Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Random life sh*t

I generally prefer a drama-free life. That's why I moved to New Zealand to "just be". My days end up like this: train in the morning, take care of my dog, work in the afternoon, spend time with my partner in the evening. The training is in the most beautiful place in the world, the work is peaceful and I get to chat with fellow athletes, and I love my partner to bits. There's none of this same old shit that I experienced living back in Canada, or Australia: (sub)urbia, consumerism, people wasting time trying to impress other people, etc.

So of course I made plans to apply for another visa after this one year Working Holiday visa was over. I did everything in advance, and the list is lengthy:
- Get a medical certificate, get X-Rays, blood work, etc done (800+ $)
- Apply for a police certificate from your home country to prove you're not a criminal (50$)
- Fill out goodness knows how many forms (free)
- Have all kinds of proof of your relationship: letters from family, friends, co-workers, etc, tenancy agreement, bank transfers, mail to our address, bills, etc. (free)
- Get everything certified by a solicitor (15$)
- Send in the visa application (360$)

Again, all this was done on time. I did everything in advance. For example, I applied for a criminal record check by getting my fingerprints taken at a New Zealand police station, and I sent them off to the Canadian RCMP back in JULY. At the date of application, their processing time was 8 weeks. I waited and waited. My current visa was due to expire, and still no police certificate. I checked the status of my application and they simply replied that the wait time had now been changed from 8 weeks to 18 weeks. And of course, Immigration New Zealand does not care what the excuse is: I am missing a mandatory part of my visa application. It was denied (despite providing all the proof I could for the reason for the delay).

So, I have to spend 3000$ flying back to Canada, applying for another police certificate from Canada (turnaround time: 3 days, compared to 18 weeks abroad), apply for a visa from my home country, wait for its arrival, then fly back home to NZ. To fully appreciate my frustration, I think is almost impossible. I am wasting 3000$, and I only have 5000$ in total, I have to stop work and put my life on hold in NZ, and waste anywhere from 7 days to 1 month (if I am lucky) back in Canada, in Montreal, at a place that I left long ago because I simply despised it. Yay!!

The only bright spot in this mess is that it will never. EVER. happen again. Life in Wanaka will return back to normal, I just have to wait a while. And everyone in town has really stepped up to show their support and to help me in any way they can. I still have my job (even though my boss, nor I, know when I'll return), and everyone I know has provided amazing letters stating that I'm an awesome person, that my partner and I are really in love, and that I should goddamn be able to stay in a country that I've considered home since my arrival back in November 2010.

Training will continue, of course, even though Montreal is probably the worst place to train in.
Swimming: as per usual, I'll join one of the masters groups I used to swim with several years ago
Cycling: nope, not bringing any of my bikes, but I am in a strength period now so things can be a bit shorter, on a stationary bike in the gym or on commuting bikes, and it's all about short bursts of MASSIVE power. Keep on trucking.
Running: it'll be on roads, which is mentally painful, and on the track, but it's do-able. Just no trail running and "strength training" hill running.
Strength: 3x a week strength work.

So, onwards and upwards...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ending one season... starting the next...

Since Ironman 70.3 Yeppoon, I've had a nice 3 week break. I gave myself a couple rest days in the first week, and other than that, it's just been about "keeping active" and exercising rather than training. That means, restricting the exercise to one session a day, and to 1 hour (up to 2 hours if it is a road ride).

I'm going to reflect on last season, it was a turbulent one:

It started when I moved back to New Zealand. I trained but was still quite fatigued from the previous season (1 Ironman, 4 half-ironmans). Then I found out I had polycystic ovarian syndrome, got on medication, was menstruating for 5 out of 7-odd weeks, became anemic, became overtrained while trying to train through it, and was in a bike crash. Yeehaw!? So, the month of February and March was about re-building myself from the ground up. And that mainly meant sleeping 10-12 hours each night. I also changed coaches, to Brian Butler of Natural Ability. He built me back up very slowly and cautiously. By the time Hawaii 70.3 rolled around, I felt fit. I unfortunately didn't have the day I wanted (buoys got blown off course by the wind, I got blown off by the crosswinds on the bike, and proceeded to struggle on the run). I regrouped, decided to stay with a friend in Cairns for 1 month, where I proceeded to have great results: 2nd female in a hilly trail half-marathon, 1st open female in a 5k (2nd overall female), and 4th AG in Yeppoon 70.3 with a new PB of 5:18, with OH SO MUCH room to improve. Perhaps that was some sort of redemption. All the race reports are below.

Mar 24-26. Goldrush 375k multisport, Day 1Day 2,Day 3.
June 2. IM 70.3 Hawaii
Aug 19. IM 70.3 Yeppoon

So what's next? Well, I've parted ways with said coach, on very friendly terms. Should my current situation not work out, it's been made clear that I can return to work with him, and I will jump at the opportunity to. So why did I leave? Well, I had the opportunity to work with a phenomenal LOCAL coach here in Wanaka, NZ. I was a part of her run group last summer, saw her coaching talents at work, and knew she could do a lot for me in the long run. If you can find an excellent local coach, I think that's the best of both worlds. Onwards! Below is the 2012-2013 summer race schedule:

Nov 18. Southland half marathon
Nov 24. Southland Open Water Swimming Series, 2k OWS race @ Lake Dunstan
Dec 8. Southland Summer Challenge triathlon (1.5k swim, 60k bike, 15k run)
Dec 27. Lake Hayes Christmas sprint or olympic triathlon
Jan 6. Race the Train 12k
Jan 19. Challenge Wanaka half-iron triathlon (B+ race)
Mar 3. Ironman New Zealand (A race)
Mar 31. Southern Lakes half marathon
Apr ? Lake Hayes Easter sprint triathlon
June 9. Ironman Cairns (A race)

There you have it! Am I excited? OH YES!!! I can't wait for summer to hit. Winter's departed us, spring has arrived, along with the very variable weather. Today we had warm temps but gusty gusty northwesterlies of 50+ kph, and now, night-time, it is pouring rain and cold. The saying goes: the more variable the weather in spring, the hotter and drier the summer here in Wanaka.  :)

And for those that have wanted an update on the puppy, Zeus went from this:
To this:

And we are hitting the 4th month now, apparently a "Growth Spurt" month, thank goodness. I can't wait for him to be epically gigantic. The guy is a little genius with a sparky attitude.