Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The day before...

Today is the day before I leave for Virginia! I am excited. I am also a little bit concerned. It all started with a sore throat about 4-5 days ago. After about 2 days it went away and the sore throat was replaced by the sniffles. And just like Tamsin said it would, the sniffles lessened and were replaced with coughing and sneezing. She said that coughing and sneezing was the bodies way of releasing the virus/cold. I took Monday and Tuesday off and today I ran for 30 minutes. It felt alright, but my heart rate was a bit higher on the hills and I could feel myself wheezing a bit through the chest. I rarely get sick but I often do when I am tapering.

I am trying to stay positive and I know the less I think about it, the better I will be come Saturday. Today, a client of mine (the mother of a high school friend of mine) told me that the best basketball game she ever saw me play in high school, was a game where I had the flu!

I know I can rise above and even if I am feeling lousy the morning of the race, I will tow the line knowing I did everything in my power to get there fit and ready to rock out. Laisez Fair!

Gary, Tamsin, and I are leaving for the Seattle Airport at 5:30am! Should be a nice quick drive. I bought a new book to read on the airplane. It's called, "Creating Magic: 10 common sense leadership strategies from a life at Disney.

I had an interview with the owner of On the Edge Fitness on Monday. She asked me a question I have been asked a lot in previous interviews with employers. What makes a good leader? I always find this answer really tricky. I think back to previous employers or people in my life to find the answer but I always come up short. I've realized that I haven't ever had that one person who I can say I 'looked up to' or was my 'role model'. I have taken bits and pieces from those around me but I can't say that there was ever one person who showed me the way. I have always had to do that on my own. So, when it comes time to explain what characteristics I think leaders possess, I am usually at a loss for words.

In jobs, I always find myself moving up the ranks and employers wanting me to be in leadership positions. It's definitely something I do naturally but also am intimidated by. I have always been told I have a lot of potential, but no one has ever figured out, including myself, how to get me there. I don't think it is up to someone else to get me to where I want to be and I certainly do not like to be told what to do. I need to want to do it and I need to want to be the best I can be. Although, a little direction can always help!

The one thing I find when I am on my way to reaching my potential (in work), is a loss of balance. I have figured out over the years that I can't work 12 hour shifts day in and day out. I need to sleep 8 hours a day or else my body shuts down. I remember this one time I was working double shifts at Innovative Fitness (back in 08). I think for almost 5 days straight (starting on a Monday) I was up at 5am, working by 6am, had my last session at 7pm, and home at 9pm (with little breaks here and there throughout the day). Of course, I had to eat dinner and wind down when I got home and I wasn't getting to bed until 10-1030pm. Thus, not getting my 8 hours of sleep. At the end of the week on Friday, we had a team challenge to run the 'figure 8' which was a run around the facility in West Vancouver. I think it was only a 6-8 minute run depending on fitness level. My boss told me and my co-worker Justine that he expected us to run under 6 minutes. It was 5:45am and I was tired. I shot out at a pretty fast pace and after about 100 meters I just burst into tears. I broke down. I was tired and my body and mind were telling me so.

That was not the last time I cried. There have been many times when I have been running with Peter where I have burst into tears. And every time I've been under a great deal of stress and have not been getting enough sleep, and he starts pushing the pace. It's as though, pushing my body past it's current limit, sends it into emotional overdrive. It's not until that point do I ever admit to myself how stressed or overworked I am. Since I have been self employed and in complete control of my life, I don't think I have cried once on a run. I am sure most of you think I am crazy for even having burst into tears running but it's the truth.

I left Innovative Fitness last Christmas to figure out what it was I wanted, both in work and in life. I loved working there but work, running, and my personal life was a juggling act. I found that I was tired all the time and my workouts weren't quality and neither were my relationships with others. So I quit. With no plan. I had lots of customers telling me I was crazy to quit when the economy was so bad.

"There are no jobs you know", They'd say.

It didn't matter. My life was going to be run by me, not the economy. I have a very special Uncle who lives in Montreal, Uncle Steve. We got to chatting when he was down last Christmas. He was in a similiar position as myself and had left his job (or cut back work). He gave me the best piece of advice. He said, "Nicola, follow your bliss". That is exactly what I have been doing ever since. I have been the director in my own life. Making my own choices in business, life, and play. I must say however, I took these last 9 months all for me. I had enough work to live and travel and I had more time than most to spend with my family and friends. For the first time in a long time, I wasn't working 2 jobs, while going to school, to pay for school. I was never that kid who took summer off to go play and travel, I couldn't afford it! This was the first time I had ever taken time for just myself.

I learned a few things in that process. 1) I like to be busy (2) I like being around others (3) I like variety. When I left Innovative Fitness, I left behind the 24 hour dance party. That's what it felt like. I had been around 100's of people all day long and then suddenly it was just me and maybe a couple clients. It took me a couple months to get used to it but eventually I stopped missing it. I grew into my new life. I had time, not just for me but for others. I had time to have amazing runs in the trails for hours. I had time to grocery shop and make myself and Peter healthy wonderful meals. I grew my love for cooking. To compliment my training gig, I went back and worked at North Shore Athletics and Tommy's restaurant part-time and I had variety back in my life. People kept telling me that I was moving in reverse because I was back working at NSA. Someone actually said to me "why are you working at Tommy's when you have a University degree?". To this day I still fill in shifts for both those companies because I genuinely love working there. I do what makes me happy and that did. It was like having time to volunteer for your favorite charity, although I was getting paid, which was nice as I built my clientele. I even had the time to extend my education and get certified as a Lactate Tester. That was something I always wanted to while working at Innovative. For whatever reason it never happened and it was one of the first things I did when I left. And I love it!

My last race of the season is on Saturday. I am looking forward to it. I am also looking forward to the journey that lies after it. I will keep following my bliss and I know it will lead me in the right direction because it is guided from the heart.

So let's see where this 'potential' takes me next. For now though, I hope it takes me to first or second place at Mountain Masochist 50, gaining me an automatic entry into Western States 100, June 2010!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just thought I'd mention that I honestly only had the intention of writing the top 2 paragraphs and somehow it all just flowed right out of me!


Oliver Brayshaw said...

nice nic.. choose time, over money, every day. you're gonna make something great.

have fun on saturday!

Tom Craik said...

Have a great race, Gildersleeve. I wish could be there to give a chase or a push. We do have a historical rivalry that I know pushes you.

Ciao for now.


Very introspective for a pre-race blog! Follow your bliss. You have many years ahead of you, it will all pan out. Never give up.

I wish you health, endurance and strength in your run this weekend.

Deb said...

Good Luck!! I'll be following you guys! Kick some butt!!

Paige said...

Good luck out there!! I hope you get your WS lottery slot :)

Great entry, by the way!