A sense of achievement

“You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.” – Steve Prefontaine

I have pulled my head out of the sand and I am writing again.  After that last down and out post I took a hiatus on the blogging to refocus myself on my goals.  Since I have not written any goals down on paper, I will today.  I don’t do New Year’s resolutions mainly because I make up new goals all of the time.  This year I do have two main goals that I will achieve.

1. Complete an IronMan distance triathlon.  This is my main focus this year.  It is my ‘A’ race.  I have been working toward this goal for many years, unknowingly, even to me.

2. The IronMan training will not impact my family (too much).  Last year my training plan for the Kinetic Half took over my life.  I worried about what my family was doing while I was swimming, biking and running.  When I was with my family I worried that I wasn’t training enough.  I worried about nutrition.  I worried I would not finish.  I just plain out worried.

Good judgement comes with experience.  So what am I doing differently?  Voila…my little goals:

1. Not worrying (so much).  I do a lot of positive self-talk and push that negative energy away.  It is a practice.  I meditate.  I pray.

2.  Staying focused on what I am doing.  I (try to) stay in the moment.  This is another practice.  If I do that, then I don’t have time to worry.  The guys from Endurance Nation talk about “the box”.  All I can focus on is what I am doing at that moment.  Count my strokes while I am swimming. Focus on pedal stroke or position while I am biking.  Focus on form while I am running.

3. Planning my workouts for the week.  My original plan is still working!

For the last two weeks, while I was not worrying and staying focused and planning my workouts I felt a sense of achievement!  With achievement comes motivation!

This week’s achievements:

Yes, that says All Easy Base in the notes.  What does that mean?  It’s all hard to me!

What are your goals, big or little?  How do you accomplish them?

When life creeps in…

“With each day comes new strength and new thoughts.”

Eleanor Roosevelt said this. It amazes me how many people can make universal statements that last generations. It seems like stating the obvious, but I would never have  thought of that.  Well, thankfully what she says is true.  This past week my personal quote has been “at least I woke up.  That means I can make this day anything I want it to be.”  Which is exactly what Ellie said, just not as eloquent.

The need for new strength and new thoughts is not based around my training schedule.  That seems trivial compared to some of the news of the week.  Last Saturday I woke up to 3 emails:

1. “…news on L&#$ not good. They have stopped chemo and believe she has less than a year left (I think her oncologist said 7 months)”

2.  “I got some bad tests results…elevated cea which led to PET/CAT that came back with lymphs lit up in my chest and under left arm….”

3.  “…a dear sweet friend of mine from New York was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.”

If you are a survivor you know how this news feels.  If you are not, imagine getting suckered punched by Mike Tyson with three unprotected blows to the head.  Yeah.  It hurts.  Not only does it hurt, but your brain is sloshing around and you have no way of making a clear decision to get out of the way of the next blow.

“This is not my story.”

That quote is from me.  I tell myself that more than enough times a day.  After talking with each of the people referenced in those emails there is a common theme.  All are hopeful, but mostly, all are still living their lives.  They are making plans for more than just the next treatment or doctor’s appointment.  Their lives are going on.

When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”
– Author Unknown

When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
– Franklin D. Roosevelt

If you are going through hell, keep going.
– Winston Churchill

So I lifted myself up and dusted myself off.  I was knocked down by those blows but I am not down for the count.  Of course in the past 3 years of survivorhood this is not the first time I have been suckered punched.  Each time hurts like the first, but…well…

 Life goes on.

So  I dedicated my training week to the people in the emails.  Every swim stroke, pedal stroke, footfall.  And I was thankful for each of those strokes and pedals and runs.  Way more thankful than usual.

There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle.

-Albert Einstein


What a week!

I started my training (plan) on Tuesday after a lot of organizing.  If you would like to read about what is working for me this week you can read about it here.  I’m still skeptical that I can maintain this organized pace, but I will take it for now.

Monday night felt like the night before a big race.  My gear was ready, water bottles filled and DVD in the player for my 60 minute spin on the trainer.  But when the alarm went off at 4:45 I still had to talk myself into it. I knew I would feel better once I got up, put on my bike shorts and just mosey downstairs.  I wasn’t even doing a Spinerval DVD, I was starting a movie.  Tick, tick. First snooze 4:55.  GET UP I screamed to myself, and I did!  And just like I thought, I felt great once I was up.  I clipped in and off I went for the first training session of the year.  And just like I thought,  I felt great!  I followed this same plan last year and I was remembering how I felt a year ago.  One year ago I couldn’t do 45 minutes on the trainer.  I could only keep pace at 11 mph and I was drenched with so much sweat I made a puddle.  Completely different this year.  I went the entire 60 minutes at 14 mph (it is my easy week) and of course I was sweating, but on an easy ride there were no puddles.  One day complete!  The morning and evening went smoothly since I had prepped my lunches and dinners on Sunday.  Hooray for me!

On Wednesday the plan calls for me to run 30 minutes and swim 45 minutes.  I was meeting my friend at the gym at 5:00, running and then swimming after.  At 4:45 I  jumped  out of bed rolled over and hit the snooze.  Second day is always harder than the first I told myself.  It felt cold too.  Air temp: 22 degrees.  And I was getting in the pool?  Maybe I could swim this afternoon…I could switch today’s plan to Friday…the excuses started rolling in my head.  I guess I got sick of myself because the next thing I knew I was out of bed, putting on my running gear and heading out the door.  I ran the 30 on the dreadmill and then while in the pool managed to talk myself into swapping today’s 45 minute swim for Friday’s 30 minute.  It’s early in my training, I shouldn’t push it I said convincingly.  But at the end of the swim, I gave the mental pat on the back that I had finished my second day of training.

Thursday is another biking day, 90 minutes, and later in the plan I add a 15 minute run.  I had everything set up, and I was ready to watch the end of my movie.  One of my biggest issues on the trainer is boredom.  I get so antsy.  So I decided for these “easy” weeks I would break up the 90 minute sessions into thirds. I also break up the time into thirds so I take in some nutrition.  At the first third my movie was over, so I got off the bike and put in a DVD from the Endurance Nation guys.  This is a 2 hour information session on IM.  I may watch this more than Coach Troy.   These guys are so low key and give such great practical advice about training and racing.  I felt my race anxiety lower.  I very much enjoyed the rest of my ride.  On the trainer I try to mimic my race day eating and drinking.  On the easy, shorter days eat a banana after about 30 minutes and split a bar during the next 60.  Hopped off the bike, showered, fed and watered the kids and off we all went to work and school.  Day 3 done!

Later on Thursday I got the bright idea, since we are enjoying unseasonably warm temps on the East Coast, to run OUTSIDE!  I called my running buddy neighbor, who, despite thinking that she can’t run fast, thinks she is a wimp and a whole host of other things, is a trooper when it comes to running in the cold and the dark!  This time when 4:45 showed up, I was up and out the door for a quick 30 minute run.

My plan was to swim 45 minutes in the afternoon (remember the swap?), but as the day went on I realized that I could not fit in a swim while trying to get a birthday present, cook dinner and get two kids to different events.  So I pushed the swim to Sunday and hoped this wasn’t the start of a slippery slope.  Last year swimming was the sport that always got blown off, or cut short.

Saturday rolled around and I got to sleep in until 6!  I got  in my 90 minute bike before going with my niece to her confirmation retreat.  Awesome!  Felt so good.  One more day and I would have completed my week.  My awesome running buddy neighbor agreed to take me on her 5 mile route at 8 am. It was a stellar run in 40 degree weather!  Then I jumped in the van and drove to the gym where I made good on my promise and swam those 45 minutes.

What a week!

Out with the old and in with the new…attitude

“It’s not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference”

– Paul Bryant

So now that all of that avoidance is behind me, left in the dust of 2011, I am ready to begin. Begin again.

Ready or not...

After having trained last year for a half IM I feel as though I am at an advantage.  I know the amount of time training takes.  I understand the mental stamina to train 10 – 12 hours per week then race for over 6 hours.  I have figured out (for the most part) the nutrition piece.

What is it, then, that I am feeling?  Fear? Excitement?  Sheer stupidity?  I know that tomorrow is the beginning of a long journey.  Not just to the Kinetic Half in May, but to IMFL in November.

As part of my out with old, in with the new attitude I decided to organize “my training life” on the last day of 2011.  I dusted off my bike trainer.  I pumped up the tires of Big Blue and mounted her back on the trainer.  I gathered up my bars and gels, found my leftover Nuun tabs, and organized my workout clothes and gear. I put the Spinervals DVDs on top of Elf and A Christmas Story.  I entered dates on my training plan and put them into my calendar.  I was still not feeling settled.


I tell myself one of my age old adages- “Take control of the things I can control“.  Not that I listen to my age old adages, but it sounds good and makes me feel better.

So tonight I feel as though I am getting ready for a 4 month long race.  The laundry is done, the fridge is stocked, I have made (and froze) meat sauce, hamburgers, and turkey soup.  I have laid out my work clothes, my workout clothes and preloaded my drawer with the rest of this week’s workout clothes.  My water is in my bottles for the hour long bike trainer session at 5:00 tomorrow.

This all may be close to impossible to maintain, but for now….I AM READY!

Inquiring minds want to know-how do you get ready for your training and races? Any tips on organizing your days/weeks are much appreciated! 

See you at the finish!

Confessions of an eater, and no, this is not a food blog

Avoidance.  Not one of my strong suits.  I am an attack-this-thing-head-on kinda gal.  But this December I have been in avoidance mode.  Avoiding sweat, avoiding thinking about my A race, avoiding gels, Nuun tabs, my bike trainer, running outside.  Basically avoiding anything that might resemble training.

I went back to the land of long ago – the gym.  I met my friend Michelle every morning at 5:30.  I ran or did spin class for 30 minutes. She would go lift after our 30 minutes and I would keep walking out the door.  One time I went and just put my legs in the pool.  It was too cold, so I went home.

My intentions for December started out right.

photo credit


Maybe I indulged a little more than I thought.

But then things really went downhill.   My first pitfall was making cookies with my kids, my niece and my nephew.  We made the traditional Christmas cookies but for myself I made an entire 13 x 9 pan of Seven Layer Bars.  I work hard right?  I deserve it, don’t I?  And any recipe that starts with 1/2 cup of butter is going to be delish.  What I didn’t know is that these goody bars call your name.  Constantly.  They mutter for you to come and eat them.  They were G-O-N-E by the following week.  At least they did not tempt me anymore.

I should enjoy myself.  I did just do a marathon didn’t I?   After a week of working, shopping, and organizing I deserved another treat, especially since the goody bars were gone.  So the fam and I went to dinner at the local Japanese Steak House where I ordered enough sushi for a small family AND an entree.  It’s just so hard to choose.

What a nice man.

Why stop there?  We had decided that for this Christmas we would visit the family in Canada for a traditional Boudreau Family Canadian Christmas.  If you can guess by now, it would involve a lot of eating. We arrived Christmas night to a sit down dinner of turkey AND ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, corn, green beans and rolls.  Oh, Carbs, I have been without you for 12 hours!  Welcome back, and yes, I will have two of everything, thank you.

The next day we met two of my cousins in Toronto for a whirlwind food tour.  They had visited us in the summer for a food driven vacation in Baltimore/Annapolis/DC and thought they would return the favor.  Ohhhh, thank you very much!  We started the day at the St. Lawrence Market.  After sharing the most incredible pork taco,  I finished off my daughter’s homemade linguini and sauce, and the leftover calimari and fries.  A great way to start the day.

Dessert anyone?

Definitely no heartache with this love.

Nutella crepe?  Yes, please.  Don’t forget to try the PB and Jam crepe too!

We drove over to the Distillery District to pop into a shop called Taste Of Quebec.  And taste we did.  Did you know there are 4 different cheeses all made in the Magdalene Islands?  And not one tastes the same as the other.  How do I know that??

We wandered over to what used to be the distillery jail and is now a coffee shop.  Hot chocolate anyone?  Couldn’t possibly!

My favorite place of the day was Kensington Market.  It wasn’t really a market, it was more of an outdoor street party.  The market encompasses 5 blocks of shops and restaurants.  The streets are closed off so that when you see a new food place you won’t get run over dashing to it. The food is so authentic you can taste each ingredient!  After poking our heads into a few vintage clothing shops to pretend we weren’t there just to eat, we went into a small Mexican restaurant serving the most incredible taquitos.  We sampled the pork, beef and chicken. The pork came with pineapple and the beef was cooked in a mole sauce.  The tortillas were freshly made and so delicious!  The next stop was the store where the tortillas are made and I bought about 50 for $2!  And it’s $2 Canadian, so it was even cheaper!  We walked a few more streets and stopped for a traditional Jamaican patty that was OMG good!  My daughter and I wrestled for it  took turns taking bites as we walked along.  Finally we had to say our goodbyes on full stomachs, knowing we will meet again this summer for more of everything.

Now that I have that off of my plate, what do you want to confess about your December?