Monday, May 31, 2010

68 miles of madness....

What a great day yesterday! We started off with a 10 mile run with Vancouver Fit. I got the chance to run a few miles with one of my fellow assistant coaches, Greg. We don't often get to run together and it was a great opportunity to get to know him better. What a good guy. I just love him and his wife Trish so much. I am so fortunate to have found such a great group of friends who love me despite all my flaws. Plus, they love to run and understand the obsession!

After our run, we stopped at home and got our gear ready for our weekly bike ride. We've really been ramping up the miles. We have 112 miles waiting for us on August 29th and we have got to get ready for it. Our friend and fellow Ironman Canada trainee planned the route. I told him we would follow him anywhere. He said it would be hilly. His definition of "hilly" is similiar to his definition of "fun". Whenever we are getting ready to do something really crazy and possibly painful, we always say "it will be so FUN".

Hilly, was an understatement! We all left from our own houses and met up about 10 miles into the ride. We headed north into Ridgefield, Lacenter and then out to Woodland. About 20 miles into the ride we got rained on. We had another friend, Ron, joining us and he decided to call the ride for rain. He turned to go back and we figured what the hell, we are already out here, might as well keep going. The rain did let up after a bit and the rest of the ride was very comfortable (weather wise). We tackled the hills out to Woodland. Then we did a big flat loop and ran into some wind. Then it was time to head back through the hills to our original meeting point.

Doug had told me about this one hill that he said was his favorite. "Nothing too bad, just a long uphill where you scoot back in the saddle and pedal". Sweet Jesus....this hill was never ending. It was 20 minutes in the lowest possible gear, powering through, with no reprieve. There was a rushing waterfall and creek next to the road and Doug said "your legs are fluid like the water". Every now and then, we'd come around a corner and I would think we were at the top....then, it just kept going. My heart rate was around 169, on the flats it was about 140. Here's the crazy part. It felt good.

Once we reached the top, we had a lot of downhill to get us back to LaCenter. Then we had a few climbs back to our original meeting point. We went our separate ways, trying to find the least hilly route back to our house. We got home, put on our running shoes and did a little 10 minute transition run. I could have kept going. My stomach was a little bloated, I think I was dehydrated. I didn't take enough water for the long ride. Lesson for next time!

We finished up, ate some dinner and hit the couch. Exhausted and content. Today's ride really built my confidence on the hills. I mean, come on, 20 minutes of uphill. 20 minutes of the hardest you can work. It gave me a lesson in managing my effort. I didn't know how long that hill would be or what was around the bend and I think I did a good job of just being consistent and strong with my pedal strokes.

As we pulled into our driveway, I said to Trevor "if we just rode out to Frenchman's bar (an easy ride) we'd be around 110 miles. We both felt like we could have done that. THAT was a good feeling.

We have a marathon this Saturday and three weeks later a Half Ironman Triathlon. Its crazy to think that we spent all last year training for the Half Ironman. Before our last Half Ironman the furthest we had run was 15 miles, the longest bike ride we had done was 4 hours/55 miles (and we only did one that long) and our longest workout day was right around 5 hours. This year we have already done two marathons and have another next week which will make three, we will have done 3 or 4 rides over 55 miles and our longest workout days will be over 8 hours (and there will have been 3 or 4 of those). I feel so much more prepared for this event. Its also crazy to think that was the culmination of all our training last year and this year it will be our first triathlon of the season.

It was so fun to ride this ride yesterday and see my two partners in crazy - Trevor and Doug up ahead of me. It doesn't get better than that. I love how far we've come. I love how far we have yet to go. I am enjoying the ride, enjoying the climb. I am focusing on the uphill battle, not what is waiting on the other side. I really want to enjoy this ride, because if you don't enjoy it, what's the point?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

5 down, 13 to go....

Its hard to even remember the beginning of this week! My cold started come back early in the week, but now its gone. I am not really sure when that happened, but I am glad its gone. I have been feeling a little tight in my right IT band, I need to have that worked out early next week. We have a marathon next Saturday, June 5th.

I wasn't feeling completely recovered from the marathon we did last week, so this week I was still kind of in recovery mode. The pouring rain on Sunday helped us decide to take the afternoon off from cycling. That was a much needed break but it made me feel like I was behind all week long. I tried to make up for it as much as I could by adding in two extra spin classes this week.

Here is how the week went.
Sunday: 1.5 hour run (9 miles)
Monday: 60 min spin
Tuesday: 40 min run, 20 min abs
Wednesday: 2 - 60 min spin classes and a 45 min swim
Thursday: 40 minute run and 60 min upper body workout
Friday: Rest. AHHHH
Saturday: 45 min swim and 60 minute spin class.

Total for the week:
Swim: 1.5 hours
Bike: 4 hours
Run: 2 hours and 50 minutes
Weights: 1 hour and 20 min
Total: 9 hours and 40 minutes
I think that math is right?!

Next week is marathon week, so we'll hit it hard on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and maybe Wednesday. Then we will take it easy at the end of the week because 26.2 is waiting for us on Saturday....

What do you say to taking chances...

These are lyrics from one of my favorite songs by Celine Dion...

"But what do you say to taking chances,
What do you say to jumping off the edge?
Never knowing if there's solid ground below
Or hand to hold, or hell to pay,
What do you say"

As a person who likes to be comfortable, I have taken quite a few risks in my life. I left home to go to college, I left my college town to take a job in a city where I knew no one doing something I didn't really know anything about. A year later, I picked up and moved 3000 miles to yet another place where I didn't know anyone. That brought me to Portland Oregon.

If you had told me growing up that I would ever be moving to Portland, Oregon, I would never have believed it. Was I scared? Hell yes. Did I wrestle with the decision? You bet. Have I ever wondered how things would have been if I didn't make these moves? Sometimes.

Then I look at the life I have now and honestly, I wouldn't change a thing. If I didn't have my life, I would be jealous of the person who did. I wouldn't have THIS life if I hadn't taken those chances.

14 years ago, I took a paycut to take a job that required me to work from 2 am to 10 am. Then I took on promotions into positions that were WAY over my head. Then I applied for jobs that I should never have gotten. Then I went on a blind date with a guy who I wasn't sure about. Then I moved in with said guy. Then I decided to run a marathon,when I had never run more than 4 miles. Then I applied for multiple jobs in a different part of my chosen industry and finally, after six tries got one of them. Then, we decided to open a business during a down ecomony. Next, I decided to train for a triathlon when I didn't even know how to swim (I learned).

Really, the list goes on and on and on. I am fortunate to live with a man who has followed a similiar path and isn't afraid of taking risks....he's not afraid of taking chances.

Last week, our friend Kris took a super big chance - she picked up her life here and moved to Washington DC. I know this was a big, scary step for her. And I am so envious. I am envious of the opportunity for a new start; the opportunity to build a new life, to chose a new path and to see what else is out there. Its like a new universe is unfolding for her and that is so incredibly cool. I give her so much credit for taking such a chance. And I know that her life is going to explode with good things because she was willing to take such a risk.

She's my #1 and I miss her. I miss knowing she is right around the corner. But I cannot wait to watch where this road leads her. The truth is that you can't become more than you are if you don't take a risk, if you don't dare to believe that there is something more out there waiting for you to come and get it. The really neat thing to me is that if I hadn't taken risks in my life, I would never have met Kris and I wouldn't be here to see her take this risk.

Way to go Kris. You inspire me. I get the chills when I think about all that awaits you. Its going to be so great. So, so great. And here is what Bon Jovi says about this (because he is the wisdom we all need) "who says you can't go home, there's only one place they call me one of their own". You will always be one of our own!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I have talked before about the emails I get from a guy named Jeff who has ALS. He sends out these really awesome motivational emails that always seem to hit me at the exact moment that I need to hear them. Today, his email was about circumstances growing out of thought. He talked about how there are some people who good things always happen to, and some people who only bad things happen to...and how the way you think about things plays a major part in this.

I've come to the belief over the past few years that how you believe is how things will be. If you think only bad things happen to you, then only bad things will happen. If you believe that things never go your way, they will never go your way. I'm not talking about living in denial and when something bad happens, pretending that it isn't bad. I am talking about an inner belief that your life is good, that things are good for you and that you can have or be anything that you want.

How can you become something that even you don't think is possible. There have been all kinds of studies that show that you are more apt to handle a situation appropriately if you have thought about it happening before it happens.

My friend Diane calls his "new age horseshit". But I believe it is true. I have seen it come true in my life. I have written down how I want things to be, how I want a situation to go, how I see my future. When I got back and read what I wrote, it is almost scary to me how closely my reality matches what I wrote. Granted, I am not writing things like "I won the lottery". I am writing things like "I handled the situation in a way that was peaceful and calm for me" or when writing about a marathon I say "I enjoyed the day" "I felt strong" " my run went according to plan".

There is something so empowering about being in control of your thoughts and chosing how you want to frame things. It is mental discipline. I work so hard on the physical discipline that it would be a waste to not make my mind work too, don't you think.

We have had lots going on lately and every now and then I feel overwhelmed and scared about outside influences and "circumstances". I got this email today from Jeff and realized that I can control my circumstances. I need to do more of that. Thanks, Jeff, for the reminder. Here is how he ended his email...

"That circumstances grow out of thought is incontrovertible. I suggest that you start taking inventory of what you are allowing to take a foothold in that mind of yours. The quality and direction of your life depends upon it."


Darling, I can't get enough of your love baby...

We have been missing our dear Wookie and feeling really sad about Gus' health. Maggie has really been pushing Opal to her physical limits. We've been thinking about getting another doggie for a while now and have been looking, we just haven't had the time to go let Maggie pick one out. Sunday, we had a long bike ride planned and it was pouring rain. Trevor said "are we riding" and I said "no, we are going to get a dog". And get a dog we did.

Meet Buster.

We have been looking at Buster online at a local Shelter called New Life Family Dogs Shelter. There were a few others that Trevor had been looking at, but Buster had won my heart from the first time I saw his sweet little face.

I don't think the people who had Buster before kept him in the house very much. They didn't seem to know much about him or how he behaved. He was very sweet with us from the first moment we met. Maggie liked him too. That was all there was to it. We brought him home and you would think he had lived with us forever. Opal seemed to like him. He hopped right up on the couch and went to sleep. The shelter must be an exhausting place for a doggie.

I believe that he thinks we are going to take him back. He has this worried look on his face all the time and doesn't want to get in the car. I keep telling him its okay.

He gave me a big scare the first day we had him. I took him to Petsmart to get him a new collar and a name tag. That all went well and good. I put his new collar and tag on him and told him that he was part of our family now. Then, we walked back out to the car. We were at the Petsmart by the airport and it is on a really busy road. We had to wait for a few cars to pass before we could get back to the car. I had Maggie with me too. I said to them "we won't come to this store again, there is just too much traffic". I got them to the car and put Maggie in. Buster was on his leash next to me, then I felt the leash go limp. My heart sank - I turned around and Buster had pulled out of his collar and was running away.

I ran after Buster, screaming his name. He ran out into traffic and at least two cars had to stop. I thew down my keys, my purse, everything in my hands and sprinted after him. He was running and I was sure he was going to be hit by a car. I was yelling "don't hit my dog!"

I finally realized he was running because I was chasing. So I stopped and got down on the sidewalk. He was about to go around the building towards a busy intersection. He saw me stop. I called his name and he came to me. I grabbed him and layed on top of him for minute. Then I picked him and carried him like a baby, kissing him all the way to the car. I put him in and got in myself. I sat in the driver's seat....shaking. I was so glad that he came back to me. That haunts me, what could have happened. I can't wait until I can stop thinking of that.

On a happier note, Buster comes to the store with me and Maggie and they love it here. I love having them here. Buster loves Maggie, she gives him comfort and I think he makes her feel a bit more safe too. I left them in the car together for about an hour and when I came back they were both sleeping. Usually Maggie is eating the seats, arm rest, floor, etc!

Gus is hanging in there. He was not well on Monday and I even made an appt at the vet. I expected that Monday night was going to be the end. But he bounced back and as of today, he is acting normal - eating, drinking, sleeping with us, laying by me when I am working out. This is good news and we'll take every good day we can get.

So we are back up at 7 pets. Wookie would be happy with that because he always said we needed a tie-breaker...just in case there was a vote or something. Man, do I miss that dog. Every day, I miss him. I keep telling myself that while we are missing him, Buster now has a good home. And Wookie would love that.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

4 down, 14 to go

This has been a roller coaster of a week. It is being classified as a recovery week, but it started with a marathon! Sunday was the Capitol City Marathon and it was GREAT! Trevor and I really felt strong. We got home Sunday night and one of our cats,Gus, was sick. We spent most of the week dealing with that. It has been emotionally draining and I am just so tired. We did our best to make it through the week. I came down with a touch of a cold too, must have been the stress. I threw some Wellness Booster and Vitamin A at it and seemed to hold it at bay for most of the week.

Here is how the week went.
Sunday: (5 hour run) 26.2 mile run - Capitol City Marathon
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 60 minute spin class
Thursday: 40 minute run
Friday: Rest. I was going to lift but felt a rest day would be more beneficial.
Saturday: 60 minute spin class. I was going to swim, but didn't have it in me, so I chose not to.

Total for the week:
Swim: 0 hours
Bike: 2 hours
Run: 5 hours and 40 minutes
Weights: 0 hour
Total: 7 hours and 40 minutes

We have been doing a little bit of emotional eating due to our stress level - not going to lie about that! Next week, the workouts will really ramp up again. We have another marathon in two weeks, so we have about a week and a half to hit it hard before we taper a bit for that.

Next week we will hit the open water and that is where the real training begins...can't wait...that means summer is just about here!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

6 to 9 months was a pipe dream....

At the end of March, our cat Gus was given 6 to 9 months to live. He had a recurrence of a fibrosarcoma tumor that was inoperable. We decided to agressivly treat this cancer with chemotherapy. The vet told us that it could shrink the tumor and provide Gus with 6 to 9 months of comfortable life.

Gus went through his first chemo treatment with flying colors. He had no side effects and was as happy as ever. We measure his happiness by his sleeping habits. He LOVES to sleep on my pillow, all tangled up in my hair. When he is particularly happy, he will press his nose against my face and sigh in contentment. He has been doing this a lot lately.

Saturday morning, the sun was coming through the front window and I caught a glimpse of Gus, sprawled out, sound asleep in the sunlight. It was so precious that I just stopped and watched him for a few minutes, knowing that I wouldn't have him forever. I wanted to take in every moment.

Saturday night we were away from home, we ran a marathon in Olympia on Sunday morning. We got home Sunday night and I could tell Gus wasn't right. I thought maybe he was just mad because we had gone away. He didn't sleep on my pillow that night and Monday morning he was very lethargic. I left home for a bit and when I came back he had not moved an inch. His eyes looked sick. I called the vet and they said to bring him in. He had his second chemo scheduled for Wednesday, I wasn't sure how this was going to affect that.

We got to his oncologist and they did some tests. He had a high fever and his tumor was infected and abcessed. They suggested he stay overnight. They rehydrated him with an IV and gave him pain meds and antibiotics. They called me once to say he was resting comfortably.

Tuesday morning came and I hadn't heard anything. I was getting ready to call when the phone rang. It was the dr. I knew it wasn't good news. If things were just fine, the tech would have called and said to come get him....but this was the vet. The cancer doctor. My heart sunk.

She told me that he was doing better, but the infection was really deep. She was concerned that the infection was too deep and that it would come right back. Without putting him under anastheia, they couldn't get in and really clean out all the infection.

She gave me an option. She said that she could go in with a surgeon and try to get all the infected tissue out, but that could open a can of worms and the wound from the surgery would most likely never heal. Then I would be dealing with an open wound and changing a bandage every day. Plus, putting him under would be hard on him.

I came to a heartbreaking realization....there was nothing more to be done. I told the vet that I wanted to bring him home and make him as comfortable as we could. I talked to her about Wookie and how he just went to sleep. I asked her if there was any chance that Gus would do the same. She said no, we were going to have to decide. She said that we needed to prepare ourselves to make the decision to let him go and that it may not be this week, but it would be soon. She then told me how sorry she was and how lucky he was to have us.

I hung up the phone and I sobbed. I knew I needed to get him home. I headed down to the vet and picked him up. He certainly wasn't himself. He hates spending the night at the vet and I was sure he was exhausted. I got him home, he drank some water, went to the litter box and then we took a long nap. He snuggled up to me and every once in a while would rub my face.

We had a really good talk about all we had been through together. He was sound asleep at one point and was dreaming, his little whiskers were twitching. I just breathed him in.

Its been a few days and he is about the same. He gets in the window when the sun is out. He still isn't sleeping on my pillow and I really wish he would. That is my favorite thing. The other cats sense something is wrong, but like all the time I am spending in bed with them!!

Today I ran some errands and when I got home, Gus was sleeping on the floor in the sun. So peaceful.

The waiting is really hard. I keep telling him to give me a sign when its time. I certainly am crying much more than I would like and that is just exhausting. I find it hard to believe that sometime soon, he won't be there.

I met Gus on June 18, 1999. When I met him, I was suffering from a broken heart. My cat Bobo had died the day before. I remember thinking that I would never love another creature the way I loved her. Funny to remember that. I can't say that I love Gus more or less that I loved her. They are all so different, each animal brings something different into our lives. They all have their own personalities. They love in their own way and let us love them back, again, in their own way.

I could go on and on about Gus. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love this cat. Its actually kind of a joke with a few of my friends and our usual vet always comments on it. All I know is that my life has been better because of this little sweetie. No one else is as happy to see me as he is...and vice versa.

Its been a tough few months around our house. Wookie left us on March 23rd. He and Gus were the first pets, all the others came after them. We always joked that they wished it was just the two of them, then things would be peaceful and quiet. I keep telling Gus that he doesn't have to be afraid because Wookie is waiting for him. The two of them can enjoy the silence together. I also tell him that we are all going to be okay. (I think I am trying to convince myself of that.) He is surrounded by love. We all are. For that, I am grateful. And as Bon Jovi says..."Love's the only rule"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Capitol City Marathon Race Report

Let me just say that the idea of running a marathon 5 weeks after my last, 3 weeks before my next, was scary to me. Not a little scary, but ALOT scary! I had a great run in the Portland Marathon back in October. Whidbey Island, on April 11th, was not so great. I was emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted that day and I really just felt like crap. I didn't want a repeat of THAT!!

We did a few things differently leading up to this event. We took Thursday, Friday and Saturday as rest days. Earlier in the week, my body was really feeling legs felt heavy. I thought a few days of rest would allow me to recover enough to run 26.2 miles!

I ate healthy all week leading up to the marathon. The day before Whidbey, I had a big ice cream cone and while it tasted AWESOME, my stomach didn't recover in time to get me through a marathon. I ended up feeling sluggish. I didn't have that problem this time - no pre-run ice cream cones!!

We got done with our Parade Run on Saturday, went home and got our stuff toghether. Then we jumped in the car and made the 90 minute drive to Olympia. Our crazy friend Doug, who does all these things with us and is also training for Ironman Canada, picked up our packets. We met him at the hotel and were shocked to see what the event tshirt was. It was actually this awesome jacket!!

I was disappointed when I tried mine on and it was too small. The site where I registered said that the shirts were unisex, so I ordered a small. The jackets were gender specific, so I needed a medium. We went back down to the expo and they let me exchange it for one that fit. YIPEE!!! This is the best marathon yet! And we haven't even started!

We then went and had dinner at Outback Steakhouse. My traditional pre-race dinner is a steak, sweet potato, salad and bread. Yum! We headed back to the hotel and were asleep by 8. Love that!!

We got up around 5 on Sunday morning, had a smoothie, got our stuff together and headed to the start line. All three of us were wearing our Max Muscle Vancouver Half Marathon shirts (we are dorks like that). As we were walking to the start line, a girl came up behind us and said she had done that half marathon too! She was like "oh, look, a team" and then she realized it was just three dorks wearing the same shirt! That was kind of cool to see her there!

There were a few hundred people running the marathon and it really wasn't very crowded. The weather was shaping up to be nice - temps in the 50s at start time, a little overcast. I wasn't nervous, until we went to line up at the start. Then I was really nervous!!!

Start time came and off we went! My plan for the day was "slow and steady". At Whidbey, I went out too fast. Today, I was going to go slow and I wanted to run the entire way. I would walk through water stations, but that was it. At Whidbey, I walked most of miles 20 through 26. Not fun.

The route was really beautiful. Rolling hills, rural roads. I tried to stay in the middle of the road to avoid any strain by running on the sloped shoulder. I kept my slow, easy pace. Heart rate under 155, right around 11 minute miles. I was running by a couple and at one point the man said to his wife "I don't know if you have noticed, but this girl next to us has the most consistent pace". I took that as a compliment!!

I was really feeling good. I saw sheeps and cows and horses. Love that! The sun had come out and it was hot. There was quite a bit of shade on the route and I really liked that. The hills actually felt good, mixed things up a bit.

Around mile 17, it was getting tough, as it usually does. I came upon a woman who was shuffling along. As I passed her I said "good job, just keep moving". She said to me "this is my 285 marathon. 6 months ago I had a masectomy because of breast cancer. This is my first race back and they let me start an hour early". I stopped running, turned around and hugged her. I told her she was a rock star and she said "I am just happy to be alive". I wished her a long life and she wished me the same. I ran a little faster the next two miles and when things got tough after that, I thought of her and just kept going.

This is the thing I love most about the marathon...everyone has a story. Some are more dramatic, but everyone has a story.

Mile 21 was pretty much all downhill. I knew there was a big uphill coming. I didn't realize it would be 2 miles long. Whew...22, 23, still going up!!?? Finally, things leveled off and eventually started going downhill. Mile 24 and 25 were on the shoulder and the road was really sloped. I HATE that. At one point I got up on the sidewalk, that didn't help, so I got back out in the road and figured I could manage a bit further.

I looked at my watch and figured I would finish around 5 hours and 5 minutes. My best time is 5 hours and 14 minutes. I just kept moving. Finally, I saw the mile 26 marker and I could have cried. It was a downhill finish. I could see the finish line and I saw Trevor and Doug there waiting for me. I sped up and let momenteum carry me across the finish line. I was so elated. 5 hours and 7 minutes!! Wahoo!! And I felt GOOD.

I live for the .2 miles at the end of the marathon. I've said it before - you cannot get that feeling any other way then by battling through the 26 miles that come before. That is why I do this repeatedly. That is why. It felt good to remember

I got some water, signed up for a massage, headed to Starbucks for a coffee and recapped the race with Trevor and Doug. Trevor finished in 4 hours, his goal and a new Personal Record for him. Doug has been battling some injuries and did a great job making it through the day. It was important for us all to remember that this was just a training run. We are working towards a much bigger goal on August 29th. Its crazy to think this marathon, which is the culmination of trianing for most people, was just a training run for us on the road to Ironman. Honestly, that felt the best of all....

And so the road up - Newport Marathon - June 5th. Can't wait.

Max Muscle Vancouver Parade Run Race Recap

The first ever Max Muscle Vancouver Parade Run/Walk went off without a hitch on Saturday May 15th!

We weren't really sure how many people were going to show up that morning. I had ordered 75 finishers medals and 75 shirts. I figured if we had more than that, we could just order more and mail them to those who were shorted. Luckily, that wasn't much of an issue. We had 74 participants. Doesn't get better than that...does it?!!
We had a great group of people out to run and walk. Some of these folks had done many runs and races before, some had never walked or run 2.5 miles in their lives and this was their first race. We were happy to have every single one of them out on the course with us!

Everyone showed up with plenty of time to get to the start line. We even got to take a group photo!

10 am came and off they went! Lead by two awesome sheriff's deputies in their car and Trevor on his bike, they made their way along the route of the Hazel Dell Parade of Bands. The streets were lined with people and many asked us what was going on! This was the first year, so it was a bit of a surprise to see runners and walkers ahead of the parade. We are hoping this will lead to many more participants next year!

The winner, Madeleine Sellers, 51, of Washougal, crossed the finish line in 16 minutes and 32 seconds. That is a 6 minute and 36 second mile pace. WOW...that's FAST!!!

We had a group of triathletes in training participate. Sherri McMillan from Northwest Personal Training has a training group for her "Girlfriends and DudesTriathlon" on July 25th. They went for a bike ride before the run and then RAN the run!! Great job you guys!

We had quite a few families participate and it was so fun to see them out there being healthy and fit together. This was a great example to the entire community. We want people to get out there and live their more sitting on the sidelines and watching life pass them by.

At the finish line, there were medals for each finisher, Max Muscle Triple Whey Protein Shakes, water, Max Crunch protein bars and brownies (who doesn't love brownies?). We had excellent volunteers helping on the route. It was a fabulous time and we can't wait to do it again next year!!!

3 weeks down, 15 to go

Another week in the books! One week closer!

Here's how it went down:
Sunday: 10 mile run with Vancouver Fit, 60 mile bike ride (4 hours), followed by a 10 minute transition run off the bike. I wrote a blog post about this day. We were suffering from upset stomachs due to poor nutrition the days before.
Monday: 60 min spin class
Tuesday: 40 minute runWednesday: 60 minutes upper body weights/abs followed by 60 minute spin class
Thursday, Friday, Saturday: Rest days. We have a marathon coming up on Sunday and we wanted to be completely rested and ready. We built a little extra recovery into the program.

Total for the week:
Swim: 0 hours
Bike: 7 hours
Run: 2 hours and 40 minutes
Weights: 1 hour
Total: 10 hours and 40 minutes

By the end of the week I was really feeling fresh again. My legs had been totally burned out. Our last marathon on April 11th was really tough because we were just so tired. We expect this little rest will give us the boost we need to have a great race on Sunday! Stay tuned for a report...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


"I don't believe in Fear, I believe in putting in the work" - Deena Kastor

Fear. Talk about a four letter word. I spent much of my life being afraid, of all kinds of things. I was afraid of failure, afraid of success, afraid of getting fat, afraid of staying fat, afraid of debt, afraid of being alone, afraid of being with the right person, afraid of drowning, afraid of hard. Whew, how exhausting does all THAT sound?

A few years ago I heard a quote "feel the fear and do it anyway". I realized that being afraid of something was a very human response. Everyone is afraid of something. The problem comes when you let fear hold you back. When your fear keeps you from reaching your potential.

Feeling fear is healthy. Being paralyzed by fear is not. The most rewarding experiences in my life have come when I overcame my fear. I have also found that some of my fear subsides when I do as Deena Kastor says in the quote above, when I put in the work.

Our goal of completing an Ironman this August is a good example. I am afraid. I believe it is normal to be afraid. The best way to overcome that fear is to put in the work and be prepared. Then, there shouldn't be as much fear.

I have spent this past week really working to figure out what part of Ironman makes me feel afraid. There is some fear of not being ready. There is fear about the uncertainty of the conditions that day. There is fear that it will hurt, that I won't finish, that I won't be mentally tough enough.

I have been working through those fears and coming up with plans to put those fears to rest.
- Not being ready? That will not be a fear. I have plenty of time to GET ready. If I stick with the plan in front of me, I will be ready.
- Uncertainty about the conditions that day? If I train my body for the distance and train my mind to be ready to meet any thing that comes my way, there should be no fear. During our USAT coaches training, there was a portion on mental conditioning. They talked about not visualizing a perfect day or going through your game plan of a perfect day, but instead focusing on who you want to be that day - how you want to manage your mental attitude no matter what conditions arise.
- Fear that it will hurt? It will. time to stop being afraid of that and moving into acceptance!!
- Fear that I won't finish? Being afraid of that now will not help me actually finish that day. I know that I will be prepared and there may be things I can't control. Again, it goes back to thinking of who I want to be that day. How I want to mentally handle things. If I can focus on getting to the start line and being ready - chances of finishing are much higher!

The bottom line is this: If I put in the work, both physical and mental, there should be much less fear. What little fear is left should be an indication that I am about to have an explosion of personal growth. If you aren't afraid, then its not out of your comfort zone, meaning you aren't pushing yourself, meaning that you are staying the same. We should be more afraid of that than anything else.

The run in Ironman has been a big fear of mine. This Sunday, in an effort to minimize that fear, we are running another marathon. 26.2 becomes a little less scary every time you do it. I'll stomp my fear down a bit this Sunday, then again on June 5th and come August 29th, 26.2 will be just another thing.

What are you afraid of? What work do you need to do? Start it. Start it now.

Monday, May 10, 2010

We should know better...

Trevor and I eat pretty well, most of the time. We have our days when we let loose and really enjoy our food. Usually that happens on the weekend, after we have put in some long training hours. Sunday night is our night and it usually involves ice cream (soy cream, actually) and cake/cupcakes of some sort.This past weekend, things got a bit out of hand. We should know better, we do know better. This is an example of how even the best laid plans, the best intentions, can fall apart.

Friday was a busy day and I didn't get to have my dinner as planned. A friend was in the store and commented about how Friday night used to be "Nacho Night". That got me thinking...Friday night used to be our night and we always had nachos. On the way home, at 8 pm, I called Trevor and said "I want nachos". I got what I wanted. We split the nachos from Taco Del Mar. Honestly, that isn't that much and it really should have been okay. Usually those nachos go right through me. I don't know what the difference was this time around, but they stuck in my like a cork.Saturday I got up and my stomach didn't feel right. I ate my usual all day long and I still didn't feel very good.

We were meeting Trevor's parents for dinner to celebrate Mother's Day. We were going to have pizza. I figured we were meeting at 5:45, I'd have a salad and one piece of pizza and we'd be home, on the couch by 7:30. Right.Due to traffic, Trevor's parents were over an hour late. I was starving when we got there, which is never good. I ordered a salad and that didn't fill me up, so we ordered some garlic bread. Then we had pizza and then, to make matters worse, we had dessert. We got out of there around 8:30. Way too late to be eating that much of that kind of food. I felt gross.We went to bed around 9:30 and got up at 5:30 for our 9 mile run.

I knew it was going to be a tough day. We went and met with our running group and off we went. My stomach was killing me the entire time, I was so bloated and my stomach was really cramping up. Trevor ran past me and let me know that he was feeling the same.To make matters worse, we had a 60 mile bike ride planned for after our run. YIKES. The upset stomach continued for the first 30 miles. We stopped at a gas station and took a break. Standing up seemed to help. We stretched a bit and then hit the road again. By the end of the ride, I was feeling pretty good. We hopped off the bike and went for a 1o minute transition run. I was SO happy to be done and was finally starting to feel a bit hungry.

I looked at Trevor and told him "never again". We need to be much more conscious of what we put into our bodies, especially as the miles on the run and the bike get longer. Our bodies will simply not perform the way we need them to when we injest such low quality calories. We agreed that this was a lesson learned and that we will do better next time. We were proud of ourselves for pushing through, even though we felt like crap. It was a good exercise - the day of any event, you never know how your body is going to do. Chances are better that it will do well if you feed it appropriately. We know that. We KNOW that. This is the perfect example of how knowing and doing are two different things.

We have a marathon this Sunday and I really want to feel as good as possible at the start line. This week, I will be paying much more attention to what goes into my mouth. Right now I have a ton of food cooking to get us through the week - lean chicken and sweet potatoes, shrimp and whole wheat pasta, turkey wraps, healthy snacks. The trick is being prepared. That's half the battle.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Two weeks down, 16 to go...

This was one of the those "I don't want to do it" weeks. Every day, that is how I felt. Yet, every day, I got up and did it anyway. That is what training is about - doing it when you don't want to do it. Remembering WHY you are doing it. The WHY is 140.6 miles on August 29th. If I don't train now, I will be so so sorry then.

Here's how it went down:
Sunday: 9 mile run with Vancouver Fit, 45 mile bike ride (3 hours), followed by a 10 minute transition run off the bike - talk about "I don't want to do it". The last half hour on the bike I really had to talk myself into that short little 10 min run. I was glad I did.
Monday: 60 min spin class, 60 minute upper body weights/abs
Tuesday: 40 minute run
Wednesday: 60 minutes lower body weights/abs followed by 60 minute spin class
Thursday: 60 min upper body weights/abs followed by 40 min run
Friday: 65 minute swim (2500 meters).
Saturday will be a rest day - Thank the Lord!

Total for the week:
Swim: 65 min
Bike: 5 hours
Run: 3 hours
Weights: 3 hours
Total: 12 hours and 5 minutes

My diet was good this week. I don't think I drank enough water and felt a bit dehydrated all week long. I think adding in the creatine to my routine has dried me up a bit. I am going to be better this week at hydrating. The weather is heating up too, so I really need to be careful.

Our schedules were a bit mixed up this week, so I didn't have time to prepare our food for Thursday and Friday, like I usually do. Instead, I stopped at Whole Foods and picked up some pre-made proteins - turkey from the deli, blackened chicken salad and some halibut. I added that to the whole grain bread and rolls I had at home. Today, I got a breakfast burrito after my swim and had part for breakfast and the other part for lunch (in a few hours).

I have officially switched from my winter coffee drink (the 20 oz soy latte) to my summer drink (24 oz ICED americano with a touch of soy milk). That will save me some calories (like 150 of them). I really love the taste of my summer drink. Its kind of sad, but during my workouts, I lust after my coffee and can't wait to get cleaned up and have some!!!

I have been working hard on relaxing this week. I have a quote taped to my day planner that says "All you have to do is relax." That has helped me during my workouts and during the rest of my day. My runs this week have been great and my swim this morning was really good too - mostly because I was relaxed. This isn't something I HAVE to do, its something I have chosen to do - so why not relax and enjoy it!! I hope you can do the same....

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The people who make you better...

Ever meet someone who just brings out the best in you? Someone who pushes you to be more, to be better, just by their presence in your life? I love it when I come across this kind of person. Looking back over my life, I can point to a handful of people who have really moved me to another level - some in my professional life, some in my personal life.

My husband, Trevor, is the perfect example of this kind of person. One of the top 5 reasons I love him is because he makes me want to be a better person in every aspect of my life. When I look at who I was when I met him and who I am now, it blows me away. I am a much different person, a much better person, because I know him. I am blessed to wake up every day next to a man who loves me no matter what, but who also supports me and expects me to be more. Everything seems more possible with him. He challenges me to do things I could never have imagined...and I love that.

My running friends at Vancouver Fit fall into the category of "people who make me better". First of all, they are just good people. That makes me want to be a good person too. They are fun and funny, honest and trustworthy and they love me. They have seen me when I was tired, cranky, sick, injured, sweaty (really sweaty) and beaten down. The hug me when I need it. They leave me alone when I need it and they ALWAYS make me feel better. How I got so fortunate to find such a group, I will never understand. They are the highlight of my week...Sunday mornings...

It is because of them that I have run two marathons, have two more on the books and an Ironman in August. Well, the Ironman is really Trevor and Doug's fault, I can't blame the rest! We always joke "who is this happy running this far?!" We are. Because we are together and that makes all the difference.

We have a new person in our business, actually two new people, who are challenging me to be better. Their enthusiasm and energy push me forward. Their momentum has become mine, their drive has sparked my drive. Some days they exhaust me, but that is how you grow. If you can keep your mind open, allow all things to be possible and keep your ego in check, you will find yourself growing in ways you never thought possible.

Amanda and Amy are the newest additions to the Max Muscle Vancouver team and I feel fortunate to have them not only as a part of our business, but as a part of our lives. They, too, are good people. Hardworking, honest, trustworthy. Each day, they challenge me in ways I am sure they don't even realize. This may be the best compliment I can pay someone.

Find someone who makes you better, who makes you want to be better. Hold on to them and enjoy the ride, its worth it. You may find yourself in places you never dreamed!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The choices we make

Usually, Maggie wakes us up at 5:22 am. We get up and head downstairs. We have coffee, a smoothie and watch Headline News with Robin Meade. The last few weeks, we have had no break, it has been non-stop. Tuesday mornings we have our Max Muscle system wide conference call. I had planned to run before the call. That was the only time I really had available for a run today.

Yesterday we did a spin class in the morning and then I lifted in the evening. I left the gym feeling a little sick to my stomach. I was sure it was exhaustion. This morning, I woke up feeling sick to my stomach. Trevor said "are you ready to get up" and I said "no". I went right back to sleep and slept until about 7. All four cats were in bed with me giving me their healing vibes. It worked. When I woke up again, I really felt better.

I went downstairs and listened the conference call. Then I went for a run, jumped in the shower and headed out for the day. I very easily could have taken today off. I could have slept later or just not run at all. As I layed in bed with my four furry babies, I debated these options. Then I thought of August 29th. I thought of standing on the the beach in Penticton, waiting for the start of the Ironman. Staying in bed, not running, would get me no closer to that goal. So I stopped thinking about it and just got up. I didn't think about it again, I just did it.

We make choices each day. Many choices. These choices make up who we are and what we are able to accomplish. The really exciting thing is that we have control over the choices we make and that allows us to shape our lives, to determine our outcomes. That is true freedom. Just because you slept in before, doesn't mean you have to sleep in today. Just because you made poor food choices before, doesn't mean you have to again today.

Each morning is a fresh start. Breath that in and relish it. We are all so fortunate that nothing in our past has to determine what we can be in our future. Today, I made the choice. And I am happy with my choice. I hope it is the same for you.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Let's see how far we've come...

Yesterday was our long workout day. Long run AND long bike. Ideally, I would like to do these two workouts on different days - long bike on Saturday, long run on Sunday. Our schedule does not allow for this right now, so we'll do the next best thing - cram it all into one day.

Yesterday morning we got up and had a smoothie. Then we drank our preworkout shakes as we headed to Vancouver Fit. We ran 8 miles, drank a post workout shake. Then we stretched, got massages, had a latte and headed home. At home, I had a piece of toast with peanut butter and got ready for our bike ride. 45 miles on the schedule today.

The weather was pretty nice - a bit cloudy and windy. We started out on the ride. First half was out and back to Frenchman's Bar. Flat. Very flat. I thought this would be the easy part, the second half of the ride was going to be all hills. The wind made sure that this first part was NOT easy. It felt like we had a headwind both ways - out and back.

About 15 minutes into our ride, I realized I had a flat. If you know me, you know that I am not a "roll with the punches" kind of girl and that this type of thing could potentially ruin my ride. I have clearly crossed over into some sort of alter ego - I was actually HAPPY that I got a flat. I called to Trevor up ahead and said "I have a flat! I have a flat! I get to change it!". I told him that I didn't want help, I wanted to do it alone. And I did. He helped a bit when I needed it - but for the most part, I did it!! This was exciting to me because now I know that I CAN do it if I have to during an event or a solo ride. Yay me!!

While I changed my tire, Trevor took my picture, posted it to facebook and ate some fig newtons.

We continued on with our ride. The second half was, in fact, hilly. There are two hills on this route that make me nervous and I did just fine on both of them. The ride took us three hours and I drank about 600 calories on the bike (200 per hour). It was a mixture of protein/carbs/electrolytes. I also ate one fig newton. I was hungry and wanted more. I didn't have more because I was taking care to not upset my stomach.

We got home, jumped off the bike and ran for 10 minutes - just enough to get that "run off the bike" feeling. It felt good. Then we were done - that felt even better.

I have to say, I was very happy with how the day went. We put in about 4 and a half hours of trianing and I felt good. I feel good today, the day after. We did an hour long spin class this morning and I'll lift upper body this afternoon.

Last year, we didn't ride 45 miles until right before the Half Ironman. We are 8 week out from the Half Ironman (56 mile bike ride in that one) and I feel like I could go do it next weekend if I had too. That's a good feeling. We really have come far. Much further to go - but today, I am focusing on how far we've come. And taking pride in the fact that I changed my tire today. Progress....