they're just lucky to have made it this far. I promise you never to complain about getting older. Secondly, you have given me the motivation I needed to donate blood. I have always been terrified to do that, but I will do it for you. It may require a lot of work on my part to be mentally prepared not to panic and make a fool out of myself, but I'll do it. I'll keep going and won't give up. Finally, you have made me realize how much I want to contribute to this world. I haven't accomplished that much in 30 years, but I'm going to do a lot of thinking about how I can help other people and try to touch their lives.

Rest in peace, Spencer. Your spirit will live on.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Letting go of the "could-have" and the "should-have"

Sigh... Today was the day that I * should have * completed my first Sprint Tri - the Sprint Tri for which I worked so hard through the winter and spring.

I volunteered at the race this morning, and I helped man a water station at the turn-around point of the run. I had a very good time working with 3 other people, the mom, dad and son of the same family. It was fun to help out my fellow Sprint Triathletes, but I had a few moments when I thought "it could be me turning this corner and running strong" or "I should have been racing today instead of volunteering".

I know it's not my last chance to complete a Sprint Tri, but I had visualized myself doing this race so often this winter that it was heartbreaking to think about those images today.

It is very hard to accept the reality and to let go of the sadness and frustration. Sometimes, I wonder if I take this too seriously. Most days, I don't think I do - I think I really like to do this because it pushes me outside of my comfort zone and it makes me a stronger person in all the other aspects of my life. Sometimes, I think I should just get a life! ;-) I know that for me, it's more than just a sport: it's my way of keeping sane in this crazy world. It's also my way of connecting with very interesting people, with whom I had nothing in common until we shared this love of the sport.

And this is why I'm so sad about this injury: I feel that a part of me has been put on hold. I hope I don't feel as sad next Saturday, but I know deep down that it will probably be even worse!

It's just a bump in the road... If I hang on tight, I'll make it through and get my sanity back. Right?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

No 10K race either... :-(

This is discouraging. I've started having pain again after my last ART session. The physio mentionned that I had all the signs of a sports hernia and that I should go see a Sports Doc. I started laughing in her face: I can't see a regular doc even if I try real hard, how on Earth am I gonna see a sports doc? She told me about the Sports Medicine clinic at Carleton University. I called them this morning and I have an appointment on Tuesday! I can't believe it. I'll get this whole injury figured out, or I hope that the doc will at least reassure me that it's not a sports hernia.

With all that in mind, I haven't run all week. I tried to run on Sunday, but I was hurting after a few minutes so I stopped after about 1K. Then, I biked to work on Monday and I had terrible pain. Walking also hurts, although not as much as it hurt at first.

So... There won't be a MDS Nordion 10K for me this year. I'm heartbroken once more. This is so disapointing. I think the worst part is that the NCM weekend is the best weekend of the year - there are runners everywhere you go in the city and everyone seems healthy. It's the best! And now, I'll only be allowed to watch it from the spectator's point of view. It makes me really, really sad. I wish some miracle happened and I could run the 10K...

I've worked so hard for this - my Sprint Tri and that 10K race, and now I won't get to be part of any of it. This sucks big time.

Friday, May 09, 2008

No Early Bird Triathlon after all

I'm very disapointed, but it would be stupid of me to do the Early Bird Triathlon. Sometimes, when I stop and think about how I should be tapering now instead of resting to let my injury heal, it makes me mad, sad, depressed... It seems so unfair! But these things happen to all athletes and we all bounce back from injury stronger and with even more motivation than before. I'll be fine... but it still sucks.

I'm not sure what I'll do about the MDS Nordion 10K race. My heart wants me to do it, my brain doesn't. My injury doesn't hurt as badly and I'm going to ART session # 3 tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll get the abdominal muscle fixed and then I'll be able to slowly get back to training.

What I'm the most afraid of is to have lost that mental roughness that I had recently discovered deep inside of me. What if I become a wimp again? This would be terrible.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Injury Update

I injured myself seriously last Saturday... The pain was always there, so I decided not to exercise last week. All I did was go for a very short swim on Wednesday.

The physio said on Monday that I had hip tendonitis and she did ultrasound on my hip to relieve some of the inflammation. However, the pain didn't really go away and my lower abdominals started to hurt a lot more as the week progressed. By Thursday, the pain was so intense that I was starting to wonder if it really was just a running injury or if there was something else going on. On Friday, the pain was unbearable, so I called the health line. The nurse told me all the possible causes of my pain: muscle strain, twisted ovary cyst, hernia, appendicitis... I was terrified that I would have to get surgery. I had a ART appointment at 6:30 on Friday night, and I decided to ask if it could be any of those things or if it really was just a running injury. I was prepared to spend the night at the ER.

The chiro told me it was hip tendonitis AND adductor strain AND pyrimidal muscle strain [the muscle on top of the pubic bone]. Pain of the pyramidal muscle mimics sports hernia, and he asked that I keep an eye for symptoms of hernia, but I don't have any much to my relief. I had always thought ART on my hip flexors was the worst muscular pain possible... It turned out ART on the pyramidal muscle is 20 times more painful - the chiro brought me close to the point of passing out! ;-) ART on the adductors was also very painful, but when he worked on my hip flexors, I told him that I felt as if I was at the Spa because there was almost no pain.

The chiro said there was hope that I could do this month's races and to take it easy with the training... I haven't done any exercise since Friday. I went for a 40 minutes walk, and I hurt a lot when I got home. Nevertheless, the pain has diminished a lot since Friday. I have another ART session on Tuesday - we'll see if I can do some sort of exercise after I get a second treatment.

I'm pretty depressed about all this. I keep telling myself how stupid I was to keep on running when it started hurting. I knew I needed to take a break from the long runs, but I kept pushing because I was so excited about my training - it was going so well! For the first time in my life, my mental was so strong that I felt nothing was impossible. I was starting to dream big: a Half-Marathon in the Fall? Why not! An open-water Sprint Tri this Summer? Sure! Why not? Now, I'm injured and inactive. I'm afraid I'll never get back to the mental state I was in when I got injured. What if I have to build back to it once again? What if I never get back to being so confident in my capacity to swim, bike and/or run?

Another thing that I can't get out of my head is my frustration at all the time I spent in the pool and the possibility that I may not get the rewards of all this hard work. Most of the times I went swimming, I had to kick myself in the butt because I could always think of better things to do. Now, I'm thinking: did I do all this for nothing? Will I not get to the start line of that triathlon? Should I have done stuff with JF or other people instead of spending those evenings or weekend afternoons at the pool? I'm so angry at myself!

Anger is not good for the soul, and not good for the body. It's a poison and it's making me sick. I hope that by writing all of this down, I'll start to feel a little better about what happened. I hope I learn my lesson... Sigh...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The dreaded I-word

Dang! I'm injured!

For over a year now, I've been training carefully, keeping my eye on the prize and backing off when I felt any injury coming. I was really doing great. After SAD lifted this year, I went to the pool and swam 1,000m. On that day, my life changed: all of a sudden, I felt powerful, strong, as if everything was within my reach. I became mentally strong and improved a lot in both my swimming and my running.

I started hurting at the end of my long runs, but I blamed it on the fact that my body was getting used to the longer effort. Last Saturday, I went for a 12K run and decided to cut it short to 10K because my right hip flexor was hurting very badly. I could walk, but barely. Diagnosis: hip tendonitis.

I can't believe I pushed past my limits, 3 weeks from one of the most important races of my life. To me, this triathlon will be the race when I become a "real" triathlete. I know the try-a-tri were very significant for me, but the Sprint Tri is even more significant... Just like I felt so much more like a runner when I ran my first 10K.

I have sacrificed a lot of evenings and weekend afternoons to get there, and now it's jeopardized because of my "overmotivation". It's pointless to bang my head on the wall with regret, but I hope a little rest will get me to the start line of my triathlon healthy. I hope the Gods of Triathlon will be on my side - I've worked so hard for this!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Yay for Running!

I ran my longest run ever today: 10.52K. It was the first time that I ran 10K in training, and I was a little scared of it, to be completely honest. I have to say that it went very well! There was a race happening where I run this morning and it was great to see so many runners, both in and outside of the race. It certainly cheered me up!

But now, boy! Do I ever hurt! My right arch is hurting so badly, it's like it's on fire. My hip flexors are also complaining... Time for some ART and a well deserved cut-back week!

Once the cut-back week is behind me, I'll have to work at getting a bit of speed. Right now, I run 9 minutes /km and that's way too slow for me, considering my goal for the MDS Nordion 10K is 75 minutes, so 7.5 minutes/km.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My first 1,000m swim ever!

The weather was crappy today, and I decided to do my 10K LSD in the sunshine tomorrow rather than in the rain and wet snow that was forecasted today. I was supposed to go swimming tomorrow, but with the 10K LSD - which will be my first 10K run in training, by the way - I knew that I wouldn't have enough energy to go swimming. So, I went this afternoon.

JF gave me a ride, and we arranged that he would pick me up 90 minutes later. I had a lot of time and the pool was almost empty, so I just kept going until I got to 760m. I decided to see if I could swim 1,000m and I DID IT! :-) Most of it was breast stroke (75%), some of it was front stroke and I did a few lenghts of Total Immersion sweet spot drills.

I am totally amazed that I was able to swim this long. I have never, in my wildest dreams, thought that one day I could swim 1,000m. Well, I have when I started pursuing the triathlon dream, but for the majority of my life, I didn't even think of that as something I would want to achieve.

And so, now I'm thinking that maybe I could do the Sprint Tri at the Early Bird after all... I would be the last one out of the water, but who cares? I'll give this a bit more thinking, but for sure, I am very motivated to go to the pool now! Yay! I found my swimming mojo.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Sprint Tri in May is not going to happen

There, I've said it: unless some miracle happens, I won't be doing a Sprint Tri at the Early Bird Triathlon in May. Swimming has been a real challenge lately, and for many reasons, I simply couldn't get myself to the pool as often as I should have. The result is that I won't be ready for a Sprint Tri in May. At first, I was disapointed, because I was really hoping I could pull this off, but life happens something and you have to deal with whatever it throws at you.

Now that I've made this decision, I feel much less pressured about going swimming all the time. Maybe I don't have what it takes to be a triathlete, who knows? At this point, I'm not considering ever doing a triathlon longer than a Sprint Tri. The required time to spend in the pool seems too much for me to fit into my schedule, at least at this point in my professional life. I'll keep swimming because it keeps me loose and because I like doing triathlons, even if they're the short ones.

Swimming is hard. I would never have thought it would be harder than running, but it is. We'll see how much effort I can/want to put into this once Spring comes and SAD lifts. I'm still hopeful that a Sprint Tri is in my future, somewhere down the road.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

SAD is taking over!

I got my laser eye surgery 3 weeks ago. The results seem promising, but because my eyes are still healing, I haven't seen the final result yet.

Not being able to exercise for a week, and not being able to enjoy the sunshine since the surgery is opening the door to SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder. I have lost a lot of my motivation to exercise or to do anything else lately. I know it's temporary, but it is hard on the mind and hard on the body. I'm starting to wonder whether I'll be ready for my Sprint Tri in May and I'm at a point where I don't really care whether I do the Sprint Tri or the Try-a-Tri. Yikes!

I've lost 5 pounds in a month, which is wonderful. All I did was to eat out less, eat fruits and vegetables instead of anything else for snacks and cut evening snacks completely. Also, it's been about 5 weeks since I ate chips and the craving is killing me! I would never have thought that giving up chips would be so hard - I feel for people who quit smoking. At least, I can have chips every once in a while... My objective when I cut chips off from my diet was to only allow myself to eat chips during Easter weekend. After that, I'll decide on another date when I can have chips so that I don't get back into the habit of eating chips every week.

Spring, come soon!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Getting PRK again and health issues

This thursday is round 2 of PRK laser eye surgery for me. My vision has never been perfect since the surgery in December 2006, and it has regressed a bit over the summer. I'm now at -1 and -1.25 plus some astigmatism still remaining, so I qualify for a free second round of surgery. Since the Summer, I knew and I hoped this day would come when I'd get another chance to get perfect vision, but now that it's upon me, I'm very anxious about it. I remember every little annoying detail of the surgery and the few days afterwards and I'm not looking forward to it. I'm so anxious that I tend to forget the prize for getting the surgery: a better vision.

All this stress, added on top of the stress and frustration from my job make me physically sick. I've been having digestive issues since last Wednesday, and i'm already down 4 lbs. It all started with a strange feeling while I was driving to Montreal about 10 days ago. All of a sudden, I felt as if I was going to faint while at the wheel, and it felt like blood was rushing through my brain. Then, on Wednesday, I had a migraine, for the first time in 2 years. :-( It was then that I realized that I had been feeding my body very poorly in the past couple of months and my body was telling me "Enough!"

I've been eating almost perfectly in the past couple of days and didn't get any more headaches. I'm hoping that I learned my lesson and that I'll be more careful with what I eat from now on. In the process, I hope to be losing a few pounds and keep that weight off. However, I hope I won't have to go through what I've been through the last time... I'll do everything I can to avoid it.

My running training is going well. I ran 9K yesterday! :-) Swimming is not going so well and I'm a little discouraged and a little stressed. I'm not sure I can swim 500m in 20 minutes or less at the Early Bird Sprint Tri and I'm afraid I'll look like a loser if it takes me 25 minutes. So, I stress about it. Very clever. ;-)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Can I really swim 500m?

104 days from today is my first Sprint Tri. Self-doubt is creeping in tonight... Can I really swim 500m non-stop on May 17th? I had my fourth Pre-Masters course tonight. It was tough and I'm a bit discouraged. I know that 104 days is a lot of days to practice and improve, but I'm doubting my abilities tonight... just like I was doubting my abilities to swim 200m a year ago.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

January Update

Pre-Masters is awesome! I am doing drills that will help me with my stroke, but more importantly, I'm spending more time in the water and getting more comfortable every week. Just in January, I will have swum over 5,000m after tomorrow's practice. This is a very high number for someone who couldn't swim at all 18 months ago. :-)

I registered for my first Sprint Tri in May, which includes a 500m pool swim, a 20K bike ride and a 5K run. I am a bit worried about the swim, because I would like to do it all front crawl, and i'm not sure I will improve enough to go from 50m front crawl straight (right now) to 500m front crawl in May. We'll see. I'm ready to lower my standards a bit and go with some front crawl and some breast stroke... but I would really love to do all front crawl.

Right now, I can "swim" 280m straight. I put "swim" in brackets because that 280m consists of some front crawl, some breast stroke and a lot of Sweet Spot drills. Oh well, I'm still covering the distance and building some endurance, I guess...


I've started increasing my running distances in preparation for 10K training. I will run 7K on Saturday, as a LSD, and I'm running a bit faster on my week runs (but doing intervals between 3:1s to 5:1s). I don't consider my week runs speed work, but I do run a little bit faster than on Saturday.

I ran just a little over 40K in January, which is below what I am expecting to run during my 10K training. These 40K are a good start, and I didn't get injured even though I've been doing longer long runs and running more consistently. And this, my friends, feels very good.


I will be getting laser eye surgery again soon. My vision has started regressing this Summer, and it has now stabilized which means I can get a second surgery. I can't say I'm looking forward to it, because I'm remembering every little detail of the first one, but I can't wait to see clearly. Also, one week off work and spent sleeping sounds very interesting to me right now.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Pre-Masters Swimming

I have completed 3 adult swimming lessons courses, and I found myself lately at a point where I was fine with the basics of swimming, but I wasn't quite yet ready for Masters swimming or to join a triathlon club. Last week, I saw an advertisment for Pre-Masters swimming, where the requirement was to be able to swim for 50m straight, and have some basic knowledge of front crawl, back crawl and breast stroke. I decided to sign up for it and my first lesson was tonight. It was awesome! :-)

There are 2 other girls taking the lessons with me. These girls are about at the same level as I am, which is so good for my ego. I was scared that they'd be much better than I am, but we're about the same.

The instructor is very nice too, and he takes the time to explain to us how we should be feeling in the water and why we need to do things a certain way. He made us do some basic drills, which were challenging, but doable. I was good at some things, not as good at other things. One thing I noticed while doing one of the drills is that I stop kicking while I am breathing. I think I do the same when I swim laps, and this would explain why I feel like I'm sinking when I breathe...

Anyway, it was great and I think these lessons will help me progress in my swimming. Yay!

Running-wise, I'm getting back at running consistently (3 times a week) and I will start increasing the lenght of my Saturday long runs next weekend. My ultimate running goals for the Spring are a 35 minutes 5K in April and a 1:10 10K in May. To achieve them, I am planning on running consistently and swimming/cycling to strenghten my quads. I think those goals are within reach if I train smartly and avoid injury.

On a personal note, I was confirmed into my position at work. Yay! I don't need to worry about it anymore, and I can now concentrate on the next part of my carreer.