Monday, December 24, 2012

Last one for the road

Yesterday, -2C but with 3 warm layers, it was actually pretty enjoyable. I had to do it, I needed it. Armed with the warrior attitude, I set foot on the road for another 2h long run, which slowly but surely is becoming my favorite distance. It's long enough to be challenging for both body and mind, yet not too long to be exhausting.

I ran the first 5k with hubbs, who is still nursing an ITB injury, but continued on my own afterwards, with the goal of reaching the Etobicoke trail and doing one or more loops around the Loafers' Lake or the adjacent open field that the city recently reshaped in fitness bootcamp and playground. For those curious to see what it means, here are some pictures of the contraptions they scattered around.

I didn't try any of them because well, they do look cold and uninviting to touch, but also because I was on a mission. Funny thing, if you look closely, you will notice that they are all branded "Paris". I wonder where that is coming from...

Running wise, I did pretty good me thinks, managed to run 18k, but got mad at my Garmin HRM strap that is becoming more and more a lying piece of  sh*t. Anyway, I think I am going to take DC Rainmaker's advice and buy myself a Polar WearLink strap and do a brain transplant with Garmin's ANT+ transmitter.

That's all folks! Over and out!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I need a break

Some days are better than others... So I am going to start with the highlight of this week, which was actually a week ago. My long run, thanks to an intermezzo in the non-stop rain programme, and this photo, which I hope shows how great it made me feel.

Then a new workweek started and every day the panic grew bigger and bigger until I totally broke down on Friday when I almost got in an accident, twice, and cried in the car with two of my coworkers. I seriously need a break.

I only managed to squeeze in my treadmill workout, which I failed again for skipping one of the intervals. Don't get me wrong, I am not too hard on myself because I do like a challenge and this is a perfect one. I know that I am pushing my body to the limit and I know I will be able to complete this workout one day, it's just that I'm not there yet. This is what it looks like:
Warm up 10 min. @6.0 mph
6.0 mph incline 2% = 2 min
7.0 mph 0 % = 2 min
6.0 mph 0% = 2 min
7.0 mph 4% =2 min
8.0 mph 0%= 1 min
6.0 mph 0% =1 min
7.0 mph 6% = 2min
8.0 mph 1 %= 1min
6.0 mph 0%=1 min
9.0 mph 0%= 1min
6.0 mph X 10 min cool down
Twice that I tried so far, I failed to run 1min at 8mph/1% incline after the 7mph/6% interval. Because I feel like passing out, I go to 6mph/0% for 2 minutes before doing the last sprint at 9mph. I'm working on it... everything shall come to those who know how to wait.

I will go for my 2h long run tomorrow if the weather cooperates, because there is no way that I'll be running that long on the treadmill. There are limits to my dedication, especially in weeks like these when my patience has run thin.

As to the bike workouts, skipped both of them. No time, no energy, nothing left in the mind to get me out of bed and into the gym at times when I could spend quality time with my family and friends instead. I did not regret at all, not this time. I spent one night playing board games with the boys, one day birthday partying with my older son, another night at a basketball game (Toronto Raptors beat Dallas Mavericks, yay!), one night having dinner with friends, and a day of shopping with my mom and felt great.

I also went to the pool twice, on Tuesday to coach hubbs, and on Thursday with the Falcons, and it was relaxing, rewarding and exactly what I needed - a mean to focus on something that required skill in order to push the stress out of my brain. Both times I slept like a baby afterwards, thank goodness, because the other nights were a nightmare, literally.

There isn't much more left to say, the fun times are almost here and I am going to enjoy this break because life is short and there is immense joy in celebrating those who matter the most. Fitness, getting back in tip top shape and PRs can wait.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Full gear ahead, with a touch of Instagram

I survived the week in the new workplace!! I also managed to do all my workouts this week, with a lot of "suck it up, buttercup" self-talk. Long days, lots of driving, but I don't feel too exhausted right now, so the amount must have been just right.

Last Saturday (yes, my blogging weeks start with the weekend) I went to my first spin class in almost a year. Because I went to bed pretty late the night before, I decided that the 9:15am class was going to be early enough. Drove to my regular gym and found this very cheerful crowd and the teacher who seemed to know all the people in the room, so she picked up on me right away and said "good luck, you're going to need it". Oh she knew what I was in for! 55 minutes later, I was drowning in a puddle of sweat, I had lost my voice and my legs were burning. So much fun, it hurt!

What I also loved was wearing my biking shoes for the first time ever in a spin class. What a difference hard soles make!

The rest of the day was a blur... so fast forward to the next day, a few folks from my tri club were going to meet in Inglewood (about 15min drive from home) for a hilly long run. I had never run there before, but I was familiar with the place for having driven there a few times to check out the local bike shop. That is actually where hubbs bought his bike and I bought my tri top as well. Anyway, despite going to bed really late again, I managed to leave the house on time. Alas the road looked really really wet and I didn't doubt that I was going to get drenched too.

But I had promised that I'd join the fun, so didn't want to bail out at the last minute. Once I arrived in Inglewood, only 2 other folks (and a dog) showed up though, so without thinking twice about the rain, off we went. It was damn challenging, so many hills, all I could tell myself was: "you signed up for Muskoka - 70.3 worth of hills, so shut up and keep moving". Thankfully, once we hit km 6, it was time to turn around, and I started feeling hopeful that I was going to make it back to the car after all.

The rain was falling on and off by then, roads were pretty wet, my shoes and clothes were too, but I wanted more. My workout needed to be 1h40 long, so I told my tri peeps goodbye and hopped on another trail to meet my quota. I finished the run pretty happy with my exploits even though I know that I embarrassed myself on those hills. Baby steps, baby steps.

Monday - Yoga. Nothing new to report there.
On Tuesday I needed to do the same treadmill killer workout as last week, so I went to the gym with my minimalist shoes. Tried to kill two birds with one stone, and the result was rather surprising. It took in average 5bpm LESS effort to move those feet. In the end, it didn't feel so criminal. It felt awesome! But this commuting + driving to the gym daily was starting to feel repetitive.

Indeed. On Wednesday, I went back again, this time for a bike workout. Foursquare +3 points bonus for going to the same gym 3 days in a row. Ouch. Wattage? Power intervals? Whaaaaat? I do not know how to do that... I started moving my feet, I had 10 minutes of warming up to figure it out. Thanks to Google, I found that Life Fitness bikes on Level 6 = 100 watts. Ok... so if I were to extrapolate, I needed to be on level 12 for my intervals. Oy! Decided to stay on level 4 when I wasn't pushing, and 11-12 for the rest, for a set that turned into a bunch of humps.

What you gon' do with all that junk?
All that junk inside your trunk?
I'ma get, get, get, get, you drunk,
Get you love drunk off my hump.
My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump,
My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely little lumps (Check it out)

I counted them - all eight of them, my lovely little lumps. I got culture, didn't you know?

Thursday I decided that it was time for a walk. Too beautiful outside, too much driving around, not enough fresh air. I went on a recon mission at lunch to find my way to the nearby trail, aka my new playground. It was wonderful. I took a bunch of pictures, listened to the birds, looked at the river and the few ponds around, said hi to the passerby's. The rest is history, in all its Instagram glory.

I drove back from work and out of the house again. I was so friggin' tired, I had to take a nap after dinner, secretly hoping that I wouldn't wake up. But hubbs makes a good alarm clock "Get up! Get out! It's pool time!". Oh well, here we go again... Drills, drills, more drills, drinking chlorine, foggy goggles, flippers, flip turns, pretending that I can make it 200m without drowning (barely, ok?).

And now here we are, it's FRIDAY!! REST DAY!! Blogging day, whatever... I am in a murderous mood for whatever reason, hormonal or not, so I am taking all my anger on the keyboard. Really, I feel like screaming out loud. Like really loud. I guess I just needed to get all this stuff out. I think I am feeling better already. Here, look at this croissant with me, it was my dinner, along with a herbal peppermint tea.

By the way, I sent it back to remove the mayo. It was pretty sexy for the photo, but that didn't need to make it inside my stomach with the extra calories. I think I am hungry again. Okay, time to go to bed, sleep cures everything. Tomorrow the cycle starts again.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Look, ma! I'm a celebrity!

Psst. Something happened this week. I got contacted by FitOrbit to be part of their Success Stories. Between Errin and I, this makes two for coach Dave. ;-)

If you ever thought of starting to work with a coach and you are on a budget, I definitely recommend FitOrbit. I am where I am thanks to having a coach myself, so I believe in the system.

You can read more about my weigh loss here.

Back to regular programming now. Did I tell you that I haz Twitter now (@IrinaSouiki)? Look on the right, you will see a widget with my latest tweets. Feel free to follow me on there if you want!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Zen Running

Did you ever have one of those moments when you felt that you reached the Zen state of mind while running? It happened to me a few weeks ago, I was so in tune with my body while running, I think it was towards the end of a 10k run - the feet quietly tapping the pavement, the arms swinging in perfect harmony, body gliding through the air, it felt so good that I had to take out my camera and immortalize it. I didn't know what it'd look like, I had never taken a video of myself while running, so apologies for the shaking, but I did watch this video a few times since and it manages to bring the same feelings back to into my mind, that of peace and happiness and freedom. I thought I'd share.

Here's the Runkeeper activity for (my own) reference.

Friday, November 30, 2012

A week full of WIN!

It's time to stop complaining about the winter and go inside!! D'uh! You would think that I'm smarter than this, but procrastination gets the best of me sometimes. This week, finally, I decided that enough was enough, I have a gym membership that I've been paying for a reason. So for once, I decided NOT to skip the treadmill and bike workouts, and drag my ass to the gym both times that it was required. I even went to the pool. A really tri-athletic week: WIN!!

Monday was Yoga as usual. Sweat, stretch and suffer. With each week I can see my flexibility increasing and I love it! Not sure if my joints agree, but so far so good, nothing started shaking or wobbling since. Yoga music was also pretty cool this week, more words than strings and flutes - it kept us awake for sure. By the way, if you ever wanted to know what instruments are played in traditional Yoga music, I came across this article (because I am curious like that).

On Tuesday I went for a minimalist run and increased the time to 30 minutes - still no pain. Awesome! Can it get better? Yes it can!

Wednesday evening I took a look at my schedule and I saw *gasp* a 1h50 bike ride. With intervals and the word HARD, five times. Well, what else could I do? I don't have a bike trainer, so gym was gonna be it. I can't really remember what I had for dinner that night, but fact is, it was NOT enough. I only had water with me on the bike and when the workout was finally over, I wondered if I could walk all the way to the change rooms and then drive back home. It literally felt like I had left on that bike the last ounce of energy that I had in me and that my bones were standing up like a castle made out of cards. I zig-zagged my way back to the lockers, on the road and up the stairs to my bedroom where I collapsed in my bed with no recollection of any events.

Sweat, water and VEVO
Thankfully I found a picture in my phone that cured my amnesia (most likely taken halfway, just before I had to restart the workout. Why do those bikes always have a 1h limit?)

Thursday was stay-at-home day because my company was moving offices and the movers were in there instead of us, pushing plastic crates around, up and down the elevators, and all the way to the opposite side of the city. Don't get me started. It sucks, for having doubled my commute time, but at least there is some good in it (see the end of the post). Anyway, I woke up, sent the kids to school, had breakfast, then returned to bed. I was still feeling exhausted and could not keep my eyes open - seriously down for the count. Maybe it was all the packing and cleaning that I had done since the beginning of the week, or the stress of having to work and meeting deadlines while doing all this, or the stress of moving altogether. Fact is, I slept until 1pm, then of course, returned to work on my laptop. At least I had decided that I was not going to leave my bed.

In the evening though, I knew there were workouts waiting for me and both required me to get up, get dressed and leave the house. I had another quick dinner (a small slice of pizza and two clementines) and rushed to the gym. Opened Training Peaks and discovered this.

Which resulted in this:

How thoughtful of coach Dave. Trying to kill me before the weekend. But I survived. And I wanted MORE. Masochistic much?

Maybe, given that I didn't go home after this, no no... I went straight to the sauna where I cooked for 20 minutes, then put on my bathing suit and then drove to the pool where the weekly tri club swim was about to begin. I had missed it for 2 weeks already, no more excuses. I'm pretty sure this isn't what coach Dave had in mind for me, he's not that evil, but if I was trying to find a way to die that night, this would have been the perfect fit. With only a pack of Stinger chews in me after the run (I'm pretty sure the pizza slice was long gone), I tried keeping up the best I could, but by the end of the night I had swallowed half of the pool and my stomach was dragging me down. I finished the class, but they had to fish me out with a harpoon, then jump on me to get the water out and refill the pool. Yikes, that's gross.

I beat the odds one more time. PHEW!

Today: REST. I walked for 5.5km. Can't keep me put, sorry, Dave. It was the first day in the new office and after an uneventful commute, I re-assessed my stress level and decided that working in this new place wasn't going to be so bad after all. It feels cozy for bringing people a lot closer together (hello, Mark - my cubicle buddy!), I have a window seat (after many days spent in tears),
Cubicle with a view
a gym on the same floor (photos by Becky Benson)
Treadmills and dumbells, wheee!
Elliptical machines
Torture machines
and a beautiful trail to run on.
The Don River Trail - my new best friend
I'm saying - why keep on stressing and looking at the bad side of things when you can flip the coin with a trick of the mind and embrace the opportunities that are being offered. You just have to open your eyes to see them.

Workouts with no pain, days spent in bed, new limits found, new friends made, nature at your feet.
This week was definitely full of WIN!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Running blind

Another week of so-so workouts, the motivation was there, but the body not so much. I didn't get in a pool or on the bike at all, but managed to run a few times. I hope to run again tomorrow, there is a 14k scheduled with the tri club. Today I am taking it easy as I try to relax and rest from a week of stress at work, which seems to have become the norm lately. I also took on a photography gig tonight, despite my reticence in touching the shutter button in almost a year. I am nervous, but it's never too late to renew my love with "professional" photography. I also updated my portfolio website as the folks at 500px released new themes and I found one that works well for my stuff. If you've never visited my photography website, take a look here, I am pretty proud of it. I've been shooting as "Still Memory" since 2002, holy cow that's 10 long years. It doesn't make me feel any younger. At least the photos never get old, right?

But back to running, here's what happened. On Monday, I felt like going for a minimalist run before my Yoga class and I didn't regret it. Zero pain so far, despite increasing the time to almost 25min. On Tuesday I went out with hubbs who is still nursing an injured knee, so we played tag. It was a bit of a run/walk which still felt like a workout, so... in da bank! Walked for over 1h on Wednesday and on Thursday we went out for my younger son's birthday and got food poisoning, so I missed the tri club swim again because I spent the evening agonizing in bed with horrible stomach cramps. Last night I was really craving a run, but the weather was just miserable. The whole week Mother Nature had been very temperamental: foggy and wet in the morning, gorgeous sunshine and temperatures during the day, freezing at night. The pictures below should sum it up.

Yesterday it brought us a horizontal blizzard and that's exactly when I decided to finally go out. Not sure whether the picture below makes it justice, but it was NASTY. REALLY NASTY.

 I just didn't know what I was in for until I started running and then I went blind. All the snowflakes were smashing against my eyeballs and I had no visor, just a hat and a turtle neck that I pulled up as high as possible, covering my face right up under my eyes, ninja style. Alas it didn't give me any superpowers and for about 15 minutes I had to run with my eyes closed, not sure whether I was crying or bleeding. It was definitely the worst feeling ever. At the same time my Raynaud's came out of deep sleep as well and made my hands scream in pain. 15 minutes were almost enough to make me turn around when... miracle, the blizzard stopped, or maybe I just ran away from it far enough. I finally opened my eyes and assessed the situation. I could do this.

Continued running south, hoping for my hands to start feeling alive again, which they did eventually. I was going to run in front of the hospital, so worst case scenario, I'd go straight into ER. I had my RoadID, check. Passing out was not going to be a problem, they were going to know who I am. But by the time I made it to the hospital, I was actually feeling pretty awesome and was wondering how long I could go on... I didn't want to go back into the blizzard for sure, so I took my time to enjoy the feeling of running happy and relaxed.

I ended up doing a bit longer than 8km, 55 minutes in total. That was enough fun for the day. Jumped straight in the shower to warm up (wait, this sounds just like my previous post - am I a broken record?) and then in bed because I was pretty much done.
I woke up like this:
So far, the only workout I did was to walk to the near coffee shop in order to replenish my caffeine reserves. Oh, I also drove to the hairdresser because if you hadn't guessed yet, it was definitely time for a haircut. And then I watched the Expandables 2 on my couch, which most likely didn't count for anything other than laughs.

I hope to do better next week. Who knows, I may get better luck at staying in the groove and actually dragging my ass to the gym and the pool. Yeah, whatever I said. Is it spring yet?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

It's not over till it's over

Another beautiful day, another outdoor bike ride... It was on my Training Peaks, but I didn't even dare to dream that I would get to do it outside. By chance, around 2pm I went out for a few minutes  and noticed the warm temperature (around 10C, maybe?) and bright sun and told myself, after all, why not?? I was procrastinating on the couch anyway, trying to delay the vacuum cleaning as much as I could (guess what, it's still not done) and decided that even Skyfall was going to wait. We were supposed to go see it around 4pm, but Mr. Bond is such a gentleman, I am sure he didn't mind.

I put on my running tights, a tshirt and a hoodie and off I went. Immediately after I started pedaling, the temperature dropped by 10 degrees (it's called the wind chill, d'uh!) and knew I was in for a suffer fest. I was still determined to spend 1h30 out there, so I put on my best smile and tried to keep it from freezing in place. Chain on the small crank, I also forced my legs to spin to keep the blood flowing. The last thing I wanted to see happening was to lose my toes on the road. 

At least the cows didn't seem to mind, they were all out, enjoying the crispy grass. But of course, they were not zooming on wheels!

Mooing on... my teeth and fingers also fell victims to the chill and eventually, they too went numb. After 1h, I started counting down the km since I couldn't feel my feet and my muscles were about to go on strike. I ate a few GU Chomps and sped up, making it back right under 1h30 as I had planned. Thankfully my shower gives me awesome hot water because I had to spend a good 20min under it to warm up my insides again. It was a beautiful day indeed, but the sun had very sharp teeth that made it a lot more enjoyable at 5km/h instead of 5 times that. Lesson learned, we're in Canada, alright.
And now that my fingers regained their mobility, I can finish telling the story of this day, secretly hoping for more rides in the sunset, freezing or not. I just need to get better prepared because it's always worth it!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Crank it up! I'm getting fat.

I would have never planned writing this blog update from the hospital, but it just happened that I had to stay with my son in hospital overnight after his latest adventures in boyland in which he fractured his skull (with the help of another boy from school, but I won't go into details). Yesterday he was a bit nauseous and he had a headache, but today he is doing much better, so we may even be able to go home, but for the sake of safety, he will have to remain under close observation for 48h. I guess I will remain on mommy duty for the time being, so workouts will be put on hold.

As an update though, I've been itching to increase the volume again as I keep watching the numbers on my scale going up and up... It is not helping that I eat chocolate daily either, but it's hard to resist with so much stress around the office. I know, not good, and I am fully aware that I am being part of the problem. Better start doing something to counter attack sooner rather than later. I have been keeping up with my hot yoga classes on Mondays and I feel that I am getting stronger, which is pretty awesome. Finally, Chaturangas seem to be within reach, phew. Definitely not going to stop now, I bought a pass of 10 classes anyway and I will keep on going for as long as I can.

On Sunday it was a glorious day and we beat a 70 year temperature record with almost 18C instead of 8C. So we HAD to go on a bike ride, most likely the last of the season. We did our usual 1h out and back, then followed right away with a minimalist run for 20min. No issues there, had a bit of soreness in the calves, but did not run on Monday and Tuesday and the pain is now gone. Good calves!

On Tuesday we went out for a long walk, it was beautiful with all the fireworks around us for most of my neighborhood was celebrating Diwali. Plus, the weather was still cooperating, even though it had dropped back close to zero. After the walk, I decided to go for a swim as well, I couldn't wait to check out the new Cassie Campbell Community Centre and holy cow, that was one impressive building with 2 ice arenas, an indoor running track, huge gym and beautiful pool. I was impressed to say the least and I can't wait to go back, even though it's at the opposite side of the city. No biggie, the ride was just 15-20 min long, I can do this if I plan properly (my regular pool is closed for repairs until mid January).

So I did a random workout, a bit of this, a bit of that. Started with 100m warmup, then did 1000m pull (I have been using the fins too much and felt that my arms were getting lazy), followed by a 250 breast stroke, then as many speed intervals that I could in the remaining time, 50x8 with decreasing rest time. Total 1750m in about 43min of actual swim time, I had a pretty good night sleep after that.

I have been eager to go back for a run since the weekend, but I expect it not to be until tomorrow. If we go home tonight, I may be able to go to my swim class with the tri club... We shall see... Anyway, I think I am ready to tell my coach to CRANK IT UP. It's all fun and games until someone puts on too much weight and starts feeling lazy. That would be me. I think I need to hire some personal cheerleaders too.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Easy recipes: Riri's Famous Banana Bread

As the smell of banana bread is slowly taking over all corners of our house, I feel inspired to share my recipe with you guys. I found it a few years ago on the good ol' Internet, but made some slight modifications and since then, it became the regular afterlife of our mushy bananas, saved from the compost bin every 2 weeks in general (we should definitely learn to plan better our banana consumption).

Mix in order (this will make one loaf):

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter (melted in the microwave for 30sec)
3 mushy bananas (pureed in a separate bowl)
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda mixed with 1 tbsp warm water
2 cups flour
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Optional: add chocolate chips, walnuts, pecans, raisins, etc.

Bake at 350F for 1h.

They should look like this after you take them out of the oven:

1 choco chip and 1 regular cooling down
Bon appetit!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

This is the season of the Ninjas

The off season is here and if my body didn't know better, I probably wouldn't be able to walk by now, icing a limb or two on the couch, watching sappy movies. But thankfully I've been able to listen to it an spent some weeks doing "fun" workouts, no heart rate monitor, no music, just me, hubbs and the sounds of our footsteps. I didn't try to break any records, but threw in a few challenging workouts to get my heart going. Yesterday, for example, we went on a pretty exhilarating 10k, trying to keep a tempo pace all throughout. For the first time outside a race I managed to run this distance under 5:45 min/km, total 56:57. I had a few tough moments for getting the same stomach pain as during the marathon (drank a big coffee just before the workout, so liquid induced diaphragm cramps is what I'm going to call it), but I successfully breathed my way through it and didn't slow down too much. I'm toughening up, yo.
This is what I looked while running by the way. In my Ninja outfit, I felt invincible. I should wear this at work too, I need some help in that department. Invincible, invisible, time travel, whatever works. Oh wait...

In the biking department though, I don't even remember the last time I rode my bike, or any bike by the way. I haven't been motivated to go back to the gym yet, I'd rather spent those hours outside, running or walking, you know, breathing fresh air rather than other people's body odours. So let's not talk about how many km/h I'm getting slower with every week that I don't ride a bike. The mojo will come back once the blizzard is going to hit town, there will be no way out, right? Riiiight.

Swimming has been going well, I signed up for a weekly session with my tri club and we do a lot of drills and speed work and we're having lots of fun. Not sure whether I am making real progress yet, but for sure I am learning new things, such as swimming with flippers and getting blisters in new places. Going forward, I think I am  going to add another weekly swim because I found an awesome pool just 10min away from my house, which is in a gym, so I can go whenever I want, after I sign up with the gym, that is. I think I can get a good deal, but I need to work my charm with a particular employee, whose name I don't know yet, so wish me luck. Here's a few pictures of the pool, isn't it a beauty?
Love this pool, there's nobody in!
Coach Lorene, for the size perspective
To add to all this fun, I started going to hot Yoga again. For now, once a week is plenty and I LOVE it. I missed Yoga a lot. I haven't gone regularly in over 4 years, but my gym has classes every day and I settled on the Monday one with Matthew, a very cool dude with braids and a wicked body. He also puts on groovy music and is not afraid to ask us to do head stands and lunges until we throw up. Ok, nobody threw up just yet, but I've never sweat so much in my life for sure. Plus, downward dogs are great for tight calves, so I am looking forward to the time when my legs are going to beg me to go on a run. Oh, wait, that's about now. As soon as I am done putting away the laundry, I promise.

But before I go do that, here's a little piece of news that I can't wait to share with you guys. I signed up for Ironman 70.3 Muskoka!! Not sure when my coach is going to start the training madness, but for sure as soon as I'm done with this "fun" little phase. Let the hurt begin! In case you didn't know, Muskoka has the highest cumulative elevation in all Ironman races in North America, and that includes full Ironmans too. Crazy, but of course. Am I a Ninja or what?!

And to celebrate, what better than Muskoka beer?
Does this picture make me look drunk? I am not surprised.
Cheers everyone!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

No excuses

I'm too weak too slow too big I ate too much for breakfast I've got a headache It's raining My dog is sick I can't right now I'm not inspired Makes me smell bad I'm allergic to stuff I'm fat I'm thin It's too hot I'm not right I've got shin splints I've got a headache I get distracted I'm just exerting myself too much I'd love to, really, but I can't I just can't My favorite show is on I got a case of the Mondays .. the Tuesdays .. the Wednesdays I don't wanna do this I wanna do something else Next week After New Year's I might make a mistake I've got homework I feel bloated I have gas I've got a hot date My coach hates me My mom won't let me I bruise easily It's too dark It's too cold My blister hurts This is dangerous Ughh… Sorry, I don't have a bike I didn't get enough sleep My tummy hurts It's not in my genes I don't wanna look all tired out I need a better coach I don't like getting tackled I have a stomach ache I'm not the athletic type I don't wanna get sweaty I have better things to do I don't wanna slow you down Do I HAVE to do this? As soon as I get a promotion I think I'll sit this one out Man, my feet hurt.

You have NO EXCUSES.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

As the days are passing by and I am getting lazier and squishier with each and every one of them, eating candy and chocolate to keep my stress level afloat, it comes in handy that I was nominated by Sam from "Breaking my Runners In" (thank you!) for the Liebster Blog Award so I don't have to give my brain too much of a workout in writing a post. Don't worry, I am not in the race to win anything, but it's a way of spreading the love forward amongst us underdog fitness bloggers. This award is for bloggers with less than 200 followers (hiya, all 5 of you!) who deserve some recognition and support to keep on blogging (that's me, whee!). The rules are as following:

So here we go:
1. POST 11 FACTS ABOUT YOURSELF (I used to have 100 of those when I first started blogging 10 years ago, where are they when I need them?)
  • I am an only child
  • I was born in Romania where I lived for 15 years, then moved with my parents to France after the fall of the communist regime, where I lived for another 10 years. In 2000 I moved to Canada with my hubbs and so far, I don't have any plans for moving again. :-)
  • I can solve the Rubik's cube in about 90 sec, I learned when I was 12, but I am getting rusty and need to practice regularly so I don't forget.
  • I practiced volleyball and taekwon-do competitively when I was younger and more agile. I can also play a mean ping-pong.
  • I wear a fancy title at work, but I am still a goof at heart and I fight for being taken seriously.
  • My blood type is B+, so is my hubbs'. I keep on wondering what my kids' blood types are.
  • I would like to donate blood, but nobody wants it because I lived in France and I am a potential mad cow disease carrier.
  • I saw Guns'n Roses, Supertramp, Paul Mc Cartney,  Madonna, Shania Twain, Vanesa Paradis and U2 in concert.
  • My favorite still cartoon characters are Calvin and Hobbes, my favorite cartoon character is Wyle E. Coyote.
  • I knitted a sweater for my teddy bear when I was 12
  • When I was 8 months pregnant with my first child I was selected for a French TV show where I had to guess 6 people's hobbies/jobs. The show's name was "Qui est Qui?" (Who's Who?). I was the winner of the show and took home 20,000 Francs and a Carribean vacation that I couldn't go to, for being pregnant at the time. I still haven't been to a Carribean vacation, ever.
  • I would like to learn how to juggle, but I know there are some things that I will never be good  at, such as juggling, or playing a musical instrument. I am totally fine with it.
  • I hate vanilla scent. I also discovered in the past 2 years that I was allergic to perfume and fumes and I get asthma attacks because of it. No perfume around me please, not even scented candles.
  • Are you a folder or a crumpler? 
  • I only fold my fitness clothes and PJs because they go in a drawer. The rest of my wardrobe is on hangers, so the question does not apply. I also fold my towels and sheets, but I don't care about fitted sheets, which can be crumpled at will.
  • What is your favourite type of fiction?
  • I like crime/mystery stories and not-too-far-in-the-future sci-fi. For those who are familiar with French literature, I own every single one of Rene Barjavel's books.
  • What is your favourite thing for dinner, either at home or when you go out to eat?
  • At home, hubbs' lasagna, the best I've ever had. I am not very fond of restaurant food, but I find Boston Pizza's salmon and spinach salad very tasty. I can hardly say no to a good steak, but if I go to the Keg, I usually have that with shrimp and steamed vegetables.
  • Have you ever gone to the bathroom in the bushes on a run?
  • Yes, I do it all the time, last time was during the Toronto Marathon, you can notice it on my Runkeeper GPS trace around km 30. I have no shame.
  • Coffee or tea
  • Coffee in the morning (with milk and sugar) and herbal mint tea after 3pm.
  • What month do you wish it was all year round?
  • I am pretty fond of September. Perfect temperature, pretty colors, my birthday.
  • Do you dress up at Halloween?
  • It depends on the mood. I seems that every 3-4 years I feel like dressing up and I get pretty involved in the process. One time, I was a very ugly witch complete with prosthetic nose and plaster and makeup all over my face (nobody recognized me), another time a punk rocker with a mohawk and a mean attitude and just yesterday, a funny/creepy clown with full makeup and polkadots and rainbows everywhere.
Hope you are not scared of clowns
  • Do you cross train?
  • I love Yoga, so for a triathlete who already does swimming and biking regularly, that probably qualifies as cross training. I prefer hot and sweaty yoga to the zen and mellow kind. I also do some strength training exercises with dumbbells and body weight stuff, plus planks/crunches when I feel motivated enough.
  • Do you still live in the same city as where you were born?
  • Nope, see the 11 facts about me above.
  • What did you want to be when you 'grew up'?
  • When I was not yet a grown up, I wanted to be a biologist, but since I grew up, I also considered becoming a professional photographer and a police officer. Nope, I am not any of these.
  • What is your favourite brand of running gear?
  • I am not loyal to any brand in particular because I am rather thrifty and many times I would just pick up from a thrift store what fits me. I have been quite impressed with the fabrics from Nike, the shoes from Adidas and New Balance, the bottoms from Sugoi and the bras from Champion (almost no chaffing, yay!). 
May have more than 200 followers, but highly recommended:
  • What is your favorite distance to run, swim, bike, or all three, and why?
  • What inspired you to include fitness in your lifestyle?
  • What movie made you cry, if any?
  • What gets you going in the morning?
  • What is your favorite pair of running shoes?
  • What is the most daring thing you've ever done?
  • Do you have a life goal that you're still chasing?
  • Favorite ice cream flavour?
  • Do you have a favorite pre-race breakfast?
  • Who is your biggest fan?
  • If you were to motivate someone to get off the couch and start exercising, what would you tell them?