Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Issue of Socks

As a swimmer there aren't many things to smell in relation to your sport. Your suit smells like chlorine, your towel may smell like soap after a shower and your skin may stink of chlorine despite showers and lotion. So, let me amend that statement: pretty much everything, including you, smells like chlorine. Sometimes if things aren't hung up to dry properly, things can get kind of "mildewy," but after one stinky swimsuit, I was quite conscious about hanging things out to dry. It is not surprising then, that I was shocked when my running shoes and socks started stinking something fierce. I think I've written about this shock before, but I was reminded of it this morning when I went to pull my socks out of my runners from yesterday's trip to the gym.
Originally, I was under the impression that socks and shoes got really smelly from running outside and the shoes getting wet and then having to dry over and over again. Living in Scotland, I decided that I'd live with this, since my shoes were definitely going to get wet multiple times a week and then have to dry. My understanding of how your shoes became stinky was quite wrong.
Of course I understood that shoes get stinky from your feet sweating in them, but I thought the extra stinkiness came from the wet/dry process. I was very incorrect in this assumption.
The shoes that live in my gym bag have never been used outdoors. I have done that specifically so that they have a longer life and so that they won't get as stinky as my "outside" shoes. Perhaps I was on to something with extending their life, but I sure wasn't spot on with the not smelling part. The socks that I pulled out of the shoes this morning smelled so horribly, I threw them directly into the washing machine. I wasn't about to put those foul things into my hamper in my room to have them stink up my regular clothes or my bedroom.
Admittedly, I probably should have removed them from the shoes last night, but I was so hungry and sleepy that I forgot. I will never make that mistake again. I had balled the sweaty socks up after my workout and stuffed them into the shoes in order to keep them from stinking up my bag. In doing so, I think I inadvertently trapped the smell in and made it worse.
Now, after all of that, you are probably wondering why on earth I would dedicate a whole post to my stinky socks. Do I not have anything more significant to write about?
I actually had a post planned about the Paralympics coming to a close tonight and how inspiring these Games were for me in my own quest for a coveted spot on the Canadian team in 2016, but the intensity of the stench from my socks was so profound that I thought it was necessary to share it with all of you. Besides, this whole training thing is what it is and I am going to share everything with you, whether it is glamorous or not. Smelly socks are definitely not glamorous, but they certainly are a part of this training thing, as I had discovered and was so aggressively reminded of this morning.
So, lesson of the day: your shoes are going to stink no matter what you do, but leaving your smelly socks rolled up in them over night does not improve the situation. So, to all you newbie, or would be runners, out there, from this newbie...air out your socks!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

More Potential

I'm starting to sense a theme in this pursuit of triathlon racing as a blind athlete: you are always trying to improve, you are always finding new "potential." Maybe that is what it's all about. Improvement is the name of the game, but I always equated that with fitness, training goals, finishing races, improving those race times. However, as I'm finding out, that is not the only arena where "potential" is found.
Yesterday I had another chat with yet another potential guide runner. It was a great chat and I think there is a lot of potential here. Our chat was almost two hours long and I think we got a lot accomplished. We established that training and/or racing together is something we both want to do, but I still encouraged her to go home and think about what we had talked about. I also suggested that she try guiding before she makes a decision as well.
Currently, she is battling an ankle injury, but thinks she'll be able to start running again in a few weeks. We are going to keep in touch in the next weeks and once she's at the point where she can actually run, we're going to go for a light jog to teach her how to guide and give her the opportunity to really get an understanding of what is involved. That way, she is making an informed decision when she says yes or no to guiding.
I think the most exciting part for me is that she is not only interested in guiding for running, but she is interested in triathlon as well. She's only ever done one triathlon before, but one is better than none. She had also been training for an ironman this past year, but unfortunately had to withdraw a week and a half before the race due to her ankle injury. Her strongest leg of that type of race is cycling, which is quite beneficial.
The only problem we may run into is accessibility to each other. She lives in a different city than I do and her job is closer, but still quite a ways out. That said, the building she works in comes equipped with a full gym and if I can figure out a way to get to her, we could do running practices on the track there. She said she would be willing to pick me up from the train station, drive me to her work and drop me off at the train station again. If we can just work out the travel details, I think we could have a good thing.
Obviously, we won't be able to train together every day, and perhaps not every week, but if we could get a few practices in a month, especially if we can get our hands on a racing tandem, this could go somewhere. I think the most important thing is that we're both willing to make this work. I'll keep doing workouts in the gym on the stationary equipment and getting out for runs once or twice a week with Laura and hopefully manage to meet up with this new potential guide. It's not perfect or ideal, but if the potential is there, why not give it a shot? You'll never know what could happen if you don't try: that is the beauty of potential.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I Will Go anyway

Some days are easier than others to get up the motivation to get a workout in. I'm not sure why, but today is one of those days where I'd rather not go anywhere. In fact, I'd be quite satisfied sitting on my couch, with a book, drinking tea, snuggled up under a blanket. It's not particularly gross out or anything; it's actually quite nice, but for some reason, my hibernation instincts have kicked in. However, succumbing to these instincts does not lend itself well to progress or improvement.
Some days you are all excited and ready to attack the day's workout. Some days I have my running shoes laced up 45 minutes before I'm even supposed to start; okay, perhaps more figuratively than literally. But my point stands. I'm chomping at the bit to get out there; especially when it's an outside run. I, and probably most other runners, prefer to run outdoors. Treadmills can get boring. Despite today's run being outside, with a supportive group of runners, I don't feel like going.
Today I won't be lacing up early; figuratively or literally. However, I will still go. Sometimes a workout isn't a   struggle because you are running faster or further than you normally do. sometimes the triumph at the end of the practice is that you at least went. I know once I get there, my competitive self will kick in and I will put a good effort in. So, despite being perfectly happy, sitting   on my couch, I will go anyway.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


It has come to my attention that the coverage of the Paralympic Games in Canada is just absolutely atrocious. People in Canada who want to watch athletes are not able to due so due to   the very large lack of Paralympic coverage, and, this is unacceptable.
When I was competing, I knew that the TV air time that the Paralympic Games got was very minimal, but when you are focusing on being the best you can be, some things just slip by. You just don't have the time and energy to fight every battle. Now that I'm not competing, I have a lot of time and energy to devote to this battle and I am prepared to make a lot of noise.
The lack of coverage just completely boggles my mind. Here we are in 2012. There is no excuse people! None! Some people claim that the Paralympics aren't viewer friendly.
Tell that to the sold out stadium at the track heats yesterday morning. And that was just for heats!!!!
Again, really?
Tell that to the swimmers who set at least three world records just last night. Even more were broken the night before. Please tell me if I'm missing something, but when three swimmers come into the wall, less than a half a second apart for gold, silver and bronze, that is viewer friendly.
Sure, some of the classifications can be a bit confusing, but at least attempt to make that information accessible to the general public. There are  informational videos available on the main networks websites  carrying the Paralympics and even more on the various Paralympic youtube channels. In an era of social media, there is absolutely no excuse for the Paralympic Games to be ignored by large broadcasting companies.
The most amazing part to me is that Canada already has seven medals, just after day two, and most of the country has absolutely no idea that such a high calibre of athlete is representing their country. This lack of awareness is  because the TV networks' coverage is horrendous.
The Paralympic Games are the second largest sporting event in the world, coming second only to the Olympics. How is it even possible that there is barely any coverage? As a Canadian and a  former Paralympic athlete who was proud to represent her country,  I am ashamed of our media and their lack of attention to the Paralympic Games.