Hey there, friends!

With just a couple of days left until the end of June, it’s goal check-in time once again! Summer is in full swing here in Vancouver and our weather has been absolutely fabulous. This has been great for weekend fun, but also for my triathlon training. I’ll save the tri chat for next Monday’s training check-in and race recap, and for now, let’s talk about the goals I set for June.

monthly goal check-in

1) (Wet)suit up and do some open water swimming – A

Ok, we’ll save most of the tri chat for next week but I have to tell you about this! A couple of weekends ago, one of my new friends who is also named Angela (hi, Angela!) agreed to meet me out at one of our nearby lakes for some open water swim practice. She’s doing Challenge Penticton Half as well and we still have until August to practice for that, but I wanted to test my wetsuit before this coming Sunday’s Subaru Vancouver Triathlon

Sasamat lake

The lake was a small one and therefore not very cold, so a wetsuit totally wasn’t necessary. I still wore it though because it gives the advantage of buoyancy, and I’ll take every advantage I can get when it comes to being speedy in the water! We did a couple of loops in the lake and although my goggles kept fogging up (despite being anti-fog and doing the spitting trick) it went really well.

I expected to be a lot more freaked out by not being able to see what was lurking along the bottom of the lake, but it really wasn’t an issue. Swim-wise, I felt surprisingly smooth in the water. Although the water on race day will obviously be a whole lot more choppy, my confidence is in a good place.

Testing my wetsuit

2) Kick my gum habit (again) – A+++

I’m super excited to tell you guys that I haven’t had any gum since May 23rd and I have every intention of keeping it that way! Eliminating artificial sweeteners has been a long and challenging battle for me, especially since they’re hidden in everything from gum and cough drops to drinks and condiments. Even dried fruit, which you’d think doesn’t need any more sweetening because it’s naturally like that, has added sugar of some sort to keep it shelf-stable. It’s hard to cut it out completely, but breaking my gum chewing habit was a really obvious place to start.

In order to make it as easy as possible, I did a few things:

  • Brushed my teeth after each meal
  • Brought a toothbrush and toothpaste to work so that I can brush my teeth after lunch as well (which is a time when I often crave something sweet)
  • Took gum out of all my bags, my car and my desk, and put it in the back of a drawer that I don’t look in. Out of sight, out of mind! I have zero intentions of chewing it so I’m not sure why I haven’t just thrown it out, but I like to think it’s a constant flex of my willpower muscle. 😉
  • There’s usually an ’emergency’ bag of Chimes Ginger Chews or The Ginger People’s Gin Gins in my bag, just in case. They’re kept in a side compartment because if I see them every time I open it, I’ll want one every time. Although they contain sugar, these don’t contain artificial sweetener and therefore don’t cause nasty bloating and all the other side effects. I’ll also happily accept any reason to consume ginger. Everyone’s allowed to have their vices, right?

Chimes Peanut Butter Ginger Chews

Feeling so much better than it did before I decided to end the self-induced attack on my stomach, motivation is definitely running high to keep this gum strike going!

3) Read Thrive by Arianna Huffington – B

I downloaded the Thrive audiobook for my trip to Michigan at the end of May, and although I’m not quite finished, I’m about 75% of the way there. This has been such a great read, on a topic that I think needs to be talked about so much more – especially in the corporate world.

Arianna starts by explaining how she’d been operating in overdrive as the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post. Life gave her all sorts of signs to indicate that she needed to slow down, but the one that finally made her listen was the day she woke up on her office floor in a pool of her own blood. She’d collapsed from exhaustion, hit her head on her desk, broke her cheekbone and needed stitches in her eye afterwards. If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is!

Here’s a quick clip from Ellen to help you learn a little bit more.

As Arianna says in the interview, Thrive is about shifting our definition of success from what society has traditionally associated with the term (money and power) to thriving – living a life that is fulfilling, rewarding, healthy and meaningful. She talks about the importance of meditation, sleep, physical wellness and the mind-body connection in helping us to achieve this, and cites plenty of scientific studies to back up her perspective.

Quote from Thrive by Arianna Huffington

All of these things – particularly the stress reduction and mental wellness pieces – are really resonating with me at this point in my life. Rather than go on about the things I’ve learned, I’m thinking that it’s best saved for another post. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, why not order a copy and have a read for yourself!

3 goals for July 2015

With those covered, this is what’s going on in July:

1. Successfully complete my first Olympic distance triathlon.

This one doesn’t need much explanation – I’m hoping for great weather, zero bike-related mechanical issues, a happy tummy, and lots of smiles this coming Sunday!

2. Incorporate at least 15 minutes of meditation, 2x/week

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve told you guys I was going to start meditating, I wouldn’t be rich but I’d probably have about $20. People who practice regularly can’t say enough about the enormous benefits, yet still it seems to be something that even some of the most successful entrepreneurs of today have trouble getting into. Of course, meditation means different things to different people, and as I’ve been learning throughout the course of listening to Thrive,  even just a couple of minutes per day can make a big difference in our wellbeing.

Sitting at the beach along the Sea Wall

With my body currently under a lot of physical stress due to my half Ironman training, as well as my brain being switched on all day at work, it’s occurred to me several times this month that I need to make a better effort to truly switch off and calm down. (Not rocket science by any means, but sometimes these realizations seem so much greater in the moment!)

Kits Beach Sunset

So for what might be the 21st time, I’m committing to doing at least 15 minutes of meditation, twice per week. I’m not the type that finds sitting on a hard floor with my legs crossed the least bit comfortable, so I’m envisioning this happening either in a chair or out on a walk (active meditation can be just as effective!) Telling you guys about my plans to stop chewing gum proved to keep me accountable, so let’s see if the same strategy works this time!

3. Volunteer at 2 races

‘They’ say that happiness doesn’t come from what you get, but by what you give. Having competed in plenty of races myself, I want to return the favour and spend some time on the other side of these events as a volunteer. This month I’ll be doing this at 5 Peaks Cypress Mountain on July 18th, and Ironman Canada in Whistler on July 26th.

Running 5 Peaks Alice Lake

5 Peaks is an organization I’ve quickly come to love, and if you haven’t yet tried a trail race, they put on one of the most fun, non-intimidating experiences I’ve seen. There are races all across Canada, and if you’d like to sign up for one, using the code ‘ANGELA’ at checkout will get you $5 off your entry fee. If you happen to be attending the Cypress Mountain race, I’ll be there cheering you on!

Join Me on the Trails - 5 Peaks Discount Code

As for Ironman Canada, I’m super excited to help out, even if my contribution is only one second in an athlete’s (very long and tiring) race day. Not only am I looking forward to all the cheering, but after having watched a ton of Ironman coverage on Youtube, the atmosphere is something I want to experience in person. I’ll also be taking mental notes like crazy about all the stuff I need to remember to do (and not do) when August 30th gets here!

Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear…

  • What are you up to goals-wise for July?
  • Do you volunteer at races or for any other organizations?