Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thrive Thursday

This is a on going series that is posted on thursday's, to answer the question: "What helps you to thrive in your environment?" The series is written by myself, and a variety of guest Contributors. Today, the post is written by Annie, a friend of mine here in Montreal, who loves to help other people! She hails from the south shore, and is in the middle of exploring different areas where she is able to engage her interests in helping people, here in the city. This is her response to my query!

What helps me thrive? What helps me wanting to keep growing? Two main things: Faith and people.

Faith is the basis for my growth. Faith that I am on earth to learn, to improve, to grow. Faith that every pain I feel is there for a reason, that every failure is a chance for a new opportunity, that every time I experience something new I learn new lessons, that every decision I make will be what’s best for me. Faith that I will always get what I need to keep learning and growing.

If faith is the basis for my growth, people are my support to do it. I thrive from helping people, receiving from people, learning from people, being with people, observing people, etc. I grow from being able to help someone feel good about themselves and telling them what I appreciate about them. I grow when people show me they care about me. I grow from seeing how people who have endured great pain use their experience to get stronger. I grow from smiling to people and from receiving a smile back.

To me, my faith is like the trunk of a tree. It holds me together and it gets bigger over the years. People are like the roots, branches and leaves of the tree. The roots are the people that have helped me find my faith to begin with. The branches are the people that will stick around forever. And the leaves are the people that come and go, but which all had an impact in my life, sometimes helping me, sometimes receiving my help. Hopefully, the tree of my life will keep growing and even when the leaves fall, the trunk will still be there getting stronger.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

African Dance

So, with my new membership to the YMCA, I have discovered that they offer Wednesday evening african dance classes. Now, if you know me, you know that I am NOT a dancer. I am 6ft tall. and, i am certainly not light on my feet. But, if there is one kind of dance that i like to do... it is african dance.

My close friend Kevin Shon introduced me to it, at West Virginia. I only did it for one semester there, but, I. loved. it. But, I will tell you it is some fricken hard work. You sweat so good. Some photos from that semester.

I then did both african drum and dance while in vancouver, off and on for the 3 years that I was there. And, it is amazing~ i have found, that it is only in small african dance classes, that i have come close to meeting people who understand what makes a heart beat with the sounds of africa. The "talking drum." I took my lessons as Masabo, which is now Ammara, and taught drums by Fana Soro (the Ivorian in the following video).

i am happy, to be able to have a close, accessible dance class to go too. It is hard, and i am so uncoordinated. But, it makes me sooo happy :) I can't wait to find my feet again. But, until I do, here are some quotes from "Scribbling the Cat." A book I fell in love with a few years ago. well worth the read.

"we should swim, sail, or walk away from Africa, incrementally. Letting bits of her drop away from us, and gradually, in the way, assimilate."

"God made Africa first. When he still had imagination and courage."

"Don't look back, so much, or you'll get wiped out on the tree in front of you."

" THen K... wiped his face with the flattened palm of his hands, a gesture that I think of as being very African. The gesture of a people who are not accustomed to the conveniences of napkins or towels."

"I don't think we have the range of emotion to fully feel what someone else is feeling. I don't think that anyone of us can sit in judgement of another human being. We're incomplete creatures... barely slipping by. You are your own accident of biology and geography and time. He is his. I am mine. We all might have been one another, but for a hiccup of fate."

"Remember the #1 rule about flying...' 'what?'
'Don't think about whether it'll kill you or not.
just spread your wings and drop."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

getting wet and babies and post-season thoughts and that boy i like

1) getting wet.
i am getting increasingly annoyed with being caught in spontaneous downpours while on my bike. I have had 2 in as many weeks. Luckily, this one was on the way home, and I could get dry, last time, I was not so lucky, and had to go to class soaking wet. this is me, post bixi ride.
2) babies.
in the last month, 3 of my close friends have had babies. apparently, people were getting busy at the beginning of the winter last year. so, let me introduce them!!!

Coming into the world on August 19th, to Mike and Cara Roemmich, was Sebastian Patrick at 8 pounds,19 inches

Coming into the world on August 21st, to Christina and Dave Swartz, was Baby Luke Jonathan at 6lbs, 15 oz and 20 Inches long.

Finally, we welcome the newest arrival, on September 25th (about 10 days late..), to Ryan and Sydney Lemphers, Elyse Finch came in at 8.9lbs and 21 inches.

3) post-season thoughts

so, i have started going to the Y, for my first major movement sessions since the
race last sunday~ getting some yoga in. This past week has been nice~ so much extra time. Even time to have some naps
in the afternoon, and watch a show or two. amazing.

at any rate, on friday, on my way there, i had my first somewhat "ugh" thoughts, following the season. I know how important this part of my year is. I am excited to dabble in some
of the classes at the Y. I am thinking of day hikes, and the various things I can do after my "two weeks of nothing." but, as any athlete in a post season, i am struggling with "having so much time to do everything, i just do nothing at all." also, I am struggling with figuring out how to stop wanting to eat everything in sight. I feel like I am wasting time, and eating too much...

so, my question is "how do you get over this?" How do I sanely reduce eating? HOw long should it take for the body to stop
feeling that insatiable hunger? How do you manage to still feel productive (i mean... i do have school, which keeps me plenty busy and productive... but, there is still that extra 15 hrs a week that is now filled with no scheduled time...) and not lazy, or like you are wasting time?

Does this make sense? Am I alone in feeling this?

4) That boy i like

someone recently said to me "Well, you don't blog about him all that often." and, it is true, i haven't. Not really sure why. but mostly, i put it down to not wanting to be "that girl" who just blogs and facebooks and talks about her boyfriend all the time. yes, that's right. he is not only that boy i like, but he is, indeed, my boyfriend. and, i like him. in fact, i like him a lot. And, after a heavy/deep/some other word/long conversation yesterday, i know that he is someone that is going to be sticking around for a while. As long as it is possible that i stop being emotionally inept at things like declaring to the world (or at least to the people who read my blog) and (more importantly) to my being, how much he actually means to me.

so yes... here we are (despite the fact that i think i look bad in this photo...) and, here we are being cheesy and taking photos in canola fields. and yes. he is that boy i like.

and, him (on the very left), with some friends, on an epic 230km Bike Ride from Jasper to Lake Louise, to raise $ for Young Life of Canada.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thrive thursday

so, on my bike ride home today at lunch (the great shocker for today was that my afternoon class was cancelled! wooo!!! time to catch up, *and* to watch the season premiere of Grey's anatomy! HA, i know. pathetic addiction.), i got thinking a bit. I know, these days, it is all the rage to have a day a week where you have a themed post. well, ok. so, maybe there is only one person I know who is doing this...

but, really, it is a great idea.

I was also thinking today, about how in nursing, we talk a lot about walking alongside with patients and families as they cope with life changes. As they cope both in health, and in illness. but, it got me thinking... What if we went for more than coping? More than "just getting by." What if we went for walking beside people as they learn to thrive in their environment. as they learn to thrive in life?

And, i know that there is a popular diet (which i quite like the majority of) out there with this same name... but, if you have another word, that can signify the same thing, and has the same first two letters of a day of the week (so it sounds like I am literally savvy)~ by any means... please let me know.

if we look at the word, it is often associated with plants. but, the first word that the thesaurus gives me is "flourish." from flourish, you get this:

1: grow, thrive, prosper,do well, burgeon, increase, multiply, proliferate;spring up, shoot up, bloom,
blossom, bear fruit,burst forth, run riot.
2: thrive, prosper, bloom, be in good health, be vigorous, be in its heyday;progress, make progress, advance, make headway, develop, improve; evolve, make strides, move forward (in leaps and bounds),expand;

and, I love that.
I also like that thriving reminds me of nature. and, since i am a kinda hippie, i like most things that have to do with nature, or specifically, trees. so, here is the photo I found to be used for thrive thursday.

so, on a weekly basis (I HOPE!), look for a post that will encourage you on how to thrive in your day to day basis. And, this post will not just be specific to triathlon, or nursing, or montreal, or anything... it will just be an answer to "What helps you thrive in your environment?" it will hopefully include guest bloggers, my friends, or strangers. people who blog often, or people who do not blog at all. it may be art or words or photos or videos or a quote, a thought, an experience.

it is so that though this weekly post, other people may learn to thrive as well.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Post race thoughts

so, in the past few days, I have had more hits on this blog, than i *ever* have had before. we are talking 70 on monday, up from my average of about 20. yipes! and, i know that it is purely due to the fact that on facebook, my race report was linked to on the train-this page. that Kelly linked me on one of her blog posts.

THanks all, for the kind comments on my race. I am still on a high from the day. but in the days later, you are able to re-assess. You can look at the things you did well, and the things that you need to work on. The things that were amazing, and the things that hurt. Let's have a look at the stats, of the top 10.

  • swim div place: 12. bike div place: 10. run division place... errr... 20th. you will notice that the next slowest girl in the top 10 is a full 4 minutes faster than me, and 7 div places. My run has drastically improved. in fact, i am running off the bike, almost as fast as I am running in a stand alone 1/2. as always, there has got to be a runner in me that is longing to get out. she just needs to be found.
  • and, for those of you who get annoyed at me when i say this... i'm sorry. it's just an athlete thing. that runner hiding in me needs to weigh 10 lbs less than the runner that exists right now. ANd, i know that i am healthy, and beautiful, and look great how i do right now. but, when i look at the girls who are beating me... even the ones who are about the same height... they are lighter and leaner than me. think about it... if you went out for a run with a 10 lbs backpack on. then, you took it off, and ran again. how much better would you feel?
  • i need to learn how to sight better on the swim.
  • something about my recovery shows me that i think i am doing something wrong with nutrition. ok, so i peed on my new cervelo more than once. and in my shoes on the run. but, i also took 2 days to get rid of a post-race headache. Monday was pretty much a washout, because my body was so sore. I am not sure that is normal. maybe it is. maybe not.
  • I am so grateful for the help that I have had during my last season. The great coaching. the support from family, and that boy that I like. the girls at school, and the one boy at school who think of me as slightly crazy, but are so supportive to let me rant and rave when I talk about triathlon, and drive me to races. Tom at way past fast who hooked me up with the sweetest flying machine ever. because with the things you do for me... you become one step closer to continually showing me that you get me.
  • that at the end of my second "major" race season, and my body is ready to rest. but, I am already dreaming of the races i will do for next year. it may be a shorter season (there is the possibility I will be away from sept-dec on a global rotation), and no plans for clearwater. but, for now, i plan on taking 6 weeks. 2 weeks of nothing. to heal. to rest. to nap (what the heck... i have an extra 15 hours a week!!!! so much time!) and to love. just love the fall, and love people, and love not talking about triathlon. then, 4 weeks of other stuff. like hiking and yoga and maybe slacklining or rowing a bit.
  • if i think back to my first 70.3 in new orleans and how so much about it was great (i mean... really, that is what got me hooked on this distance), but so much went wrong and how much it hurt. i have improved by almost 30 minutes. look how much better i executed my race... virtually the same swim and bike splits... 25 minute faster run. and, i know i am a better cyclist. I just now know how to hold off. as mary would say: bike for show, run for dough.
  • i love this sport.
  • other funny things about the race: ...i found it hilarious that the guy at the bike dismount line with me shouldered his bike into transition (and, the subsequent person who yelled: "oh yeah... muscles!" all i was looking forward to seeing on the bike course was the elephant in the field that my teammates have seen. and, i fricken missed it. and, i missed the i-dot mowed into the lawn at the skihill. ... i found it hilarious that 60% of the bike was spent looking at the calfs of the latino-tri-club guy in front of me. ...that alexa spent most of the swim thinking about sharting. ...that my favourite nutrition plan that i saw one guy had was a zip-lock bag of trail mix attached to his handle bars.

And for those of you who are joining me, for the first time. WELCOME! please, make a comment, or, "follow me" on my blog. but, i warn you. if you are looking for a blog that is purely about triathlon, or about tips for getting faster, or want to tell me that what i am doing is wrong.. you have come to the wrong place.

for this is a blog about relationship and love and important things in life and faith and just life. living life.

but, you know... nothing nothing that a convenient handful of GORP while participating in a 70.3 wouldn't solve.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Syracuse 70.3 race report

so, let's just start with a comment that I think this sport is hilarious. the things we do (and, read on, you will get some in this report) are ridiculous. Not only because we think that waking up at 4:30 am to go and get your exercise on for 5+ hours straight is fun, but we do things that in normal society would be considered completely inappropriate and people would wonder if you need a psych consult.

i find it hilarious the pre-race rituals we have. the need to wear a "i've done an ironman" shirt to race check-in, rather than normal street clothes. the carting around of a gallon water bottle day before a race. the food we eat, and the abnormal sleep schedules we keep. hilarious.

pre-race prep was pretty normal. I got to syracuse at about 6pm on friday, and meet Kelly Covert, her husband (also kelly covert!) and boys Noah and Ryan. It was a fantastic place to stay, and we indeed, talked! it was great :) after a solid sleep on friday night, I was able to get a nice relaxed pre-race prep. Following a breakfast of pumpkin pancakes, coffee, and sheep yougurt, i tested out my bike for shifting, braking, etc. Good to go. Made it to the expo, regular crappy IM 70.3 bag and shirt. But... the lines were quick!!!! then, drove my way out to Jamesville state park to put my bike into Transition, dip my toes into the lake (a chilling 17 degrees on race weekend!), and go for a 20 min run. I also ran into some Mountaineers. including, a former rowing teammate, Lori Sherlock. SO nice to be at a triathlon where i knew people! And, to add to that, I had a team dinner that night. Coach Mary was there, as was all my train-this teammates, including turbo, mike corona, and alexa harding. great to put names to faces.

but... onto the race.

it was a fricken gong-show getting into the parking lot. bottle neck, galore. while waiting in line, i realized that I had forgotten my pre-race and "start of bike" nutrition Hydration at kelly's (just the liquid nutrition, not gu's and the such) a little freak out, and then a big freakout with a worry that I had forgotten something like my bike shoes.

whatev. get to transition, alexa and other girl nicely give me a few bottles of water and gatorade, and the such. due to previously mentioned traffic jam, i have about 7 minutes to set up transition, and was super happy with my spot (first rack, right at the end). so, it was rushed. i use the portapotties, which were AMAZING! no joke. decorated with flowers, carpet, triathlon themed pictures on the wall, etc. checked my dry-clothes bag, and headed for a little swim warmup. a few short (but fast) laps back and forth, then warm clothes on, overtop of suit to wait. My wave left about 45 mins following the pro's. and, on athlete tracker, it says I was 11th in my age group... but, at the race, I was 9th in my age group... any suspicions as to why the results online don't line up with what was at the race?

SWIM: i will not lie. I was worried about the swim. I have had (in the past), very bad reactions to cold water. I also had my lingering lake chaparral swim lingering over my head. I knew that I was feeling good, a little nervous (showed alexa my shaking hands), and told my self to just focus on me. don't worry about the other pink caps. I situated myself close to the front, but, not right in the front. so we took off. and guess what!?!!? NO FREAK OUTS. No fights with other girls. no chest tightness or shortness of breath. The only two bad things: swallowed a lot of water, and swam way wide on the way back in (for some reason, i just kept on wanted to go left... strange..). my cadence was steady, and I was not cold. I was happy :)
time: 32:42. split: 1:33/100m not terrible for this distance. right around what i was expecting.

t2: felt like it was fast, despite the 1/4 mile run from the beach to bikes. I used the wetsuit strippers, and this one was WAY better than the person at mooseman. woo! quick transition (though, when i look compared to my competitors... no super fast..), and opted for no arm-warmers, but putting my socks on for the bike. the only downfall about my bike position, is that it was FAR from bike out/in. time: 3:23.

bike: now, for me, this was my favourite part of the race. I had heard some pretty nasty things about this climb entitled "sweet hill." as i had been riding for about 10 minutes, i head a "woomp woomp woomp" of a disc wheel approaching. "local arch rival" rides by: "oh hey there! i never knew you would be here!" yup, here i am. and, there you are, as always, going faster than me. go girl, go! i guess that is my only EPP on the bike now. don't have disc wheels ;)

Bike course can be found HERE. And, despite it looking fairly flat for the most part... it never was really flat. pretty much rolling the whole time. but, this race was FAR easier than mooseman for me. the hills were easier, my bike was perfect, and i finally accomplished something that only pro-triathletes can do. yes ladies and gentlemen, i peed while on my bike. it was a big day for me. dont worry, i would look behind to make sure there wasn't anyone close behind me, that might get sprayed. and, i made sure i would lean a bit to the left side, as to keep the drive train as clean as possible. sweet hill was not as difficult as i thought it would be. and, i LOVED the downhills... it was dry at that point, so i could just fly. max speed? 76km/hr and, i was in control!! it was cold for the first bit, and I was worried that i made a mistake without the armwarmers. I had to get rid of the sunglasses, since pretty much, it was only fog. i also was worried, at about mile 20, that i had done too much on my legs~ but, i re-evaluated a little later, and no... i was confidant that i had nailed this ride. other disgusting things that i did during my bike: multiple snot rockets, ate gu, and wiped my nose with the back of my hand.
time: 2:50.37, 31.68km/hr

T2: no surprises. just wet socks. time: 1:27

Run: now... everyone was excited to be running this run because it was a overall downhill. well. that overall downhill came in the first 3 miles, with short, steep downhill rollers. the run course can be found HERE. overall, this run was not pleasureable. I think the best point was reading the comments on the pavement on Erie blvd to pass time along this stretch that took forever, was ugly, and a slight incline. also, somewhere along there, some little girl cheered "good job! use your muscles!" to the people running by. we all laughed, and thought "yup. that is what we are trying to do!" i also peed a few times during my run, as well. every aid station, i sipped some gatorade, and every 15 mins, i took a clif block. every aid station, i also proceeded to inhale gatorade into my nose, and spill it all over my face (for some reason, during this race, i was not able at all to master the squished cup technique). I also, at one point choked and almost sent a slightly chewed block flying onto the guy running ahead of me.

i couldn't stop smiling for the first 3miles. i was loving it. I knew it was going to get harder and harder, but, i was loving it. what a fricken privilege I have to do this!!! and, indeed, it got harder. my first 4 miles ranged from about 7:50-8:00 mins. my second 4 miles: 8:13-8:35. my last 5 miles: 8:48-9:20. so... gotta work on that a bit. anyway. time: 1:51.48, split: 8:32/mile.

OVER ALL TIME: 5:19.57. this, my friends, is a personal best by 28 minutes. and, it was good enough for 9th in my agegroup of 70 people. not so shabby.

i stuck around for roll-down. and, i will tell you what. 8th place girl got the second spot. she beat me by about 30 seconds. i was <------> this close to qualifying for clearwater. there will be another time. maybe not for another 2 years (since next year, i might be overseas) but, baby, it will come.

tomorrow, or wednesday, I will be writing some post-race thoughts. but for now?
it is OFF SEASON. and this girl is taking her sore body, and having a long fricken nap. because she is exceptionally happy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

pull out the cow bells...

cross your fingers, and send fast vibes! because this girl is at the races!

After skipping my afternoon class, a rapid toss of everything into a rental car (yay! a matrix. you may remember, that my first real car was a matrix. i sold maggie almost 3 years ago), a pick up of a craigslist ride-sharer, a beautiful drive down to NY state...

i have arrived in syracuse!!!

tomorrow, race prep is happening:
the carb loading will occur.
the team schmoozing will be fun.
the rest and relaxation will be nice.
bike will be rechecked.
packet will be picked up.

on sunday morning, i will be starting at 7:48, wearing a pink cap, with a bib #1054. Use to do some athlete tracking!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

its motivational video time!

So, getting pretty excited for this weekend. I had a super duper swim today. One where I just counted my laps, for 30 mins straight in a 30 minute steady swim. 1700m later, i was pretty happy (these are some photos... taken from a video... during the summer, when swimming in a glorious outdoor pool in edmonton)

I am a little cautious about approaching my swim this weekend. I know that during my last race, I was not happy. I am a fairly quick swimmer, but, sometimes I over estimate myself (i think). I need to make sure that this swim is steady. That I keep my head in the game, and not worry about where other people are... just swim. And, that is what I have appreciated about my last 4 swims. They have all been 30 minutes continuous. And, that is good for my head space... 30 minutes continuous forces me to get into a head space where i am just finding consistancy: with my stroke, with my thoughts, with me.

And, as I am getting ready for the race, the inspirational videos come out. Here is one of our favourites on Train-This. Pretty dang good. And, i just had a fun little conversation with Kelly Covert , who's place I am staying at this weekend for the race. TOday, on her "Wonderful You Wednesday" she had a *great* post about nutrition. I suggest that you go and take a look. I am excited to meet her, and her stylish sons, and husband... to have conversations about triathlon and god and family and food and bikes and everything else that will undoubtedly come up.

And, today during my swim, I thought a lot about my rowers. (on a side note... I am consistently amazed at how often I am reminded about how different rowing and triathlon are as sports. I used to think they were quite the same. NOT So much... i mean. there are similarities. but. not many.... ha!)

I coach a group of girls who are so great. It is amazing, how much these girls cross through my mind on a daily basis. And, I will not lie. Coaching rowing is one of the most challenging things that I do on a daily basis. Rowing, to me, is the ultimate team sport... Unlike a sport like soccer, or volleyball, or other sports... if one person does not show up, it affects the other people. they cannot row in a 8 person boat, with only 7 people. That is the same with if one person feels like they do not want to put effort into their practice. it off-sets the boat. the rhythm is lost. so, 8 (or 4, or 2) must work as one.

We have had some difficulties this week, with a little bit of a shake down in boat lineups. People have had to adjust to things that they did not expect to happen. As a coach, this is a difficult decision. How do you make something happen, when you know that undoubtedly, one person (or two, or 3) will be let down? How do you foster an environment, where people do not want to work just for themselves, but for the other people on their team? Where accountability, sportsmanship and attitude are just as important as strength, endurance, and technique? How do you work with limited equipment, and limited funds, on a team that is still in the "Baby" stages?

and ladies.
I know some of you read this.
Know that i will never *ever* make a decision that is purposely set out to set any of you back, or go against your personal will...

This week, I have had to go apart from my "nursing tendencies." I have had to make decisions, and statements that have pretty much said "Well, you don't like it?! tough *hit. deal with it." and I hate that. Because that is so opposite to my personality. i am such a people pleaser. I want to have everyone be happy. But, sometimes, you get dealt cards which you have to accommodate to.

Rowing is the hardest sport that I have ever done. I had a coach, in high school (I had been rowing for at least 2 years at this point), who once stopped the boat at the end of and piece and said: "AMELIA PAYNE! what are you doing? I honestly think that you have never pulled a hard stroke in your LIFE! if you don't start pulling, I am going to take you out of this boat, you will not go to st. kitts and not row in the first VIII. So START PULLING" {silence... what do i do now.. do i cry?! no. can't cry. can't get angry. gasp for air. hold back tears.}

it was hard to hear. but. i'll tell you what. I don't think i ever slacked off in a practice ever again. because that comment was stuck in my limbic system. And those words made me into a better rower..

Teamwork is hard. Sports are hard. Competition is hard... (and, as that boy i like would say.. that is why it is called work. and not happy fun time.) and, it does not come overnight.

but, that is also why it is so dang fulfilling. because in all this hard work comes character and strength and a place to dig for motivation and friendship and ability to go beyond who you are. So, here is a motivational Rowing video. One that is held very close to my heart, from memories of times during my last year as WVU mountaineer.

Monday, September 13, 2010

please forgive me if i act a little strange...

so, today, during my swim, i thought about a few things.

syracuse will be the first tri that I have ever gone to, where I don't have a spectathlete. no one to make sure my stuff gets to the finish line. No one to give me a sweater when I am cold at the finish. it seems a little strange to be traveling to a race, with no one at my side. At least, I get to meet my teammates who are there!

but, mostly, i just wanted to tell you that it is not your fault... if, this week, i act a little strange.
... if i don't respond to non-urgent emails.
... if i don't care for much conversation outside of class time, or meeting time, or whatever time.
... if i am insistent on going to sleep at 10.
... if i don't want to answer questions about "how I am feeling" or "What i am thinking."
... if i ask you to be dropped off here or there, because i am choosing not to commute on my bike this week.
... if i spend a good amount of my free time, inside my room with my door closed.
... if i walk around in a little bit of a "daze," and don't notice if you are there.

because, i have other things on my mind.

this week, i will get spontaneous pangs in my stomach. ones that I generally cannot distinguish if it is nervousness, or if it is excitement.
this week, i will prioritize school and commitments and rest and efficient taper training. that generally means that I don't prioritize you. (well, okay. maybe you...)
this week, i will be thinking about how my bike is going to respond on this course.
if my nutrition plan will go as I hope.
if my swim will be another gong-show.
this week, i will be checking my email daily to await my race plan from coach mary.
i will be making lists in my head and on little pieces of paper so that i don't forget anything for the race.
i will have moments where you will just see me smiling, because i know that i love racing this distance, and I will be remembering what it feels like to cross that line.
what it feels like to soar on the bike.
to wait on a beach with those other women.

this week. i will race.
i will be wearing a light pink swim cap (yay!!! not another ugly red one!)
i will be sporting race number 1054.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Grand Prix cycliste a montreal

Not much to say today. except...

HURRAY for taper week! one week to go before the big race :)

got to watch the Grand Prix Cycliste Protour today, riding around our city. Not great quality photos, (mmm, yep cell phone photos aren't great..) but amazing to know that some of the top riders in the world were flying by me. "Home town hero" Ryder Hesjedal was 3rd.

Friday, September 10, 2010

second chances...

so i just want to write a little follow up, not long, about this admission to the global health stream.

I know, I know, that I am happy with the re-consideration of my application, and that I was re-admitted. But, I also know, that this is not all about me. Sure, I followed up on why i was originally rejected. Yes, I talked to them about feedback, and I wrote an email exploring different options, and asking questions. I followed up on something i believe in.

But, this morning, I was thinking during my run at 4:45 am. Thanks to an email from my dad, that prompted me along this line of thought... i also know, that in life, we are not too often offered a second chance. sure... there were things that i did. But, most times, we can do things, and we still get the same result.

it is about knowing what to do, with the things we are given. To accept, with grace and understanding, that sometimes things work out the way we want, and sometimes they don't. My placement, can be anywhere from an aboriginal reserve on the south shore of montreal, to a northern cree community, to malawi. YES... I KNOW MY PREFERENCE. but, i also know that no matter what, it's good.

because i wasn't given a chance. And, now i have been given that chance. And, I want to go forward, and continue to show them that they made a good decision in re-considering me. That they did not make a mistake.

for, it is in these parts of life, where we learn to not take everything for granted. That even though we know we are good at something, or suited for something... we may not get it. But, when we do get it... appreciate it. value it. know that it is due to diligence, good acts, patience... faith... especially when we are given second chances.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Running shoe day...

so, when i was a rower, new running shoe day was an occurrence that happened about once every 1.5 years. and it cost me about 90$. 120$ tops. Just shows how much running you do when you are an athlete that sits on their butt, moving backwards (such a great way to teach people how to succeed, right!?!?). i mean, you think you run. but, running 1x every week at a strength and conditioning session... well. let's just say its not all that much. don't get me wrong. I too, thought that i ran a good amount. but... comparatively?

when all I did was 10km or 1/2 marathon runn
ing, they would last me 6 months. now, new running shoe day comes minimum every 4-5 months. and, 5 months is really dragging it on. the only time a shoe will last me 6 months is during the winter. maybe.

now, i have a love-hate relationship with new running shoe day.

the love part of this relationship is how after this day, i feel like i am running on clouds. like my legs can go for another 700km without feeling like they are being worn down. my shoes don't smell like blood blisters that have broken, or like other bodily fluids that have leaked into them during various races. or, the mud/puddles/everything else that you have stepped in during the last 6 months.

the hate part of this relationship is that it happens way more often than it ever has before. it also costs me a minimum of about 150$. if lucky. I always the same pair of shoes (Mizuno wave runners), because they keep me happy. However, it is rare that i will find them for less than 140. (in may, in edmonton, i was lucky. I found my size, in my shoe, at a running room sidewalk sale for 85$. my heart pretty much skipped a beat, I grabbed them, and felt like i was stealing them.). But, let's calculate. it is almost 300$ a year. and, for a student. ugh. that is the hate. I also used to hate new shoe day, because it would mean that i would have to change my shoe style. but, that has changed.
but... I HAVE NEW SHOES! yayayayayay!
Today, something else happened that made me *Very* happy. If you remember, at the end of june, I was rejected from the global health section of my M.Sc. program. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I mean... I am made for global health. THIS is my passion. my vision. my "calling" (if you will).

and, so, when they said no, it hurt. and, it took me a while to respond, but I spoke to one of the ladies on the admission board; then, once I heard the reasons for non-admittance, I took a month to re-gain my thoughts, and wrote an email with some of my follow up thoughts, etc. Not saying "i want you to let me in" but, more so, "i think I was mis-interpreted." About a week ago, I got an email from the head of the stream saying "Given your persistent interest and apparent commitment to global health studies. We would like to offer you an interview as part of our re-consideration of your application."

so, what do you do with that, when your hopes were crushed, then you started building alternative plans, and you become comfortable with the alternatives? In fact, you almost start becoming excited about them.

well. I'll tell you.
you'd be crazy if you decided not to do the interview.

I went to an interview with Dr Gagnon on tuesday. And, I was nervous. She was so stoic, and hard to read. And, that is fine. but, all i remember thinking, prior to the interview was just... be myself. Talk about why you love it, and why it is your passion, and how you are able to be academically rigourous. Just.... be me.

and, today, i got this:

so. there we have it.

i guess it shows that if you believe in something, you need to just follow it through. you need to believe in yourself, and show that to others. that when you are suited well for something, to not back down. because, you just never might know what might happen.

today. it was a good day.

Monday, September 6, 2010

last day of summer...

so, today is labour day. ahhhh, labour day. For a student, it normally means that business is about to get started. And, i am a lucky girl today, for I have had an amazing day.

the last couple weeks have been incredibly filled with stuff, but also incredibly relaxing. it has kinda gotten the fall rolling in a slow, controlled manner, that makes me feel ready for the craziness that is going to happen.

today, I woke up at 5am to get down to the olympic bassin for rowing practice. As you may, or may not know, I am a coach for "the first francophone rowing team in north america." Funny, cause I am an anglophone. but, I love it. The rowers at Universite de Montreal are fun, and are happy to be there. And I am happy to coach. Here is a photo of some of the girls, holding up their coach, from last fall.

went from there, to toi, moi et cafe for a little breakfast with a friend of mine who was in my nursing program. breakfast is, by far, my favourite meal of the day. and, i *love* eating it out. I love having it as a potluck, more, though. so, a little breakfast sharing, a little coffee, and then straight back down to Parc Jean Drapeau for a recovery swim.

and, here is the funny thing... I have gotten used to my mondays being my rest day. my day where i have no workout. Apparently, a few weeks ago, Coach decided it would be better if my rest days are now swim days. So, yep, it is short (not more than 30 mins), but my rest days now include a workout :) So, i bixi biked it over the big ass bridge, and made it to the beautiful 50m outdoor pool at the Aquatic Complex. It is closing soon, and that makes me terribly sad, because over this summer, I have only ever swam in an outdoor pool. and, as a competitive swimmer as a kid, I only swam in an outdoor pool. it makes my heart happy. But, apparently, today at the pool was ironman day. There were I-dot bags scattered everywhere, and I ended up doing my recovery work out in a lane with the 40+ mens age group. lovely. ha!
Panorama-11.jpgthen... i popped out, and slept in the sun, on the deck, like a cat on the concrete.
i came home, and had skyped it up with edmonton for 1.5 hrs. and, that makes me happy, as well.

last night, i could hardly sleep. I had an evening workout, which I knew was going to take a lot of effort to doing. And... not going to lie, was in a bit of a negative attitude going out to start. probably due to the fact that on saturday I had a HTFU "3hr" bike ride. It ended up being 3hrs 45 mins. I got head winds, tail winds, good pavement, sun, torrential down pour, concrete ending into gravel fields, lots of stop and go with lights, detours due to construction, a HRM that didn't work and only about 1-1:30 hr of 3.5 being a decent steady pace....

then, yesterday happened. the wind was blowing, but, BABY, IT WAS AMAZING. despite the amount of bugs on the bike, i got back home after my run portion of the brick, and felt STOKED for Syracuse 70.3. and, i couldn't sleep because my HR was still up there... not sure if it was due to the late workout, or the fact that i nailed it. that with a workout like that, i can see that things are coming together... I have had 2 heavy weeks. it has been nice, since I haven't really started school. but, the weekends have been heavy. I remember looking last week, and thinking: damn. saturday 3hr ride (fine...). sunday: what!?!? another 3hr ride, followed by a run?!?! BOTH!?

I am certainly feeling like i will be ready to taper. can i stay up past 10pm? nope. do i feel like eating everything in sight? yep. can i think of anything else these days? nope. do my legs feel like they have a bit of fatigue in them, all the time? yep.


nice to have a holiday day. here are some other random points from what is going on in my life. you know. in case you care.
  • first day of class last friday. Glad to be there. Not glad to not have some of my friends not there. Glad to be meeting the Nurse-entry M.Sc Students.
  • there might be a pretty big thing happening for me in school this fall. and it is exciting. but, i am not going to say what it is yet, just in case it doesn't work out. but, it involves my passions.
  • wanted to race in a local sprint tri on this coming saturday. too bad it is sold out.
  • i hate how expensive text books are.
  • i like the fall. it always surprises me that i like is so. but it is pretty. and it smells good.
  • god is doing something pretty crazy in my life these days. i feel him moving and shaking and developing me. can't quite explain it. but, that is god for you. you can't explain it, or him, or the things that happen due to him.
  • i have read two books in the last 3 weeks. A very serious book, and a not so serious book. Don't judge on the not so serious book. it made me laugh. out loud. more than once.
  • loving living where I am living. Thanks to google street view, you can see an old picture below. the door of the left is mine. It is nice to live with people who don't think it is strange if you go into your room to start heading for bed at 9:45. cause they are too. It is nice to speak french (and english!) regularly. it is nice to have a fresh market nearby, and a all day breakfast spot called "le vieux velo" and the metro.

i hope that you are having a GREAT long weekend. despite it almost being done...