Two months since my last update - lots to report - running outstide in the beautiful spring weather - isn't the sunshine a treat?? Spinning and about to start riding outdoors. And the BIGGEST news of all - simming 1500m! Goes to show you that you can do anythiing you put your mind to. Swimming since November - I have gone from barely making it accross the pool to now swimming 1500m. NO - I am NOT doing a full Ironman or even a Half Ironman - but I am conquering big fears one stroke at a time - breathing, kicking. Practice, practice, practice! Training is ramping up! Just 2 months from the big day! Every single time I see the swim exit at Tremblant I feel anxiety come over me - I visualize myself getting in and out of Lac Tremblant - OMG....why am I doing this??? Better keep training and breathing :)
It has been just over 3 months since I "took the plunge" and registered for Team Heart Ironman. I thought it might be time for an update!
A few things have happenened since November which have re-inforced my decision to support the Ottawa Heart Insitute. I have seen friends, colleagues and members of the community who have been directlly impacted by our amazing facility. I have seen, and continue to see first-hand that the Heart Insititute truly provides the "gift of time" and that the doctors, surgeons, and all of the staff are truly world class.
My training continues - I have met the most wonderful swim coach, I run (when it isn't bitter cold) and spin several times a week. Life is good. I am doing laps on my own, improving my technique and pressing forward - and loving it!
This short distance Mont-Tremblant Ironman is the BIGGEST CHALLENGE I have ever taken in my life - not because of the length of the event, but because of the first portion of the race - the SWIM - absolutely terrifying to me.
INTIMIDATED - word best used to describe ME as I begin to think about entering a pool. The thought alone of walking onto the pool deck can stop me in my tracks. I think about this moment every day leading up to my days in the pool. Will I be able to walk out of the change room and onto the deck? Will I be able to make myself jump into the pool?
I have started private swimming lessons - until recently I had never completed a single lap in a pool. Yes - I grew up on a lake and YES I can swim (like a frog), but I have never learned to front crawl. There is a big difference between jumping off a boat and swimming laps all while maintaining some semblance of breath.
And so begins my training - learning to breath and STAY CALM are #1 on my priority list right now. As I enter week #4 of my training, I can finally say that I have shown up to the pool outside of my practice time to swim a lap ALONE. This is so beyond my comfort zone - but I did it. And I will continue to do this. I will continue to train, to work on my kicks, my stroke, and my breath - not to mention my confidence.
I have developed tremendous respect for all of those "swimmers" who say the pool is where they are calm and where they "don't have to think". That's all I do is THINK while I swim - think about breathing, about kicking, about staying calm. One day I hope to be able to complete a few strokes and not THINK :)
So why I have joined Team Heart? Why, at this time in my life have I decided to take on this challenge? I ask myself these questions every day that I drive to the pool. While I have been running for many, many years and took up biking more recently, I have never swam a lap in pool - never mind a lake full of people swimming hard and fast!
So why now? 2018 marked the inaugural year of Team Heart. While I was involved in so many aspects of this inspiring Heart Institute event, I did not participate. I watched and cheered for the athletes, but I was on the sidelines. I was in awe of the athletes, held massive respect for our coaches Rick Hellard and Tony O'Keeffe. I would say to the Team Heart athletes "You can do this". But I couldn't speak from experience. I envied the athletes and the path they were on. Some team members had never completed a triathlon and had also just started swimming and biking. But they had taken the challenge.
So, after the wrap-up of 2018 Team Heart I decided "I AM GOING TO DO THIS". I am doing this for me, but I am also doing it because I love all that the Heart Institute has to offer our community. While working at the Institute for the last 4 years, I have seen the profound effect that the research, care, and technology has had on patients and their families. We are so lucky to have the Heart Institute right here in OUR city - saving lives every single day. So I want to do my part!
The Heart Institute’s new state-of-the-art Clinical Tower opened in April 2018, bringing the next frontier of cardiac care excellence to Ottawa. This beautiful 145,000 sq. ft. expansion includes five operating rooms, nine catheterization/electrophysiology labs, and a sunlight filled surgical critical care unit with 27 beds.
The next exciting step in this journey will be the renovations to several floors of the original building on Ruskin Street. With the addition of escalators and a central registration desk, the experience for patients and their families will be significantly enhanced with better access and navigation tools. These additions and renovations will ensure our continued capacity to shape cardiovascular care, research and education well into the future.
Healthcare institutions like the Heart Institute do not receive funding for the purchase of critical and highly specialized equipment. This much needed equipment is purchased with support like ours, which will make a big impact on changing lives and saving lives in our community.
I hope you can join me and Team Heart to help us ensure that the Heart Institute Foundation provides the best care possible for all patients well into the future. I am proud to be raising funds for the Ottawa Heart Institute while I take on this challenge and look forward to flying the Team Heart colors on June 22nd in Mont Tremblant.
Thank you for your support and making a difference! I will keep you updated on my progress! Thank you.