Tuesday, 30 September 2008

The Joy of Autumn Running?!?

For all those who don't believe that we are going through some sort of climate change, please explain to me why I was running in snow in late August, yet am running in 23C sunshine on the cusp of October?! Climate change is a myth eh....Riiiiight.

Who didn't want to be out tonight? Or today, if you are a lucky soul who isn't chained to a bowling alley type cubicle with no sunshine...

I was so tired when I got home but that wasn't going to stop me. I had to be outside. It was gorgeous out. Sunny, warm with ever so light a breeze. So I got home and quickly donned my new 'Legend Coaching' tri top and bounded out the door.

I wouldn't say I had a great run tonight, but at least I was running. That was a good thing considering my schedule of late. Some thoughts about the upcoming race were filtering through my mind as I started out. Thoughts like...
  • I've gained how much weight since IMCDA?! I hate carrying extra weight. Pout, pout.
  • This is going to be an experiment race...I will see just how well I can run with minimal training. No pressure.
  • I love the Victoria race route, especially when you run up the so-called 'hill' and they are playing the Chariots of Fire theme song and everyone starts to run in slow motion!
  • Oh to have the sweet scent of salt water as I run along the ocean.
  • I really have to let go of the fact that I did not train enough for this race! I don't have a time goal so what's the issue??
  • Please oh please let me run this with minimal pain...
  • You know, the parental unit have yet to comment on the fresh ink post, which means one of two things. One I will have to "expose" myself in Victoria and perhaps it will be an awkward trip, or two, they are doing what they taught me to do...don't say anything if you have nothing nice to say. Gulp...

Once those thoughts were out of my head I started to focus on my surroundings, how I was feeling and what was going on...

  • Hmm, what IS that rustling sound in the bushes along the pathway?? We don't have wild boars in Cochrane do we?? Crap! We do have cougars and foxes though...eep.
  • Damn I'm feeling sluggish tonight. At least it's sunny out, that should help me perk up.
  • I love the rustling of the leaves when the breeze blows by. Oh look, a wee leaf has detached itself from the mother tree and is slowly making it's delicate descent to the ground. Ahhh.
  • Ow, what's that tugging in my Achilles? Please do not let it detach! Or snap. Or anything. (Yes, this is how my imagination works...)
  • Holy hannah there are a lot of bugs flitting about. Mental note, do not step on any bugs walking along the pathway - it's bad karma!
  • What the?! Geez, how many teeny tiny bugs of flight can I provide transporation for?? Perhaps that's why I feel sluggish, all the extra weight of having to carry them. Do they not have wings?! Why must they attach themselves to me??
  • Cough, gack, hack! Ew, bug. Karma has to forgive me for that one - it wasn't my fault!
  • Wow, lots of bbq smell. Would be nice, but I don't eat things that make a noise. Fish don't make noise so they aren't on that list...mmm, bbq salmon would be good...
  • Man is it ever beautiful along here!
  • Okay, time to climb the bonus hill - think gazelle. Thing strong and powerful. Ugh.
  • Better cross the street so the drivers with sun in their eyes don't run me over. That would definitely leave a mark.
  • Oh great, the construction workers are still working on this side of the road, and now I have to run right beside them. That's it, head up, think perky, light steps, reduce heavy gasping breath to normal breathing, look straight ahead, don't think about the fact that arse is like jello, you can totally do this without tripping in front of them...
  • Only a little bit further and you can stop...but not till you are at the top!

I managed to make it home in one tired piece - still carrying some cling on bugs. They are now flying about my house as I couldn't kill them when I noticed they were still on me. Oh well, they can live happily with the moth, oversized fly and spider that also roam and fly around here cause I can't kill them either. Yup, just one big happy peace, love and granola bug family I have here...

Peace out my friends!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

It's All About Zen...

So you may have noticed I tweaked my blog name a smidge and added the word 'Zen'. What is zen, you ask? Well, if we go by the Mirriam-Webster dictionary version, it is a noun that means 'A Japanese sect of Mahayana Buddhism that aims at enlightenment by direct intuition through meditation '.

So why did I add it to my title? Well, first off, I think we are all looking for enlightenment in some shape or form. I know I am. And I think I can gain some knowledge about enlightenment through my beloved activities - triathlon and yoga.

Obviously yoga can be very meditational, but I also find this with triathlon training. Heck, I even managed to find my big race this year meditational.

Although I am not yet back into triathlon training just yet, I am practicing yoga regularly and hope to be running on a more regular basis too, now that some committments have been fulfilled. Good timing too, my half marathon is but a mere two weeks away. Yipes.

Yesterday I went out for a run with the intention to make it a zen run. At the start it appeared that the wee gerbil in my brain also wanted to get a run in. Therefore, he hopped onto his treadmill. I decided to amuse him for a short while before I sent him packing to his cushion corner with his hookah pipe. Admittedly he did resist...it took a little convincing but finally he acquiesed.

This left me with a clear mind so I was able to focus on my breathing, my footfalls, and just take in the beauty that surrounded me.

I love the fall colours. It makes the transition to winter a little less painful. The trees that hover over the pathway in town are all glorious colours of orange and red. Of course there are still some green leaves around too, which adds to the beauty! I just love the crunching of the leaves under my shoes as well. Crunch, crunch, crunch!

Oh, and let us not forget the smell! Why is it that the smell of decomposing leaves is so divine?! When one thinks of something decomposing, one typically does not think of a pleasant scent - and yet it does smell great.

That reminds me of a thought I had! Now here's something that will just show how wacky my little brain gerbil can be. Here I am running along surrounded by all of Mother Natures glory. I am happy. I feel great. I decide to run on a somewhat remote little path that follows close to the rivers edge. For whatever reason it is now that I think to myself....'You know - this is the kind of spot where a lone runner would come across a dead body. Why is it always the lone runner or hiker anyways that finds the dead body??'

How is it that my brain can go from divine beauty to such a morbid thought? I know not. I do know that I love Max Haines and his true crime stories. Mainly because he has a very dark wit, and most of the stories are from the days long gone by when violence was a little less prevalent. Perhaps thats why I had this thought pop in?? Ah well, I digress.

I realized these were not quite zen thoughts so I let them pass and then continued on my merry way along the river.

The majority of my run was indeed zen like, aside from the body thoughts. I absolutely love it when I'm training and I get in the 'zen zone'. It's brilliant. My hope is that if I continue to practice this in my off season, that by the time my triathlon season comes around it will be a little less challenging to find that zone. Granted, this is likely not the type of goal most athletes have when training. Most are focussed on results. And that is okay in my books - it just really isn't for me. I realized that this year.

So from now on I will aspire to be the zen triathlete! Someone who focuses on being in the moment at all times and who finds enlightenment through meditating while swimming, biking and running. Who knows, maybe I'll be starting a trend or something?!

Peace out my superb friends!

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Fresh Ink...

As the title would indicate, someone got another tattoo...and that someone would be me! What did I get? I got the word 'Believe' tattooed onto my wrist. Well now Suse, why did you go and get that?! I'm glad you asked...

One evening, just before Ironman Coeur d'Alene, I was sitting up in bed reading, as I'm apt to do. I honestly don't remember what it was that I had been reading, or what it was about, but what I do remember is I had shut my eyes to do some visualization and the words 'I believe in myself' popped into my head.

To some you may think, of course you believe in yourself! Until that moment though, I don't think I did. I was the kid who turned into the adult who really struggled with self confidence and self esteem. At that moment though I knew I really and truly with all my heart believed in myself. It was a HUGE moment for me.

From that time on I started to see the word 'Believe' everywhere. On shirts, on billboards, on church signs - everywhere. It took on a whole new meaning for me, in fact many meanings, for many reasons. I felt so strongly about that word that I wanted it permenantly etched on my body - and now it is.

When I see it I think of the following:
Believe in the present moment,
Believe in your spirituality and/or faith,
Believe in your family,
Believe in your friends,
Believe in a peace, love and granola world,
Believe in Mother Earth,
Believe in happiness,
Believe in all that is right in this world,
and last, but never least, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!

Here are some pictures of what it looks like. It should be noted that it's on the top of my right wrist, and ties into the Pisces symbol I had there already. A huge thank you to my ever creative tattoo artist, Deano (at Deadly Tattoos if you are looking for someone...) as he always knows how to make the concept I bring to him come to life in a beautiful way. (He also did the Pisces symbol, my maple leaf and Mdot tattoos.)

A note to the parental unit...this is why I couldn't, and still can't, promise you that I wasn't going to get any more tattoos. As you sit there, possibly rolling your eyes and letting out a big sigh, please remember that I love you guys tons and I totally respect your opinion on the whole tattoo thing. I really must add that I also love the fact that you raised me to make my own decisions, and that throughout my life you have always stood behind me and my decisions - even when you didn't always agree with them. Hopefully you are not regretting raising me that way at this point...because I think you did a brilliant job! Did I mention how awesome you guys are??
Peace out my wonderful friends and brilliant parents!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Life Is Full...

What day is it??? Oh. Right. Wednesday, some time in September. Wow, September is whizzing by quickly isn't it. At least I have been remembering to take time to savour all the wonderful things September has to offer...every ray of sunshine, every leaf changing colours, and every breath.

Life is very full. There are three life coaching classes to attend, a new work project that is keeping me on my toes, and co-organizing a fundraiser to help a very dear friend. Oh, and let's not forget that I have a half marathon coming up. Actually, I haven't forgotten about it, but training for it has taken a bit of a back seat to some other priorities.

I have been out running, but likely not near enough to achieve any great feat at this race. The funny thing is, I'm completely okay with that. I plan on going out there and having a great time and letting whatever is going to happen - just happen. It's quite freeing to be going at this race like this.

Although I haven't gotten much running in, I have been continuing my yoga practice. It has been tying in quite nicely with this recent spritual awakening I appear to be going through. The yoga, in addition to some Buddhist readings, have kept me in a very good place as September carries on. For that I'm very grateful.

It has also provided me with some wonderful stories, especially those from my yoga retreat. Stories that I will share - just not tonight. It's time to get back to organizing a fundraiser.

Peace out my beautiful friends and don't forget to take time to look up at the sun, close your eyes, and savour that wonderful warm feeling.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Tiggers "Kick That Cancer" Hoedown!!!

Hello my friends!

I have an invitation to a hoedown fundraiser for you! Why?? Well read on...

In August 2006, my friend and fellow triathlete, Terry “Tigger” Toma was diagnosed with breast cancer. She learned this just after she signed up for Ironman Canada 2007.

Most athletes training for such an event have to concern themselves with finding balance in life, family and the long hours of training. However, Terry also had the great challenge of undergoing a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation treatments during the months leading up to the event. This left her with less than half the time that most people require to train for such a race, coupled with the fact that her body was still healing from all the treatments.

In true “Tigger” spirit, Terry faced this challenge with a positive mental attitude and a fighting spirit. On August 26, 2007, Terry achieved her goal of becoming an Ironman. At the time, it also appeared that she completed the challenge of beating her cancer.

Unfortunately, almost a year later, the cancer has returned. This time it is attacking Terry’s lymphatic system and her liver. In true “Tigger” fashion, Terry sees this as another challenge to be faced and won. She has also set the goal of racing in Ironman Canada 2010.

In order to help her achieve her goals, in addition to easing the burden during this time, her friends decided to hold a silent auction in order to raise funds to purchase Terry a treadmill, as well as help financially.

It has been shown in studies that maintaining physical activity while undergoing chemotherapy has positive effects. The treadmill would allow Terry to walk whenever she has the strength in between treatments, as well as during the winter months.

The financial assistance would allow Terry to purchase the, sometimes expensive, supplements and organic foods that would best aid her body in this battle.

In addition to the dance, we will be putting up, via silent auction, a deluxe entry into the Great White North Triathlon Half Ironman, for all those interested in triathlon! The entry is currently up for bidding, and the auction will close on September 13. This is your chance to get an early entry into the race!! (It should be noted that a bid of $500 was placed this morning.)

Please see the information below for further information for further details!

Come kick up your heels for Terry!

An amazing silent auction, “toonie bar”, dancing and more!

Date: September 27th, 2008, 7:00 pm
Where: Frank Wills Memorial Hall, Cochrane, Alberta
Tickets: $5 (Tickets may be available at door, but we expect to pre-sell them.)

For more information, contact Richelle: richelle@triathlete.com
To donate items for the silent auction please contact Angie at angie@teamtrilife.com

Just a few of the silent auction items we have thus far:
  • $300 bike fit from Luke Way
  • T3 Suunto watch and HR monitor
  • Deluxe Race Entry for Great White North Triathlon Please note: This item will be auctioned off via email. The auction will close Saturday, September 13th.
  • Pamper yourself basket
  • Deluxe picnic set
  • Massage
And much more!

Come to laugh, dance, have a cocktail or two, and buy some really great stuff to help our Tigger.

Terry’s words… “Screw the cancer. I have way too many things to do yet !!!!”

Peace out my beautiful friends!!!

PS I have some tickets too!!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Talk About Sluggish...

Yet another day following the plan. Yesterday was a rest day, which was kind of nice seeing as I only started the plan on Saturday! Today I was to run easy for 45 minutes. No problemo!! Right?!

Uh no.

I was very much looking forward to running tonight because it turned out to be a glorious afternoon. The frost this morning made me wonder if we were slipping quickly into, gasp, winter!

I headed out down the bonus hill and didn't feel too bad. As I turned onto the path into the ranch I felt a niggly in my Achilles of all places. What's up with that?! I'm starting to wonder if the fact that I wear my toe shoes all day every day is affecting my running because I am still in sneakers when I run. Hmmm. Something to ponder. Anyways, I had hoped it would go away and instead started to focus on my beautiful surroundings.

I saw some adorable teeny birds sitting on their birdhouses, listened to the rush of the creek meeting the river, and side stepped some bugs frantically trying to make their way across their path. (Yes, I actually avoid stepping on even the smallest bugs! It can make for an interesting run at times.) There were some truly glorious flower pots out there! I was really happy to see the flowers weren't hurt with the frost overnight. I even got to see some of my favourites, purple pansies!

I did a loop in the ranch and than ran into the next neighborhood. It was here that I admitted to myself that I was feeling rather sluggish. I have no idea why. One guess is that I haven't done this much running in a while? My calve and Achilles were still tight towards the end of the run. I still had to run up the bonus hill though.

I guess I could have walked up it...but honestly, even if I were in agonizing, bent-over crippling pain there is NO WAY I'd walk up the bonus hill. Why you ask? Cause there is too much traffic along that road and I know someone would see me walking! Can you say EGO?! Sad, I know. Then again, it does keep me honest with my training.

I made it through my 45 minute workout, but it wasn't pretty. My feet were slapping the pavement like they were made of lead. Ah well, I'm sure it will be better next run. The plan calls for a run tomorrow, but I'm going to bike instead. This body just can't handle running only!!

Peace out my triathlon loving friends!

Signed, Sealed and Delivered...

Yup, it's that time of year boys and girls, when one has to decide what races he or she would like to enter for next season. Gotta love having to plan a year in advance!!

The first official sign up for me is Ironman Canada 2009. I volunteered, stood in line, filled out a form, waited until the online registration opened, got online yesterday, found the site saying registration was closed, got online again, and again, and again until it finally worked, filled out some more forms, forked over my cashola, and at long last I am now officially registered!

I have some more races up my sleeve too, but you will just have to wait and see what exciting events they will be! Hey, that rhymes! :)

Peace out my wonderful friends!