Life

Saturday hikes around the Island

Indy at Matheson Lake.

As part of my new do-whatever-I-feel-like-doing fitness routine I’ve got going on lately, my boyfriend and I have been exploring a few of the local Vancouver Island trails with the dogs almost every Saturday. Although sometimes I think I’d rather be flying through the trees, expertly side-stepping roots and clamoring up rocks like a mountain goat (okay, I run trails more like a regular goat… that’s been hit with a tranquilizer dart. It’s more of a controlled fall, actually…), it’s nice to take your time once in awhile and to really appreciate the scenery. I could not imagine living somewhere without these parks and trails just a short drive away. (more…)

My non-New Year’s resolutions post: Goal setting and my endurance sport plans for 2012

Me in Maui after finishing the Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon. Has nothing really to do with this post. I just thought it’d be more interesting than a stock photo of ‘Happy New Year’ text with squiggles and sparkles.

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions. Mainly because I’m always thinking about, planning and refining my goals — personal, fitness and otherwise — throughout the year. But January 1st is a good time to reflect on the highs and lows of the previous year and how they changed you, as well as look forward to and plan what you want to achieve in the year to come.

And by planning what you want to achieve, I don’t mean the lose-30-pounds-and-make-time-to-read-more-books type of plan (otherwise known as the ‘New Year’s Resolution’) — I mean actually writing down your goals, and considering what it is you actually need to do to reach them.

For me, I knew 2011 was going to be the year I completed my first triathlon. Not only did I have no idea what I was doing or where to even start, but also I didn’t even know how to swim. With my target goal in sight (meaning I signed up for the triathlon before I even had a bike or knew how to swim), I wrote down all of the steps I needed to take in order to get there — the first being to get a good triathlon coach, which helped take all the guesswork out of the rest of the steps! (more…)

Twitter, runners and cancer research

Miss May in the Van Island Runners for Cancer calendar. Photo credit: Will Winter Photography

I have to say I’ve met some super awesome runners and fellow endurance sport enthusiasts through social media.

This group of Victoria-area and social media-savvy runners of all ages, levels and abilities came together under the #yyjrun hashtag on Twitter a few years ago. We get psyched for races together, cheer each other on and support each others’ goals, offer tips and training advice, run together, suffer through injuries, training road-blocks and taper madness together, race together, and have coffee and dinner together. And most recently, we’ve come together to raise funds for a cause close to all of us. (more…)

It’s time for an action plan

My YouTube debut. Thankfully, Dave was nice enough not to film me walking.

So it turns out I did actually tear a calf muscle. At the insistence of Kirsty, I went and made an appointment with Dr.Mike to get it checked out. That was my first time going to see a specialist for anything sports-injury related, and now I know why Kirsty didn’t tell me much about what to expect.

Active Release Therapy HURTS. Dr. Mike busted out this metal spatula device and started scraping my calf, like one might try to scrape the blackened burnt part off a piece of toast. But more violently.

Then he dug his thumb right into the torn muscle and asked me to FLEX my foot, which is something that hurt to do anyways, let alone with a thumb digging into the muscle. “Go go go go go! Pull pull pull!” I felt like a Biggest Loser contestant at the mercy of Jillian Michaels the way my face was contorting in pain.

But then I hopped off the table, and I could walk without a limp. I had zero pain in my calf, and haven’t felt pain in it since. Dr.Mike works (painful) miracles.

A few other pointers he gave me: You started out to fast. Get a coach, train properly. Six half marathons in one year is too much. No running for two weeks. Take up swimming and do some light cycling. You should be good to go for the Bear Mountain 10K  in November (yes! — that’s all I needed to hear).

So now my plan is to join a marathon running group and a triathlon club in January. I also need to take swimming lessons and get a proper bike. I signed up for the Gunnar Shaw as well, an off-road 10k at Thetis Lake in November that takes you through mud pits and freezing lake water (already bought some sweet trail running shoes for this adventure from MEC!), and have my sights set on doing the Island Race Series and another marathon in the spring.

Nothing helps to heal a running injury more than coming up with a new action plan — well, to help to mentally heal, anyway.

Hitting the Great Wall

The Great Wall Marathon - Photo from www.great-wall-marathon.com

I have a confession to make.

I haven’t laced up my running shoes in 12 days.

In fact, I haven’t done any physical activity besides packing boxes, moving furniture and going housewares shopping.

I’ve tried everything to get out there for a run: setting my alarm clock for 4:00 am (didn’t work – went back to sleep), Tweeting my running plans for the day (never happened), putting on my running clothes as soon as I get in the door (I end up taking the dog out then looking up matching bedroom sets online).  Pathetic!

But I do have to give myself some slack. With the puppy and moving and my boyfriend working 15 hour days while all of this is going on, I haven’t had much free time. I feel guilty for not spending my free time doing something productive, like cleaning or unpacking, but then I also feel guilty for not running.

I bought four running magazines yesterday. I find they are the best inspiration when I’m in the rut like this. Reading about the tips, tribulations and triumphs of running always gets me out the door. If a new mom or someone going through chemo can find time to run, surely I can suck it up and find time. Or make time, if I have to.

I find nothing gets you more motivated to run like a goal race. Sure, I have my first marathon coming up in October and I haven’t run farther than 21.1 km yet…but that doesn’t seem to be enough.

So I have a new goal now, one that was planted into my head by my best friend the other day on Facebook. She has been living in Montreal for the past four years for school, and is coming home to Victoria soon. After graduating highschool and before university, she and I went backpacking in Thailand and New Zealand for two months, and we promised each other we would travel again after university. Well, she’s done, and I’m almost done.

 Yesterday she made the mistake of writing on my Facebook wall that we should run the Great Wall of China.

 Turns out there is a marathon there in May, and if funds are available, we’ll  be doing it.

Can’t think of a greater goal to get me psyched about running more than the Great Wall.

Running with puppy?

After a week of my puppy alarm clock going off at 4 am and the inability to leave Indy unattended in the condo, my running has seriously suffered this week.

I tried to compensate by riding my bike to work twice this week.  I love riding, but when you are trying to become a more efficient runner, you need to be running. I managed one 20-minute run after leaving Indy with my parents, and another 30-minute run yesterday after a 45-minute Jillian Michaels DVD that pretty much depleted any energy I had for running.

The ride to work is about 17 or so kilometres, and it takes me about an hour to get there and another hour to get home.  I have a crappy mountain bike that needs some TLC (the chain in so covered in dirt and mud it takes almost five minutes so change gears), so I feel like I have to work extra hard JUST to go at a decent clip.  It sucks getting passed by every single rider on the Goose – even 70-year-old men pass me.   

I’d love to get a $3000 bike one day so I can do a tri or a du and not have my bike to blame for slowing me down. I could just take the time and take it somewhere for a tune-up, and I will, but it’s at the bottom of my enormous To Do list this summer at the moment.

Next week is going to be even busier; we move into the house, and it needs to be painted and cleaned, so I’m going to have to fit in running when I can. At least in a house I can leave Indy in his pen and let him howl all he wants – I’m so worried about leaving him in the condo and pissing off the neighbours that I take him to my parents house anytime I have to go do anything, whether it’s grocery shopping or running. And howl he does – it’s so loud and nerve-wracking, I bet the whole building can hear him.  I can only take 10 minutes of it before I reappear to make him be quite, which a big no-no according to Cesar Millan; if you reappear when he’s howling, it will only make him think that all he has to do is whine to get his humans to come back.  You have to ignore him, and he’ll stop eventually. But not in this condo!

Living with a puppy and being a runner makes me wonder how running moms do it. Indy is like a child, and I was fully prepared for the change in my lifestyle, but now my WHOLE schedule revolves around this tiny little mutt.

He’s the sweetest little thing, and I already have him sitting on command and shaking a paw (at 8 weeks old!), but I want him to just settle down long enough for me to do what I want to do. When I said this to my mom, she said “Better get used to this! This is training for having kids!” Ugh, not yet.

So after lunch with mom and dad today (who have been so awesome looking after Indy everyday for almost 12 hours at a time) I’m going to see if I can run around my old ‘hood (which will soon be my neighbourhood once again!) for an hour and a bit. The weather looks perfect for running, so I just hope I can keep my energy up that long – I’m a morning runner, and seriously struggle to get the motivation to run in the late afternoon.

Indy & Me

Eating some grass at six-weeks old

Things are going to be a bit different next week.

But it’s all part of the process, right?

You move out with the boyfriend, buy a couch together, split the bills, open a joint bank account, and spend your Saturdays at Home Depot looking at paint chips.

Then you get a puppy.

I’m thrilled, obviously, because I love animals. I’ve always had pets – lizards, rats, cats, dogs, you name it.  My boyfriend Tyler, on the other hand, only had a hamster when he was quite young, and it died not long after they got it. He could care less if we got an animal, but it’s what you do. 

Last night, at a friend’s birthday party, three couples out of our group of friends brought their dogs. They were tearing all over the house, fighting, chewing, puking. Give it a couple more years and the dogs will be left at home; instead, everyone will be bringing their kids to parties and letting them tear all over the house, fighting, chewing, puking.

Indy the sausage dog

As much as I’ve been fighting this “process”, it’s happening. I always thought I’d be some sort of nomad writer, travelling to exotic locals and writing about worldly issues. 

But as of next week, my boyfriend and I will be responsible for a cute bundle of fluff, and not long after that, a house with a yard that will require many more Saturday trips to Home Depot.

As much as I long for travel and adventure, I like where I am in my life.  It’s quaint.  I’m reminded of that scene in the film Marley and Me, where John (the main character who writes a column about his lab Marley for a local newspaper) bumps into his old writer buddy who has been travelling the world, writing about Pulitzer prize-winning issues.  His friend talks briefly about his latest writing assignment, then asks John how his life has been.  John pulls out a family photo of his wife, kids and Marley, and beams. You can see the pang of jealous on John’s friend’s face.  

And it’s true  –  when you don’t have anyone to enjoy your time spent on earth with, what’s the point?  And who’s to say I can’t write and travel eventually? When I do, at least I’ll have something to come home to and share my adventures with.

Indy and his sister meeting some older dachshund pups - look how cute Indy's face is!

So I’ve stopped fighting the process.  Last weekend, we bought a puppy pen, chew toys, and a bed.  I’ve been reading Cesar Millan’s puppy training book, and I’m all set to go. The parents are all saying this is good training for other responsibilities, but I’m not even thinking about that yet. 

I’m just excited to have an ensthusiastic running and hiking buddy that will always be willing to hit the trails with me 🙂

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