Slow and steady does not win the race

Fiori bike

I’d like to think I am fast–a fast runner, a fast biker, a fast swimmer.

When I do these things by myself, and there’s no one to race against, I can feel the wind in my hair, and I think I’m fast.

Then, there’s reality.

The reality is, I am one of the slowest runner/biker, and one of the worst swimmers I know. Anytime I go hiking with friends, I’m always dead last. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great time. I am just…slow. Very slow.

Back in the college days (back in 2001), when I was young and stupid, I bought a road bike so I can train for a duathlon. A duathlon (instead of a triathlon) is a race of cycling and running, made for swimming flunkies like me. Rather than swim-bike-run, you do run-bike-run. The bike I had enough money for is the Fiori Roma. I think I paid $180 at Sports Junkies. I don’t have a picture of it, but it’s the exact same bike as the above photo I stole off the internet. Except mine didn’t have a cool paint job like this one.

I lived by the foothill of SFU at that time, and would ride the bike on Barnett Highway as training. I would ride that highway to Port Moody and back, and pat myself on my back for how fast I thought I was. I would run around the track at school to train for the running portion, and again doing it by myself while being completely oblivious to my slowness.

My friend Ryan joined me for the duathlon. Race day came, he took off at the start line, wishing me good luck. I started running hard, giving the race all my might. I felt like a champion, running with good form with my chest up. A few kilometers later, I noticed I am being passed by everybody and their dog. Literally. By the end of the run, I was exhausted.

Then I started with the cycling portion. I peddled hard. Other bikes started passing me. Still more other bikes continued to pass me. I kept telling myself that’s because these real athletes are riding the super lightweight race bikes, and I’m riding a vintage clunker. Then I noticed people riding their mountain bikes with fat knobby tires passing me. WTF?

By the time I got off the bike, my legs felt like jello. I left my bike and started the last running portion. I felt like shit. I had no idea how to train for a run other than a few laps around the track. And even though I thought I was pretty decent at running, at an event like this, I realized how lousy I was. I had to try really hard to pass a lady at least 3 times my age and twice my weight. I nearly vomited multiple times.

Still, I pushed on, running as hard as I could.

Either the cycling or the running course–I don’t really remember which one now–for the duathlon makes you go around the same route twice to make up enough distance. And for whatever reason, this fact completely escaped me. Essentially, I only completed half the distance required for one of the legs.

As I struggled along the last few km of the run (after already missing half the distance), the organizer van was picking up the cones and closing the course right behind me. I was gasping for air and my lungs felt like they were going to explode. I finally finished the race, and got my “finisher” medal.

When I saw my friend Ryan after the race, he was saying how going around the course twice was really hard on him. I was like, “Uh, what do you mean twice?” That’s when I realized I didn’t even really finish the race, since I totally took a wrong turn and missed half the course. And even then, I finished dead last in my age group.

I never participated in another duathlon again. I swore I would never do another one, or a marathon or half marathon or anything silly like that.

Now, in 2017, I am old and stupid. A friend was talking about doing a half marathon as a mean to push her limits. Something possessed me to put up my hand and say, “Oh, I’ll do it with you.” Then I am pretty sure she held a gun to my head and make me type in the registration details online. So apparently on October 1 this year, I’ll be running my first half marathon.

The half marathon training starts next Monday. If you are looking for me this weekend, I’ll be at home, drinking away my sorrows, and toasting the vintage Fiori Roma for all the times she made me feel fast.

I’ve got this

A year ago today, I held my breath as I entered my “40s”. I knew looking back things have been good, but I really wasn’t sure how this new era is going to hit.

I am happy to report that now I have had a year to practice being 40, I’ve got this. It’s actually pretty damn awesome!

There were three things I was very happy about:

  1. Savanna and I traveled to Morocco. I will continue to talk about this trip for years to come. We really bonded on this trip, and I learned that she is an amazing little traveller.
  2. I am more fit than I have ever been. 21 Day Fix Extreme, P90X3, Insanity Max 30, spin, kickboxing, running and biking had me drop 30 lbs since a year ago. But it’s not the weight I’m most excited about; it’s the feeling being strong and growing stronger.
  3. I cleared out the noises in my life. Taking a social media hiatus is one of the best things I have ever done. I stopped caring so much about what people think of me and wasting time on things that do not matter. I made time to be home for dinner at least twice on weekdays.

Today we enjoyed skiing in Whistler. There is no better way to spend the day than with the very people who make my life so damn awesome.

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90 days of P90X3

90 days ago, on November 7th, I started going through Tony Horton’s P90X3 program. Today, I am happy to report that I am done! Forgetting all the results that come with the program, my favorite part is that I feel so much stronger. I can snowshoe without dying on the steep parts, my back pain is gone, and even the tendinitis in my right shoulder is nearly all gone.

What surprised me is how much I enjoyed the whole process. Not that I know much about these modern fitness stuff, but I thought the program is very well rounded. Some days are heart thumping cardio, some days are weights, some days are pilates or yoga, some days are stretching, and some days you just get your butt kicked.

They make it really easy for lazy people like me. A calendar gives me the workout I’ll be doing every day. I don’t even have to think about it. When I’m traveling, I throw the resistance bands in my suitcase and work out in the hotel room. Sometimes I worked out in the hotel’s gym.

The workouts are about 35 minutes a day, 6 days a week, which is really manageable for someone with a busy schedule.

So, here are the results from the past 90 days:

Body fat: dropped 1.8%

Thighs: dropped 3″ in total

Arms: dropped 2.75″

Chest: dropped 1.5″

Hips: dropped 1″

Waist: dropped 2″

Weight: dropped 8.4 lbs

Lastly, the part that I am *most* excited about, is the influence of the regime on the kids. Most of the time I finish my workout before the kids wake up in the morning. But on weekends sometimes I sleep in a bit and they do see me workout, and they have both been interested in following along. I hope with all of my heart that this instills in them the need for a healthy lifestyle.

Logic prevails, sort of

Savanna: Mommy, there’s no big foot, right?

Me: Right. Big foot is not real.

Savanna: But there are bears.

Me: Yes, there are bears. Bears are real.

Savanna: What if you see a bear?

Me: I’ll probably stay in the car.

Savanna: What if you see a baby bear?

Me: I’ll probably still stay in the car.

Savanna: What if the bear wants to give you her baby bear?

Me: Umm, I don’t really want a baby bear.

Savanna: Do you want a baby person?

Me: Well, that’s not entirely up to me. Daddy said no.

Savanna: But you can just get a baby from your belly.

Tony Horton is going to kick my butt

Being 40 has been a great ride so far. One of my resolves this year was to get healthy.

I went to try out a spin class near my place back in August. The spin studio instructor asked me if I wanted to sign up for home workout streaming videos. Since I had lots of work travel plans this fall/winter, I figured it would be a great way to keep up with my fitness goals while on the road.

The videos ranged from yoga to body building, from pilates to cardio workouts. I tried a few, and got hooked on 21 Day Fix Extreme. For the first time in my life, I enjoyed going to the gym and actually working out. I am loving just feeling stronger.

I finished the 21-day program last week. But since I still have lots of room for improvement, especially in my core strength (or the lack thereof), I decided to pick another workout series to follow.

One of the series in the video library is called P90X3, done by a trainer named Tony Horton. Apparently it’s on late night infomercials often. Anyway, I like the idea of doing an intense but short workout everyday, and following a calendar of what an expert tells me to do.

So today, November 7th, will be Day 1 of the P90X3 workout. This program goes on for 90 days, which will take me through Christmas and all the way into February. 90 days! The little devil sitting on my right shoulder is telling me I’ll never make it.

I feel like I need to put this out there so I have some accountability. I know at least some of you will ask me how the program is going. So, here I go. I am getting ready to get my butt kicked.

funny-leg-day-zombie-apocalupse

Broken angels

I was actually hoping to read more than just 2 books in August, but work has just been too busy. I read the Yellow Crocus pretty fast as it was a short book. I started the second book right away, but just haven’t gotten back to it until we took a couple of vacation days to go to Whistler with the kids. One night after the kids went to bed, I started reading. It was so good that I couldn’t put it down. By the time I finished the book, it was almost 3:30 am!

The second book I read in August is called Broken Angels. It’s a story about these heartbreaking things that happen during WWII in Poland with the Jews.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27852570-broken-angels

I don’t enjoy reading about war. But I do enjoy reading about the resilience of people and culture in the setting. This book is set in the same timeframe as Finding Rebecca, which I enjoyed.

As a side note, I have long ago decided that books take up too much space. As much as I enjoy reading, I don’t enjoy figuring out how to house books in our small apartment. So a few years ago I bought a Kindle. Buying a book now takes less than a minute–I click “order” on Amazon, and then press the synch button on the Kindle to download the book which is less than 30 seconds. It has been a good space saving solution for me. I also love how I can take multiple books on a trip in a small device. The display works beautifully even in sunlight. I can also set the font to large for my old eyes.kindle

Itchy fat

I used to hate running. Every time I ran, I got the itchy fat–all the fat bits on me get super itchy–under arm, belly, the back rolls, thighs, and the butt. I would scratch my thighs and under arm so much that the red scratch marks would last for days.

But last year I endured the itchy fat so I could win a Fitbit competition with a co-worker. Then one day, I realized–I enjoyed running. Weird. I ran enough that eventually the itchy fat went away. For the past year, I ran 3 or 4 times a week. Just 5 km at a time, but I was consistent.

Then back in July, in a dumb freak incident in a swimming pool, I ripped my left big toe nail right off the nail bed. I have been living in gauze and bandages and flipflops ever since, and unable to run.

Now 6 weeks later, the nail has healed enough that I can actually wear proper shoes again. Last night, I put on my runners for the first time in a long time, and went for a short run. Oh my, the itchy fat came back with a vengeance! My entire mid section from the chest to the knees was itching so much that it felt like I was burning. I gritted my teeth and endure the itch for a very slow 4.5 km run.

Damn you, itchy fat!

hurt toe

Hobbled out of the pool after bleeding everywhere

Strava

First run in 6 weeks