I Did It!

I woke up yesterday with a stuffy nose and a swollen ankle from my last Crossfit endeavour (remember when I slammed the barbell in my shin? Fun times!) and I was NOT in the mood to go out and run a 5km. However, I pledged I was going to do it, so out I went and drove to UVic to get my butt going. The sooner I would start, the sooner I would finish, right?

I got lost on the campus and couldn’t pinpoint the exact parking lot where the Run for the Cure was starting from so I parked in the one in front of the student council and got on my way. It took me a while to figure out that I wasn’t going the right way, I fiddled with my phone to start MapMyRun and finally knew where I was supposed to go (or closer to). I started my music and got going for the second time around. Once I was warm enough, I removed a layer of clothing and slowly settled into my rhythm. I always find it takes me 10-15 minutes to breathe easier when I start running. I don’t know why, but it’s something that I was reminded of today. Before Rina was born, I used to run a little and I remember having to deal with the same issues then.

It was a beautiful autumn morning with just a little bit of sun, the air was cool and that’s my favorite weather to run in. I settled into the music, trying to focus on the scenery around me as much as I could in order to get out of my head and the feat ahead of me.

The lady on MapMyRun announced I had already done 1km and that meant only 4 more to go. I got a little confused about my running route and decided to just stick to the university circle and repeat that in loops until I reached 5km. That was my plan and I felt better about knowing where I was going, sort of. I kept going for a bit, still struggling with finding my rhythm and taking minimal walking breaks. I didn’t have any goal in mind other than finishing the 5km before my parking ticket expired. I had 1hr to do that and I was fairly confident I could finish somewhere between 30-40 minutes. 2km were announced and I kept going.

I was taking little walking breaks here and there throughout and I decided to see if I could run my next split without stopping. The lady said I had reached 3km and I kept going. It was tough for me to keep going, but I made it 1km without any pauses! I was definitely out of breath though and my hip flexors were getting sore so I took a small walking break afterwards and kept going. When the next split was announced, I couldn’t contain my joy! I was so happy I had managed to run a 5km without having trained for it and I did so in an ok time (for me). I kept going for a little bit since I wasn’t quite back to my car yet and I did so running! All in all, I was happy I got to do this in order to raise funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Society ($300 total), but that doesn’t mean I enjoy running any more than I did before. I know my form needs some work because my shins are a bit sore today and I feel like I may have bruised the sole of my right foot. No big issues, but just little things I noticed during my run.

There it is! 5km done!

There it is! 5km done!

 

Details of my splits

Details of my splits

 

These legs are made for... running?!?

These legs are made for… running?!?

Running For Love…

…and not, the love of running. There is a major difference between the two.

I think it’s safe to say I have made it widely known on this little blog of mine that I am not a runner. I don’t like running and I’m not efficient at it. I have short little legs and wide hips, which means I get shin splints almost every time I take to the pavement. I still do it though. During the workouts, I will run all my stretches as best I can and, lately, I have managed some pretty long distances (for me, anyway) without having to take walking breaks.

On October 4, yet another instalment of the Run For The Cure will be held in Victoria. Unfortunately, I will be at work all day on that day. I did, however register as a participant and I have pledged to run the same 5km course as all the other participants, just two days later, on October 6, starting at 9am,  all by my lonesome self.

Will it be fun? Heeeeeeellllllllllllllll no! Do I really care about it being fun? Not one bit. You know why? Because having breast cancer sure as heck isn’t fun, yet millions of women are affected by the disease and it is about time we raise enough money to find a cure for this beast.

My mom has been through 2 rounds in the ring with this monster and she has come back wearing the winning belt both times. That woman has undergone 50 rounds of chemo and 20 rounds of radiotherapy since she was first diagnosed. She is not cured, but she is learning to live with the disease and it is now under control. She will, however, need to get chemotherapy for the rest of her life on a regular basis. You tell me if that sounds like fun?

Through it all, she has held her head high and has focused on the positive in her life, never complaining about the frequency or the side effects of the treatments she had to receive. I can tell you that, although we are separated by 5000km, I know for a fact it hasn’t always been easy for her (or my dad for that matter) and for our family, but Mamie has kept a strong front and it has made it a tiny bit easier for us to swallow that ugly pill.

Since the beginning of her disease, I always felt like doing something to show her just how much I admire her strength, courage and attitude in the face of adversity. Being so far away, it is hard to demonstrate my sentiments over the phone. That’s why, this year, I pledge to RUN THE 5KM course. I will try my best to run the full thing without walking breaks, I can promise you that. It will probably be close to my version of hell on earth, but yet again, so far from what cancer patients have to go through. I feel like this will be a testament of my love and support to my Mom!

I would love to see you on the sidewalks of the course, cheering me along or if you could spare $5, you could even donate to my fundraising page! It would be even better if you could do both! I know it’s on a Tuesday morning and people have to work, but seeing familiar faces showing their love and support will mean the world to me and will give me the extra push to finish strong.

So, click the link below to donate to my fundraising page before October 4 and I’ll see you, struggling and sweaty on the sidewalk of the course, mmkay? K!

Donate by clicking HERE!

Mamie and Rina, having a blast! Please donate so that I get to witness more happy moments like that. Thanks a bunch!

Mamie and Rina, having a blast! Please donate so that I get to witness more happy moments like that. Thanks a bunch!

Fight The Suck

15.5 was announced on Thursday. Here’s what was awaiting me for the final Open 2015 workout:

My first reaction was:

Then, I saw the girls go through it (Sam, Annie and Camille) and I saw how the struggle was real for these phenomenal athletes and my confidence was slowly fading away. My initial goal was a sub 25:00 to finish. As time went on, I started thinking that a sub 30:00 would be great, then a sub 35:00 would be ok. Really, I just wanted to finish under my 14.5 score of 38:53. That would be my end goal for this one. I was getting scared beyond belief. I remembered how much 14.5 sucked and I knew 15.5 would probably be equally sucky.

I got up at 0630 to go walk the Duke and although it was early to get up for on a day off, it was nice. We walked up to the reservoir and since it was so early, there was nobody there and I was able to let him off leash so he could run to his little heart’s content! He still has the puppy run and trips over his legs, so I had a few good laughs with him.

We came back home, I showered and had a lazy breakfast. I was sure the class was starting at 0930 this morning, but I checked the website just to be safe. Good thing I did because class was starting in 30 mins (0900, not 0930). I gobbled the rest of my breakfast and got going. I paired up with Megan and she would go first and would judge me in the second heat. Megan did awesome and it was empowering yet intimidating to see her accomplish her goal for each rounds of thrusters.

Then it was my turn. My breakfast resurfaced in my throat and stayed there for the entire WOD. I got on the erg and was aiming at around 900cals/500m for that round. I managed to keep that up and moved onto the thrusters.

Wearing my "Two Peas In A WOD" tank with the hopes that Krista (my other pea) would somehow give me some of her strength.

Wearing my “Two Peas In A WOD” tank with the hopes that Krista (my other pea) would somehow give me some of her strength.

I had set out a goal of 7-5-5-5-5 for the first round of thrusters. Yeah no. I dropped that goal quickly. I broke everything into rounds of 3 for all the rounds. Which made the suck last this much longer.

Already have my "hurt face" on... It was still early in the WOD as I'm still wearing my tank top...

Already have my “hurt face” on… It was still early in the WOD as I’m still wearing my tank top…

Back to the erg for a row of 21cals. I managed to keep everything around 900cals/500m for that one as well and even though it was hard, I felt like this was my recovery. Onto the thrusters I went. I tried my best to do more than 3 reps in a row, but I just couldn’t keep it up. Rounds of 3 reps and I managed to squat clean my 1st rep on almost all rounds. And then, the WOD broke me. I was trying my best not to have an emotional breakdown, but the sobs just came out and the tears flowed out.

Back on the erg for 15 more calories. For the first 10 calories, I was just trying to control the sobs and my breathing.  I fought to keep my strokes above 800cals/500m. I kept thinking of my darling girls and how I was doing this so I can be a better mom for them. It was already hard enough, I needed to get my breathing back under control in order to keep going. I think I managed to do so before stepping off the erg and it took all my mental fortitude not to break down again as I made my way to the thrusters. I just wanted to rest and recover a little longer before going back to that damn bar. No such luck. I broke the 15 in sets of 3 again and there was one set where I just couldn’t get that bar on my shoulders. I dropped it back, got my breath under control, picked it up again and kept fighting for every rep. For the remainder of the Thrusters, I kept thinking about my mom, who fought through 2 bouts of breast cancer and chemo weekly for almost 8 months. The pain I was feeling was nothing compared to all the struggles she has gone through. I just needed to suck it up and keep going.

Photo 2015-03-28, 10 14 20 AM

Pain. Plain and simple, all over my face. Also, abs are making their first appearance in over a decade. This is good!

Back to the erg for the final 9 calories-row. I tried to maintain my strokes above 750cals/500m. I just want more time to recover. I don’t want to go back to the thrusters. NO. MORE. THRUSTERS. PLEASE!

I broke them into sets of 3 again and finished dead last. Didn’t even care about my final time, I just broke down in tears, yet again. I literally left it all on the floor. Megan came by and told me I crushed my 30 mins goal. I looked up at my time on that little piece of paper and saw the magic number:

23:09.

I had done it and not only had I crushed my goal of finishing under my 14.5 time, I had also crushed my original goal of sub 25:00. Am I happy with my score? Yes and no. I really wish I hadn’t broken down like I did, but I still managed to push through and finished under my goal time.

Krista texted me just as I was finishing the WOD and she wanted to see my post-WOD face. Here’s the pic I sent her:

Photo 2015-03-28, 10 27 21 AM

Not a pretty face, but then again, nothing was pretty about 15.5!

 

The 2015 Crossfit Open Games are now officially over for me. All I need now is to wait until next Tuesday to see where I finish up in the rankings. I hope I’ll finish better than last year but only time will tell.

The inside of my shorts. I don't know that I destroyed 15.5, but I finished and that's all I wanted in the end!

The inside of my shorts. I don’t know that I destroyed 15.5, but I finished and that’s all I wanted in the end!

 

Princesses And Illnesses

It was another early morning for my second WOD in 2 days and I felt a bit sore going in, but nothing to stop me from going.

Source

Source

Skill: Hang Power Snatch 5×3 E90S

Those are still hard for me and I started off with an empty 35# bar and slowly worked my way up. On my 2nd round, Coach AJ came by and gave me a good tip of remembering to really press the bar up at the top. It helped me to make my lift faster and not push the bar too far back behind my head! Here were my reps:

35#-40#-30#-45#-45#

 

WOD: Wracked

I teamed up with Lindsay who was afraid of dragging me down with her. I told her that last place usually has my name on it and not to worry about it. I sure don’t! we tried the presses at 55#, but it was a bit hard for Lindsay so we lowered the weight down to 50#. I started us off breaking down the push presses into sets of 5. I felt like 50# was flying off at times, but kept going at that weight. The thrusters were a bit more challenging, but I’m pretty sure I could have done all 3 moves at 55# (with a longer time). We broke up the thrusters into sets of 5 as well and once we started the back squats, I broke them off into sets of 10. We finished FG at 10:52, right at the tail end of the middle of the pack, not dead last! 🙂

I came back home to shower and have breakfast and then took Béa to the walk-in clinic. She has been under the weather for the past 4 days and is not pulling out of it. She also has sores in her mouth, reduced appetite, reduced energy, red swollen gums and bags under her eyes. She is now on antibiotics for the next 9 days and has a cortisone ointment for her gums, to help reduce the swelling. Here’s hoping I get my little Owl back to normal soon. I took the girls to the playground yesterday after they nap and they were all dressed up in princesses outfits. I didn’t feel like fighting with them, so I took two cute princesses to the park!

Pushing their swings!

Pushing their swings!

140925-019

Princess Béa, under the weather 😦

Don’t forget to be generous and donate to my Run for the Cure page! Thanks!

Standing Together

Psst!

Here’s a little secret…

I will enter my first ever Crossfit competition (outside of the 2014 Crossfit Games) in the Novice category on Sunday October 5. It just so happens that the day of the competition falls on the same day as my local Run for the Cure (in awareness of breast cancer). As some of you might know, Mamie is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments for a second time. I haven’t blogged about it before, but she gave me the “ok” to talk about it now since I will be raising funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Her breast cancer has come back and it has spread around. She is showing positive response to the chemotherapy so far and I want to dedicate my first competition to her strength, courage and determination. She has been an example of positivism and has kept moving forward during these trying times and I try to imitate her as best I can when the going gets tough i life and during the WODs. So, if, by any chance, you’re not busy on October 5th and you want to come see me sweat buckets cheer me on, please do so. If you want to make a small donation to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation to show your support, you can do so by clicking right here. If you don’t want to make a donation, please just come by and see what I’ve been talking about for the past year, it’ll be a fun display of strength and determination! 🙂

Archive from the Crossfit Games 2014, I will be standing up to cancer and standing up for Mamie on October 5.

Archive from the Crossfit Games 2014, I will be standing up to cancer and standing up for Mamie on October 5.

Skill: Handstand practice 5×20 sec E2M

Yay! Handstand practice! I partnered up with Tracey and Marika and we even managed a few attempts off the wall completely. We would kick up and the “spotters” would help us control our legs and balance while letting us figuring out our middle ground. It was fun and I was glad I managed to find my balance on a few attempts. 🙂

WOD: J.O.B. (Jumping over box)

That was a short one and since there were so many of us today, I did my “box jumps” on 6×45# plates stacked up together to equal a 20″ box. I actually liked that a lot better as the platform was smaller and I even managed a few jumps off the plates on my last set. I finished last in 6:24, but I wasn’t too far behind everybody else, so that made me happy. 

I was sore front he WOD on Monday and my DU practice. My calves are all seized up and my hip flexors were screaming at me during the plate jumps, but I got through it and I’m getting better everyday. Yesterday was the first day I stuck to my macros AND my caloric allotment for the day on a day that I don’t work out! I’m slowly getting the hang of this Eat to Perform and although I haven’t lost any weight, I feel stronger at the box and more focused! Win-win! 

Couldn't be closer to my macros!

Couldn’t be closer to my macros!

As I was making my way back to my belongings after the WOD, I ran into Michelle, a member of the On-Ramp class. We started talking and she admitted to being overweight and needing something to change for her to get in better shape. I told her a little bit about myself, about how I stumbled upon the sign on the side of the road one day last year and how I registered for the On-Ramp as well and here I was, a little over a year later and still going strong, still loving every second. She told me she puked on her first class and this was her second class today. I told her she might feel like puking a few more times along the way, but at least, she was here now and that’s all that mattered, really. One day at a time, one rep at a time. We all have to begin somewhere. I hope to see her around more. 😉

A Crossfit Girl, My girl And My “Girls”!

When nothing seems to be going right in your life, get up and go to Crossfit… That’s what I do! Best outlet to frustrations, sadness and just plain raw emotions.

Rina and Béa didn’t go to sleep until 2100 last night (2hrs after their usual bedtime) and even then, it was a struggle to get them down. Ben came home early because of a general power outage at the Rec Centre (and a big part of the city as well), and we both struggled to put the girls down. Needless to say that the late bedtime was a precursor to a bad night of sleep all around. Crazy what a little snow will do to people’s bio-rhythm!

Snow in Victoria. A rare occurrence, but it makes the city shut down!

Snow in Victoria. A rare occurrence, but it shuts down the city!

Rina woke up at 0300 with a sore throat and came to sleep with us. Béa woke up at 0430 and after I put Rina back into her bed, I gave BeZU a bottle and put her back to bed. I couldn’t fall back asleep and Rina woke up again at 0520, so I made the judgement call to bring her with me to the BOX so Ben could catch a few more Zs (lucky man)!

My personal cheerleader!

My personal cheerleader!

She did very well at staying on the couch while I did my skill and WOD and then, she came to cuddle in her mommy’s arms while we watched the 2nd group do their WOD (I think we were 14 this morning and not enough room on the pull-up rig meant we had to split it into 2 groups). I wasn’t complaining, I love cuddling that little person! 🙂

For the Power Snatch + OHS, I did 40#, 40#, 40#, 45#, 45#. This is pretty much similar to what I had done on November 13, except I didn’t fall on my butt this time and the sequence of movements seemed easier to execute this time around. Yay! 🙂

Then, it was time for Fran. As per Coach Caleb, Fran is a bit of a benchmark of Crossfit and I was a bit nervous about getting to know the beast her. I got even more nervous when I overheard Coach Caleb say that

Sub 5 mins is a good time for Fran.

SUB 5 MINUTES!!! Have you met me? I thought I had about 20 minutes to finish this one! Oh well, I guess I will TG this one  too (shocking, I know)!

I did the thrusters at 35# and did my pull-up with the green and purple band. Guess what time I finished with?

7:11! Surprising how my body can do so much better than my mind is willing to give it credit for!

I had to hurry home and shower quickly because today, I was had my very 1st mammogram. I know, you’ll say I’m too young at 35 for a mammogram, but you’ll remember that Mamie battled through breast cancer and she has now been cancer-free for a year! I also had a maternal aunt go through breast cancer as well, so my doctor and I decided we would do prevention and do early detection and today was my baseline for my future mammograms. I wasn’t really apprehensive about the whole thing. I knew my tatas were going to get squished, but I wasn’t scared about the process. I went in, we took 4 x-rays (2 on each sides) and that was it. Yes, it was a firm squeeze, but nothing to cry out in pain. After all, I can take the pain. I’m strong, I do Crossfit! 😉

So there, if you’re on the fence about getting your “girls” checked out, it’s really nothing to write home about! Get it done ladies!

Run (walk) for the Cure

Sweet Rina,

Today was our Run for the Cure event. You and I managed to raise $645 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation! Good job little one! We walked the 5km with some friends from work. It was nice to be surrounded by all these people who cared for the same cause! Your Dad dropped us off close to the start of the event and we walked to meet up with the others. Meanwhile, your Dad enjoyed a relaxing morning at a coffee shop. He wanted to come to our turnaround point to take a few pictures, but we got there before him and he missed us :(, no big deal!

I was very moved to see what some of our fellow teammates had written on their running bibs. You see, you could write the name(s) of the people you were running the race for. On our bib, I wrote “Mamie” and pinned it to your stroller. However, some of our fellow teammates had written “Val’s mom” on their bibs, along with other names and it really touched me and got me teary eyed!

When the walk was over, I texted your Dad to come get us and after dropping you with him at home, I was off to go reunite with our teammates for a lovely brunch. I was a bit disappointed to not find any vegan/vegetarian options on the menu, but I ate some SAD (Standard American Diet) food and could definitely feel it a few hours later. I was hit with a major case of the doozies and wished I could just lie down and nap for a bit, but you wouldn’t let me. Instead, I got to cleaning up the bathroom. Normally, I do this on Mondays, but seeing as I’ll be busy with laundry and packing for our trip, I decided to do it today.

I’ll need to get up at around 3am for our trip so it should make for a really long day for me and hopefully, you won’t be too affected by the change in your schedule. Here’s to hoping you handle the travels well!

Love,
Mom & Dad Xxo

It’s been a great day for my Run for the Cure!

Sweet Rina,

The day started really great with a few more pledges to my Run for the Cure against breast cancer. Then, the day went from great to amazing when I REACHED MY FUNDRAISING GOAL!!! It made me feel all fuzzy inside to know that people care so much about us and Mamie. Now, I’d like to see if I can even surpass my fundraising goal! For some reason, even tough I have nothing to do with the pledges from the generous people who gave to our cause, it made me feel really proud to reach that goal. I was beaming for pretty much the entire day!

Then, we received a phone call from Mamie asking if everything was fine on the island. I was a bit puzzled by her question, but she then elaborated, explaining that there had been a 6,7 Richter scale earthquake originating from here. I told her we were all fine, playing outside and enjoying the beautiful sun and we felt nothing of the earthquake. I didn’t even hear any emergency services sirens (and we live pretty close to the fire station)!

In other news, I’ve also booked us for one more trip on the east coast before I’ll return to work from my maternity leave (Yikes!) We’ll be spending a week in Ontario to stay with your Grandma and Nonno (and visit with Auntie Sandra!) and then we’ll make our way to Quebec to stay with Mamie and Grand-Papa and hopefully, see uncle Etienne and a few of Mama’s friends! You see, this week is turning out to be a great week!

 

Same old, same old!

Sweet Angel,

I haven’t written in the past few days as we have pretty much stuck to our usual routine. Although we went for a very short (and easier) hike yesterday. We were supposed to go back with Jenn today to attempt climbing Mt. Work, but considering I’ve been hiking a lot lately (and it’s the 1st day in a week my calves aren’t screaming at me!) I decided to take it easy today and put the emphasis on cleaning. Glad I did too as I only have to mop up the floor in the hallway, kitchen and dining-room left. I’ll do that tonight after I’ve put you to sleep. When you wake up from your nap, we’ll go meet up with Jenn and some friends on Willows Beach instead and the plan is also for us to meet with a friend (ThiEv, not her real name, but that’s the nickname she has ;)) from Montreal in town for a few days around 4pm. That should be a fun relaxing day!

In other news, Mamie went to get a new haircut yesterday. She decided not to wait for her hair to fall out and got her hair shaved. I’m posting a picture she sent me with her blessings. I personally think she looks just gorgeous! Well done Mamie!

Mamie's new look

Love,

Mom & Dad

I’m beat!

Sweet Rina!

We had planned on hiking back to Peden Lake today, but we changed our minds and decided to go hike Maple Mountain in Duncan. It was quite challenging to me and took us 3h30 to go up, have a quick snack and come back down. I was quite happy that your Dad volunteered to carry you on the way up and you’ll see why on the map below. Each contour interval on the map below is 20m of altitude change. We climbed the 400m (and came back down 400m. Here’s the route we chose to do: starting at Maple Mountain Rd on the blue trail, climb trail until you reach the pink trail. Then take pink trail until orange trail and once on the orange trail, keep climbing until you reach the parking lot. We stopped for a quick picnic in the parking lot (which is really a flat terrain and there was nobody there but us!), then I took you on my back and carried you while we made our way back down taking the pink trail heading North until we reached the blue trail back to the car.

The climb was challenging to say the least, even if I didn’t have to carry you. I needed to stop quite a few times and your Dad even commented that I had the exhausted look of an Everest climber. I kept on telling myself that I just had to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

A short while into the hike, here's the view we had. I was sadly mistaken and thought we were close to our picnic area!

At one point, you Dad asked me if I was hating life. I told him that no, actually, I was enjoying this because, as difficult as it was to keep climbing, it was nothing compared to what Mamie will have to go through in the coming week. And then, I burst out into tears. I know. Quite girlie of me, but this hike was a challenge physically and emotionally to me. I wanted to keep pushing myself to see what my limits were, to prove to myself that I was stronger mentally than my negative inside voice who keeps nagging me that I can’t do things. If I just set my mind to it, I can do anything, whether physically or otherwise.

It wasn’t pretty, but I managed to get to our pit stop shortly after you and your Dad. By then, you had fallen asleep (a small victory to us as you had cried for well over 1hr on our last outing with you in your carrier).

Fast asleep with your foot using your teething ring as a stirrup. Don't worry, I'll give it a good wash before I give it back to you!

Our picnic area

Your Dad is giving you a snack!

Once we were done refuelling, I took over carrying you and we started our slow descent. It wasn’t any easier than the ascent as the trail was often littered with loose rocks and often, those rocks were covered with slippery Arbutus leaves. It made for a very precarious footing and I was careful not to fall with my precious load (you). There were quite a few steep drops to go through and although there were a few switchbacks to try and make the descent easier, it was really hard (to me, at least, it was!) and I was sweating just as much coming down as I had going up. To make things even harder, you started crying / moaning for the majority of the descent. 😦 I just kept trudging on, even though my quads, knees and big toes (from hitting the inside of my hiking boots) were all on fire. When we finally got to the car, your Dad helped me take you off my back and I burst out crying once more. It had been challenging and I was proud of myself for having done it. I think it had also been hard on me because I was thinking about Mamie and her chemotherapy a lot.

My legs are like jelly and I’m off to icing my knees!

Love,

Mom & Dad Xxo