Monday, September 28, 2009

Carpe Diem

Finally, after being sick for the past 3 weeks I was able to go and get my Tattoo for Ironman. This design and tattoo mean a lot to me because it was such a journey and continues to be. I did not want the same old, same old. I did want the M-dot surrounded by a Maple leaf but I wanted it on the horizon of a road signifying the journey. I knew I wanted the words Carpe Diem because it is about siezing the day/moment and I think, at least for me, is an essential part of why I do these races and the 3 figures to represent each sport.

It is hard to tell where it is by the photo but it is on my right leg just above the knee on the IT band - a little bit of irony because my right IT band/hip have given me so much grief over the last 10 months but also practicality in that when I run, ride or swim the tattoo will be visible but it is covered during work hours. Also I did not want it on my back, calf or ankle for a host of reasons but mostly because I want to show it when I want to show it.

So without further adieu here are the pics.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ironman Aftermath

I would like to say I was back at it right away but not so. The mind and legs were good to go but the stiff neck the week prior turned out to be a very, very, very bad sinus infection that hit me full force on the Labor Day weekend. Not such a loss since it was pouring rain all weekend but frustrating as I need to get ready for the Dublin Marathon at the end of October.

This weekend I felt sufficiently recovered that Special K and I headed out for a "SHORT" 10ish er 16 ok closer to 19 km"ish" run. Really great since it was the morning after the Ironman Celebration party so we were both feeling a little rough...
The run went okay but by the end I was feeling it - we kept the tempo nice and easy and did it in just under 2 hours.

Sunday I decided that my lungs were feeling a little rough so best to go out on the bike. Met the "Zimich" gang and Barb quickly told me that I was to take it easy. Of course - who me - easy is my middle name! We headed off to Whytecliff and I stuck with the main group for probably 2/rd's of the ride out until we hit the main portion of hills and then I got dropped as my lungs were a little unhappy. Rather than risk bronchitis or worse pneumonia I pulled it right back. When I got to the park Barb informed me that I was going to ride back the same way and was not going up Cypress. She really is a good coach and she congratulated me for staying with the main group for as long as I did - it meant my overall recovery was coming along.
So I waited for Camille - new rider and Judith - who was riding with Camille to make sure she did not get lost and the three of us rode back. It was a beautiful day - I wish I had a camera.

Overall I feel good but the one thing that is hard is to decide what direction to take right now - I really, really, really love riding and do not want to give up any of the gains I have made. As I have said to Barb in the year or so I have been riding with them the gains I have made have been huge even during active recovery so I would like to see how far I can take it but I love and miss running with the crew so my dilema is what to do since both groups do their main training on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Right now I am leaning towards tempo runs on Wednesdays with the gang and riding on Sundays until the end of October when I will start leading the 1/2 clinic again. Then I will do runs on Sundays and ride Wednesdays. At least until the Spring. Then I will have to think. Barb and Larry both say it is important to keep riding as next season's medals are won during training right now and I like winning medals.

June bug called it I think - she said she is a rider now - we may have to start running on Saturdays so we can run with her. Thankfully Special K plays soccer on Sundays so I have convinced her to run with me and the best part is she is game for anything.

6 weeks until Dublin!

Peace out Shaun

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Can you do Ironman?

Can you do it? Of course you can just believe. Believe – always believe.

Just over 8 years ago I walked into the local Running room store and signed up for my very first half marathon clinic. I was a smoker and overweight. 4 days ago I became an official Ironman finisher at Subaru Ironman Canada.

I am not going to say that I did not believe I could not do it because WHEN I registered it never occurred to me I could not do it. I am also not going to say that I did not have doubts – after the accident I was concerned but I was blessed to have surrounded myself with positive people who told me that the dream was not over – I could still do it – so I continued to believe – I just changed my expectations.

To do Ironman you MUST surround yourself with positive people and believers. You must be willing to work and you must respect the distance – it is serious business and it is a commitment. A commitment to yourself, to your training partners and your coaches. You need to decide to be selfish, do not apologize for this, this is your dream not theirs if they care and love you they may not like it but they will accept it and be there at the finish line.

Hire the best coaches – don’t be so cocky to think you can do it on your own – possibly you can but why not do the absolute best that you can instead of just half way? Do your research, ask questions, talk to them, and ask about their coaching styles – you are paying them. For myself I like the personal touch I wanted coaches that would workout with me and were still competing in their sports – it meant that they still had heart and I found the best – Zimich Coaching – /- Barb and Larry Zimich are the best riding coaches in the lower mainland and they don’t just talk it they walk it – they compete with and against you and win. They push you but they also listen and that was essential. So next listen to your coaches – you hired them for a reason, talk to them if you don’t share with them how you are feeling they can’t work with you to reach your full potential. It was essential especially since I was injured and training through active rehab – Barb listened and monitored all my numbers and adjusted accordingly. Oh and work with great coaches in each field – pick one to lead the charge – that was Barb but Brad Ried with Hyack Swim Club and Peter Scott with Sea Hiker were essential in getting me ready for the swim. Next time I will hire a running coach as well but Barb will still be the main coach.

Train with people who have been there – they will share the tips with you – Judith and Cindy were amazing and guided me so much through the process and thoughts and reassured me time and again that I was more than prepared. They took me under their wing and I don’t think either of them realizes how much I truly appreciated it.

Do the training – rain, snow, wind, heat, early morning, late night it will pay off. Fit the training in, do not make excuses – don’t miss workouts. But if you do then so be it – life happens but make it the exception not the rule. Yes you will miss parties but so what you will have the biggest party ever after the race. Train hard – be uncomfortable in your workouts – do the hard work it will pay off on race day.

It is the most amazing experience and I am so happy I went through it – what is up next – Dublin Marathon in Ireland in October and toying with the idea of meeting fellow Nathan team members for the Rock’n’roll in Vegas in December. It would be the perfect end to a perfect year.

I will do another Ironman but I want Joe to experience it so he will do it in 2011 and I will register for 2012 the goal will be sub 15 hours. In the interim for next year I am considering Stormy 50 mile Ultra Trail as an individual race – I have done the Relay– it would be my first Ultra. Joe and I have decided to do New York Marathon next year, I am going to do the Victoria Half Ironman, June bug and Special K have agreed to do Oliver as a relay – with me. I would like to do more time trials on the bike, maybe a century ride and the infamous 3-mountain ride – Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress in less than 5 hours. That should take care of 2010.

People keep saying I am amazing – No I am not I am just someone who dared to dream, surrounded herself with people to help her and went for it. Don’t accept mediocrity, embrace hard work and find a way. Team Nathan’s slogan is redefine your Humanly Possible – that is all I did. You can do it – BELIEVE.

Now off for my Tatty.

Peace out Shaun