Rested and Recharged

Mexico trip-DSC01791-March 10

I’ve been home from my trip to Puerto Morelos, Mexico for a week now… and I have to say it was super fantastic trip. It was just what I needed to really hit the reset button in what has been a rather tough 2015.

Sometimes a complete departure from reality is really needed to realize how fortunate you are. This is what this trip gave me. A week-long yoga retreat on the coast of Mexico, surrounded by palm trees, sand, the ocean and lots of smiling faces – can’t get much better.

I did things on this vacation that I’ve never done before. In fact this was my first time travelling south. I swam in the ocean everyday (hadn’t swam in about 10 years). I went snorkelling and swimming at a cenote. Visited a Mayan village in Coba. I also disconnected more than I’ve had from the Internet.

Our days were spent doing yoga, swimming in the ocean, exploring the town, going on excursions, eating amazing food, sitting around and chatting, and simply relaxing. It was a busy but relaxing busy trip. I got out for some early morning runs on the beach – it’s very meditative to run in the dark with only the sounds of the waves to keep you company.

I went on this yoga retreat to Casa OM with my mom – this was super special. We try and do a trip together every couple of years and this like the others was a brand new location for both of us. Previously we’ve visited San Francisco and New York City. I think this one ranks pretty close to the top when it comes to new experiences and discoveries. (The super hot habanero sauce experience likely won’t ever be repeated!)

I’ve pretty much been talking about my trip non-stop. Poor Marc, I think he is tiring of hearing about Mexico (maybe he’ll be convinced to come next time…). It was that good.

I feel ready and recharged to focus on my 2015 goals and to start working on some real positive change.

So Long February!

I for one, am very happy that is February is gone and behind us. I know that this is likely not an “enlightened” way of thinking – but seriously I didn’t enjoy February all that much. It was simply a month of bad stuff happening.

Now that March is here, I’ve decided to hit the 2015 reset button. The new year starts today: March 2. Good-bye to the crappy stuff that consumed February (losing Murphy, injury, never-ending flu/cough/migraine).

Hello to the greatness and optimism of March.

I’m kicking things off in style with a six-day yoga retreat at Casa Om in Mexico. I’m so looking forward to six days in a new-to-me place – the yoga, the relaxing, the hanging out with my mom, meeting new people, the water – all of it is going to be great.

I might be putting a lot of pressure on March but the thing is that March leads into my favourite month… April. I love April – bike riding outside, birthday cake, sunshine, flowers, birthday cake. Can’t go wrong with April!

I just finished reading an interesting article about Buddhism and lessons we can take from Buddhist wisdom… you don’t need to be a Buddhist (I’m not) to read and appreciate this article. Even if you take one thing from it, I think you’ll feel a bit different.

(I promise to eventually write about bikes and bike stuff – but really there is nothing happening right now. Haven’t touched my bike in over two weeks (damn February), but soon enough it will be time to pedal outside, so expect many long-winded ruminations on balancing on two wheels.)

Oh, and if you’re looking for something to do on Wednesday night… Come on out to Sir Robert Borden High School for the 2015 Waterwalker Film Festival – this event is organized by the Brazil Bound team (five Ottawa-area canoe slalom athletes who will represent Canada at the 2015 Junior/U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships in Brazil). If you can’t come out on Wednesday, check out the fundraising page and help these teens out.

And one more thing… my friend is looking for a cyclo-cross bike. Do you have a size 52 or 50 ‘cross bike that you want to sell? Let me know….

The Stuff of Life

To say the last couple of weeks have been challenging would be an understatement. We miss our guy. We miss him so much. Many thanks to all of you who took the time to phone, email, text, comment and just listen to us talk about our Murphy. Marc and I truly do appreciate it.

Some people don’t understand how we can feel the way we do. Murphy was a cat – yes – but he was also a member of our family. Marc and I have been together for almost 21 years and we had Murphy for 19.5 (and our other cat Minou for 13 years). So there is a big hole in our lives right now. It’s amazing really how quiet and empty our house feels now. I guess an elderly 4.0 kilogram cat did make more noise than we realized!

This weekend we’ve been treated with looking after our neighbour’s cat. Wow – it’s so awesome to pet a cat and to hear good ‘ol Edwin purr away. He and Murphy weren’t the best of friends but together they did a good job of keeping close tabs on the happenings on our street.

The last couple of weeks have been a bit uneventful really. Lots of bike riding in the basement. A good mix of trail and bike path running. Some excellent meals out with friends. And lots of just being thankful for what we have.

One new and pretty awesome thing is my involvement with the Parkdale Food Centre. I started volunteering at this local food centre three weeks ago. I do have to say that Tuesday evenings are very special to me now. There is nothing quite like helping others and really experiencing first-hand what it means to be appreciative and thankful. There is so much good stuff happening at the Parkdale Food Centre and I really feel so lucky to be involved.

Speaking of being lucky, in a few weeks I’ll be in Mexico! This will be my first time going “down south” and somewhere “hot”. I’m going on a six-day yoga retreat at Casa Om – this retreat is organized by two yoga instructors from Mountaingoat Yoga studio here in Barrhaven. I’m really looking forward to this trip. Even more so because my mom is coming as well. It will be a great chance to relax, unwind, do some great yoga, explore, and simply chillax.

Marc and I are also in the midst of planning a summer vacation. We’ve tossed around a lot of destinations but are now thinking of the French Alps. Amazing riding. Great trail running. Good hiking. Awesome food. Spectacular scenery. So, if you’ve been on a similar vacation in the Alps – let me know the scoop! Where did you stay? Any suggestions?

A lot of people have asked me how I “pass” the time on the trainer day-after-day… Well, here’s my secret: Netflix and The Good Wife. Perfect program for riding, regardless of the type of workout – you can get the gist of the story even if you’re staring down at your power meter and can’t focus on the television screen… Interesting story lines. Good actors. (Yes, I know television pollutes the brain – but really – isn’t life about balance?)

Speaking of training – I couldn’t be happier to be back riding under the guidance of coach Steve Weller of Bell Lap Coaching. It’s so refreshing to have a plan and a purpose for each ride. It’s only been a little over a month but I can feel a difference already. I really can’t wait for the spring and getting out there for some road rides. Oh, and of course – I’m looking forward to ‘cross season…

Well, that’s about it. We had a rough and horrible start to 2015 but I’m confident we’ve got the sad stuff out of the way and the rest of year will be a good one.

Just Be Awesome

I had planned to write about my sore hamstring today and how I’m finally listening to my body and not going for a fun and totally optional ride on the trails at South March Highlands… but now I’m not going to bore you with these mundane details. (Hmm, suppose in a way I still managed to write about what I wasn’t going to write about…)

Instead I just want you to watch this video. I’m not a big video watcher but I knew this one would be worth watching since Marc suggested I watch it. Anyway, watch it. Listen to the kid. Take the road less traveled. Do something awesome today, tomorrow and the next day.

Shaking up 2015

This past cyclocross season I rediscovered why I love racing my bike so much. I thought my racing days were well behind me… but thanks to the Eastern Ontario Cyclocross series and a pretty fantastic group of people who come out every weekend to setup, race, and tear-down the courses – I’m hooked again.

When Marc and I traveled to Winnipeg for the 2014 Canadian Cyclocross National Championships, I watched the masters women’s race – I wanted to be out there. I wished I had a bike with me so I could ride and race the course.

The seed was planted and it kept on growing. I spent many hours ruminating racing again. I realized I was looking forward to racing every Sunday and really hated missing out on a race. I was analyzing my races in the car rides home and finding myself spending more and more time on my bike.

I decided that I wanted to really race again. So I made a deal with Marc – if I committed to riding the trainer three times a week starting in November and through-out the winter – he would give me some cyclocross training guidance. This was just the deal I needed to help me find that extra motivation to get up at 5 a.m and pedal away to nowhere in the basement (thank goodness for Netflix).

Flash forward to late December and a rather snowy and frosty run in the woods… My mind wandered towards racing and training. I made a decision. A big and smart decision. I got home, talked to Marc and fired off an email to my old coach and mentor Steve Weller of Bell Lap Coaching…

A couple more emails, a Skype chat, a visit with my gastro doctor and guess what? I’m a Bell Lap Coaching client again! This week I’ll be starting on a real structured and focused training plan that will see me lining up for the 2015 season fit and ready. I couldn’t be more excited.

I’ve got a few goals for the season that will help me stay focussed and determined when the rough days on the bike show up. I feel super lucky that Steve has agreed to take me on again. With his coaching, advice and encouragement he and I did some pretty fun stuff a few years ago. Looking forward to more fun stuff!

A Bit of This and a Bunch of That

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I guess it’s because I really haven’t been up to much that is post-worthy. But then again, who am I to judge…

So what has happened since the last time I posted? Really not too much. Life was pretty quiet. Quiet good. Marc as you likely know was in Belgium racing cyclo-cross for four weeks so it was just me and the old cat here hanging out. I may have had a few too many deep conversations with Murphy the cat but he seems to have weathered these interludes okay (being deaf helps…).

I’ve been riding the trainer. Yep, back on that trainer even though I swore I’d never ride it again… Well, guess what – I’m enjoying it. I find it relaxing and very satisfying. Plus I get to pedal my way through television shows and movies (thank you Netflix) that I wouldn’t otherwise watch. With an extra bonus of rediscovering my leg muscles and that deep feeling of satisfaction from deciding to do something and then actually doing it.

I’ve been running as well. Sticking to my three days-a-week routine. Just enough to keep the fitness level there and not too much that I’m going to end up on the slippery injury slope again. There just really isn’t anything quite like running in the woods.

I’ve also been yogaing (is this a word?). Really happy I’m back into my yoga practice again. The community at my area yoga studio (Mountaingoat Yoga) is very welcoming and is not caught-up in wearing the latest Lulus or being super bendy. I’m going on a yoga retreat in March with my mom so this dedicated practice now will be very helpful when we’re doing yoga two – three times a day for six days… Mexico in March will be a nice treat.

Away from the sweaty stuff I’ve also been writing, reading, chillaxing and making some plans and goals. Fingers crossed everything comes together. And that’s about it.

Marc is home so this is most excellent.