Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Memories should last forever

There are days when I wonder what the purpose of my blog is. I have been writing for over 10 years at this address, but I never had a blog with a "theme" so to speak until I started this one earlier last year. It just happened that today marked the 10th anniversary of one of the most significant blackouts in North America, and people had been posting all day long memories from that day. I realized that I had none, like my brain had been wiped out. Not surprising though, since I barely remember what I did last week... but thanks to the Wayback Machine and some pages saved on my computer, I could dig out the tale of that day and share it with my friends on Facebook. So today I wonder, what will become of this blog 10 years from now?

My photography motto has always been "Memories should last forever", but it means captured on film or digital memory, then transferred on paper (if ever). Will the memories of today and this past year, in which fitness and well being have taken such an important role, remain? Will I remember? Maybe the reason that I want to do an Ironman IS to remember... maybe I'll get that tattoo as a mnemonic more than anything. My body may not be the same in 10 or 20 years, and for sure, some of the scars I got while running or biking will remain, but what about the memories of today, tomorrow, everything that's going to keep me moving until then?
This. The sweat, the salt on my skin, the dryness on my lips, the burn in my back, the ache in my stomach, the tiredness in my legs, the thirst - oh that thirst! - this is what this blog is for. It has my ups and downs, my (small) victories and (big) defeats. The days when I was counting visits or comments are way behind, like 10 years behind. I still appreciate them and they truly make my day, but I find it a huge waste of time (and source of disappointment) to always wait for someone else's approval. Blogging is like a book club of sorts, where fitness is the main topic and instead of books, we read into each other's diaries without asking for the key. I am an open book, I've always been. I may not be the best writer or fastest athlete out there, but I put my sweat and soul in everything I do. So today, I have no problem telling you that I feel defeated, that I had to take one more day off because stress and exhaustion were creeping in.

I know the signs well by now. After finishing one of the longest and toughest training weeks ever, I had Monday as a rest day, but then I saw 1h30 of hill work on my bike, followed by 1h swim on Tuesday. I started battling with my will to even get out of bed. It also didn't help that I was still in much pain from the sunburn and I hadn't had the greatest sleep for several nights in a row. When I returned from work that day, I found myself a good reason not to go with Zin scream up and down the hills - it was extremely cold for a summer day and windy as hell. If there is something that scares the bejeebus out of me, is handling my bike on the downhills with cross winds: 35km/h NW, thanks but no thanks. So I buried myself in the basement and managed to spin my legs for 1h, then called it a day. I watched "Troy" on my bike and cried, then I went on my couch and watched "So You Think You Can Dance" and cried some more, even when no one was dancing. It was because of all emotions going through my system, from feeling guilty of having had an ice cream, to having missed my scheduled workouts and everything in between. I was trying to rationalize it all, to no avail. I emailed my coach and spilled my guts: I may need another rest day.

And here I am now, in my bed, having skipped today's speed work on the track. And I feel less guilty already, even though I ate ice cream again and had a cranberry scone from Starbucks with a gazillion calories in it (please don't tell me) with my second coffee this morning. Oh, and I had pasta for lunch, and for dinner too. My scale will be cranky at me tomorrow, but whatevah. I am aware of the risks of over-training and I wouldn't want to jeopardize my first half-Ironman for anything in the world. I already worked hard enough to get here and I do remember well how I felt when I had to pull out of my first marathon. Not pretty.

Tomorrow I will most likely go for my open water swim, in my cold bubble of bliss, then for a quick loop around the lake. Friday I have a long 18k run, which I will take easy, then on Saturday I'll be having fun on the Mt. Tremblant bike course before volunteering the next day at the Ironman. I apologize in advance to all athletes whose energy I will use as a fuel source, because there is no better inspiration to start your own Ironman journey than being immersed in one, or a thousand of them. I promise to pay it forward.


  1. Hopefully you've had a bit of a break and are feeling refreshed now! I have a good friend who's has her first IM this weekend and she went through exactly the same thing as you. I think it's more than normal. YOu are putting yourself through so much both mentally and physically. She had to give herself a few extra rest days and re-group.

    1. Michael, I did take Wednesday off and then went back to training, and what a difference it made! I should write an update soon because news are piling up :-) Spent the weekend in Mt. Tremblant, and that was NOT physically restful, but so good for the mind! My knees are a bit cranky still from being on my feet for so long, but hopefully it'll all return to normal by tomorrow. Which race did your friend do?