Looking back at 2013, and my goals for 2014

2012 was the year when I made an important decision to save my life: I had gastric bypass surgery.

2013 was the year when I built the foundations for my new lifestyle. Eat better, exercise more. I started from zero fitness to finishing my first triathlon. Oh, I’m still far from an athlete, but I like to think I made giant leaps of progress to become an awesome version of myself.

I started by hiring a personal trainer to keep me motivated, to keep me in check (nothing like having to answer the question “How often did you train this week and what did you do?” to actually make you go train on your own and keep going!), to teach me how to train, and to get a jump-start towards an active lifestyle. I owe him a lot. Even if we’ve now parted ways, the effect he had on me still hasn’t worn off 😉 I can still hear his voice in my head shouting COME ON!! when I want to give up, and I can still hear him ask me the dreaded question every week! And when I see him at the gym, he actually makes sure to ask how I’ve been doing and how my training is going…

Then, there were my goals. One in particular, a dream, a fantasy of mine for several years already: finishing a triathlon. Looking back, I know I didn’t train sufficiently when it comes to swimming, and I was still not very fit, but I did cross that finish line. I finished dead last, but I finished. Instead of demotivating me, it only encouraged me to get fitter and get better.

So, what did I do in 2013? Let’s see…

  • 8 x 5K races
  • 2 x 10K races
  • 2 x obstacle/mud races
  • 1 x super-sprint triathlon

Not bad for a first year!

And what are my goals for 2014?

  • Finish a half-marathon in May
  • Finish a sprint triathlon in August
  • Focus on 10K races instead of 5K races*
  • Learn how to swim the front crawl

* I choose to focus on 10K races this year rather than 5K’s, mostly as an extra challenge to myself. And not to sound like a snob (because really, I’m not!), but I noticed I’m taking this racing thing way too seriously now to genuinely enjoy doing 5K’s (generally more crowded and family oriented), and I just hate having to slalom around people walking, even though I’m not running much faster than them, and feeling stressed about how this slaloming will affect my end time. I’m not saying I’ll never do 5K’s ever again, but I will choose them carefully, i.e. smaller-scaled events.

Today is Blue Monday, apparently the most depressing day of the year, with our New Year’s resolutions slowly fading away. Apparently. Because I’m happy to report I’ve been going to the swimming pool 2 to 3 times per week since the beginning of the year, I’ve officially started my half-marathon preparation, and I’ve also stepped on my bike a few times already. Things are going smoothly! And do you know what helps? Getting new gear to keep you motivated. Look at what the hubs gave me for my birthday! 😀

5595_10151949104842585_134587233_nYes!! A beautiful Forerunner 910XT. I am SO happy. I’m tracking everything on Garmin Connect and I love seeing my progress! I already owned a Forerunner 305 and I was really happy with it, but I was really missing the swimming training tracking component the 910XT has to offer. My dad is going to inherit of my 305, I know he’ll give it a good home!

I think I’m well on my way to a fantastic 2014. If I can stay injury-free and if I can manage to keep my iron-deficiency anemia under control, I should be able to achieve my goals.

Wish me luck! 😉

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Living an active lifestyle

I’ve led a very sporadic ‘active lifestyle’ from my youth to my adult life. I’d be out and about cross-country skiing during the winter, but spend the summer sitting on my behind. I’d play organised sports for a couple of years, but then I’d sit on the couch for the next five. Lack of motivation, teenage rebellion, caught in the whirlwind of studying or working. There was always an excuse.

In 2007 and 2008, when I was actively trying to lose weight by dieting and exercising, I discovered sports I loved and started to actually enjoy exercising. But then weight stall frustration, stress, work and health problems became yet other excuses for not burning calories. And we all know what happened next: I put the weight back on, AND THEN SOME. Which led me to taking the difficult decision to go under the knife for gastric bypass in October 2012.

The weight is definitely coming off now, but I know I’m in this honeymoon period where weight loss almost magically happens without too much efforts. When this honeymoon period is over, I know I’ll have to be more vigilant at managing my caloric intake and the amount of calories I burn through exercise, otherwise I will re-gain. And I really don’t want to go there!

What do I need to do then? I need to live an active lifestyle, I need to make exercising part of my daily life — not for a summer, not for a year, but until the end of my days. But it’s not easy. There’s work, and commuting to and from work, there’s my other hobbies, there’s my wonderful husband, there’s household chores, etc. Making it all fit is really a challenge. I’m sacrificing my other hobbies (I haven’t done any significant sewing for at least a year now), I’m setting clear boundaries in regards to work, and I’m trying to get the hubby to exercise with me, so at least it would count as quality time 😉

Lucky for me, I’m still in love with running, biking and swimming. I’m still enjoying my training sessions with my personal trainer. I’m still enjoying going to the gym. It hasn’t been easy lately because I’m suffering from anemia (happens often after gastric bypass) and my energy level is sub-zero, but I have to push through it. Otherwise, I’m going to find excuses again and I’ll end up on the couch.

The longest distance in any race is the six inches between your ears

I stumbled upon this quote yesterday, and there’s so much truth in it. And not only for marathoners or triathletes! We have to constantly fight this little voice in our heads that is telling us to give up, to stay on the couch, to be lazy, to push that training back to tomorrow, next week, next month, next year… And it’s hard. But it’s worth it.

With my first super-sprint triathlon only 3 months away now (gasp!), there’s no time for pushing back a training. I am going to the pool, I am going for a bike ride, and I am running. I’m not fast, I’m not ‘performing’, but I’m out there having fun doing it, and that’s the most important thing.

In my enthusiasm, I’ve even signed up for a 10K race in now less than 2 weeks! And I have a 5K race in June! And an 8K run in July! And my super-sprint triathlon in August! And today I signed up for a 10K in September! Having goals is what keeps me going. I don’t care if I finish last – I just want to finish 🙂

I’ll finish by inviting you to visit and like my Facebook page to get the latest updates on my workouts and my gear – because one thing I had to sacrifice lately is time for blogging 😉 I hope to see you there!

Dusting off old training equipments

Dusting off old training equipments

I bought this trainer a loooong time ago. 2009? 2010? I can’t remember. It was part of a New Year resolution, and I was happy I got it on sale in January at the time.

I never really used it, only a few times. I was seriously lacking the motivation and the energy to do anything serious with it.

But now, things have changed 😉 Or at least, I’l trying to make them change. I have this triathlon thing to train for, and I need to build up endurance. I don’t feel like sitting 1 hour+ on a bike at the gym (boring!), so until I can go ride outside, why not actually use the equipment I have at home? And watch a movie while I’m at it. Or just my favorite show.

I’m hoping I can retrieve my bike from storage today and install it on the trainer. One hour on this thing looks like an ideal Monday evening training to me 😉

Tri’-ing for a triathlon, again

Four years ago, almost at the same date, I signed up for my first triathlon. Unfortunately, I never managed to get the training and the preparation done, and in the end, I didn’t participate.

But it’s been nagging me ever since.

So I did it again. I signed up for my first super-sprint triathlon, to take place in August. I have 7 months to train and prepare. I should manage, right? I mean, I’m still busy building up my running with the Start to Run program, but in 7 months, I should be able to run 2.5km. I have yet to get on my bike, but I’ve been cycling at the gym and I’ll join spinning classes soon. And as soon as the weather gets better, I’ll hit the road with my bike, for sure. And 10km on the bike ain’t too bad. The biggest challenge, and my biggest weakness, is swimming. I suck at it, and the swimming pools in my area are not open when I would need them to be, so I’ll have to do wonders to make swimming training fit around my schedule. Anyway, if I want it enough, I can make it work, right? Even if that means going for a swim at 7:00 in the morning and get to the office later than usual. Or something.

I’ll have a chat with my personal trainer next Tuesday, to get advice on what muscle groups I should focus on when I’m training on my own at the gym, or at home. ‘Cause yeah, I’ve been assembling a cool mini gym at home. I love my pink stability ball 😉

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I’m still going to check out my triathlon training books, but advice from a pro cannot hurt. And it also gives us a focus for our personal training sessions: working out to get fit for my first triathlon! I’m excited just thinking about it 🙂

I’ll give the swimming pool a try this weekend, wish me luck!

Un peu de vélo, tiens!

J’ai plutôt abandonné l’entraînement à la course ces temps-ci, mea culpa 😳 Horaire chargé, météo pas toujours clémente (il fait trop chaud ou il pleut!), fatigue générale… Mais je ne pouvais pas laisser passer la randonnée Leontien’s Ladies Ride, organisée annuellement dans quelques villes aux Pays-Bas par Leontien van Moorsel elle-même, ex-championne du monde et ex-championne olympique. Le plus drôle c’est que par les années passées, je n’ai jamais pu voir Leontien de mes yeux vus alors que dimanche je l’ai vu plusieurs fois et elle m’a même félicitée au fil d’arrivée 😀 Je n’en suis pas peu fière…

Randonnée à vélo, donc. Environ 65 km sur un parcours agréable, plat, sans grande difficulté, parfois boisé, parfois à travers champs! Une belle journée ensoleillée avec près de 27°C au mercure, pas un nuage, que demander de plus? Comme c’était ma première sortie vélo de l’année, j’ai surtout eu mal aux fesses 😉 Mais pour ce qui est des jambes et du cardio, tout a été nickel! J’aurais dû m’apporter des barres energétiques par contre, je manquais de jus sur les derniers kilomètres!

La prochaine randonnée est dans la région de Rotterdam, mais malheureusement je ne peux pas y participer car je vais être en vacances à l’extérieur. Qu’à cela ne tienne, la troisième et dernière randonnée de la saison aura lieu le 21 septembre et j’y suis déjà inscrite! Cette fois-ci, ce sera un parcours d’environ 69 km mais fait nouveau pour 2008, un parcours de 130 km (!!!!!!!!!) est également possible. Je ne sais pas si je vais me laisser tenter. Ma plus longue randonnée à vie fut 70 km, c’est tout un pas de géant de tenter 130 km!! Mais pour le défi personnel, l’idée fait lentement son chemin… Enfin, j’ai l’été pour y penser et m’entraîner!

Voici quelques photos en attendant:

 

Enfin, mon numéro! Pour la petite histoire, j’ai été une des malheureuse dont l’envoi postal du numéro et des autres papiers a été égaré… Heureusement, j’ai pu obtenir un numéro après avoir montré une preuve d’inscription et de paiement!

 

Quelques secondes après le départ. Quand des milliers de femmes prennent le départ en même temps, les premières minutes se font souvent à pied en raison de la congestion!

 

Au fil d’arrivée, heureuse d’avoir terminé!! 😀