Thursday, February 8, 2018

Cedar 12k Race Report

This year I am excited for life! After having a rough go last year I am determined to make 2018 awesome!
I started the year off right by setting attainable goals and intentions:

- Be present
- Race for the love of it
- Don't worry about numbers
- Always show up
- Enjoy the process

I am excited to say I think things are going in the right direction. Last weekend I had an absolute blast at the Cedar 12km race that was a part of the Vancouver Island Race Series.
I think this photo says it all.

I went in to this race with 0 expectations. I had been away on a ski vacation and just got home the night before after 2 solid of driving.

Leslie and I are faithful run buddies. We train together weekly and we had devised a plan to work this race into our marathon training. We set out early to Cedar so that we could get our race numbers and do the early start. I wasn't keen to do early start because I knew even with my marathon pace I would probable be at or near the front for the race. We checked in with Raceday Timing to make sure we could do it and was advised as long as we would be over 50 minutes it would be fine. 
So we headed out for an easy 8km and made sure we were back for the early start.

We got back to the start and I had a TORQ gel to get me ready for my 12km 

With only a few minutes before go time Leslie and I went over our pacing. I was aiming for a 5:16 pace and she was looking for 5:20-5:25

We took off at a nice easy pace. I felt great. I had a few laughs with Leslie, high fived a few of my Ceevacs teammates and found my grove.

There was a last minute course change morning of and boy was it a great change. We ended up running an out and back on the most beautiful country road. It was lovely.

So I  ended up leading the early start and had no idea where I was going. I probably ended up running further than what the course actually was but apparently that didn't affect my overall time much.
I anticipated with the 30minute head start that the top men would catch me around the 10km mark.
By the 10km mark I was still running solo with Leslie not too far behind me. 
I started to panic a bit because I never actually thought I would be the first runner in. I only had 2 km's to go and it was obvious at that point I was definitely going to be the first one. So feeling slightly embarrassed that I was coming across before the actual winners I put on a smile for the camera and owed it. 

I felt great. After crossing I went back to cheer Leslie in and get going back out to finish our run.
We added on a few more km's and made it back just as everyone was finishing. It worked out perfect. Would I recommend doing early start? Nope, it served a purpose for us today but I think I prefer running with the majority.

After changing we checked in to the race results and were both pleasantly surprised by our performances. Leslie placed 6th in our age group and I place 3rd. Not too bad for racing at marathon pace.

I really enjoyed my day at Cedar 12k. This was the first time for me to race it and the course was perfect. 

Big shout out to my awesome On Running Shoes. Man these shoes are amazing. I'm pretty sure they helped. 

*Big shout out to Ken and Lois DeEll for they great photography. They captured a ton of amazing shots at the race.

My races for this year are:
Vancouver Island Race series
BMO Vancouver Marathon
Bermuda swim around the Sound (10km)
Cowichan Challenge
Whistler 70.3

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Should be a race report but it's not

This should be my race report of Ironman Canada 70.3 followed by another race report of the ITU World Championships but it's not.

How do I keep this blog post happy and upbeat when I am so terribly disappointed in my season? I'm going to do the best I can to keep this light and airy because I'm going to be honest... this was my worst season since switching to long distance.

My 1st race of the season was CDA 70.3 and I actually did do a race report which you can find HERE. 

Next up was IM Canada 70.3 Living on the Island you'd think I have been to Whistler many of times. This was my first. We went with our amazing friends which made it into such a super fun weekend. Thank you M & C for the good times.

I really thought I was going to pull off a decent time but yet again I fell short. I came in to race weekend happy and confident. I was so excited to try this challenging course. Morning before race we tested out Alta Lake. It was gorgeous.

Took in the IM village.

So when I woke up race morning feeling ready I thought for sure I was going to pull off something good. 

I had loads of fun being out on the course with many friends and teammates from Soas and Base. I was in my happy place. 
But after a horrible swim (see below photo for proof), fun but hard bike the wheels fell off on the run. Severe muscle cramping in my quads left me downing more Base salt then I could consume in a season until I dropped my stash. And what I mean by drop is I didn't put the lid on properly and my fresh tube all spilt out. I still had 18km to go.

So needless to say another race didn't go in the direction I had hoped.

On to Penticton. My last race of the season. I have to be honest going in to these last 2 races I just wasn't feeling it. I was disappointed in CDA and Whistler but just couldn't vocalize it. Everyone who supports me was still so proud of me. I trained hard this year despite some bumps along the way. I struggled with balance of work, family and life but persevered. 
I was worried I just didn't do enough to be ready for this weekend despite following my training. 
The week before the race I had the house to myself. My little one qualified for swim provincials. Because I had to work, my husband took the girls. So I stayed home and took care of the animals. I thought it would be relaxing but I found myself lonely. I missed my family. They are my rock. 

When it was time to head out to Penticton my nerves set in. I'm actually glad I had to work right up until the day before I raced. It took my mind off what I was really feeling. 
My amazing friend picked me up at 5am and drove me to Victoria to catch my flight (she is seriously the bestest!). 

I had a great flight from Victoria to Kelona.

And of course I was so happy to see the family. Little one missed me the most.

As usual we had our trailer so everything was all settled when I arrived.

Aquathlon was Friday morning and the temperature dropped the night before the race which was great for me. I can handle the heat but I do much better in cooler temps.

Again I fell short of my goal. All I wanted to do was beat last years time. I was longer by 1 minute. My swim was faster (wetsuit legal this year), transition slower (wetsuit stripping is hard) and run was slower. So yet another race to be disappointed. I actually thought I was doing quite well during the race because I seemed to be in the main pack but sadly I was 16th in my age group (3rd Canadian). Not what I was expecting. 

Despite being disappointed, I yet again kept it to myself. I still had one more race and I needed to stay positive. 

After the race the fan jam took me out to celebrate my birthday. As usual a race fell on my birthday. I guess I thought racing on my birthday would bring me some good luck much like it did last year.

The girls had ordered a plain cake and then decorated it back at the trailer. They even invited some friends over to help celebrate.

I ended up missing the athlete dinner for the World Championships but according to my sources I didn't actually miss much. Sadly the World Championships weren't quite as exciting as I had imagined. I'll be honest the expo was lame and my Team Canada gear was total crap (a great reminder of how amazing my Soas gear is). More on that later.

Saturday was your usual nervous energy all through Penticton. I met up with my Team Canada teammates from Cowichan Valley (these ladies are so fantastic) to go do our mandatory meeting where as usual I learned nothing new. It was hot. 

Dropped all our gear off.

I met up with my awesome Soas Sisters from around the globe + some local ones.

With a surprise visit from the fabulous Leana!

This was probably the best part of my race weekend. Spending time with my amazing family and friends from far and wide who I got to race with and send cheers to. A great reminder of the true reason I love this sport. 

Now onto the biggest race of my life...

Race morning I was really good. I had a terrible sleep but seriously who actually sleeps the night before a big race? I definitely do not.
Swim was okay, a bit slower than last year but I felt good and as usual caught up to the men.
Transition was a little slow. The volunteers in the tent weren't quite as helpful as the Whistler crew (fastest transitions ever thanks to them).
Once out on the bike I settled in to a great solid pace on our out and back to Summerland. Didn't get passed by too many people which is rare for me. Usually I'm quick out of the water but just get smashed on the bike. I was feeling pretty good.
First loop was pretty good and I have to say second loop was pretty good too, until the last 15km. My team Canada kit was cutting in to where my legs meet my body. It got so bad that I couldn't stay in aero. Lets just say I couldn't wear underwear for 4 days post race. 
I was starting to feel a little off at that point stomach wise too. I stayed on top of my nutrition even though my stomach was not happy. I was starting to reminisce or my marathon this year. Things were heading south quickly.
Pulled in to T2 and switched in to running mode. It was getting really hot out. I had to be smart and keep myself cool.
I started out ok, a little slower pace then I would have liked but still good. By about 3km I was feeling awful. I kept forcing myself to keep taking my Rocket fuel in and continue to take my Base salt and of course water at the aid stations along with ice down my top. I did everything right but things just kept getting worse. I saw my husband and kids on my first loop and told them I wasn't feeling good. My husband knowing how much I would hate myself if I quick told me to keep going. I somehow managed to do my 1st of 3 loops. Onto the 2nd loop struggling to get anymore fuel in. I was not well. I was already doing the death march and I was only 10km in. I was walking more then just the aid stations. I was so dizzy. 
Right when I was thinking of pulling the plug someone was looking out for me and thought I deserved to finish this race. My friend Derek caught up to me. He was on his last lap I was on my 2nd. He made me run to the next aid station with him. Walked through it with me making sure I was trying to get some fuel in to me. Made me run again until we hit the aid station again. He was exactly what I needed to get m back on track. I am sure I slowed him down but he took the time to make sure I was okay and got me through a very dark place during my race. I can honestly say if he hadn't been there at that moment, I probably would not have finished. 

So after some pretzels and water (it was not ideal but it was all I could get in and keep down) I somehow managed to get my 3rd lap in and finish the race.
I was 20 minutes slower this year. I felt gutted to have such a poor performance at the World Championships. To add insult to injury my kids handed me a Canadian flag to run down the finishing chute and just as I was about to cross the line another Canadian teammate decided to out sprint me. In other sports like running this is a big faux pas. Once you have entered the finish chute you are to have that moment and I assumed because this was the World Championship the same sportsmanship would ensue since they were handing out flags to everyone. Sadly she sandbagged me the last second and frankly at that moment I couldn't care any less. One more notch in my not so great end to the season.

Last year after I qualified I was so elated that I was on cloud 9. I walked the whole way back to our trailer and probably skipped the whole way there. This year was horrible. I got halfway there and felt like death was knocking on my door. My legs were cement, I was sick to my stomach. All I wanted to do was lie down on the sidewalk. When I did get back to the trailer that was exactly what I did. My husband took too long to open the trailer. 

So my season this year in a nutshell totally sucked. I'm embarrassed of my performance. I am so much better than what I pulled off. I feel like I let down my teams, my coach and my family. 
All I wanted this year was to have 1 good race that gave me a nice little PR and left me feeling great and I did not have a single race this year that did that. I had fun at CDA and Whistler but that doesn't mean I was happy with my results. 
I can come up with all sorts of excuses on the why this year went so wrong but the reality is last year I had a bike crash that took me out of training for 6 weeks beginning of June to mid July and I ended the season with my 2 best races ever. So what went wrong this year? I put in the time, I put in the effort.

Now what?

I guess it's back to the drawing board with my coach. Figuring out a training plan that is going to work with my busy lifestyle but still be able to give me results that will allow me to still be competitive. 

On a brighter note there were some positives to this whole experience. 
- I have an amazing support system
- I have met so many amazing and inspiring people in this sport
-The Soas and Base teams really are fabulous to be a part of including meeting some of those amazing people I keep telling you about
-Despite bad races there always seems to be a a silver lining
- I lost my love for the sport but I found it again in the end
-I will appreciate all races I do no matter the brand
- I never quit

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Race Report CDA 70.3

A whirlwind summer has left me catching up on race reports. It's now mid august and CDA 70.3 was almost 2 months ago. Where has time gone?

Before I even go in to detail about this race I have got to say Coeur D'Alene is probably my favourite 70.3
I am so deeply saddened that the Full will no longer take place after this year. 

Leading up to CDA I was unsure how this race would go for me. After a terrible attempt at my first stand alone marathon (you can dig into my previous post for that doozy) and having to take some time off of training and missing a good chunk of essential training I really had no idea what I was going to pull off. 
I worked a full week of work leading up to the race and headed out on the Friday for our big drive out east.
I grew up just north of CDA and we frequently holidayed in the area. Cocolala was our go to camping spot where I even learned how to water ski. Sandpoint is our stopping point whenever we head home for a little holiday. So to say CDA is a bit nostalgic for me is an understatement. I truly love this part of the world.

After a very long drive we pulled into IM village at around 4pm where I went over to get my race pack and to connect with some Base teammates.

I have to say going in to this race I was more excited about connecting with my Base and Soas teammates then I was about actually racing.
I knew I was going to have some fun.

After some hellos we headed over to our overpriced 2 * hotel to checkin and get settled. At least our room was clean. That was all I could ask for. 
We got some dinner and settled in for the night. Tomorrow was going to be busy.

Saturday was a bright and early start to the day with my big girl turing 10. So we opened presents in the hotel and took her out for breakfast. We returned to hotel so I could ride my bike down to bike check in, do a little flushout run and get everything settled and in order so I could get back to celebrating my daughters birthday.

At bike check in I ran in to one of my fabulous Soas sisters Heather.

We had a quick little catch up and confirmed our plans to meet up later on with some of the other ladies from our tea. 

I reconnected with the family and had a quick dip in the lake to test things out. Water temp was perfect!
Back to some family time of exploring a bit of CDA. The vibe in the town was over the top amazing. All of the local business's were so welcoming. The weather was gorgeous and I was starting to get excited to race.
I met up with the rest of my Soas sister crew right before we headed off to the birthday dinner.
These ladies are seriously amazing. So genuinely friendly, kind, open, and honest. I am just thrilled to be a part of such an amazing group of strong women.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel so I could do the final touches on my race prep. Nutrition was in order, alarms were set, gear all laid out. I was ready!

I woke up feeling great on race morning despite a super early rise. My little birthday girl wasn't feeling well so my mind was a little preoccupied with her well being rather than me going to race. 

We had our coffee and oatmeal and wondered down to the race site where I left the family to do final touches in transition. They patiently waited for me as I came back out ready to start.
The swim was fantastic! The course was set up by a friend of mine who's I've worked with on another race. He puts everything in to his swim courses to ensure they are the safest they can be. 
Tim, you did a great job! Loved the rolling start, siting was easy. 

Swim was okay, not my best but not my worst. I came out 20th in my age group. Felt great and was ready to ride.

Bike course was tough. CDA has some good long climbs. I am not a climber. Add in some crazy heat on fairly fresh asphalt and I was feeling bad things. I carried on and saw plenty of my teammates. I was having so much fun out there. Despite the extreme heat I was doing pretty good.
I stayed on top of my nutrition. I made sure to finish my 2 bottles of Nuun as well as my combo calorie drink of Carbo pro and Endura as well as a Munk Pack oatmeal squeeze. I also had Base salt which I took every 30 minutes.

Once I handed off my bike I headed out on the run course only to discover I left a spare bike tube in my back pocket. Doh! It was so friggin hot I really did not like the idea of carrying anything extra that I didn't need. There goes a perfectly good tube into the trash.
I continued to stay on top of my nutrition using Base Salt as well as Base Rocket Fuel. I knew the heat could potentially bring me to me knees so I had to race smart. 
I was so thankful I had my awesome new 1 piece speed suit from Soas. I can't recommend this kit enough. I absolutely LOVE it. 

I slowly picked off a few ladies in my age group to move me up into the top 40 in my age group.
 The last 6km were starting to feel tough. People were looking pretty rough. Thank goodness the locals were so awesome that they were hosing us off at a few points on the course. Wow, the Coeur D'Alene people are seriously amazing. With only 2 km to go I threw my Base Salt at some poor soul who was dealing with some wicked legs cramps. He obviously needed it more than I did. I really hope it helped him.

I was so happy to finish this race. It was the hottest weather my poor white body has seen this year. It was hot!
Immediately after crossing the finish line, I made my way back to the lake and dove in. It felt so good.

I have to say there were no PR's for me today but I really had a great race. I had a few hiccups this year in my training since the marathon and missed a large chunk of essential training. I had to go in with a mindset that if I don't get a PR I needed to be ok with that. 
Honestly, I was pretty happy with my day. It was hot, I wasn't as fit as I had hoped and I place in the top 20% of my age group. I'd say that's a pretty good day.

To celebrate me being done my race and big sis's birthday we spent the next day at Silverwood. Best theme park in the Pacific Northwest. We love the water park.

After some good racing, some great theme park adventures and of course some fabulous coffee we ended our trip on such a great note. Coeur D'Alene I am so saddened that you won't be hosting the full Ironman anymore because it was always my dream to do it. Regardless we will be back.

Big thanks to my fabulous family who always support me. My fab coach Dusty for keeping me honest. My awesome training partners, you know who you are, and of course my amazing friends who continue to inspire and support me. Love to you all.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Don't Quit

Well it's been 1 week since the BMO Vancouver Marathon. It's taken me the whole week to reflect on what happened and to move forward. What I thought I was most ready for turned out to be one of my worst nightmares.

I started my saturday morning feeling excited and ready to race. My coach, running partner L and I all met at my house to do 1 last easy effort run before L and I headed out to catch the ferry.

The weather was fabulous. We were so excited. 
We got to Vancouver checked in to hotel and headed down to the expo to have a little fun.

Spent some money, wandered around and headed back to the hotel to put our feet up. 

After some rest we went out for pasta dinner. We had all of our kids with us so we hit up the Gastown Old Spaghetti Factory. I stuck with my usual veg lasagne. Sticking to my usual plan.
We walked back to hotel for an early night. I wished L a good night sleep and planned to meet her in the lobby at 7am.

After a restless night I woke up around 6am. Stuck to my usual routine of Stocked oats and coffee and took a banana with me to eat 30 minutes before the race. Again sticking to my usual plan.
I always get nervous so I spent a lot of time at the port-a-potty. I knew I was doomed with no turning back when I pulled up my pants and my transit card fell down the hole. 
No turning back now!

L and I had plenty of time to get ourselves ready and to the start line. We were in separate corals so I dropped her off at hers and continued on to mine. I got put in the sub 4 hours which is exactly where I should be. All of my training was bang on. There was no reason I couldn't hit a sub 4.

The gun went off and I started off nice and easy. First km was a 5:40 min/km. Exactly what I had discussed with my coach. Ease in to things. That's exactly what I did. I eased in to my 5:15-5:20 pace by the second and third km. I felt pretty good but I did feel like my legs seemed a little heavy for having a once proper taper. I kept going. 
I saw L on our out and back. We were both on track. She looked great! She claims I too looked great. We gave big smiles and waves.
When I was 40 minutes in I decided to take a swig of my Gu. That's when things felt a little off. My stomach was not happy with my Gu. Again, nothing new. These are the same flavour of Gu that I have been training and racing with for the past 2 years. 
After I hit the 10km mark I thought I would try some of my mint Run Gum. It's got caffeine in it and always seems to perk things up for me. Again, I just wasn't feeling it. 
After I hit the 20km mark I really started to feel off. My stomach was not happy, my legs felt like lead. There is no way I should be feeling this way before the halfway mark. Something was off. 
Luckily I saw a port-a-potty up ahead before I really got sick.

I ducked in unsure of what end bad things were going to happen. My stomach revolted and I threw up in a discussing poop filled port-a-potty. 
At this point L more then likely passed me because we never saw each other again. I decided to keep running but I had to significantly slow my pace. I ran another few kilometres and threw up again. I decided to try and walk for a bit. 
I finally aw my husband and kids around 26km. I threw all of my stuff at them. Gu, salts, Run Gum. None of it was helping and I couldn't bare to carry anything. At that point I was so sick. Should I have pulled the plug then and there? Probably, but I didn't. My mind said don't quit.
I trudged along crying and suffering. My lovely friend Ellen (she sold me her amazing P2) caught up to me and saw how wrecked I was. She was so kind to comfort me and see if there was anything she could do for me. I told her not to worry and that she needed to keep going.
The rest of the race consisted of my walking a lot. I tried to run when I could but my stomach bubbled up and then I would throw up. I did 22km solely on water. It was the only thing I could stomach. 
I have not a single photo of me running the marathon which is probably for the best. I'm sure I looked like something from a zombie apocalypse. 
Even though I have done Iron Distance, this race broke me down like nothing else ever has. Usually if I'm fatigued or not feeling well simply walking gets me to the finish line. That day the simple act of walking hurt me so badly it made me cry out in pain. 
You never know your true strength until you put your body to the test. 
I managed to run the last 3 kilometres. One of my Soas team mates was out cheering on that last stretch and I was so weak I couldn't even acknowledge her. 
Don't Quit.
I tried to push myself the last stretch collapsing at the finish to one of the medical volunteers and again throwing up. He tried to take me to the medical tent but I said I was fine. I really wasn't fine. 
Luckily my husband was right there and got me out of there. I just wanted to go home and go to bed.

But, I finished. 

It took me a few days before I started to come around. I suffered from involuntary muscle spasms for 3 days. After lots of Nuun I finally was able to shake those. My immune system was weekend as well. As I sit here and reflect I take another dose of Advil for my sore throat. 
So what happened? Food poisoning? Caught the flu at the wrong possible moment? I really don't know. 
Now that I've had a chance to reflect on everything I look back to see what I would do differently. Would I have pulled the plug before it got so bad? I don't know. I just don't quit. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Where have I been?

Well it seems quite some time ago since I last posted. I thought I better check in and let people know where I have been. This winter I had to make a big life decision. I was offered a really great job opportunity, one that does not come around too often. It would give me consistency, work close to home, long term employment and good money. I felt I wasn't quite ready to take on full time work although over the last few years with my 2 jobs I was working close to full time most weeks. It just wasn't consistent. I knew it was going to be a big change because I would no longer have control of my own hours. My days will be longer and it would mean way less time spent with my family. That alone was the hardest to give up. 
However, I want other things for myself and my family. This job was going to help us with that.
So January 1st I started my transition to full time. The only problem is I still held on to my other 2 jobs. So to say we (as in me and my family) it is such an understatement. 

I'm happy that I took on this new job but it has not been easy. I know many others share this same path. We have had bumps along the way and it is making training a lot more difficult. The stress of changing jobs and having to relearn how to do things takes its toll. Luckily I have a pretty awesome coach who has gotten to know me well and spotted right away that work stress was taking its toll on me. He pulled back the training for me despite my stubbornness. 

Now that I have finally balanced life, family, work and training things are starting to look up. 

This year I am representing some pretty amazing teams and companies. 

This will be my 3rd year on the wonderful Team Soas. I have met and gotten to know so many fabulous strong women from this team. They continue to inspire me every day.
Stephanie the owner treats us like gold. Check out our team gear:
This is my 2nd year on Team Nuun. I have been using their stuff for years and cannot do a swim workout without it. Again great team members and always honoured to be a part of it.

This will be my 1st year with Base Performance. The main reason I applied to this team is because their Base Salt saves me in every single hot race I have done. I even shared at Calgary 70.3 last year. Again another fantastic group of like minded athletes. 

This is only half my gear there's more on the way! If you want to try out any of their products let me know and I will share the goodies. Especially the salt.

Last but not least this was my most exciting surprise. Blade Carbon Wheels invited me to join them for the first time this year. I am thrilled to be on this team because first and foremost they are Canadian. I love supporting my country in any way I can. 
These guys make amazing wheels. I can't wait to race on my new wheel set this year.
You should check them out HERE:
and for a little discount plug in: ANDREAMAC

So what are my racing plans for the rest of the year? 
This weekend I am during my first stand alone marathon. I'll be racing in the BMO Vancouver Marathon. I have no idea what to expect since I've never done a marathon without swimming or biking first. I hope to run a strong race but more over be at the finish line for my amazing friend Leslie who embarked on this journey with me to also complete her first marathon.

We treasure our weekly Sunday long runs together supporting each other in tough times. It's amazing how therapeutic the training becomes.

After that I have Coeur D'Alene 70.3 end of June.
Whistler 70.3 end of July.
ITU Worlds Long Distance and aquathlon end of August. 

I'm not going to lie, I do worry about getting enough training in to get me where I want to be but that awesome coach has my back and I know he will do what it takes to take me as far as I can go without throwing me off the deep end.