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Weekly Update 1…

As the title suggests, I will update my activities weekly, rather than trying to keep up with daily updates, plus I am sure daily updates can get very boring. I will of course do other posting not related to my physical activity as they come up.

Since my last update, I have continued to ride but still not to a level that I had planned by this point. The one thing so far this bike season that I have not experienced in past years, is the constant strong winds we have had on a daily basis. In the end, I know this will only make me stronger on the bike. I have taken to doing some sprints on my rides, I usually sprint for 1K. Reviewing the Garmin data once I was finished, I was happy to see a few sprints in the 40km/h and the majority in the high 30s.

Since my last post, I did add another “gadget” to Bonnie. Last year, I purchased a used set of Profile Design T2+ aerobars. It did take me some time getting use to the aerobars but towards the end of last season I was comfortable in the aero position. The one thing I did find with the T2 was the flat position of the bars caused my hands to go numb.

T2

In the off-season, I did some research on the various aerobars to see if I could find a set that I would feel more comfortable with and that would alleviate the numbness. In the end, I purchased a set of Profile Design T3+ Carbon based on several reviews.

bars

So far, I am very happy with the purchase. I love how my hands feel in the up turned bar position. Over the next little while, I will play with the adjustment of the bars to see if I can tune in my aero position better.

Last weekend was a big weekend for the Ottawa running community, as it was the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. There were almost 50,000 runners competing in races from 5k right up to the marathon. This race is a Boston qualifier so there are runners from all over the world in Ottawa competing. As part of Race Weekend, there is a huge fitness expo with everything a runner might need to compete. I decided not to take part this year but I thought I should at least take in the expo. This would be my first time going into such a crowded place on my own since getting diagnosed with PTSD. Well, I did make it through though it did take a lot out of me. Still, I made the effort and to think that just over a year ago, I would have not even considered going into that big of a crowd on my own.

Though I was disappointed not to be racing this year, I did have several friends running in various races. My running buddy and good friend Jenn was running in her very first marathon. I so wished I could have run with her, but it was not meant to be. As I sat at my nephew football practise, I kept looking at the time on my iPhone and talking to myself, saying, at this time, Jenn should be at this point on the course. I was so happy when I got home and checked her bib number on Sport Stats to see Jenn had completed he first marathon. It was bitter-sweet but I was super proud of Jenn crossing that finish line.

On Tuesday morning, I noticed that one of my friends posted a running challenge that she was taking part in with Runners World Magazine. The challenge is to run every day from Memorial Day to July 1, a total of 41 days of running. I have not run much at all since last December so this was a great chance to get my legs moving again while being held accountable to my running friends. Knowing that I had not run since December, I was not going to run for a time but a distance to start off with and once I got my runners legs back, then I would start pushing for time.

There are a couple of more motivators to run and keep running. The first being that I have signed up to run the Army half marathon at the end of September. The proceeds of this race goes to help the Canadian Soldiers and their families. It is also an emotional race as there are a lot of wounded soldier either running or racing in their wheel chairs. This year, I will wear a special shirt that I will have made up for the race. The second reason for keeping up with the running is that it will help me lose the weight I have put on in the last year. I worked so hard to lose that 100lbs, I cannot go back to that weight again. I went from a 46″ waist down to a 34″ waist, though my pants were a little snug. Now, I am finding that my 36″ waist pants are a little more than snug. My short-term goal is to fit back into my 36″ waist pants so they are very comfortable to wear.

Over all, I am feeling very good and that things are coming together nicely. I so look forward to the next 5-6 weeks of training and then going back to school for six weeks. Things are changing, but all the changes at this point are very good.

Here is a sample of my workouts this past week:

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Until next time, “Pick a gear and disappear”

Day 2 Out and About……

The day did not start out to great as Clyde, the TREK DS 8.3, that I planned to take out for a long ride on the Osgoode and Leitrim pathway was not ready to go as I thought. As you will recall from an earlier post, I had to take in the rear tire on Clyde to get a spoke replaced. I brought the tire home and it had been sitting in the garage until I was ready to go for a ride. As I was mounting the tire, I noticed that something was not right as I put the chain on. Low and behold, they forgot to tighten the cassette.

With Bonnie not really being ready to go, I decided that it would be best to take the tire in to get the cassette tighten. I could have done it myself with make shift tools but thought it best to let the professionals do the job right. The bike store, well it is really an outdoors store that is big into bikes, was packed it being Saturday and all. The bike tech said the tire would be ready in an hour as they had several bikes in the racks. I did not really mind as it let me walk around the store to lust after a number of bikes I would love to have. There was also a few factory reps at the store so I took the opportunity to talk with them about the different products that are currently available and what was coming on the market soon.

With the tire already to go, it was back to the house to get the tire mounted and head out for a ride. By the time I got home, the temperature was already in the mid 20’s so rather than head out on the bike right away, I decided that it would be better to take Bogie out for a walk before it got too hot.

bogie

We had a nice long walk, stopping to say hello to as many dogs and owners as we could. I would normally avoid doing this as I am not great with introducing myself nor making small talk. Bogie had a great time and I think this was the longest walk he has been on in a very long time.

bogiewalk

By the time we got home, the temperature was hitting a whooping 31c. Poor Bogie was beat when we got home, which for an Airedale is a very good thing as they can be a bundle of energy. I spent a little time cooling off and having something to eat myself. Plan was to head out on the bike a little later. Well by the time I was ready to go, a severe thunder-storm warning had been issued which included high winds, heavy rain and high likelihood of hail. Having been caught in a storm like that last year, I did not want to take the chance of getting caught in one again.

Renee was spending the weekend with the Girl Guides camping so my Mum invited me over for dinner. We all know, there is no cooking like my mom’s cooking so I had to go over to the parents place for dinner. My sister was there with her two boys, my aunt and my brother were there as well so it was a big crowd for dinner. I know one time last year I went over for such a dinner I had to leave due to my anxiety. This year it was not so bad.

So, that was day two of being out and about. Though not as productive as I had hoped, it was still a good day with me being out of my own home for three and a half hours.

Looks like the decision not ride was a good one. A few areas around Ottawa got hit pretty bad with micro bursts and violent thunder storms.

Let’s Start From the Beginning…..Again

It has been six months since my last post and not much has changed. I continue to fight my PTSD symptoms, though there has been some progress, there is still a lot of work to do before a full recovery happens. My fitness level has taken a huge hit and that has been mostly down to me. Shortly after running the Montreal Rock-n-Roll half marathon, I went into a fitness funk, I had no desire to swim, bike or run. I went so far as to isolate myself from the groups that I ran and cycled with, as well as “unfriend” these groups and people from my FACEBOOK contacts. Why did I do this? The only answer I can give is that I did not want to see other people reaching their goals, enjoying themselves doing their activities and that it was a conscious decision to isolate myself from people again. I even stopped visiting the blogs of people I have befriended over the last 18 months. The other part of my fitness funk is that one of the medications that I am on causes me to crave carbs and I have given in to those cravings way too much!!

Today, I start from the beginning again. I will return to my daily routine as much as possible, connecingt with all those people that have been some of my biggest cheer leaders. In terms of fitness goals, I will start small and work my way up knowing that I cannot just pick up where I left off. As to avoid disappointment, I will not sign up for any races too far in advance of race day. I realize that I run the chance of events being sold out but I will maintain the attitude, if it is meant to be, it will be.

My blog going forward will be a twice a week update that will cover my training and what is going on in my life. I will try to refrain from dwelling on my PTSD, but it is a part of my life and hopefully, this forum will give me another outlet to help the healing process along. I will try to be up beat, but there will be times that my not so happy mood will seep in.

There is one thing that is new since my last post, I got a tattoo!!! Yes, I got a tattoo. So many people that know me would have never guessed that I would get a tattoo. My orginal idea was to get Wile E Coyote chasing the Roadrunner but once I saw the art work, I decided to go a different route.

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Outline

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Inking the outline

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Feeling o.k and no pain

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Starting to fill in the colour

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Finished product

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Close up

In the end, I am very happy with the result and I think it will match up nicely once I get an M dot tattoo on the opposite calf sometime in the future.

That’s all for now and my apologies for the disappearing act and I do hope to be more present from this point on.

 

Time to Shake Things Up

Since January, there has been good days and bad days. For awhile there, the good days were out numbering the bad days but lately it seems as though I have been slipping backwards and the bad days are once again out numbering the good days. There are a number of reasons for this which I will not get into here but with those reasons now behind me, I hope that I can once again get back on the road to recovery. With so many bad days, triathlon training just did not happen not even when I was fully dressed for a run or bike ride.

I decided a couple of weeks ago to be part of the Bank St Running Room team that was taking part in the Canada Day race. I thought that since the Kilt Run went pretty good, that I would be ok for this race. Even before the start of the race, I had a strange feeling but I decided to proceed with the race any ways. The run itself pretty much sucked as my time was over 42 minutes. As I approached the finish line, I was over come by emotion. Going through the finishing chute, I just grabbed my medal from one of the children that were tasked to present them and kept running until I found a spot where no one was around. At that point, I broke down and started to cry most likely from having so many bad days leading up to the race. Once I regained my composure, I decided not to stick around for the post-race breakfast with the team but to go home.

As with other episodes like this, it took a lot of energy out of me. I spent the rest of the day resting and well, pissed off that this happened again. It being July 1, I was going to make this the day that I get back on track with my triathlon training and to get my health back on track.  When I awoke on the morning of July 2, I was already in an extremely blue mood. Had it not been for my dog Bogie whining to go out at 11:00, I would have stayed in bed all day. Bogie having taken care of his business, I sat on the couch watching tv, though I have no idea what I was watching as nothing was registering.

Around 3:00, I decided enough was enough, it was time to end the pity party and time to shock the system. But would that shock be? After showering, I looked in the mirror and decided the beard that I have been sporting since January had to go. Rather than shave it off myself, I decided to treat myself to a proper shave at a local barber shop. As luck would have it, the barber shop was empty except the two barbers on duty. Being at the barbers, why not kill two birds with one stone and get a hair cut at the same time. My usual hair cut is a #3 blade on top and #2 blade on the back on sides but I told the barber to go with a #2 and #1 instead. With the hair cut complete, it was time to proceed with the straight razor shave. I have had these a few times over the years and there is such a different feeling when it is completed.

As she finished the shave, she asked if everything looked ok and if there was anything else I wanted. I pondered on that for about 30 seconds or so and then I asked her to do something totally different. I’ll let the pictures below do the talking.

Before

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After

after

Aftering seeing myself in the mirror, it certainly was a shock. Not the pretties of heads, especially with a few scars on the back that I totally forgot about. Though not overly noticeable in the pictures, I have a serious case of the white walls. This is not a look I plan to have for long, maybe until the end of summer. When I looked at the photos above, it was a shock to see the toll the last six months has had on my physical appearance in comparison to the picture below which was taken in November 2013. I look so tired and there is no joy in my eyes at all.

me

I hope that I can return to looking happy and healthy very soon. So tomorrow brings a new day, where I will start training again by going out to do a track session with the group from the Running Room. Further to that, a friend who has done several triathlons has offered to help and coach me train for a triathlon at the end of August.  Having someone to answer to and having an appointment to do training, will get me out the door each day. There will be no excuses, I have to do this if I want to get healthy, both mentally and physically. Another thing I will start to do each day is to write in a journal in which I will write my successes of each day, as well as write a few goals for the next day. I have been a big goal writer for many years, those goal were short, mid and long term goals but I need to focus on very short term goals so that I can see my successes much sooner. This will give a sense of making progress and I really need that feeling right now.

So tomorrow is the start of a new beginning on so many fronts but priority is heath and once I make progress in that area, everything else will fall into place.

Until next time….Dreams do not work, unless you do!

Hopefully The Last DNS For Awhile

This weekend is premier running event for the year in Ottawa. It is Ottawa race weekend time and normally at this time I would be starting to gear up for my race. Unfortunately, after much soul searching this will be yet another DNS (did not start) race for me. Early last week, I thought I just might be able to run my race, but the more I thought about it, the more my anxiety grew and I came to the realization that for my own sense of peace and health it was better to sit this one out. I just could not imagine myself in the sea of people, I believe it is a 10,000 person cap for the 10K, for any amount of time.

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I will certainly miss all the fun and excitement that goes along with Race Weekend but mostly, I will miss toeing the start line and celebration party after finishing the race with my friends the most. I will also miss working the race expo this my buddies from the Running Room as I get a charge from hearing the stories from so many people on how they started running and what their goals are for the future. Their stories also gives me motivation to continue on my own journey to IRONMAN.

Today, I being my 12 week training program for my “A” race this year, the St.John’s Triathlon Olympic Distance. So, in preparing for this race, I place to do at least two sprint triathlons before the August 10th St.John’s race.  The two sprints I have decided to do are the Smith Falls Classic on June 28 and the Valens Sprint in Cambridge on July 13th.

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I am looking forward to training and hopefully getting back out there with my friends for bikes and runs over the next four months.

Until next time…..”I am keeping my chin up and moving forward” me.

Another Week Done

So last week my goals were to complete at least two bike rides of 50K or more. I ended up doing three rides, 51.12, 50.09 and 53.13 averaging about 24KM/h. Two of the rides were on the Rideau Channal pathway system and there were a lot of people on the path so I kept my speed low, the other ride was on the Osgoode Line Path which is still pretty soft in place with water still in some sections. I am more than happy with the speed given that I was on my Trek DS 8.3 versus my road bike. I will admit that there were a couple of times that I was nervous but with each ride, I get more comfortable.

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I planned to get in three runs of 5K, but I ended up with only two. One of the days I was supposed to run did not happen as I was having a very bad, well a couple of bad days actually. Given what I am going through, there are still bad days but it seems and feels like the good days are out numbering the bad days. Again, I used the Osgoode Line Path system to do my runs as the ground is soft so running on it is easier on my knee. My time was ok at 36 minutes for one run and 34:24 for the other run. I am also breaking in a new pair of shoes, which I hope to have a review on shortly.

As for swimming, well that did not happen due one of the bad days. I will get in the pool this week but I am not going to put as much pressure on myself to do it as I did the last week. The big win for last week was that I did not visit Timmie (Tim Hortons Donuts) at all last week and I was able to eat much better. I have not weighed myself but my clothes are feeling better and I drop two belt notches so I am on the right track.

The goals for the coming week will be a repeat of last week as I know they are doable and I will not feel as much pressure. I am moving forward slowly but surely.

Until next time…When adversity strikes, that’s when you have to be the most calm. Take a step back, stay strong, stay grounded and press on. LL Cool J

The Week That Was

Last week I posted what my goals were going to be for the coming week:

1. At least one bike ride of one hour or more

2. Get at least 2 runs in of 5k

3. Stop going to Timmies to avoid the temptation of carbs

And the results were

1. I did an out and back ride on my bike to the Running Room for a total of 32K and about 1.5 hours of riding. At first, I was a bit nervous as this was my first ride since my crash and that the bike I was riding was very similar to the one I crashed on. It took a good 20 minutes or so to feel comfortable, especially riding in traffic. By the time I reached the Running Room, I was feeling more at ease and confident on the bike.

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The ride back home was a easer but boy oh boy was it damn cold. It is hard to believe it is May and the temperatures have remain in the single digits.

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2. Well I got in only one 5K run, but I will blame the weather for not being able to get out to do the second run. At the moment I am a fair weather runner, but has to change or I will not be able to achieve the results I want for my big race in August.

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3. I did manage to curb my carb craving this past week and only went to Timmies once and that was due to running late one morning and not having anything to eat at home. I skipped the chocolate chip muffin, Timbits or cookies for a bran muffin. Still not the best choice but it was better than what I was eating before.

So this week my goals are as follows:

1. Get in at least two 50K rides on the bike. Not at any land speed record time but just to start the legs and but used to longer distances.

2. Three 5K runs in any weather.

3. Now that my shoulder and neck are better, to swim laps at a pool for 45 minutes at least once this week.

Last week, I pushed beyond my comfort zone and did a goal setting talk at the Running Room. Though my anxiety did start to build towards the end of the talk, I was able to hold it together. I am still having good days and bad days but I think the good days are out numbering the bad one, at least in the depression area. The anxiety is still giving me trouble but I will continue to work on that until I can get it under control. I am hoping the more I put myself in situations that induces the anxiety at the present time, I can build up a tolerance to the anxiety.

Here is to the week ahead of getting stronger and healthier.

Until next time…..I’ve worked too hard and too long to let anything stand in the way of my goals. I will not let my teammates down and I will not let myself down. Mia Hamm