I once did a triathlon — there I said it!

October 9, 2009

Last year, when I turned 40, I committed to myself that I would complete a triathlon. I am not terribly athletic nor fit, so it was a huge commitment. I swam occasionally, ran when I had to, and biked lots, as long as no hills were involved (and I live in Vancouver, so you can imagine how little that was). But goshdarnit, I needed a challenge for my 40th to prove I wasn’t really old, so that was it.

So I trained. I actually followed the rules with my Monday-night running group, and even ran mid-week. I got over the hill thing on my bike and got better at cycling. And I swam more. I got help, from the head lifeguard at the pool, from the guy who runs the running clinic, and from my trainer. And from a website about training to run your first tri.

And I did it. My only goals were to finish it, not embarrass myself, and not be last. And I did all three. Despite swimming breast stroke, I came out of the pool about halfway in the group (a very supportive women’s only tri race helped!), off my bike a bit slower, but heck, it’s a mountain bike, and while my run was pretty pathetic and at the end I had absolutely nothing to give, I did cross the finish line in under two hours and there were a dozen people who finished after me.

And sometimes I like to brag about all that. But maybe I talked about it a bit too much last year, because my hubby has threatened that if I say the word “triathlon” again he’ll make me do another one (which I really don’t want to do). My kids try to trick me into saying it all the time now. But today an Olympic triathlete, who went to the same school my kids now attend, is visiting the school and came out early to run with the cross country group, and I was going for a run anyhow so I ran with the kids for 10 minutes myself. So I got to run with a triathlete again today, and got to say triathlon all the time this morning. And I just felt like mentioning my own triathlon effort too, so am writing it here.

But since hubby doesn’t read the blog, and anyhow writing and saying aren’t really the same, right, so I’m safe right? Please don’t make me do another one. Running 40 minutes this morning was hard enough.

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To bike or not to bike, the rain is a question

July 6, 2009

I have taken lately to biking to work. No, not the work I do at my home office. It would be very hard to bike from the kitchen to the playroom nook where my office is located. No, twice a week I work at a client’s office in Burnaby, which is 16 km from my home.

At first I couldn’t imagine doing the commute on my bike. I started this 2-day-a-week gig last September, right when the weather turned cold and wet. I had no interest in driving, since the drive takes about 45 minutes, so I bussed, which took me about 55 minutes, but I got to sit and read a book the whole way (and yes, I bought a blackberry so I could keep on top of work, both the client’s stuff when not at their office and my other consulting work when on the bus or at the client’s, but no, I rarely gave up my reading time on the bus to work on my handheld computer).

But in May, the ads for Bike-to-Work Week hit me, and I decided to give it a try. After all, I wasn’t a horrible cyclist, and the worst that would happen is the commute home (uphill) would be too much and I’d stick the bike on a bus). Besides, if  biked to work, even one way, I’d get in a workout, which would free up more time for the rest of my life, saving me from having to hit a gym or worse, go for a run (yuck!). So I tried it. And I found that it wasn’t too hard.

I found a terrific route to and from work that pretty much avoids the big hills — along the tracks by Arbutus, then along the new bike route that runs under the Skytrain, right to my office pretty much. It takes me just 55 minutes to bike to work (if you’re keeping track, that’s the same time it takes me to bus), and about 60 to bike home. So it isn’t taking any extra time, and I get my workout in while commuting. I’ve been biking out to Burnaby at least one of the two days every week for a couple months now, and loving it.

But let’s face it, the weather has been lovely, until today. Today it threatened seriously to rain on me on the way here. Now, I don’t care much for biking in the rain, but I’m hard core enough now to do it anyhow. On the way home. Because when I get home, I can hop in the shower, warm up and dry off. But on the way there, not so much. At my small office, there is no shower. It’s not usually a big problem, because I change clothes and am never terribly sweaty getting here (It’s more downhill on the way in, and cooler in the mornings. Nothing a few baby wipes can’t clear up.) But when it rains, I’d get very wet getting in, and while I can certainly dry off and change, I’m unlikely to warm up.

At least, that’s my story. That’s why I didn’t bike in this morning. Of course I feel like a woos for not biking. Especially since my next day in the office, it’s also threatening rain. And I won’t have time to work out much this week, so I do need to get in some biking on the way to something.

Would you bike in the rain if you didn’t have a shower on the other end?


A family walk — up Grouse Mountain

June 28, 2009

My family did the Grouse Grind yesterday morning. Yes, all of us, even the 8 year old and the 6 year old. And before you laugh at me too hard, yes, I was the last one up.

This wasn’t the kids’ first time climbing Grouse. Both climbed it a couple times before — the younger did it at age 4 (and yes, he did it faster than me then too). But it was the first time I climbed with them. Dad has always been the one to go with them before. In fact, two years ago, after my then-six-year-old did the climb in a reported 90 minutes, I went up the next weekend with a girlfriend trying to just beat his time (I didn’t, I tied it. Stop laughing!).

So this weekend we all climbed together. In my own defense, I have asthma, and it’s exercise-induced asthma, so when I climb a lot of stairs (and in case you’ve never experienced it, the Grouse Grind is described as Mother Nature’s stairclimber — it’s a mile straight up a mountain after all!), my heart rate skyrockets and I need to take a lot of breaks to slow my breathing down. The boys can just scramble up easily, even using their hands for the steeper steps. I can’t.

Anyhow, I told the boys to go on ahead with Dad and not wait for me until they reached the top, but they took a few long breaks and I managed to keep up with them. In fact, their time was 83 minutes, and mine was 86. Not too shabby for an old lady, right?

While it may not have been a crowning moment of athletic achievement for me, for the kids, it was an amazing one. They’re only 6 and 8, and they climbed Grouse Mountain in under 90 minutes. I am so proud of them, and so proud to have been able to do it with them.

And okay, none of us could even dream of doing it more than once, let alone 13 times like this superhero, but still, those two boys are my heroes.