Monday, December 27, 2010

A New Year

With a bit of quiet time to myself after the Christmas rush, I've sat down to write what just about everyone probably knows now - I am finally finished work for the year, and for the following year as well.

Next year I am taking a year off work to train, full time, in sport.  I've thought about it for a long time, more like dreamed about it, but only in the past year has life unfolded in a way that made this possible.  I wouldn't commit to this decision until I went through the entire process of training for an Ironman and then actually racing an Ironman - I wanted to make sure I enjoyed the final product.  And I did - I loved it.  (Who knew?...actually I was pretty sure I would).

So now, balancing road running and triathlon, I have a year to work hard and enjoy it.  I have a year to take naps, to cook healthy meals, see movies, meet friends, visit family, stretch, and relax.  I think this year I did a good job of the healthy meals, but just about everything else fell by the wayside.  I would have never known until I got into it, but once you realize how much time it takes to train for a marathon or even more so, an Ironman, it's mind boggling.  And people do it with full time jobs - I did.  But the reality of doing with 40 hours of your life back to train (and relax) is truly awesome.

I don't want to brag, because most people I know have to keep on working - but I feel like with this opportunity I've been given, with the amazing support I have in my life, I have to keep track of it all - and so I hope to do so to the best of my ability on this blog.  So if this is the first time you're reading my blog, check back every now and again.  I'm hoping to keep track of my year - the good, the bad, and the ugly.

 I'm also hoping to start taking more photos of my training - there have been so many times I have found myself in the coolest places with wicked views, with people doing hilarious things, sliding down the side of cypress not on my bike, sitting on the side of the road in Bonkville with a Mars bar in hand....I am hoping to keep track in pictures, like photo essays, to show training in more than just words.  We'll see how it goes.  (and how long until I break my camera....)

 When I finally started telling people I was going to do this - everyone wanted to know what my goals were - it was hard to answer.   I just want to do my best.  How can you know what your best is if you keep getting better?  My goal is to keep getting better.  At running, at swimming, at biking - napping! At being a better person.

 I may already be at the point as a runner that I used to only wish was possible, at the level I was scared to ask if I could ever get to.  From here on, everything is a bonus - and that is an awesome position to be in.  Triathlon was a surprise to me - I only started swimming because I was sick and tired of running in the rain and one winter day I decided to start swimming (if you could call it that...).  I never thought I'd do an Ironman.  It was elusive - and it always bugged me a little bit that I couldn't do this crazy tough race just because I couldn't swim.  So don't ever tell yourself you can't do something.  You can - you just have to get out and try.  And then you'll find things just keep getting better.

So here's to a new year in 2011!!
I hope you find something new that challenges you and makes you a stronger person.
I'm currently tackling snow-shoe running - and it is HARD and FUN! (I don't use poles....sissy)

Enjoy winter training!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

winter nights and christmas lights

I grumble a lot about the winter's cold and rain, and dream about days were you can finish your run and nap on the grass in the sun.  I give winter a hard time, but sometimes it's exactly what I need.  

There's something special about running along in the dark, surrounded by a big dark sky and twinkling lights.  And I forget, that on those sticky, hot, stifling days of summer, I wish for a day where I can run in a cool breeze or in the snow.  Happy to be bundled up in warm mitts and toques, and not trying to escape the scorching summer's sun.

Tonight I was running over Granville Street bridge and looking down at a miniature Granville Island, decked in strings of holiday lights all along the streets.  It was a bit cool and breezy on the bridge, the cold nipping into my gloves, but as I looked all around Vancouver was looking so pretty, with lights all along False Creek.  Sailboats below me were lit up all along their masts.  It made me happy - it reminded me of when I was a kid, and all the fishing boats would light up their boats and parade along the shore. 

Where I grew up there are no skyscrapers or big buildings, no backdrop of hillsides filled with lights.  Where I grew up, a single string of lights lit up the entire black sea around it, and you could see it from miles away.  As a kid it was a treat to see lights at night.  Now I'm surrounded by lights, and although I miss the true darkness and the boats on the water, I'm grateful for the lights around our city and the company they keep me in on dark winter runs.  

As a good excuse to get out and do an easy run, I challenge anyone who reads this to get out and do a holiday run - pay attention to the season around you and see what the world has to offer your heart.

"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air"
W.T. Ellis