Saturday, December 19, 2009


I ran 3 x 6:1s this morning. It went well! The first 2 intervals were fine, but when I started running the third one, my body thought I was done because I got hit by a huge endorphin rush. The third interval was hard, because I just felt like stopping. And then, my iPod battery died after about 3 minutes so I had to finish the last 3 minutes with no music!

But I did it. :)

When I was finished I lied on the floor to stretch and I just felt like going to sleep right there! That was quite the workout.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Runs :-)

The pleasure of running is back! :-)

I think I've gotten through the toughest part of getting back to running and it's finally getting easier. I don't have that much merit, though, because I only ran once or twice a week since September, but somehow, this was enough to build back some cardio ability and some confidence.

I'm doing the Learn to Run program *my way*, not the John Stanton way of increasing the running intervals every week. Even when I managed to run three times during a week, I didn't increase the lenght of my intervals if I didn't feel ready to move up. So far, it's working really well for me: both the body and the mind are getting back into it.

Lately, I've been running while listening to songs from the TV show Glee. What wonderful songs to run to! They make me smile. On Sunday, it was so perfect: we went running on the Canal and the snow was falling slowly, I was listening to my tunes and I was enjoying a challenging, but manageable run. I'm doing 5:1s now and will move up to 6:1s next weekend.

All is good at last in my running world... more than 18 months after the train wreck.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

5:1s... 30 billion... 2010...

I have been able to run without interruption since early September. *KNOCK ON WOOD* For the past 18 months, there was always something: I would run for 2-3 weeks and then I would either hurt myself or get sick.

I started taking BioK daily after my bronchitis in August and I haven't been sick since then. It seems like they're not making anything up when they say that 70% of our immunity is in our bowels. The minute I read that, I knew I had to try this out because I've been having problems for many years now. I went to Cuba and came back with something that made me really sick, but the doctors never found what it was. I was sick for about 3 months, lost 25lbs and then I kinda got better but I was never back to normal.

Now, more than 3 months of taking 30-40 billion probiotics daily, I feel like my immune system is back to normal (I'm not sick!) and I have a lot less digestive problems. I also stopped eating/drinking any dairy and it is making a huge difference too. I guess I'm doing things right! :-)

So, back to running. I've been able to run without interruption since early September when I started the Learn to Run program again. I haven't been very consistent with my running, but I've managed to get myself back up to running 5:1s. Some runs are great, others not so much, but they're not all terrible like they were back in September. This is good!

My dream at this point is to run 10K in 2010. I don't know if a 10K at NCM in May is even possible at this point, but if not, that's OK.

My 2010 athletic objectives so far look like this:

- run a strong 5K in May
- ride 40K as part of a Relay Sprint Tri in June
- swim 1,000m again (I usually swim about 700-750m right now when I go to the pool)
- do some triathlons next Summer (Super Sprint Tri or even Sprint Tri)
- ride my first 50K ever by the end of the Summer
- run a 10K race next Fall
- ride 1,500km
- stay injury-free
- keep it fun - no pressure!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Another Kind of Race

This month, I participated in a different kind of competition: a novel writing one! As part of National Novel Writing Month, I had to write a 50,000 words novel in 30 days. I spent all of October plotting out my story and when November 1st came, I was ready to go!

Just like any running races I've done before, at first things are good. You warm up and you get into a groove - for nanowrimo, the first dialogues I wrote didn't sound natural, but I eventually warmed up and was able to write them throughout my story. In a running race, after a while, you're having a good time just putting one foot in front of the other, or in Nanowrimo's case, one word after another. You're enjoying a good time with friends doing the exact same thing at the exact same time you're doing it and some friendly competition arises. All is good, until you hit the wall. It usually happens about 2/3rd into the race and it happened 2/3rd into the novel writing. The self-doubts creep in and you wonder how you're going to finish this race on time. At the darkest of times, you even wonder if you're going to finish at all! Fortunately, during those times, you think about your friends who are going through the same struggles and for some reason, knowing you're not alone in your misery brings you a lot of comfort and a new-found level of energy to keep going.

When there's only about 10% of the race left, you feel like this will never end. You feel like being finished right here, at this very moment. You're done, there's nothing left in you. Can we move the finish line please? Why don't running races end at 9K and Nanowrimo end at 45K you ask? These numbers would be just fine, you think. A fine accomplishment, in your books.

But you know it wouldn't feel as good if they moved the finish line and so you dig deep and you find that you had some energy left in the tank after all! Here comes the last stretch of the race and you're so excited about crossing that finish line that you are suddenly inspired. You speed up for one last sprint and you raise your arms as high as you can still manage while you scream "Victory!" when you run across the finish line.

As soon as you're done enjoying the immediate glory of being across the finish line, you run to your keyboard to let your fellow runners/writers know how well you've done. Why? Because only them can understand. They understand the effort you've put into your race and the satisfaction it has just brought you when you dug deep and succeeded!

To all my fellow Nanowrimo winners, Congratulations! Let's do it again next year.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sick of Riding my Bike (!!!)

On Monday, I rode my bike to work. I didn't feel like it at all. At this time of the year, it is colder in the morning and you need to wear more clothes. The humidity gets at you and you feel cold for a part of the day. At night, it is windy and it is starting to get dark when you leave the office. For all these reasons, I've been feeling more miserable on my bike in the past 2 weeks. I am very surprised to feel that way about my bike when I enjoyed riding it so much this Summer!

I reached 800km riden in 2009 last week. I will have made it to 850 before I store my commuter for the winter. Looking back, I'll say that I had a great time on by bikes once I got past the fear. The highlight of my summer of riding is definitely my participation in The Canadian Triathlon Sprint Tri Relay where I rode for 30km straight for the first time ever. To me, this was a huge accomplishment! :)

So... Dear Stardust and in'fusion, thank you for the good times we shared in 2009. I'll aim for 1,500km next year so you better rest well during the winter months!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The week of 3&1s

It's a miracle: I'm up to running 3&1s and I haven't been sidelined yet! In the past few months, whenever I was ready to increase the lenght of my running intervals, I got injured or sick. *knock on wood* this morning I ran 5 times 3&1s for the first time since... I forget, it's been too long! I mean, I've ran 3 minutes at a time in the past year, but never as part of a structured program like Learn to Run.

This morning's run was brutal. I had doubts that I could do it before I left and I think it weakened my mental strenght before I even got started. My lungs were on fire the whole time and it took almost the whole minute for the pain to go away. The fourth 3-minutes interval was the worst and I had to think about the women around me who are going through much bigger difficulties than this interval was. If it wasn't from those two women, I may have started walking before the 3 minutes were up.

I ran/walked about 2.8km this morning, for my own mini-version of Run for the Cure. This year, I ran for my director who's starting her battle against breast cancer. I prayed for her quick recovery and I also prayed so we are all strong enough to manage with her workload while she's away for surgery and radiation therapy. I suppose my daily work will be my own little contribution to her battle. I feel lucky that I get to be part of such a great team at work: I feel like everyone is ready to step up to keep things going while our fearless leader is away.

So now, I'm still wondering whether I should sign up for the Learn to Run clinic that supposedly starts next Monday (on Thanksgiving Monday, this must be a mistake!). I'll go to the Slater St. Running Room store this week to confirm the dates and to find out a bit more about the clinic. I think it would be a great motivation to take the clinic, but at the same time, I'm worried that the RR program will go too quickly and I'll get injured. I usually work with customized programs where I have frequent cut-back weeks and where I take things slow. Now, I'm worried that increasing the lenght of the intervals each week will be too much for my body. Hence the doubts. I suppose I could always start with the clinic and take things as they come. At the end of the day, pretty much all of the runs in the Learn to Run program are between 2.5 and 3K, it's just the lenght of the interval that changes, but you'll always run between 12 and 20 minutes. Decisions, decisions...

On my to-do list for this week is one more thing: to investigate the rehabilitation programs offered by a local clinic for people recovering from injuries like the ones I had. I think it would be beneficial to work with a professional who could assess the damage and prescribe specific strenght-training exercises to make me stronger. I'm not sure how much this would cost me, though. I guess that's why I need to make a call, right? I'll never know if I don't pick up the phone and ask!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


This morning, I was supposed to do another try-a-tri, but I bailed out because of a number of reasons that I won't go through here. To summarize, I wasn't up to the challenge, physically or mentally, and I don't regret my decision at all.

I started running again and I'm trying to be more disciplined about it. I ran twice last week, each time doing 6 x 2:1s. I also went swimming on Thursday night and I biked a lot. So, I'm keeping active, even if I'm not following any kind of formal training program.

Today, I went to the doctor and got my blood test results: they were awesome! I was a bit worried about my cholesterol level, what with my 10lbs weight gain and relative sedentary lifestyle. I was happily surprised to find out my levels were fine and that my healthy cholesterol was super high! The doctor said it was "unabnormally high" which made me smile from ear to ear. He also told me I don't have celiac disease, meaning no gluten intolerance. Woohoo! The best part was when he said that the results didn't point out to any nutrient malabsorption! It means there are other reasons why I keep getting sick, but at least I'm keeping my nutrients in. :)

Now, if only I could get rid of my extreme allergies (which may well be the cause for my weak immune system). I have an appointment for allergy testing in November and my plan is to try desensitization.

Things are kind of looking up.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Two Turtles and One Crabby Broad at The Canadian

Cynthia, Jo-Jo and myself decided to sign up for the Sprint Tri Relay at The Canadian Triathlon. I was doing the bike leg of the relay, which consisted of a 30K ride. My plan was to train for this because I have never ridden my bike for 30K at a time. Of course, the training didn’t really happen for a number of reasons and when I looked at my old bike logs and saw that I only done 25K twice in my life, I started doubting that I could do it. I decided that I would pace myself and take it a little easier on the first loop and push harder on the second loop if I felt good.

It was my 5th ride on my road bike since my accident in June 2008. I was still a little scared, but having had an almost fear-free ride on my road bike the week before the race gave me confidence that I would be alright. And I was! I’m happy to report that I made peace with my road bike. I had a great time riding it and I only had one moment when I had thoughts of potential bike accidents. Usually, I would have had at least a dozen of those frightened moments.

The first loop was good. I was passed by a lot of people, but that was OK. I was pacing myself!

KMs 15 to 20 were tough: I had crazy wrist and elbow pain on my left side that I just couldn’t shake. It hurt a lot.

At 20K, I decided to play some mental games to take my mind off the pain. My commute into work being 15K, I decided to think about where I usually am 5K into my commute, what the landmarks are, where the intersections are, etc. This definitely helped me pass the time, but this last 10K was the worst 10K ride of my life: it felt like it was taking forever!

But I made it, got off the bike in 1:18:xx, which was right where I thought I would be. I was proud to have done 30K, but that pride was nothing compared to the relief I was feeling at having made peace with my bike. I really enjoy riding this bike – in fact, I went for another 20K today! The ride today was even better because I didn't have any fearful moments. I wouldn't dare saying that I'm out of the woods now, but things are looking up for sure!

I enjoyed doing the Relay with Cynthia and Jo-Jo. It was a lot less stressful than doing the triathlon all on my own. I enjoy the camaraderie I get at races and even more when I'm part of a team. It was great to spend some time with Jo-Jo as we waited for Cynthia and then with Cynthia as we waited for Jo-Jo. It was also awesome to have my medal handed out to me by Jesse, to bump into Kiza on the beach and Nancy outside the T-Zone and to chat with Joe and Jesse before the race. I think it's great that the love of the sport bring so many people together. I really enjoy the atmosphere at triathlons more than I do at running races. In triathlon, I get good comments and cheers from many people and I get to be around the very good athletes. I don't get that with running.

So, anyway, Jo-Jo, Cynthia and I agreed that we would do another Relay next year: this time, the Olympic Tri at Riverkeeper. I'll have to bring my cycling up to 40K by then! That should be a great motivation to get on the dreaded trainer this winter.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Blog Display

If anyone reads my blog, can you let me know if the page setup looks good for you? It looks great on my screen, but on JF's screen, it looks as if a 3-year-old had organized the pictures on the page. Now, I have an old screen and JF has a widescreen one, so I was wondering if my blog looks awful to most of you. Thanks for letting me know!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Vacances estivales 2009

Les vacances sont maintenant terminées, c'est le retour officiel au travail demain.

Nous avons eu de belles vacances, malgré le rhume assez intense que nous avons eu chacun notre tour JF et moi et dont nous ne sommes pas encore complètement rétablis. Pendant ces 2 semaines, nous avons vu très peu de pluie - le dimanche où nous étions sur la route, il a plu toute la journée; puis il a plu un peu en fin de journée aujourd'hui. À part cela, il a fait soleil et très chaud pendant toutes nos vacances! Ça fait changement du début de l'été, où il pleuvait à chaque jour et où il ne faisait pas très chaud!

Nos vacances ont commencé par le National Capital Triathlon, où JF a fait son premier duathlon et où j'ai fais mon retour au triathlon. C'était une excellente façon de commencer nos vacances puisque ça nous a mis dans un bel état d'esprit. Le lendemain, on a fait la route jusqu'à Ogunquit, Maine. Nous avons suivi les conseils du patron de JF et avons évité les autoroutes, soit disant pour nous raccourcir le chemin. C'était une mauvaise idée! Ça nous a stressé plus qu'autre chose. Il fallait constamment changer de petite route et c'était dur de garder le fil. Aussi, on était sur des routes où il est difficile de dépasser, alors c'était parfois un peu pénible quand on suivait une auto qui roulait trop lentement. De plus, il pleuvait sans arrêt, ce qui rendait la visibilité un peu plus difficile.

Arrivés à Ogunquit, nous sommes allé souper et avons inauguré nos vacances en mangeant des fish & chips! Ensuite, nous sommes allés à notre B&B puis à la mer. Ce soir là, il faisait très humide et c'était très brumeux. Mais la mer était belle et elle sentait bon!

Le lendemain matin, JF m'a confirmé qu'il était malade. Il avait un bon rhume et j'espérais ne pas l'attraper. Nous sommes allé à la plage après un copieux déjeuner préparé par notre hôte, Bob. Il a fait très beau et nous nous sommes baignés dans une mer à 61F (16 C). C'était très rafraîchissant et ça semblait aider JF avec ses symptômes du rhume. Le soir, nous avons décidé d'aller jeter un oeil à Perkins Cove, à l'autre bout d'Ogunquit. Nous avons donc pris un trolley bondé et la ballade a été assez pénible puisque le trolley était plein et que la douzaine d'enfants dans le trolley criait et/ou pleurait. On s'est finalement rendu à destination et avons mangé notre souper avec une vue sur la mer. C'était très bien. Nous avons marché le long du Marginal Way pour revenir à notre hôtel. Malheureusement, il faisait noir et on ne voyait pas très bien, mais ce sentier semble offrir un superbe point de vue sur la mer et Perkins Cove.

Notre 2e jour de plage a été semblable au précédent. Ce matin là, je suis allé courir sur la plage avant déjeuner. C'était vraiment agréable, mais très difficile compte tenu de la chaleur et de l'humidité qui étaient déjà fortement présentes. Ce soir là, nous sommes allé manger à un restaurant qu'on avait découvert l'été passé: Frill's. On est ensuite arrêté se chercher une crème glacée au Ben & Jerry's avant de retourner au B&B. Le 3e jour de plage fut semblable aux deux autres: soleil, chaleur, baignade. JF était de plus en plus enrhumé et il ronflait vraiment très fort la nuit, alors on ne dormait pas bien ni l'un ni l'autre.

Le jeudi matin, nous sommes allé dire un dernier au revoir à la mer, avant de déjeuner et de partir du B&B. Nous avons pris la route vers Boston! Ce fut un peu compliqué de se rendre, puisqu'il y avait des bouchons de circulation en raison de construction sur l'autoroute. Puis, on voulait aller à l'équivalent de la MEC, mais c'était un peu compliqué. Le retour vers l'hôtel était aussi compliqué, mais on s'est finalement rendus sains et saufs! Une fois l'auto stationnée (pour la modique somme de 39$ US par jour!!!), nous avons enfin pu relaxer.

Notre premier soir à Boston, nous sommes allés voir le Quincy Market. C'est là que nous avons finalement décidé de souper. Nous avons mangé dans un endroit très sympa, appelé Wagamama, où nous nous sommes régalés de bouffe japonaise. Le lendemain, nous sommes allé visiter le New England Aquarium, où nous avons rencontré "la soeur jumelle séparée à la naissance" de notre chatte Litchie, une belle phoque qui adorait se prélasser au soleil, couchée sur le dos. C'était très drôle de noter les ressemblances dans le comportement entre ce phoque et notre chatte! À l'intérieur de l'Aquarium, nous avons pu observer des pingouins. L'Aquarium compte de nombreux pingouins africains, qui ont été rescapés suite à un déversement pétrolier. C'était très intéressant de lire l'information sur le sauvetage de ces pingouins et de voir le genre de vie qu'ils ont maintenant à l'Aquarium. Nous avons aussi vu des requins et une énorme tortue de mer dans le bassin central de l'Aquarium, qui fait au moins 4 étages! C'est assez impressionnant de voir tous ces poissons cohabiter dans cet énorme bassin et ce l'était encore plus ce matin là, puisqu'il y avait un employé dans le bassin! Il nourrissait les poissons. Ça faisait bizarre de voir un homme dans un bassin où il y avait 3 requins!

Dans l'après-midi, nous avons décidé de marcher la Freedom Trail qui passe à travers les quartiers historiques de Boston. C'est un superbe concept - suivre une ligne rouge qui va de part et d'autres des quartiers centraux historiques - mais il nous a un peu déçu. On s'attendait à ce qu'il y ait des panneaux d'interprétation expliquant les lieux que nous visitions, mais ce n'était pas le cas. On a vu plein de belles choses, mais sans trop en connaître l'histoire. Apparemment que c'est mieux de payer pour être accompagné d'un guide (!!!) si on veut connaître l'histoire de la ville. De plus, une fois rendu au bout de cette trail de 2.5 milles, il fallait revenir sur nos pas pour retourner au centre-ville. On avait chaud et on était tannés de marcher, alors on a pris l'autobus de ville pour retourner au centre. L'autobus coûtait seulement $1.50!! C'est vraiment pas cher.

On est retourné à Quincy Market pour souper. Cette fois-là, nous sommes allés là où on sert la meilleure Clam Chowder en ville: chez la chaîne Houston's. JF a confirmé qu'elle était vraiment excellente.

Le lendemain, après une nuit plutôt blanche, nous avons décidé de rentrer à la maison un jour plus tôt. J'ai commencé à avoir des symptômes de rhume à mon tour dans l'auto et je suis malade depuis. Notre deuxième semaine de vacances a donc été peu mouvementée: on est resté à la maison, on a profité de la piscine, on a regardé beaucoup de films. Ce n'était pas la semaine que j'espérais, mais on n'y peut rien.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Insight on Fear

I had some great insight today. I was thinking about my bike fear, and well, my fear in general. I was thinking how I've always been so careful. I've never been one to do stupid things and the risks that I took in life have always been calculated. I'm not saying that I never took any risks, because I did, but I've always made sure there was a way out or I was protected enough when I took those risks. Some of the risks I took were huge, but looking back, they could have been even bigger. For example: I've wanted to be an exchange student when I was in high school, but it was very risky to just go to a new country, learn a new language, make new friends... I didn't do it and I kind of regret it, even though I understand why I made the decision not to pursue this dream. When it was time for me to go to University, I went to Montreal. It was a new city, with new people, but the risk wasn't as big. See what I mean?

Anyway, so I was thinking about those fears and how I have always been careful when taking risks. It has always served me well, kept me away from any harm. Then, I concentrated on the bike fear and realized that when I had my bike accident, the illusion that I had that I would never be in pain if I was careful disappeared. I could get hurt because of other people's actions and decisions, and no matter how careful I am, I can't control other people's lack of carefulness. I have been feeling scared for over a year now, because I now understand that other people can hurt me. They can make a stupid decision that will have me suffer. I know this is a life reality, but until my accident, I never saw things this way. I always thought I could be careful enough and avoid problems.

This realization hit me hard just a few hours ago: the fear is there to protect me, but I have to keep pushing beyond it. I can't refrain from doing the things I want to do because other people may make stupid decisions and hurt me. I don't trust other people anymore, because I know they're not as careful as I am. It doesn't mean that I have to lock myself in the house for fear of being the victim of someone's poor judgement. It means that I have to acknowledge this fact and do my best to control what I can, while still enjoying my life. Wow. Now, I gotta go work on that!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Tears, Fears, Pain and Pride - My Return to Triathlon

Posted on RunningMania, on Saturday, August 1st:

A week ago, I went swimming. While I was swimming, I thought that I could do the try-a-tri at the National Capital Triathlon and I signed up for it. I haven’t trained for it. Since June, I swam 3 times and I ran about 25K. The only sport where I did some training was the cycling part of the triathlon and most of it was through my daily 15K commute. To say I was undertrained is an understatement.

The day started well. I was excited about the race! But as we got ready to leave, JF got some problems with his bike which meant that we left 30 minutes later than planned: at 9am, when my race was starting at 10am. During the drive, I lost it. I started crying because I was stressed, but also because I couldn’t be resilient this morning. This was too much to ask. For 15 months, I have been resilient: putting up with every stepback. I couldn’t face another barrier on race day. Not when I was ready for the race. We made it to the race site in record time. By 9:45, I was good to go. I was nerveous, but OK.

I started swimming and the fear hit me. The whole swim, I was in a panicky state and I couldn’t catch my breath. The dark waters of the river were making me real uncomfortable. At some point, I started thinking of Spencer and his famous words: “keep going, never give up” and this kept me going. I kept going until I made it out of the water. I wasn’t last!

I used my hybrid bike for the 20K bike leg. I wouldn’t say it was a mistake, because it kept the bike fear at bay, but it definitely slowed me down. On the first loop, my hands got numb from the bike gloves I was wearing, I think, because it happened a few times on my commute. On the second loop, I started having a very nasty headache above my right eye. I thought I might have been dehydrated or overheating, so I stopped on the side of the course to drink, poor water on my head and back and massage my temples. Eventually, I re-adjusted my bike helmet and most of the headache went away, to be replaced by intense back pain. The way back was brutal, with a slight uphill the whole time. On my road bike, I don’t feel it as much, but on the hybrid, I was slowed down by a lot. At that point, JF had passed me and I knew he would get to the finish line before me and it was OK.

The run was so hard. It was only 2K, but I didn’t have any energy left. By that time, I was overheating from being under the sun for so long. Luckily, I had brought my water bottle with me and it was a life saver. I walked a lot… but I also ran as much as I could. Then came the finish line. I didn’t have anything left for a final push. I was spent. And I wasn’t last!

Here is why I am proud: I gave everything I had on the course today. I faced challenging situations and I made the best out of the cards I was dealt. I have had my revenge today and have left the past behind. I’m back!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I have been thinking about where I am at in my training and I have been having a few thoughts about why I am where I am right now. Before I start, I should mention that I'm going around in circles right now. On the one hand, I really wish I could get back to running and triathlon training, but on the other hand, I'm paralyzed by fear, indecision and the picture of who I used to be... before last year happened to me. When I was still innocent. Back when I still thought there were great things ahead of me and that all I had to do was work a little harder to get them. Back when I put a lot of my energy into my training, because my job and my social life sucked.

I realize that I have these expectations for myself to get back into training as if nothing had happened. Almost as if all the physical and mental scars had disappeared or worse, never existed. As if I wasn't a whole new person. But I am a new person and I am scarred. I've been in too much physical and mental pain in the last 18 months, from my physical injuries but also from deeper issues with my friends, with motherhood, with my own mom, with my job.

It has been almost 5 months since my last serious injury and I'm starting to think that maybe I'm out of the woods and maybe I can start running, swimming and biking again. I think that maybe the bad luck is gone and maybe I can safely return to my life. This thought is exciting,
but it paralyzes me. I've gotten used to putting off my objectives because of yet another injury. This time, things are kinda looking up and I'm confused. I feel like I should "do like everybody" and train for a Sprint Triathlon and then a Half Ironman next year. But when I stop to think about what this goal would entail, I freeze: I would have to learn to ride with clipless pedals, with aerobars, to get used to riding for 3-5 hours at a time, to be able to run a half-marathon, to not take walk breaks, to swim for kilometers at a time, to join a Tri club, to buy a wetsuit, to face my fear of the deep dark open waters... This is overwhelming, especially since I don't feel the deep desire to do those longer races. Really, all I want is to get back to running 10Ks and to do my first Sprint Tri. I think I could stick to those distances forever, just to avoid facing all the fears that I have about the things I listed above.

I feel like I have something to prove. To whom? I'm not sure. Nobody is pressuring me to go longer; yet, I put pressure on myself. The pressure is to face my fears and not let them limit what I choose to do: the fear of injuries, the fear of bike accidents and the fear of anxiety attacks when encountering the unknown. Those are the fears that hold me back and the reason why I want to go longer. I know how liberating it will be when I finally face those fears, or at least, when I do those things despite the risks involved.

I also fear that if I take risks, then I will lose. And I have a lot to lose... that, I realized in the past year. Everything can be taken away from me in a second and I feel it's not worth risking so much for a hobby. What my head knows but my heart refuses to acknowledge is that I can take healthy risks - those risks where the chance of occurence x the extent of the consequences is acceptable to me. I have not yet identified where that balance is, but I guess I'll apply the same principles that I apply at work to try to make sense of all this.

In the meanwhile, I say a prayer everytime I get on my bike. I pray that I make it to my destination alive and uninjured.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Meet in'fusion

I bought a new commuter bike! :-) I had been thinking about this for a while, almost everyday when I was killing my knees with the cheapo commuter bike I've been riding since 2002. I wished for a bike that was assembled in Canada and I had been eying the De Vinci bikes for a while... I finally settled for the De Vinci Wellington.

When I went for my first test-ride with her, I noticed how great and natural the position felt to me. It really feels like this bike was designed for me. Its size and its fit are perfect! And her name came naturally to me: she had to be called in'fusion. Not only is she the colour of fusion, but I feel like we're in fusion when I'm out on a ride. I think we're going to have great commutes together!

I have riden her for about 50K so far and I'm very happy with my purchase. She needs a few minor adjustments, but nothing major. Yay!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


It's been a while since I updated my blog. I guess I don't have much to say!

I started running again after the 5K race and then my hip misaligned again and I took it easy while I waited for my osteopath appointment. When I had this appointment, I told her about the nagging concern I have that this lower abdominal pain may be caused by a sports hernia, and she said it would be a good idea to get it checked out. Hopefully, an ultrasound would rule it out. I have yet to go to the doctor about that, though...

I biked a lot in June. My goal was to ride my bike for 200km this month and I'll ride a little bit more than that. I rode my road bike only once and I was uncomfortable on it and a bit fearful, but at least I'm now comfortable on my hybrid bike. The confidence is back on the hybrid and I hope it will follow on the road bike. I will also go and try some other road bikes, just to compare the easiness of using the breaks. On my road bike, in case of emergency, I can't reach the breaks fast enough and I think the bike may not be well designed for my small hands. So I thought I'd go and try a few other models out and see if they feel different. If they do, then I may have to make a decision on wether or not to sell Stardust and buy a new bike.

I went to yoga as much as I can and I swam twice. I think I'm a little behind on my triathlon training as well as my 10K training. I think that at the end of the day, if I end up not doing any more races this year, I'll be OK with it. I just don't feel like following a schedule right now. Just going out there and expanding energy seems to satisfy me. We'll see what happens in the next few weeks, when I'm not away every weekend and have time to have a life.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This year's races..

I have been thinking about what I would like to do this year, now that it looks like I'm going to be able to start training again. Last Saturday's race was a confidence booster for me and I feel like I have been very conservative in my 'injury management'. I didn't take much chances because I didn't want to risk making things worse, but since the 5K race, I feel like my body can take it.

I'm having hamstring pain when I'm sitting right now. It is crazy painful and stops as soon as I get up or lift up my leg. My hip flexors and IT Bands also feel very tight, so I'm thinking maybe a visit to Mr. ART would be a good idea, just to make sure everything is ready to take on training again.

Here's what I think my race calendar will look like this year:

Aug. 1 - Try-a-Tri at the National Capital Triathlon in Ottawa
Sept. 13 - 10K at the Montreal Oasis Marathon in Montreal
Sept. 20 - Sprint Tri at the Last Chance Triathlon in Ottawa

The maybe's would be:

June 20 - Emilie's Run 5K in Ottawa
Oct - Rattle me Bones 10K

Those races are all tentative for now, but planning for them motivates me to get moving again! Tonight, I ran/walked 2.5K. The longest running interval I did was 3 minutes, which I find very encouraging. I'm planning on getting back in the pool and doing yoga to complement my running and keep the muscles as loose as possible. For now, I'll concentrate on commuting to work by bike to build back my confidence on the bike in order to get more serious about cycling by mid-June.

I'm back!

This is probably the sweetest race report I've ever written.

Act 1 - some crazy numbers

13 … number of months of non-stop injuries
6 … number of different set of injuries
2 … number of injuries that were done while going down the stairs
1 ... number of injuries caused by a turtle
8 … number of bones I bruised, cracked or broke
4 … number of times my hip got misaligned
8 … number of people I've been to in my medical team to try to heal me
4000 … number of mg of Tylenol I took per day after my tailbone injury (note: this is the absolute maximum dose of acetaminophen you should ever take in one day)
300 … approximate number of 200mg Ibuprofen pills I took in the last 13 months
1 ... number of ambulance rides (should have been 2, really)
25 … approximate number of hours I spent cheering at races
15 … number of pounds gained in the last 13 months
2 … number of people who made a HUGE difference in how I approached my injuries last year, from a mental point of view

Act 2 - Signing up for the 5K at NCM

It took me a lot of time to make a decision about whether or not to participate in the NCM 5K race. I have always loved that weekend and it saddened me to miss it again this year. At some point, I thought about walking it, remembering the 10-12 weeks when I wasn't able to walk much in the past year because of my injuries. I remembered that during those weeks, all I wanted was to be able to walk around freely and without pain again. One day, JF offered to walk the 5K with me. A few days later, I signed us up both, thinking it would be great to be out walking the race with my sweet other half, who picked up the slack when I couldn't move around much.

Act 3 - What I thought would happen

I thought we'd walk most of it, but I wanted to try to run a little. I have only been on 3 training runs since January, each totalling less than 3K, so I knew I wasn't trained at all. Moreover, my running in the past 12 months has been scarce: I didn't run more than 60K!!

I was hoping for a quick and enjoyable walk. 50 minutes was my dream goal for this walk.

Act 4 - What really happened

I ran/walked the whole thing! We started off slowly and I ran when I wanted to and walked when I wanted to. After the first kilometer, I had no pain at all, so JF gave me a goal: to run until that tree up ahead. I did it! So we started setting goals and I didn't wimp out… even when I saw the RM cheering squad under the bridge when I had just completed a very tough running interval. I sucked it up and started running again with a big smile. After 4K, I was starting to really feel the lack of training: my legs were very heavy and shaky. JF asked if I could run the last 200m and we planned around it. As we neared the finish line, I knew I had left everything out on the course and I was very happy with that. We held hands while crossing the finish line and I yelled "I'm back 'sti" when I crossed the line. The 's'ti' is a French swear word and I used it to release a lot of the anger I had accumumulated in the past year.

Special thanks to JF who has been so supportive in the past 13 months. I'm not sure I would have handled everything so well if it weren't for him. I'm also not sure I would have given everything I had out on the course if he hadn't been there with me. Thank you JF. I love you.

I'm so happy! All I can think of right now is WHAT'S NEXT?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A little swim... a little ride...

Being sick of my sedentary life, I decided to attempt swimming last Friday. I was surprised to find out that I had NO PAIN AT ALL while swimming. This is huge, considering I've been in pain constantly for a year now. Yes, I had times when I had less pain, but I don't think I've been pain free for a very long time. Anyway, swimming was good! I only swam 320m before I had to leave. Apparently, I have also lost of lot of muscle strenght in the past few months. I really could feel the effort in my triceps and biceps. After the swim, I had one of the best endorphin rush ever! That's the upside of starting over, I guess.

On Monday, it was beautiful outside so I decided to see if I could ride my bike. I was able to sit on the saddle, which was a small victory and then I went about 2K before being in pain. I rode another kilometer and decided to head back home. 6K was the maximum I think I could handle on that day. On top of the "saddle soreness" which I always get on my first ride of the season, I had the tailbone pain - "la totale" like we say in French. ;-) But I was able to ride my bike and it was awesome! Again, I noticed that I lost a lot of quadricep strenght... but it didn't stop me from climbing hills and it will come back.

My cardio on the swim wasn't too bad, but it was awful on the bike. So, i'm back... sort of.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

PRK... one year follow-up appointment

I had my one-year appointment this week, as my last follow-up appointment for my 2nd PRK laser eye surgery that I got in February 2008. I was happy to find out that my vision is better than perfect, at 20/15. I knew that my vision was sharp, but I thought it was still at 20/20, like it was 2 months ago. Finding out it had improved slightly was a very nice surprise!

There are no scars in my eyes to prove that I got PRK. My eyes are like new! I almost never need to use hydrating drops anymore: all signs of dryness are now gone.

I still have a bit of astigmatism, which I unfortunately notice in my daily life, but it's not bad enough that I would get glasses or a third surgery to treat it. I just hit myself a little bit more because I don't assess distances very well. I don't know if I can blame my falls on the stairs at home on the astigmatism, but it could be one of the causes [that, and my clumsiness]. ;-)

All in all, I'm happy I got the surgery. It was a long journey and there were many obstacles along the way, but my life is simpler now that I don't have glasses. I wouldn't say the surgery changed my life, because that would be an exageration, but it sure enhanced it.

Sunday, April 05, 2009


Today, I went to the off-leash park with Jake. To get there, I drove on the Parkway. While on the Parkway, I had all these memories of riding my bike on this road. It occured to me that I have riden my bike on the Parkway more than I have driven my car. And at that moment, a feeling arose, but I can't clearly identify it. It was a cross between nostalgia, sadness, anger, frustration... How I wish I could ride my bike, go for a run or a swim and plan my racing season. Instead, I plan my life around my injuries and the fear that there's more coming my way.

Yesterday, I was at Bushtukah looking at the new running and cycling gear for this season and I had the same feeling, except there was more sadness in the mix. I wanted to sit down, scream that this is unfair and cry until I had no tears left in me. Instead, I bought new walking shoes because I can walk right now. Gotta concentrate on what I can do, to not fret about what I can't.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bye grand-maman


Tu nous a finalement quittés hier, après plus de 91 ans sur notre planète. Je n'ai pas été surprise d'apprendre ta mort, mais la nouvelle m'a quand même ébranlée. Je suis heureuse pour toi, parce que les dernières années ont été difficiles et parce que la vie n'avait plus autant de saveur depuis le départ de grand-papa. J'espère qu'il était là pour t'accueillir là où l'on va après notre mort. J'espère que tu as revu Julie aussi et que le passage vers la mort n'a pas été trop difficile.

J'ai beaucoup pensé à toi hier soir. Je me suis rappelé plusieurs bons souvenirs, les plus marquants étant les Noëls que nous passions chez-vous quand on était petits. Pour moi, c'était tout un bonheur de dormir chez-vous, c'était comme une aventure. J'étais toujours très excitée de préparer mon matelas dans le corridor en-haut le soir de Noël avant d'aller dormir. Et j'adorais les déjeuners du lendemain de Noël: tu avais toujours du bon pain carré (du pain à sandwich) et c'était très spécial pour moi de manger des toasts faites avec ce pain. Tu avais toujours aussi des 'céréales sucrées' et c'était un pur délice de déjeuner chez-toi. Je me souviens aussi comment toi et grand-papa nous donniez toujours un jeu de cartes pour nous faire passer le temps. On inventait des jeux et on s'amusait bien. C'était toujours spécial.

Je me souviens aussi de la fois où tu m'as raconté ta rencontre avec grand-papa et vos fréquentations. C'était une belle histoire et j'avais beaucoup aimé me la faire raconter. Quand je l'ai racontée à maman plus tard, elle disait que ce n'était pas la même version qu'elle avait entendue... mais peu importe, j'ai aimé cette histoire, mais surtout le temps que tu as passé à me la raconter. Je voyais comment ça te faisait du bien de me raconter ça.

Et je me rappellerai de ta peine quand tu es arrivée au salon suite au décès de grand-papa. Tu t'es presque effondrée de douleur et ça m'a énormément touchée. Jamais tu ne montrais autant tes émotions et j'avais été quelque peu surprise de constater que tu pouvais toi aussi vivre de grandes émotions. Te voir comme ça m'avait brisé le coeur et je me souviens à ce moment là m'être dit que j'espérais aimer quelqu'un de cette façon un jour, moi aussi.

Il m'est arrivé souvent de penser au genre de vie que tu as eue, comment ça a dû être difficile pour toi d'élever pratiquement seule une aussi grosse famille. Je pense que je comprends les raisons pour lesquelles tu te donnais toujours une image de femme forte et que tu ne montrais pas ou peu tes sentiments. Je pense que je comprends, parce que je pense que nous sommes semblables sur ce point.

Repose en paix, grand-maman. Je t'aime.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm OK now

I snapped out of my seasonal depression. :-) It only lasted about 10 days this year, which is a huge improvement over the past few years.

My hip is now hurting much more than it did two weeks ago, probably because the tailbone pain is not as sharp and also because I'm walking more now. Yesterday, I ran about 100m to catch the bus and it was the worst idea - I had a lot of pain afterward. My hip is really bad right now, it feels totally off. I don't think it's ever felt so out of place as it does right now. Sigh.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Seasonal Affective Disorder, v.2009

Seasonal Affective Disorder has hit me! :-(

I felt it start, if you can believe it. Things were fine on Wednesday last week when I went to bed, but on Thursday, I started feeling sad for no particular reason (one would say that being in a lot of pain would be a good enough reason to feel sad, though). Friday, it had hit me big time and I procrastinated most of the day. This week was tough, and today I realized that this was it: SAD has hit me.

This is proof that SAD is mostly chemical. Seriously, my life is very good right now and other than that tailbone injury (which still hurts a lot), I have no reason to be depressed. I love my new job, I have a good relationship with JF, our pets are healthy (at last), I have a strong plan to pay off my credit card debt and JF and I have a lot of plans for the coming months and years. I'm in a much better place than I was a year ago and I really thought that the vitamin D I took since November as well as the trip to Mexico would have been enough to keep me from experiencing SAD this year. It is apparently not the case.

My brain has a chemical imbalance. No matter how good my life is. Sigh... I guess SAD is part of me, then. When I have SAD, everything is more difficult and motivation is usually very low. I'll just sit around and procrastinate instead of doing the things I love. When I do those things, they won't bring me as much pleasure as they usually do. For example, there was a song that I discovered last week that I really liked. It made me feel happy. This week, when I was listenning to it, I didn't really care. SAD is like I'm sleepwalking through my life, like a zombie.

Fortunately, I know what is going on in my body and I know that my brain is deprived of serotonin. Knowing there is a physical reason for the way I am feeling right now really helps. Understanding what is going on in my brain also helps. I know it should be a matter of weeks before I start to enjoy life again. In the meantime, I'll try to hold tight.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


When I got out of bed on Saturday morning, I was feeling good. It was Saturday and I had a nice relaxing weekend ahead of me. I was planning on going for another one of my short naked runs later in the morning. I was planning on going swimming on Sunday and I was starting to think about my comeback for triathlon season 2009.

At 10:30, I went upstairs to grab my gear to go for my run. I slipped and feel straight on my tailbone. It didn't really hurt, but the loud CRACK I heard when I fell didn't sound like a good thing. I got up and walked a little... then I passed out on the kitchen floor. It was the best feeling ever: I felt so good while I was passed out and I was dreaming. I woke up to a panicked JF slapping me in the face and then I started feeling VERY bad. I felt like I was going to pass out again and I was losing vision in my right eye. JF put cold water on my face, which didn't help much. A minute later, I started puking. That's when I asked JF to call an ambulance.

I made it to the ER and got x-rays done. Conveniently, they x-rayed my tailbone, pelvis and SI joint. Remember I'd been talking about getting those x-rays a few months ago? Well, I got them on Saturday and everything is fine there. No fractures or displacements that could be seen on a x-ray. I was sent home with lots of drugs and a week off work.

This hurts like hell! So much that I'm wondering how long it will be before I can start running and riding my bike again. I'm also pissed, but I try very hard not to let that feeling take control of me because it wouldn't do any good. I'm wondering if I should just give up on running altogether though. I mean, I started running again 6 times and each time, something happened to make me stop. Is this a sign that I refuse to acknowledge or just a coincidence?

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I missed it! I went to the pool yesterday and swam 550m. It felt good to be back in the pool! What I'm more proud of is that I swam most of it freestyle. A year ago, I used breast stroke a lot and I think it contributed to my lower abdominal injury. The osteopath advised that I limit my use of breaststroke and I think it's a great opportunity for me to work on my freestyle and eventually be a better triathlete. Yeah, you read it right: I'm starting to refer to myself as a triathlete again. I don't want to get my hopes up, but the hip mostly stayed in its place after my last osteopathy treatment so I feel a little bit of hope is in order.

Now, if I could get rid of the little buggers I brought back from Mexico, life would be even better! I took antibiotics for 10 days and it helped, but I still have issues. Sigh.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Nude Running

Don't worry, I didn't run naked! ;-) This morning, I decided to test the hip and go for a short run. The weather is so nice that I decided to run outside. The reason why I call it nude running is because I didn't bring a watch or a iPod and I didn't follow a plan. I just ran a little, walked a little and repeat until I felt that my body had had enough (which, sadly, was not very long.. about 15-20 minutes).

I had an endorphins rush and felt a bit of soreness all over at the end of my run. I don't think I did any damage to my hip, my lower back or my cortisol level so all is good...

I was thinking that I like running like that and that I didn't miss following a training plan and having the pressure to train for something. Sure, I would like to do races this year, but I just can't bring myself to believe that this time, I'm really back at it. So I just enjoy the runs as they come.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Feeling Hopeful

As everyone knows by now, I've been having major hip/pelvis issues for a while now. I was becoming quite discouraged about ever finding a solution this week, but my nature doesn't do well with being discouraged, so my brain started obsessing about finding solutions. I've talked to a lot of people and now I have a plan: obviously, the chiro and osteopath adjustments that I've been getting for the past year helped, but the problem keeps coming back. There has to be something else going on. One osteopath mentionned that it would be a good idea to get x-rays to get my legs measured and I'm going to start with that.

My plan is to go to a sports doctor - now, which one to go to? The one in Québec or the ones who were recommended to me who are based in Ottawa - and to give him/her all the information that I gathered in the past year: all the osteo/chiro adjustments that didn't hold, the impossibility to get a proper bike fit, the possibility of scoliosis (which I was told I had when I was about 15, but nobody mentionned it since), the SI joint problems, the pelvis bone problems, the pelvic floor problems and the absence of problems in the reproductive organs (pelvis ultrasound report).

I can't believe the doctor can't find a way to help me, when I provide him/her with all this wealth of information.

... and so, I'm hopeful at last.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Stronger than my story

I am borrowing a line from a song by The Killers to say that 2008 was the year when I was stronger than my story. I dealt with a lot of crap in 2008: deep personal struggles with regards to motherhood, endless work frustration, ethics issues at work and then, all my injuries.

When I came out of my seasonal depression sometimes in April, I understood one thing: that I was able to deal with whatever life would throw at me. The timing was excellent because life started to throw all sorts of things at me just to give me some practice. I was tested and I'm proud to report that I didn't sink into depression again, even when I had all the reasons to. As 2008 came to an end, I knew deep in my heart that I was not the same person I was on January 1st, 2008. I've become a stronger person, a person who can be stronger than her story.

Cheers to all the lessons learned the hard way in 2008!