Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cruise to Run - part 1

Alex and I are embarking on this weekend a wonderful running cruise this Sunday.

We went on it a couple years ago and had the best time since our days wandering around Vegas and the Southwest on our honeymoon many many honey moons ago.

What I really love about the concept is the idea that running can be recreation, not just a "workout" that you have to do and the pace is wonderful for really experiencing the countryside.

Inevitably, we will be sharing the ship with an awful lot of people who are there, it seems, just to eat themselves to death. Last year, on one of the afternoon sail and rum excursions (we are not, after all, immune to the delights of sun and rum) another women from the cruise and I started up a conversation with a brother and sister from the States. The family had decided, after the death of the last parent, to take some of the estate and go for a holiday together. Great idea. Unfortunately, it also looked like the family ate together as well - a lot, and often.

In speaking to them I was amazed to see the brother's facial expression change from from one of utter amazement that beings such as our self existed (and were drinking rum) to thinking that he could also do it. I know it was the alcohol talking on both sides but by the end of the conversation this guy was ready to start walking with running in the future. I hope he made it.

There are runs organized on Tortola (race for King and Queen of the Mountain), a 5 k on Barbados, on St. Lucia to a lighthouse lookout, another race on St. Thomas where you predict your finishing time and, by far my favourite, a run on Antigua to a colonial fort via a lovely dirt road through a village with the friendliest people I've ever met.

You get instant friends that you don't have to explain yourself to - many are inspirations in their level of fitness, many will look up to Alex and I as role models, and everyone is just so much fun.

So, off we go to the charms of the Caribbean.


I'm not forgetting about the horror of Haiti right now and the controversy relating to cruise ships stopping for BBQs on the island. The problems in Haiti go back so far and, as I understand, the loss of stable family structures, and corrupt political and administrative issues aren't at all aided by environmental degradation. I'm not sure what it's going to take to keep this planet habitable for all life, including ourselves but, I can't help but think that getting handle on how much we consume, most especially including calories, well that might help out a lot. The majority of the cruisers seem to travel to eat and then shop at the various ports. I like supporting those economies but, endless landfill sold in endless port stores isn't good for anyone. Strapping on your shoes, really seeing how people live, interacting with them - that's a start. Money can be exchanged for local services as well as goods.

And yes, I know that the best choice for the planet would be to just stay home but, I'm just as human as anyone and I struggle with my choices all the time. No answers here, just observations.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Treadmill Dancing

So my day started with my day by almost applying toothpaste to my face in lieu of moisturizer. They both come in tubes of course, but, happily the more sticky and well, minty consistency of the toothpaste gave it away and I stopped short of a cleaner, whiter complexion.

Next I notice a bit of, shall we say smeg on the inner elbow of my sweater. I’m sure the directive to sneeze and cough into your elbow has gone worldwide but has anyone thought of the consequences from a laundry perspective. If said elbow material is not put through a washer but is hand washed instead the hygiene ramifications are immense.

So, onwards and upwards to the day. Training notes for the week. Enjoyed, yes E.N.J.O.Y.E.D. a treadmill workout even matching my co-worker the super sprinter’s pace at one point. While on my recovery break. Really enjoyed the workout ending in 55 minutes and actually I thought that was sweet but the next day a track workout was only 30 minutes. This is nuts, crazy, absolutely welcome. I forgot just how much time Ironman training takes and by the end, if you remember, wasn’t having any fun with any of it. So, the joy in movement is back.

New jeans fitting me today. Very nice. A massive wardrobe appears to have been acquired up the upcoming running cruise holiday. With the market crisis and attendant income crisis new clothes have not been prioritized for a couple of years and with no Iron training this summer I might actually need more than one t shirt and one pair of shorts to wear in the rare non-training off work hours.

Next thing that needs to be replenished is music. I have wrung my Itunes collection dry. I don’t need any more “gosh, you’re just super, gosh, you just have to give it a try and you can succeed, gosh you can make to the end” music. I crossed that line. I need Boogie Woogie and some is coming to me.

Friday, January 8, 2010

And so it begins afresh,

So, last night I venture back to the home of our Ironman training, the rec centre at Ryerson University. The first thing that struck me was that I wasn’t absolutely bagged. It was so strange, the place smelled like fatigue to me but it just wafted over and didn’t cling. (strange metaphor I know). Next thing that I thought of with giddy delight was how my first track workout was only 5 k. And no swim after. (thank you new tattoo).

So, if you are a Facebook friend you know that I went there with my finisher’s shirt and tattoo glowing underneath it simply to bask in the well deserved accolades that were sure to come my way. Of course, as a university rec centre there aren’t a lot of middle age crisis types with dreams of Ironman so, well, neither seemed to make an impression. I did get the feeling that 2 runners on the track did a double check, but, really, when you are hot as I am – that just comes with the territory.

It really didn’t matter anyways. I was just so pumped to be back at workouts. I admit I like the discipline of a training schedule and, yes, I learned to love track and treadmill workouts even more than random running around the city. I guess I’m just becoming very goal oriented and I hope to work that to my advantage in the coming years.

So, in the coming year, what do I hope to accomplish. Well, I learned last year that I can’t lose weight during heavy training but I am going to work on that goal this year with reduced training loads. Triathlon has not taken much off me in pounds but I have gone down 2.5 sizes in years in the last three years; just need that last half size to fit comfortably into the jeans I picked up the other day. I don’t usually buy goal clothing but I just refused to buy another pair of jeans in the same size so 2 pairs sit in my drawer at home waiting for the magic moment when I can get them on without a horizontal surface cheat. To get there right now I’m using my fabulous new iPhone with a food journaling app and trying to drop 250 calories a day for a good slow loss. I have also ordered Metabolic Efficiency Training to get a handle on a more athlete friendly diet for Alex and I. During Ironman training I WAS STARVING and I’m pretty sure that we took in a lot of crap that didn’t contribute to the cause. Next time planning meals is something else I’ll be better at.

This year we’ll have to decide what race to do in 2011 so we can sign up. Alex really wants to do IMAZ again and, well, since he never reads this, I’ll admit that a very big part of me also wants to revisit Scottsdale, Tempe, and that course. The area will always be special to us so maybe, that might be a good choice. But, 2013, we need to try something else like IMWI.

Otherwise looking ahead we have a our 4th running of Around the Bay at the end of March, the mad, crazy, muddy Paris to Ancaster Paris to Ancaster cross country race ,on our fabulous cyclo cross bikes, in April Sportinglife 10 K in May, as well as a women’s only half marathon for me. Looks like Steelhead 70.3 and Muskoka 70.3 are the only triathlons on the slate for me. Alex thinks he will do a sprint in Bala but I’ve discovered that the energy at those short events is too stressful for me. I really don’t enjoy them. It’s half iron or longer only going forward.

I want to continue to leave pieces of my life behind me everywhere I go in order to feel the sunlight. I want to continue to motivate others to work towards their fitness goals, actually coming up with some fitness goals if necessary, and to always remember to take seriously the role of an Ironman finisher. It’s intimidating out there and we’ve created this stereotype of athleticism as something that is out of the reach of ordinary people. I’m as ordinary as they come and I’ve run across that finish line. Finish lines are the happiest places in the world and the more people who run/ride/walk/stumble across them the happier and healthier our society will be. Oh, and throw in some yoga or Pilates some times too.

Shameless plug for the very fine people at Imprint Pilates.