Monday, 30 June 2014

Better Days

Hello friends, do not fear I am alive and have not completely spiraled downwards to the point where I can't get out of bed (although I was heading there for a bit).  My last post was kind of bleak but here's the thing: I am a complainer.  I love to complain.  If there were prizes for complaining and procrastinating I would at least be in the running if not walking away with a trophy.  I complain about little things; some of my favourites are "I'm tired," "my hip hurts," "I'm cold," "I don't want to leave the couch," "my back hurts," "I'm tired."  But I don't complain about bigger things so instead I wrote a supes dramatic blog post about it.

After I had a complete meltdown at practice last week my coach pointed out that I tend to focus on what's going badly at practice instead of what I'm doing well so I feel like I'm doing terribly while a coach might see something completely different.  In the spirit of trying to focus more on the positive on ice today's blog post is also going to focus on the positive.

This morning we had a brutally long program on ice, I'll spare you the specifics because you don't care about that but we ended up being on the ice for over two hours.  I will admit that I often have a lot of trouble psyching myself up for long programs but today ... I kind of killed it.  I did more laps than I have in a single program in a long time and because I was thinking more "I can do this" instead of "OMG I'm dying so hard I'm not going to make it" I was able to do it and I was in a better mental space and not on the verge of tears for half the practice.  It wasn't any easier than any other long practice but I was just in a better mental state to actually complete it which is somewhere I haven't been probably since before I started having all my issues with being healthy last season.  Basically I'm just feeling pretty good about myself today and wanted to give me a pat on the back.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Being an Athlete is Hard

I've recently started a new part-time job which means that I've been meeting a lot of new people and explaining to new people that I'm a speed skater and basically a full-time athlete.  A lot of people don't really think anything of it, some people think it's really cool and I think that most people don't really understand it.  Most people think that the fact that I speed skate is interesting, that it's unique and then "speed skater" becomes my identifier.  When I was younger I liked being different, I liked that speed skating was so ingrained with who I was and I liked the lifestyle I got to live because of it.  Lately however, I've become a little disillusioned with the whole thing.

These days skating is hard work.  I'm no longer skating just for fun like I did when I was younger I'm training with a purpose, to attain a certain result and a lot of the time it can be a lot of work with no reward.  The only time that people outside of the sport are aware of speed skating is during the Olympics so I often get asked "oh, you speed skate? Does that mean you're you going to the Olympics?" But the thing is only five girls get to go to the Olympics.  That means that there might be twenty other girls who also put in the work, who committed to training for the four years leading up to the Olympics, who put in all the work but ultimately it will be for nothing.

Don't get me wrong I like skating, I know that I can walk away at any time and I knew what I was getting into when I started taking training seriously.  I have good days and bad days; today just happens to be a bad one.  I just find it difficult to balance "real life" (school, work, social) with skating life and I feel stuck, and bored.  Normal people my age have an undergrad degree, they're figuring out what they want to do, they're getting their own apartments and moving out on their own and starting second degrees.  They're going out with friends and making new friends and trying to support themselves and moving around the world, traveling, and making mistakes.  Meanwhile I'll be continuing my third year of my English degree in my fifth year of university, I'll continue to depend on my parents to survive, the only traveling I'll be doing is to Quebec for other skating meets and I won't have time to make new friends because any time that I'm not skating, training or working I'll probably be sleeping.  I feel like everyone else my age is moving on and starting new chapters in their lives and I'm still stuck on the same page.  I'm just stagnant, putting the rest of my life on hold until I'm done skating and then I'll be able to deal with it.

I feel like I'm an athlete half the time and a student then other half.  I get OK grades and OK results but I can't help thinking that if I was just one thing I could be more successful and feel less stagnant.  I don't want to quit skating but if I'm being completely honest I've been doing the same thing day-in and day-out for three years and on my bad days I feel exceptionally bored with my whole life.

Basically my life is super hard and I'm having a bad mental day and I want to do something with my life and everyone should feel sorry for me.

annnnd a little motivation to keep me going because new training block starts tomorrow

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Training Camp

The first week of June the Olympic Oval where we train put together an in-town training camp for all the skaters short and long track.  This meant that we got to train with people we don't usually train with and we also got to do a lot of different activities that we don't do in our day to day training aka we got to have some fun!

Day 1's fun activity of the day was training with the U of C Dinos football coaches.  A lot of the exercises did translate because like football speed skating is a very power driven sport and especially in short track there's a lot of sprinting, reacting, and changes is speed.  Unfortunately for my group though there is not a lot of catching in speed skating and every time we missed or dropped the ball we had to do pushups.

Getting instruction from Dinos head coach Blake Nill
DayDream Images
Doing our pushups
DayDream Images
One of the most fun activities was when we did Muay Thai with UFC fighter Nick Ring. We got to kick and hit each other and I now feel completely confident in actually fighting all the people I jokingly ask to fight on a daily basis (just kidding I'm still under 120lbs of skinny white girl).

Classic cheesy fighter stance picture
DayDream Images
Runner up for most fun activity was when the coaches organized a version of The Amazing Race for us.  This might not sound like a training activity but we spent the whole morning sprinting across the University of Calgary campus (and I mean sprinting) and by the time we were done we were probably more tired than we'd been after doing our structured running intervals.  All our sprinting was rewarded because my team ended up being the winners!

The winning team!
Continuing our fun week of trying new things and working with new coaches we had a session with a National track and field coach where we found out just how uncoordinated and not flexible some of us are.

Working out in the fancy WinSport Under Armour gym
DayDream Images
We then finished off the week with a nice long bike ride.  If you've read this post you might know that I am prone to fun stuff like panic attacks whenever anybody puts me on a bike.  I had a bit of a rocky start because I was having problems with one of my pedals and I talked myself down from one tiny little freak-out mid ride but I managed to ride for over two hours tear free.  It helped that it was a really nice day and also the last training session for the week.

A rare picture of me on a bike
DayDream Images
It was a fun training camp (even though I had to get on a bike) and I had a really great time doing some different styles of training and training with some new people.  Sometimes training can get a little monotonous as we tend to do the same kind of thing every week but this was a great way to change things up and refocus going into the new season.

All pictures are courtesy of the Olympic Oval Calgary facebook page and DayDream Images 
(except for the one from my instagram of course)

Sunday, 1 June 2014

May Favourites

It seems to me that May just flew by, I could have sworn that I only wrote my April favourites like last week.  I have a few beauty-type favourites and a lot of other favourites because let's be honest beauty isn't really my thing and I mostly just slap things on my person to keep my skin from flaking off and my hair from breaking apart.

Growing up I had both a pool in my backyard and a cottage on a lake and spent almost all my summer time outside so I was always very very tanned.  These days I live somewhere with slightly less summery weather and I don't have the luxury of spending all my time outside (ugh adulthood) so my first favourite is the Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer (fake it 'til you make it right?).

Can be found at Shoppers DrugMart
It's just a white moisturizer, it doesn't really have any scent and it's very subtle so it's pretty much foolproof.  I put this on after my shower, even on my face, and as long as I make sure it's all rubbed in it doesn't streak, it looks natural and just gives me a subtle more bronzed look.

My next favourite is also summer related and it's the Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock.  I like to use this for my face because it's not greasy so I won't break out especially if I use it while I'm working out.

Can be found at Shoppers
Now I know there's a lot of hype around coconut oil right now for cooking and baking as an alternative to butter and other unhealthier oils but for me it really makes the difference for my hair.  I have very dry and damaged hair but if I cover it in coconut oil overnight or for a few hours before I shower I find that my hair is softer, shinier, and all around healthier looking.  I only use it about once every week or two but that's honestly enough.

Can be found at any grocery store
This month I have also been loving coffee.  I think I've been having a cup almost every day in may.  I know Starbucks coffee can seem a little overpriced but this dark roast is honestly delish (and this is coming from someone who wasn't even a huge coffee fan at all until this year).

Can be found at Starbucks
Moving on to music.  I was absolutely obsessed with Alex & Sierra when they were on The X-Factor US and they've finally released their first song which is quickly on it's way to becoming one of my new faves. (Bonus the lyric video is super cute).

Finally my last favourite is a YouTuber called Hannah Maggs (she also has a blog linked here).  She and her husband make weekly vlogs following their daily lives and while that may not sound super interesting the editing in the videos is beautiful and they have a gorgeous little baby.  I don't watch or go out of my way to find baby vlogs but I wait with bated breath for them to upload their video every Sunday because their videos are entertaining and so pretty to look at.  Here's this week's video: 

Makes me want to start vlogging! As always feel free to leave me any suggestions or questions in the comments and let me know what you've been loving this month! See you next weekend :)