Monday, October 20, 2014

Ask Me Anything : My Answers

You asked, I answered...

What next?

More short triathlons and a few 70.3 because I like the distance a lot. Another Ironman distance? Most likely in 2016 (Coeur d'Alene, Whistler or Penticton). But only after the pain in my knees goes away. But don't count 2015 out for an IM if I feel really, really good after Muskoka 70.3. We shall see.

Will you get an Ironman tattoo?

So many people asked me the question and the answer is... I don't think so. Not yet anyway. I don't have any tattoos, and for my first, I'd rather have tattooed the initials of my boys or something that makes me think of my family than the logo of a corporation that has started to act rather questionably recently.

You reached the top of the mountain. The natural tendency is to look up and wonder what to conquer next -- and to feel lost when you see nothing. Have you stopped to admire the view? Have you looked back at the path you took to get where you are? Can you still see where you were, all those many months ago, before that first run? What about the prep for that first 50k on the bike? Did you take the time to recognize that?

The answer is YES, yes, a thousand times YES. I could not be more grateful for even finishing this race, given the challenges that were thrown my way. I did reflect after each hard workout, each building block completed (more or less successfully) and thanked my body for not failing me. However, and here is where I may upset some people, I did not think of this Ironman as something really extraordinary. From outside looking in, it is certainly remarkable, but for me,  as I marched towards this goal, it never felt out of reach. I always considered it like my longest training day, with some memorable perks along the way. And once I did reach the end of that day, I didn't feel an epiphany or anything transcendental. It was over and that was it. The fact that I didn't have another goal to look forward to is what hurt the most. And it doesn't have to be an Ironman - even a 5K race would keep me happy. Something, anything to look forward to that involves my body moving. I spent 5 years now patting myself on the back for getting out of depression and climbing mountain after mountain to reach impressive goals. But there comes a moment when you have to let go of the past and start living IN the moment. You have to make each day count. Sure I do deserve to spend a month on the couch with my feet up, but I can't give up the fire that gets me OFF that couch, it's too much of a risk taking for my own health.

What has been your FAVOURITE part about no longer being in Ironman training?

Hands down, being able to spend more time with my family and friends in the weekends. Now I can say YES to a movie night or a brunch and it makes my day. I just went treetop trekking with the boys on Sunday (after going to work at 5am)!!

What's your favourite long ride? It's Saturday, and you have 4 hours to spend, so where would you go?

I really love going to Erin or Schomberg for coffee and treats (80-100km). The ride is not too exhausting, there are some rolling hills and fast descents, and good people to say hi to, like Brian Travis from Erin Forks Bicycle shop.

What's your religious affiliation, and how does it affect you motivation?

I have no religious affiliation and it doesn't bother me at all. It's probably the last thing in the world that would affect my motivation. I'm with Darwin though, so if I get to blame someone for a missed workout it's only myself and my human limitations, like the need for sleep, or the hormones. I also blame my negative "ape index" for not being fast enough in the water.

What movies are you most likely to pick if you are going to put on something you have already seen?

I currently really want to see "Across the Universe" (2007) again (it would be the 3rd time). I love a movie with interesting visuals and that puts me in a good mood. But the following are always a staple in our household: "The Fifth Element" (1997) (too many to count), "Taxi" (1998) (the French version, maybe 10 times), "Dirty Dancing" (1987) (must have seen at least 35 times since I was a teen) or "Lost Highway" (1997) (because I still haven't figured it out after seeing it half a dozen times). What's up with the years ending in 7??

Can you write a bit about balancing work/family/kids etc with Ironman training? Did you ever feel guilty about things like long rides?

No doubt that it is hard, but you must let go of the guilt, or you're going to stress yourself too much, which leads to burnout and injuries. You have to think of this "journey" as something you do for yourself, but that your family members can get inspired to follow in their own lives - and it's not about racing an Ironman or any long distance in particular - but the dedication, the  consistency, the drive to success and overcoming challenges that are life lessons for anyone willing to be by your side and help you achieve your dreams. A very good piece of advice that I read once in a book (I think it was Be IronFit) is to sit down with your family members and make this decision together. You will have to explain what it will entail and get a buy in from everyone, but especially your significant other. It will be a family "sacrifice" so to speak, but if you balance it well enough, you can still have 1 weekend/month where you can squeeze in some family time. We tried to make some of our racing weekends interesting for the kids and stay overnight in a hotel and visit the surroundings as well, like going to Niagara Falls when we raced Welland. We also made our trip to Mt Tremblant the yearly family vacation, so that everyone gets something out of it. As to work? Meh. I thought I would be more fatigued, but somehow my body adjusted and I didn't feel much impact during the day. If you eat well and rest appropriately, you will recover fast enough to be ready for more. Last but not least, balance is the key. I truly believe that you do not need to train more than 15h/week at your peak for a 70.3, with an average between 10-12h, especially when you have a family and a full time job. Quality over quantity and don't forget to take a full rest day (no workouts of any kind, not even yoga). You can also use this day to make dinner, fold the laundry or play a board game with the kids.

Personally I am not a morning person and I did most of my workouts in the evening, with the biggest volume in the weekends. And yes, I felt guilty at times, but knowing that there would be some quality time spent with my family once a month always helped to let go. And truth to be told, I could not have done it without Zin. He made dinner every night and took care of most of house chores - it's a family commitment, al right.

How do your family members support and keep up with your IM ambitions?

See previous answer. They do not ask too much from me, which makes me a very lucky person. My boys are teenagers and don't need constant attention, and I have NO clue whether I could have done this with younger children. Looking back, I was in a much worse mental and physical state when I was a new mom to even exercise. Maybe if I had taken up triathlon back then it would have helped, but I'll never know, unless I get pregnant again, yikes!! (not gonna happen)

So, the answer is - they are mature enough to understand. I want to believe that they are proud of me and this new "lifestyle" encourages them to live a healthy and active life... but nothing is a given and only time will tell. They are helping me by not getting in trouble, staying in school, getting good grades and showing me that they don't need me to look over their shoulder in order to succeed (even though Zin and I still do a minimum to keep them "on track" so to speak). In my opinion, it teaches them to be adventurous, independent and resilient.

And if they join me in a race or workouts, they know that I am always looking forward to it.

THANK YOU all for your questions!!

1 comment:

  1. Quite the commitment! I can't believe you trained for an Ironman in the evenings. That in and of itself impresses me.