Thursday, January 31, 2013

holding it together

I generally like to keep this here blog positive and optimistic, but this post may stray slightly  from that theme.  It's been a challenging 3 months in every aspect of my life.  And it's hard to believe today is the last day of January!  That makes me happy, as it means spring is that much closer, and race season is just around the corner.  Not that I'm in anything even close to remotely resembling race shape... So all I've been doing these past few months is work, work and more work.  What an absolute shit show it's been. I've had no energy or desire to do much, no time to blog, and training has been mediocre at best.  In November, I actually submitted 90 hours of overtime in a 4 week period - no lies - which is utterly ridiculous.  I've stepped through the door of overworked and right into the open arms of burnout.  And it ain't pretty.  It's been even tougher being separated from Geoff since September while he's away at school.  We still get to see each other every 3 weeks or so, but I miss him so much.  It's been hard.  I consider myself to be an extremely independent person but this experience has really taught me to never take the love of your life for granted, and to cherish the time you do get to spend together.  I try to keep things in perspective and tell myself that it may be hard at the moment, but we're building the foundation for the rest of our lives and in the long term it'll all be worth it.

I've recently begun to make an effort to claw myself out of the burnout hole.  I've put my training back to the top of my priority list, and work has now been bumped down the pile.  It may be where I spend 50-60 hours of my week, but in the grand scheme of things it's just a job, it's not my life.  What's most important to me in this life are my family, my friends, my passions.   I don't live to work, I work to live.  Work can suck it!

It's time to get excited about what's around the corner and what's in store for 2013, racing and triathlon-wise.  I'm slowly starting to build up my workouts.  My biking is definitely well below sub par at the moment, so that's really where the focus needs to be over the next few months, as I've honestly only been getting on the trainer once a week.  My swimming fitness is slowly coming back to a respectable place, although I've only been in the pool twice a week on average, soon to be three.  My aim over the winter is to get in 2-3 hours of strength training and/or hot yoga per week (which realistically has been more like 1-2 hours).

So far I have signed up for only one race in 2013 - Great White North!  Truthfully, I haven't even thought that far ahead, being lost in the fog of burnout, but I do love this race and will be looking to crush my PB like a grape and be competitive in the overall standings.  I haven't committed to any other races yet but I'm likely going to race the Wasa Lake Olympic tri on June 9 (this has been on my bucket list but for some reason I've never made it there), and possibly a couple of other Olympic triathlons, maybe another 1/2 ironman.  No big travel plans this year, as Geoff and I are keeping to a tight budget with him being in school.  My first race of 2013 will likely be the St. Albert 10 Miler on April 15 - here's hoping we get better weather than last year!

In the meantime, I plan to step it up a notch and increase the mileage in the pool, on the trainer, and on the treadmill/trails!  Happy training!


Sunday, January 6, 2013

2012 highlights

2012 was a good year.  Here are some of the highlights, and other significant happenings...

Stretching pre-marathon in Phoenix in January - my 2nd ever marathon turned into a debacle and I walked/shuffled my way to a 4:08, way off my goal time of sub-3:40.  Decided after this race that I would stick to 1/2 distance races or shorter

 2012 was the year I discovered my passion for cooking and baking!  I started to focus on eating a 'whole foods diet', cutting out a lot of the processed crap and baking my own stuff.  The result of this eating  'clean' was a leaner me (having unintentionally dropped about 8 lbs by the summer), and a significantly positive effect on my race performance.  

St. Albert 10 Miler in the snow in April - managed to crack out a PB at the time, of 1:14.50-ish

May/June trip to Europe - Geoff and I visited 4 countries (N. Ireland, Italy, Greece, England), and went on our first-ever cruise through the Mediterranean
G & I in Corfu, Greece
Belfast, N. Ireland - where most of my family lives

Walking in the maze that is Venice

Beautiful Santorini, Greece 
About to get back on a cruise ship in Santorini

Racing - Summer 2012

I had an awesome season of racing, which included age group wins at Chinook Triathlon, Edmonton ITU age group nationals, and Calgary 70.3.  Also, I knocked out some running personal bests in 2012- new 10km PB of 43:36 and new 10 Mile PB of 1:12.  

Edmonton ITU - Age Group Nationals

Calgary 70.3

In August, I was lucky enough to have the experience of racing in my first ITU elite draft-legal race in Kelowna.  It was quite the $h!t show in the sauna-like conditions but I was happy to finish it and not come dead-last. Haven't decided yet if I will try another one but if I do, I plan to be much better prepared...

My last tri of the year was Banff international in September - I had a superb race and ended up 2nd overall to an Olympian, which was a great way to end the season

What a view

September also brought some major life changes in the Ulrich household - Geoff was accepted to law school in Saskatoon and headed there on his own at the beginning of September.  It's been really tough; however, we're managing well and getting through.  It was fantastic to have him home for 2 weeks at Christmas.  One more semester and then I get to have him home for 4.5 months this summer :)

December 2012
Hugo at Christmas - he looks happy to be wearing his Santa hat!

hanging with my lovely sis Alice over X-mas break - getting dressed up for cocktails and dessert!
Mmmm look at those desserts!

So, cheers to 2013! My New Year's resolution is to blog more!  I will post an update shortly as to what's in store for 2013... in the meantime, happy training!