Sunday, 29 December 2013

Hasta la Vista, 2013 (read in Arnie's voice)

The final hours of 2013 are ticking away and it's my final post of the year.  Most of us, admittedly or not, are reflecting on our strengths and weaknesses of the past 365 days.  And most of us, whether we care to say it or not, are thinking about how to improve in 2014.   Resolutions are made with fervor and optimism but once the Most Miserable Day (reportedly January 23rd, when most resolutions have been dropped) rolls around, they're long gone and elastic waistbands are once again our best friends.

Maybe that's how it goes for you, but here's how it goes for me:  January is attacked with the fury of a woman who ate and drank her way through December (and the latter part of November if I'm being 100% honest).  February goes pretty well, but the training is not nearly as ferocious.  March training is a little on the slack side.  April hits and brings the first triathlon and every year I say "Eff!!  Why did I not keep up those promised changes?  How am I not hitting PR's despite not training all that hard? It all started so nicely.  Oh well, good enough-I'm a triathlete, aren't I?"

But I'm not settling for good enough this year because, like you, I deserve better.  Reflecting on past behaviours, I noticed that there was no real accountability or incentive to sustain my very best, top notch effort.  I enjoy doing it, but just as enjoyable is a night of socializing with friends followed by a long sleep.  So how to improve accountability and motivation?  Challenges and rewards!  Here's what I've signed myself up to do:

30 Days with no grains or dairy:  Sort of Paleo but with wine (Drunken Cavewoman, I guess?), giving this a go to soothe stomach issues and improve energy levels.  I'm on day four and it's been a success, albeit with some pretty intense grain cravings.  These are only supposed to last a week or so.  I hope.  *Disclaimer-I am in no way advocating the Paleo diet or anything like it, or saying you should do it.  I am doing what works for me, and encourage the everyone to do the same*  Reward?  Beer on my bday!

Run 20 miles every week from Jan. 6-March 2nd:  Running is my weakness.  The hardest part for me is getting out there for a run without a friend.  Don't get me wrong, once I'm running it's all good but getting up the motivation is sooooo haaaaard.  The challenge I've joined is through Run With Jess.  You have the choice of either 10, 20, 30 or 40 miles per week and there are prizes!  Woohoo!  20 miles seems pretty daunting right now, not sure how I'm gonna put that one together.  Reward? The possibility of those aforementioned prizes and signing up for the Rock'n'Roll Half's Vancouver debut.

Cycle 20 miles every week from Jan. 1-March 2nd: Made this one up myself in hopes of getting on my bike a little (a lot) more often.  Most of a triathlon is spent on your bike and thus has the greatest potential to lead to a PR.  20 miles a week sounds good now but on top of swimming, running, strength training and life, will I be able to fit it in?  Therein lies the challenge.  Reward?  New tri shorts.

30 Days of Planking-start at 20 seconds and go all the way to 5 minutes:  Does your stomach hurt just thinking of doing this?  Mine does.  You probably think I'm doing this to get a stronger core because the core is so important blah, blah, blah but no.  A stronger core is nice but mostly I've always wanted to be able to plank for more than 30 seconds.  You can find this challenge at Athleta or Tribesports.  Reward? Being able to do a 5 minute plank.

Speaking of Tribesports, I highly recommend checking out their site, they have TONS of challenges for just about anything you can image.  Anyways, these are my challenges, what are yours?  You've probably guesses I'm using the blog as a way to keep myself honest but I'll also try to post updates on Twitter and Instagram.  Best of luck to you in any challenges you take on and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Soothing the savage beast

Welcome to December!  Crowded malls, black ice, subzero temperatures, myriad social engagements, beer advent calendars, and Christmas baking are sapping our will to swim/bike/run and bringing out the (10 pounds heavier) savage beast within.

 It ain't easy getting out there these days to tame the beast, so what to do?  If you don't already, why not add music?  For the exercise-with-music types, why not revamp your playlist?  Half the fun of running with music (a new and very happy discovery for me) is in creating the perfect playlist.   As some of you know, nothing will push you through a weak spot like your favourite song.  I recently asked some friends to send me  their favourite running songs-some are surprising choices and some will be added to my list in the very near future.  Here they are:

Name: Race Vault
Pace: 10:30/mile
Favourite Distance: Mile repeats/any sort of drill
Playlist: - Born to Run/Bruce Springsteen              -The Dead Heart/Alexisonfire
               -Big Wheel/Down With Webster               - Fire Burning/Shawn Kingston 
               -Sandstorm/Darude                                     - Supersoaker/Kings of Leon
              - Angels of the Silences/Counting Crow   - Run to You/Bryan Adams
               -Break Stuff/Limp Bizkit                              -Rock and Roll/Skrillex

Name: Alli
Pace: 9:30/mile
Favourite Distance: 10k.  Fair weather runner, will run on the treadmill if it's too wet (unless it's a club run, then I'm happy to then I'm happy to get soaked with my friends as long as it's followed by a cold beer by the fireplace at the Rose!)
Playlist:- Blurred Lines/Robin Thicke                             -Get Lucky/Daft Punk
              - Can't Do Nuttin For Ya Man/Public Enemy   -Hey Ladies/Beastie Boys 
              -Come Dancing/the Kinks                                   -Jam for the Ladies/Moby
              -Devil Went Down to Georgia/Charlie Daniels - Lets Talk about Sex/Salt N Pepa   
             -We no Speak Americano/DJ Americano& Melinda
               Kool                                                                         -Dowutchalike/DigitalUnderground

Name: The Nutcracker
Pace: 9:00/mile
Favourite Distance: 10k-short and sweet.  Rain or shine, preferably shine.
Playlist: - Big Mouth/Santigold                   -Daft Punk Is Playing In My House/LCD Sound           
             -So Whatcha Want/Beastie Boys - Try It Again - The Hives
             -Insane in the Brain/Cypress Hill   -You've Got Another Thing Comin/Judas Priest
             -I Love It - Icona Pop                        -Jerk It - Thunderheist
             -Power - Kanye West                        -Blue Orchid - White Stripes (and Icky Thump!)     

Name: Special K
Pace: 7:00/mile
Favourite distance: 10k (but I'm making that up, I didn't ask)
Playlist: -Go/Pearl Jam                            -Kickstart My Heart/Motley Crue
              -Hollywood Nights/Bob Seger  -Against the Wind/Bob Seger
              -Run LIke Hell/Pink Floyd         -Clash City Rockers/The Clash
              -Why Go/Pearl Jam                    -Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)/Arcade Fire
              -Harder than you Think/Public Enemy 
              -Galvanize/Chemical Brothers
Name: The Rabbit
Pace: 8:00/mile
Favourite distance: 8k.  Ocean front run on a clear, cool day.  Or any run with friends and beer at the end.
Playlist: Sorry I have never tried running to music. I prefer the tap tap (thump) of my feet and my own inner thoughts which may be a bit monotonous like some music perhaps. Also I'm too paranoid to block out the sounds of the world outside and I don't really like to run on the treadmill. 

So there you have it, 40 great songs and 1 good case for running without them at all.  Hope these help you off get off of the couch, away from the fireplace and cookies and out the door.  Any "must have" songs that aren't on here?  See you out there!