Weeks 9-12: Ups and Downs

The past several weeks have literally flown by.  I've had change at work, switching jobs and taking over a big new project in a different department.  Outside of work, I've packed my weekends and as a result, my blog has suffered.  I normally write a weekly entry on Sunday afternoons, but that fell off for the past month.

It's safe to say, any athlete's life will have its ups and its downs.  So here is a short collection of ups and downs from the past month or so.

The last time I posted to my blog was shortly after my bike was stolen.  That definitely qualified as a down moment!

Reading online about stolen bikes in Toronto, I learned that not many are returned to their owners.  BlogTO reports that, in 2011, out of 3,139 bikes stolen in this city, only 170 were returned to their owners.  That's about 5%.

That being said, my internal attitude is pretty much consistently set to "upbeat," even when things get tough.  I recognized that I'm privileged to be in a place, financially, geographically, physically and socially, where I can compete in this sport.  I also recognized that the theft could have happened at a worse time and that I could still get things back on track.

When I learned that insurance would partially cover the cost of my old bike, I decided to figure out how to get another one.  First, I made my way to the Endurosport Gear Swap, which is quite the experience.  Ever been?  I arrived about 20 minutes before the doors opened and found about 30 or 40 people in line already.  When the clock hit 9:00 a.m., the doors swung wide and the crowd surged in.  It's the closest I've ever been to a Black Friday shopping experience.

Go for the carbon, honey!  I'll get the power meter!

I quickly realized there wasn't a bike for me, although I had to admire a sweet Cervelo road bike a young, aspiring triathlete picked up.  That was definitely an "up" moment.  Wishing him luck in this, his new sport!

A week after the swap, I went to the Toronto International Bike Show.  I'm normally intimidated by these shows because there are just so many bikes... so many options... and so many people.  This time, I went in with a plan, including a hard cap on price and a solid idea of which models might fall within it.

After visiting each and every bike retailer, I found something in my size and at a price significantly better than expected.  I'm now the proud owner of a 2014 Felt B14.  I cannot wait to get this baby off the trainer and outside for a ride.  And I admit, the black paint job will totally match my Ignition Fitness Sketchers Performance team kit.  Up moment!

My new ride

Since I last posted, I found out that I've been confirmed as a pace bunny for the Toronto Goodlife Half Marathon.  This will be my first time volunteering in this capacity for a race and while I feel a little bit of pressure -- What if my shoulder gets tired and I can't hold up the sign?  What if my Garmin fails?  What if I get injured before the race? -- I am fully pumped about the chance to help a bunch of fellow runners reach their goals.  When I set out my own goals for this season, one of them had nothing to do with PBs: I committed to doing something to help others explore running or duathlon.  I'm very happy to have this opportunity so early in the season and I'll be looking for more in the months to come.  Up moment!

2:00 continuous, follow me!

On the down side of the ledger, for a couple of weeks, I had odd pain in both my feet, especially the right one.  The pain was accompanied by abnormal tightness in my calves and ankles.  I tried to keep my mind from drifting to the thought of stress fractures, kept stretching and massaging my lower legs and thankfully, after about two weeks, the pain subsided.

The title of this post is "ups and downs," and more than anything, it's the temperature that's been up and down over the past month.  That glorious evening of March 16, I wore shorts for an outdoor run for the first time in 2015.  What a tease.  It was mentally taxing to pull on my insulated tights again for several runs since then.

Looking ahead, the forecast calls for warmer weather and for the next few days, my training focus will be on preparing for the weekend.  Saturday is Harry's Spring Run-off (Twitter hashtag #HSROT), my traditional, 5 km season opener.  It's the perfect test to see how I held up over the winter because the course never changes.  I fully love the Canada Running Series events, as they feel like my "home" as a recreational runner.  Six days to go 'til the season really kicks off!