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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”

Restart Delayed

Well I had every intentions to start back training over the last couple of weeks but I have been battling a nagging “MAN COLD” that just won’t go away. From the posts of my Ottawa friends on Facebook, it seems the strong women have been hit with nasty bug.

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Though I have not been able to train, I have worked my training plan and playing with a race calendar. Right now my “A” race will be the Olympic Distance at the K-Town Triathlon with the possibility of a 70.3 late season race if all goes well so rather than set myself up for disappointment my focus will be the Olympic Distance this year. There is no sense in pushing myself and getting injured. If a 70.3 distance is meant to be this year, then it is meant to be and if not then there is something to shoot for in 2016.

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I have also taken this forced down time to search through the WordPress blogs for other triathletes for inspiration and training tips. One that I like is Katie Hart Morse, as she mixes up her workouts. In one of her posts, she links to a YouTube video of her doing a strength workout half way through one of her runs. I would have never thought to do that myself. It is a great idea, especially for me as I do not do enough strength core training and have always found a way to not do it at the end of the run. By doing the workout half way through, it not only gets the workout in but allows you to cool down part way through the run and get the heart rate down.

With any luck, I can finally shake this cold and the weather will finally make its way into the plus side of zero before too long. Until then, I will keep on keeping on.

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

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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!

These Shoes Were Made for Running: Review Hoka One One Bondi Speed

After my bike spill last year and the multiple injuries that accompanied it I knew that it was going to be a while before I ran. My first run was the Santa Shuffle in December, a nice little 5K to help raise money for the Salvation Army. As the run began I felt pretty good but it did not take long before I started to feel some pain. The first place I experienced pain was in my left knee which took a good beating in the bike spill and I was more or less expecting this to happen. The area I was not expecting any pain was in my wrist. How does ones wrist start to hurt while running. I guess it must have been the old foot bone connected to wrist bone thing.

Running causes a lot of impact on the body, so if I wanted to get back to running sooner than later, I knew that I would have to find a shoe that had more cushioning than the ones I was currently wearing. When I did the Rideau Lakes Tour, I talked to a guy in Kingston about the different shoes he was wearing. He told me about how good they were and all the cushioning it provided. It took me a while to remember the unusual name but once I did, it was to the internet to find out more information.

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The shoes I am talking about is the Hoka One One Bondi Speed. The first thing I will say about the Bondi Speed is that they are not the lightest shoe on the market, weigh in at 12.4 oz for size 10.5, but if you want that extra cushioning that is one sacrifice you will need to make. These shoes are the poplar opposite to the minimalist shoes that have been all the rage for the fast few years. Though they are slightly heavier than most shoes, you would certainly not notice it on a long run. From the Hoka website here is their techniqal info:

COMFORT AND CUSHIONING: The midsole foam is 30% softer than the material used in traditional running shoes, and there is 2.5 times more volume than in most running shoes. The extra cushioning dissipates up to 80% of the shock associated with heel striking when running and allows for as much as 20mm of compression in the heel, plus extra protection allowing you to soar over asphalt surfaces.

ROCKERED MIDSOLE GEOMETRY & LOW HEEL-TOE DIFFERENTIAL: A 4.5mm heel to toe drop and rockered profile creates a unique rolling motion that encourages proper form by allowing a runner to easily strike the ground near the midfoot.

CONTROL: The unique, patented bucket seat is recessed up to 20mm within the midsole unit so as to best position your foot for optimum precision. This high degree of control also ensures you maintain responsive contact with the ground at all times.

STABILITY: The 25% wider outsole platform is designed to counterbalance the excess height of the oversized midsole. This large surface area ensures that you will maintain a stable footing, no matter how hard you run.

SUPERIOR TRACTION: The outsole is specially designed for use on the road, the high surface volume of the lug pattern as well as the shallow treads ensure good grip on even wet surfaces and high levels of abrasion resistance even when you push your shoes to the limit.

FEATHERLIGHT WEIGHT: Relative to its size, lighter than most road running shoes at less than 10 ounces, they make running uphill as much fun as they make running downhill and with less body fatigue.

BENEFITS: Engineered for maximum cushioning, comfort, protection and energy return, while still offering lightweight, nimble performance and uninhibited movement. Run more efficiently with less injury and quicker recovery.

When you look at the shoes you would think that with the thick sole that it would take a little time to adjust to them. For me, there was no adjustment at all. I really liked the cushioning but the cushioning just did not cushion the impact but also made the foot spring back. The foam does not give that squishy feeling but a controlled responsive feeling.

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The one thing I did notice though is that the shoes’ upper was not overly breathable. Having run in them on a couple of hot days now, my feet got very hot and I ended up with a blister on one foot after a long run. Thinking it might be the socks, I changed those with some relief but still at the end of the run my feet were very hot.

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The shoes fit like any other running shoe though you will find that your foot sits lower in the shoe. It is a mid to wide shoe and the toe box  feels just right to me. The shoe comes with two sets of laces, traditional and speed. I put in the speed laces as that is what I will wear during triathlons. There is also a very strong pull tab at the back for ease of entry. This pull tab has last longer than any other on other shoes I have had. There is no doubt people will see you coming in the daytime with the shoe being bright orange but at night, there is more than enough reflectors for people to see you.

 

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Over all a very good, especially for those with knee or joint issues. I would certainly buy another pair and they would become my long distance running shoes. When I got these shoes, I could only get them from the U.S, I am happy to say that there are a number of Canadian stores selling the Hoka line of running shoes, that will give runners another option to the main stream running shoes.

Until next time…..Keep on running

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.

So What’s Next

Whats-Next2013

 

Well,  it has been just over a week since I “came out” about my current challenges, I would like to thank all those that have contacted me to offer support, encouragement or well wishes on a speedy recovery. I also realize that there are a lot of people who just d0 not know what to say or how to react to my situation and to those I say, do not worry. Heck, I am not sure how I would react if one of my friends told me they were suffering from depression/anxiety/PTSD. The one thing I do know is that people do care and they have different ways of showing it.

So what’s next? Well, the race calendar has been tossed out the window though I do plan to draft a new one in the coming weeks. The St.john’s Triathlon is still a go as I have paid for everything associated with the race. The plan is to start consistent training beginning the week of May 18th. Between May 18th and August 10th, I do hope to get in a few other race but I will be looking for races that do not have a large number of people. Luckily in Ontario, I will have a great deal of race of races to choose from.

Beside the race changes, there will also be some life changes as well. Some of those changes will be drastic, that some people will find disappointing but upon the recommendation of my doctors it is best for my overall health. Other changes will be less noticeable to people but to me, they will be dramatic. As I make those changes, I will let everyone know so that people do not hear about it through the grapevine.

In the mean time, over the next few weeks, I will be working on getting my weight down. One of the side effects of the medication I am on, is  that I crave carbs all the time. For the past number of years when I go to Timmies, I would just get an extra-large tea and have no desire for anything else. Now when I go there, before I order my tea, I order three cookie, 20 pack of Tim Bits or a couple of donuts. So, it is time to get back on track and start eating a lot better than I have over the past four months. I am hesitant to ask the doctors to change my meds as they do seem to be working but if I cannot correct the carb craving then I might just have to change the meds. There is no sense in having me feeling mentally ok but doing damage to the rest of my body. One of my fears is that I will put back on a lot of weight and this might cause my depression to become deeper as I do not ever want to go back to the way I was four years ago.

As most of you know, I am a big goal writer. At any given time, I will have short, mid and long-term goals that I would be working on. Right now, my focus will be on short-term goals only, be they one day, one week or one month. Going beyond those time frames is just too much for me to handle right now. For the coming week, my goal is to get out on my bike. Ten days ago, I brought up my Trek DS 8.3 but have not had the motivation to get out on the road. I also wonder if there is some fear that is causing me to not get out there after last years accident.

Here my goals for the coming week that I hope you hold me accountable for:

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

I have to start somewhere and this seems like a doable list to start with that I hope that I can get mind and body working together in unison again.

Until next time….“I’ve had some dark nights of the soul, of course, but giving in to depression would be a sellout, a defeat”. Christopher Hitchens