Friday, October 9, 2015

30 Before 30

Over the past week or so, I've been working on a list of options for my 2016 race season.  Some of those options revolve around the fact that I turn 30 in April.  When I had originally put in for the London Marathon, it was to be my 30th birthday gift to myself - a perfect combination of a new goal (my first marathon), an epic race (the London Marathon is a big deal after all), and a bit of travel (I would have stayed in Europe for a few weeks post-race to backpack).  I'm back to the drawing board and it is somewhat overwhelming to consider all of the options - races, trips, and the various combinations therein.  So I decided to start with a little bit of a list - a 30 before 30 list - to get myself grooving toward that milestone birthday.

The list is a combination of ways to get myself travelling, trying new things, and being a better person.  There are things on the list that I've always wanted to do and things on the list that I really ought to be doing already.  Some of the things are easy, and some will be a stretch out of my comfort zone.

Over the course of the next 6 months, I'll check in with how things are going, particularly the triathlon related things.

Go Outside My Comfort Zone:

1) Say "yes" more often - Saying yes to me means being open to new experiences and adventures.

2) Compete in a snowshoe running race - Last year I got running snowshoes, but I wasn't comfortable entering a race.  Why not try it this winter?

3) Paint a picture - I'd like to tap into my creative side more (or see if I even have one).

4) Do a 30-day yoga challenge - One of my off-season goals is to reconnect with my mat, and I've always thought it would be cool to try one of the yoga-every-day challenges.

5) Play on an intramural team - My friends and I have discussed maybe innertube water polo.

6) Swim sub-1:10 for a 100m freestyle - Last year I got really close, so with some work, I think I can get even faster.

7) Break 20 minutes in a 5k - Again, something I got pretty close to - 20:20 (on a track) and 20:39 (in a road race), so I'll try for this again.

Learn Something New:

8) Learn to skate ski - I started learning last year and it was so much fun. The goal is to be good enough to ski up to the huts to drink wine with my friends.

9) Learn how to knit or crochet - When I was little, I knew how to knit, so this is really "re-learning."

10) Read 6 books (1 per month) - There are stacks of un-read books in my room, so it is time to tackle them.

11) Take an online course - A friend recently introduced me to Coursera.  I've been out of school for many years, but it might be fun to learn something new.

12) Learn some Italian or Spanish for my birthday trip - The likely candidates for my epic birthday trip are Italy, Spain or South America (Argentina and Chile).

13) Make a soufflĂ© - My experimentation in the kitchen has been put on the backburner due to the time commitment of triathlon.  SoufflĂ© is one of my favorite desserts and a classic culinary challenge. (Sometimes the universe also sends you signs, like seeing this recipe
 in my FB feed minutes after writing it in my notebook).

14) Build / make / refinish a piece of furniture (looking for a trunk for my room or a dining room table!)

15) Learn how to drive stick - mostly so I can move my roommates' cars if they need me to!


16) Take a spontaneous road trip - I love road trips. There are so many great places within a reasonable driving distance, so why not go!

17) Visit somewhere new - This could be combined with the roadtrip or not.

18) Go camping - I really enjoy camping and there are tons of beautiful places to camp nearby (I just need to do it soon, before it is too cold!).

19) Ski at Tremblant - I've been to Tremblant a number of times now, but never in the winter. I'm also hoping to get over my fear of heights and going fast down a mountain with this one.

20) Be at tourist in Ottawa - There are 30 museums in Ottawa, and I've only been to two. There are countless amazing cultural events, delicious restaurants, and fun activities to do, so it's time to enjoy my own city a little bit more.

21) Plan an epic solo trip - It is unlikely that I will be able to go on the trip before my 30th, but I want to make sure this trip happens, so the planning needs to take place now.

Be a Good Human:

22) Find a cause to lend my time to - It's been a while since I've done more than donate money to the causes I believe in, so I'm going to work to change that.

23) Volunteer at a soup kitchen - Again, the last time I volunteered at a soup kitchen was in high school.

24) Manage my finances and save some money - aka be a grown-up!

25) Totally unplug for an entire weekend - Technology is great, but so is being present and actually connecting with the people around you.

26) Help rescue a puppy - Okay, this one may not be realistic, but Jenn wants a dog, and I'm happy to help!

27) Send letters and postcards to my friends and family - I like mail and I love my friends and family!

28) Call my sister and grandma once a week - I love these two and don't chat with them often enough.

29) Fall in love with myself - Pretty simple!

30) Practice gratitude - The more gratitude we express, the more things we find to be grateful for in our lives!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Rest and the Off Season

It's been two weeks since Worlds.  I have gone on two runs and I have worked out approximately two other times in those two weeks.  I have set my alarm to go to swimming twice, only to turn the alarm off after laying awake for hours unable to fall asleep.  I guess I'm just not ready to get back into training.  It is strange how that happened without me even realizing it.

Before I left for Worlds, I knew I was ready for a break.  Then, I came home to Ottawa and I felt so unsatisfied that I felt like I was ready to just keep training.  But, subconsciously I obviously was still ready for rest.  So that is what I have been doing... resting, sleeping in, and not working out. 

All the top athletes take a break.  They spend weeks, sometimes many weeks, doing no swim, bike, running at all. It is good for both mental and physical health to take a break, to reconnect with friends and family, and to reconnect with activities outside of triathlon. 

That said, this break won't last for long.  I think I'm nearing the point where I'm ready to get back out there.  And, I'm ready to make some plans, at least for the fall (still totally unsure about next season!).

Here is the off season plan:

1) Run - It took me so long to get back to feeling good while running that I'm afraid to take a real break from running.  These two weeks have been good, but I don't want to lose the momentum I worked hard to gain back after my stress fracture.  Specifically, I've just signed up for my first cross country race.  And Gilly has been hitting the trails lately, so I'm going to try to start joining her.

2) Bike - Before it gets too cold and snowy, I'm taking the bike out as much as possible.  The fall colours are a great incentive to get out to the park.

3) Swim - I am signed up for another year at ROCS and I will get back in the pool soon. I ended up having some great swims, and again this is an area where I don't want to lose momentum.

4) Strength - As part of my stress fracture recovery, I had a corrective strength program designed for me by Jon. I've been working on that, but because I hadn't been  super diligent, I'll take another week or two before moving into the weight lifting portion of the program, which will be about 8 weeks long.

4) Play - I would like to keep this fall light and fun, with lots of group activities and training with friends. There could be some yoga, barre, and maybe even organized sports thrown in for good measure. We'll see!