Monday, April 30, 2012

A quick update...

I've had a few inquiries as of late as to how I'm doing.  I've had a busy year and a half or so, trying to re-balance and figure out what life feels like in a "new normal."  I've had lots of change happening... work, personal life... and it's been a wonderful, challenging, painful, joyful experience.  I'm doing well, and will begin to re-post in the weeks ahead.

I'm still training full force... spinning like I've never spun before... lifting heavier and getting stronger with every repetition.  Re-calibrating my sense of physical self has been a bit of work, but the journey continues...

More to come.  Thanks for staying tuned.

Kia kaha.
Stay strong.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Coughing my way through dead birds...

This past week has been a bit of a bust. Unfortunately, Seb had to postpone my training session from last Monday and we rescheduled to later in the week. By the time Thursday rolled around, it was official. I was sick.

I still am.

And I hate it.

Some people say that if your cold is contained above your shoulders, that you can continue to workout. If it moves into your chest, you're screwed. Normally I follow that 'rule', but this time I'm just too tired to do much of anything. And it's not just because I'm sick.

The past few weeks at work have been pretty hectic. When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them that I deal with dead birds. I'm neither a veterinarian, nor an animal rights activist. I'm a student services professional -- and I have the pleasure of dealing with dead birds.

Allow me to explain.

A colleague of mine once made the analogy of the work that we do in problem solving complex situations for university student being similar to that moment when the cat comes in the house, with a dead bird hanging out of its mouth. It comes to your feet, drops the bird (often still breathing, so not technically dead), and looks up at you as if to say:

"You're special. I like you. You're the only one who has what it takes to deal with this. Please. (Meow)"

And then the cat walks away, leaving you to clean up the mess -- to decide whether or not to resuscitate or put the bird out of its misery. It's a choice. And a powerful one. And a decision not to be taken lightly.


The first three weeks back to school have consisted of a lot of choices, and a few tough decisions. I've been dealing with some complex situations, and a lot of questions -- a lot of issues that to some people are dead birds to be dealt with. And sometimes those issues, to me, are not quite dead yet. I've had to so some workplace CPR. I've had to do some clean up. And in some ways, at times, it feels like I'm the only one who can deal with it. Yes, I feel fulfilled, and busy... but I also feel tired.

Being a dead-bird expert is exhausting.

And I think that's where the cold kicked in. I haven't been training a lot. I haven't been eating poorly. I haven't been eating well. I haven't had the best sleeps. So my system is weak. It's tired. It's vulnerable. I wasn't prepared for the back to school season to be this busy, or this hectic.

My system is a bit of dead bird.
And I'm taking some time to bring it back to life.

I thought that running the Scotiabank 5k on Sunday would help. This was the day that I was supposed to run my half marathon -- but I had decided after I got back from my bike rally that I didn't have sufficient time to properly and safely train. So, I withdrew from the half marathon, and ran the 5k instead.

Normally, running 5-km is not really a big deal. It is however, when you're on your race pace (of 4:50/km) and have to stop at kilometer #2 to spend about 3 minutes coughing and blowing your nose. My sinuses chose kilometer #2 to empty themselves.

It wasn't pretty.
It was kind of disgusting.
I'm glad I brought tissues -- I'm 'that' kind of a runner.

But I kept running. I finished the race in just about 30 minutes. I was aiming for 25 minutes, and started with a pace that would have allowed me to finish just under that. But the cold and sinus infection didn't help. I was disappointed by my performance, and even as I crossed the finish line with the marathoners, I was jealous. I was a bit remiss. There was a part of me that wished I had taken the time to train for the half marathon -- and I would have been able to experience that high, the elation of the finish.

Maybe that would have made me feel better. But I don't think it would have. I would have likely felt worse. Because I likely wouldn't have finished a half-marathon -- with my head full of snot, and my body too tired to function.

So even though I have added another finisher's medal to my collection, I sit here tonight, sniffling, sneezing, blowing my nose, putting lotion on my nostrils, and feeling like I'm swallowing glass. Apparently, I'm 'resting'. There's a big part of me that realizes that the rest is necessary. And there's another part of me that is pissed off that I had to miss my second workout with Seb in as many weeks.

I miss training.

I miss towelling off the sweat from a crazy set of plyometrics, instead of towelling off because I'm running a fever.

I miss the spike in energy that follows a training session... instead of hoping that my morning coffee gives me the spike I need to last through the day.

I miss feeling exhausted from a workout, instead of feeling fatigued from illness.


I miss it.
But I'll be back.

Just like the dead birds I bring back to life.

Chirp chirp.

Kia kaha,
Stay strong.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Big time.

Bless me bloggers, for I have sinned. It has been three months since my last blog post... And this is what I've been up to...

Now that I've got that flashback to Catholicism out of my way... I can get on with this post. LOL. Indeed, it has been three months since my last posting. And what an amazing three months it has been.

Why amazing? Well, two weeks ago, I started back into my regular training routine with Sebastien. Indeed, we trained together over the course of the summer as I geared up and prepared for my 600km bike ride. But over that period of time, we focused on building my cardiovascular and muscular endurance for the intensity of cycling from Toronto to Montreal. This meant that I had to train in a very different way than I was used to -- we cut out a lot of the intense weightlifting, and minimized the high intensity work I was doing, to ensure that I didn't get injured. Without a doubt, all of the training I had done up until this past summer had gotten me well prepared physically and emotionally for the ride, but my training and my diet had to be fairly specific and tailored for distance cycling as a very particular type of activity.

All of this also meant that in some ways, I was going to have to prepare myself for the reality that my body weight would change... in other words, that I would gain back some of those dreaded pounds that I worked so hard to take off.

And I did.
Big time.

Two weeks ago, I stepped back onto the scale for the first time in over three months. And I wasn't impressed with what I saw. I didn't just gain back a few pounds... I gained back about 30 of them. Thirty pounds in three months. Not bad... sure, not bad if you're losing. But gaining? Seriously? Again?

But what was intriguing in that split second moment in time, when I stepped off the scale, I looked at the number, looked at Sebastien (who was likely prepared for me to punch the wall), and said...

"I just had the best summer of my life. I enjoyed every single one of those pounds."

And I did.
Big time.

Over the course of three months, I spent tonnes of time outside -- running, cycling, and walking the dog. I also spent fantastic evenings and afternoons sitting on patios, drinking good wine, eating food that was even better than the wine, and dancing my ass off. I rode my bike over six days to Montreal for an amazing cause, and met incredible new friends along the way.

I relaxed.
I had fun.
I lived.

And in the words of my trainer...
I chilled the F*$@ out.

So, chilling out meant that I put on a few pounds. It's not a huge deal. It really isn't. Sure, my clothes are a bit tighter (which I initially blamed on the dry-cleaner for shrinking my shirts). Certainly, I feel a bit heavier. But mentally, I'm confident. I'm strong. I know how I got to this place, and I know how to get out of it.

How did I get to this place? People have asked me: How, when you ride your bike to Montreal, do you still gain weight? Essentially, in preparing for my ride, I did nothing but cycle for endurance. I rode my bike outside. I did indoor spin classes. I ran... every once in a while. I hardly lifted a weight (one of the magic secrets to weight loss). And while I ate well, I ate a diet that was much more dense in carbohydrates that I had eaten in a long time. I also drank cold beer... ate great burgers... and fell in love...with Cold Stone Creamery Peanut Butter Perfection Ice Cream.

But that's what summer is about, right? Barbeques. Sunshine. Ice cream. Relaxation. Did I mention, ice cream? Mmmm....

The other reality is that when you train in this way, coupled with a week of intense riding, and three weeks of 'recovery', because I was exhausted at a cellular level, that my body responded by hanging onto lots of calories... good and bad. And from that exhaustion, I made the smart decision to not run my half marathon next weekend, because I knew I wouldn't have the appropriate time to prepare.

And I also put on some muscle.
Lots of muscle.
Have you seen my legs lately???
I got legs... big time.

All that said, I'm ready to get back into the swing of my training routine. I'm looking forward to building more muscle and shaving the Cold Stone Creamery Ice Cream from my mid-section. I'm excited about getting back to lifting weights at the gym, teaching even more challenging spin classes, and living life.

I'm back.
Big time.

This also means I'm back to blogging. Admittedly, I needed a break from the thinking... the processing... the writing about myself and my life. And I come back to this medium refreshed, revitalized, and rejuvenated in the knowledge that not only did I have the best summer of my life, but I also had the best year of my life. On this weekend, as I celebrate my 37th birthday, I reflect upon my accomplishments... my successes... my friends... my life.

And I loved every good, bad, challenging, emotional, messy, jubilant, celebratory, stressful, incredible moment of it.
Big time.

Absolutely, big time.

Kia kaha.
Stay strong.