Sunday, December 18, 2016

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things 2016

Welcome to this years These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things! Every year around Christmas I share with you things related to triathlon that I love so much. 
This year I have been lucky enough to actually try out or now own most of these products that I am so excited about.

First up on my list this year it the Lumo Run. 
The Lumo Run is a pod that goes in your shorts/pants during your run. It uses algorithms to measure your running biomechanics. I have been wanting to get my hands on one of these babies since I first heard about it. Coming from many running injuries I had to re-learn how to run and I guarantee this little gadget will most definitely keep me in check. You can check out all of the infer HERE.

Next up is for all of you avid readers out there. The much anticipated book by Sir Lindley was even better than I expected. This book was so popular when it got released that I had to wait several weeks before I could even get my hands on a copy. 
I seriously read this book in 2 days and it wasn't because I had nothing better to do. This book goes through Siri's life as an athlete and how she later transitioned to one of the best triathlon coaches in the world. This book is definitely worth your time.

I don't know about all of you but when training and racing I have a hard time eating solid foods. So far bananas have been my go to along with my nutrition in a bottle. There is a new game changer for me now. My local running store brought in these fabulous Gu Stoopwafel and OH MY GOD! These are soooooo good. They are tasty and actually go down quite nicely and the flavours are delicious.  
Although I am a Nun Ambassador, that does not change how much I love Nuun. I use Nuun daily for all of my training. I especially love it for swim workouts. I used to get foot or calf cramps during swim workouts but if I have Nuun on deck I have no issues. With a ton of great flavours to choose from and a little bit of fizz it is my favourite drink to have around.

If you are in Canada make sure you order your Nuun products HERE. Although most sports stores do carry Nuun.

I'm pretty sure everyone loves how much I love my Soas gear. I have made the Soas racing team for my 3rd year. I am so excited because this year they have released their 1-piece racing suit. This suit is so sleek. I'm loving the look and function of the longer sleeves. I'll have nice coverage over my back and shoulders so I don't have to worry about exposed skin that might not have sunscreen. They have 2 styles to choose from and when you order they will add your name to your suit!

Soas has some other new kits as well to check out. Head on over HERE.

Another team I am proud to be on and makes amazing products is Base Performance. I was introduced to the salt and Aminos this past year by a fellow Soas teammate. I couldn't believe the difference in racing in the heat with this magic. I now carry the salt with me on bike and runs in all of my races. I even saved another athletes race at Calgary 70.3 because it was unexpectedly hot and aid stations were way too far apart. I shared my salt with her and she was able to finish. 
Base has many great products to help in your training and racing. Check them out HERE.

Last but not least on this years Fav Things is the Tacx Neo. I was lucky enough to try out my brother in laws set up this summer when we were visiting. I got one ride in and fell in love with this amazing training tool. This year for my birthday, my amazing husband actually got one for me and I have done every single ride since October in my garage.
What is the Tacx Neo? It is a smart trainer. This trainer does automatic grade adjustments, road feel, measures watts. It is seriously the coolest thing around. I've got mine set up to Zwift but I know there are other programs you can ride to. 

These smart trainers are total game changers. There is nothing better then riding in almost lifelike road conditions in the safety of your home. I can push harder without worrying about traffic around me. I can hammer up hills without the worry of what might lie ahead. This is by far my most favourite thing of all times in the wonderful world of triathlon.

I hope you enjoyed my favourite things. Let me know if there are any products you absolutely love and can't live without.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

When things fall into place

I did it! I qualified for Worlds... twice!

For those that follow me closely you know this year has been filled with way more downs than ups. I had my first DNF at Victoria 70.3
I ended up having my chainring go though my leg and had to take a month off of training. Then when I did finally get back to training it was too soon and I ended up with plantar fasciitis on my good foot. I continued on persevering through these injuries and did Calgary 70.3 I finished but with a disappointing time.
Feeling frustrated with my outcomes I had no idea what Penticton 
would turn out for me.
Turns out perseverance pays off.

I have had a very busy work schedule this summer. Logging lots of overtime I still was unable to take an extra day off of work. So August 24th I left for Penticton after work.
While trying to get the 6pm ferry I got an email from the Challenge Penticton crew saying they had 30 spots open up for the aquathlon the following day... my birthday. 
I texted my coach to see if I should do it. What the heck I had a scheduled swim and run anyways, why not?

What better way to celebrate your birthday. 

Penticton really knows how to host athletes. The duathlon was the previous day.
Aquathlon was today, Cross was the following day and my big day the ITU Long Course was Sunday.

So we pulled into Penticton around 1pm. Got settled and wandered down to the race start to see if I could snag a spot to race. 
It turns out the swim was going to be a non-wetsuit swim. The problem with this is my 2 piece tri suit is not so great in the water on its on. I love my Soas trisuit and for all of my regular triathlons it is seriously the best trisuit around. Unfortunately it has a bit of drag to it. Normally I'd wear a skin suit but the ITU rules for shorter swim distances state that you must wear it for the entire race. 
So I decided to race in a swimsuit. 

So as I seem to like to do so much I punished myself for a great birthday present.

I had a marginal swim thanks to the crazy waves out there. I was hoping for an 18' or less but ended up with 21'
I quickly transitioned to the run which was an out and back 2x for a 5km. I raced without and tracking. No Garmin, no HR monitor. I was essentially naked. I ran trying to hold a good solid pace without going out too hard. I was instructed to keep things easy since this was not my big race.
I ended up with my fastest 5km ever. 22:16
I was thrilled with my results. I thought for sure I had podiumed.
Well, turns out I wasn't quite fast enough but I still qualified.
I came in 4th in my age group next to Pro Triathlete Karen Thibodeau, Former Olympic Swimmer Jessica Deglau, and former Pro Triathlete Tenille Hoogland.

After seeing who I was up against I couldn't have been more please with my results. I couldn't wait until Sunday!

Friday we laid low by driving the bike course to refresh my memory, check out some fruit stands, go to the beach and then I joined my friends and took part in the pasta dinner (which was fantastic).

I had the pleasure of meeting Sister Madonna Buder (the Iron Nun). Unfortunately there is no photo because we were in the ladies room and I thought it might be inappropriate to take a selfie of us in there. I just have to say that she is absolutely lovely and a total card. Such a great sense of humour.

In our group there were 3 of us racing individually and we also had a threesome doing the relay. They were called the Hot Flashes. I so love these ladies. They are so much fun.

Saturday was again filled with more relaxation. After I racked my bike and dropped my bags we hit the lake again. I can't thank my family enough for taking such good care of me.

Sunday morning came quick as usual. I felt like I didn't sleep a wink. However I was feeling so calm. I was so ready for this.
We got to the race site for 6am. I checked my bike, set up my nutrition. Used bathroom, hugged the girls and got my wetsuit on. 

I stuck together with the lovely ladies of Duncan. They really seems so calming to me. 
Before I knew it the gun went off. I took off keeping a relatively easy but steady pace. It wasn't long before I caught up to the men who had a 2' head start.
Going around the buoys was tricky. That seemed to be where most of the congestion was. Second lap I thought was better until I had some guy totally push me out of the way. It wasn't like he was trying to swim, he actually pushed me to his side. This of course put a little fire in my belly to push a little harder to get to the swim exit as quickly as possible.
55:10 for 3km
My friend Bob was my wetsuit stripper and got me out on the course fast and efficient.
The weather was great. Sun was shinning and wind was not too bad.

We had 2 laps of the bike course which I really enjoyed. 120km seems so much shorter than the Ironman 180km. 
Bike- 4:08:44
*after the race I noticed my front break had been rubbing my front wheel the entire bike portion. I thought my downhill was a little slow.

I was feeling great going in to the run. It was only 30km to go until the finish. I can do this!

Heading out on the run Coach Jasper Blake was on course cheering all of the amazing b78 athletes. His enthusiasm is infectious. He put a big smile on my face and I was pulling off a great run. I was ahead of my goal!

The family patiently waited for me to run by. These kids are seriously so patient and supper supportive. 

After a great first 15km lap I was ahead of my goal so I took a minute to stop and hug the family. They are the ones that help get me to the start line day after day, year after year. They mean the world to me.

On my second loop I was really starting to catch those that passed me on the bike. I started looking for my competitors. at the 18 to 20km mark is where the wheel s start to fall off. Bit by bit I passed someone who just could no longer hold a run. People start to linger at aid stations. To be fair it was hot out on that run. One of the aid stations ran out of water and sports drink. This is where people can get in to trouble. This is why I do long easy fns with as little fuel or water as I possibly can. I know I can get to the next aid station without consequences. Some people can't. 
With only 5km to go I finally caught a lady in my age group. I knew I could sustain my pace for another 30' or so no problem. I passed easily and continued on to the finish line.
Run 30km 2:44:36

My final time was 7:54:19
My goal was 8 hours.
I was 8th in my super tough age group needing a top 10 to qualify for Worlds.

This was my race! Do I still have work to do? Absolutely! I know where I can improve significantly. 
Compared to last years Ironman distance I can honestly say I executed the perfect race for me. I stayed calm, happy, mentally strong.
I finished with minimal consequences...

This little blister was the only carnage from almost 8 hours of racing.

I am thrilled of how well I did. I'm so excited to represent Team Canada next year at Worlds! I promise to work even harder this year to make next years race even better!!!

A big shout out to my fabulous Soas Sisters. The lovely Tracy was on a relay team and we ended up running the first lap together. I loved that she chatted away to me. It kept me happy and on track.

Thank you to Soas for believing in me and continuing to let me be a part of such a wonderful team. Your products are absolutely amazing. I couldn't imagine doing triathlons in any other trisuit.

Thank you to Nuun Hydration. I train daily using this awesome electrolyte. Another awesome team that supports me as well as keeps me hydrated. For Challenge Penticton I used Nuun Active Grape along with Nuun Plus. I find it is the perfect combo to keep me going in the longer races.

Thank you to Oofos. The best recovery sandal/shoe around. With my battles with the Plantar Fasciitis I have been living in my sandals day in and day out. If you don't have a pair you ned to go out and get yourselves some. They are soooooo fabulous.

Thank you to b78 coaching. Jasper is seriously the coolest guy I know and Thalia has kept me in line for the entire year. Their support and guidance has been wonderful.

Last but not least thank you to my fabulous family and friends. They say it takes a village and it really does. My husband and kids support me to no end. My friends that continuously support me, train with me and listen to all of my boring stories. You all mean the world to me and I can't thank you enough for all that you do. 
I really would not be where I am without all of you.
Here's to big dreams and great results!

Monday, June 13, 2016

The dreaded DNF

I've been racing triathlons for 5 years now. Yesterday was my first DNF. Here's how it all went down.

I'm not going to lie. The Victoria 70.3 has never been kind to me. 

Last year I over hydrated and got up in the night to pee and broke my toe. It's a story too ridiculous to be true. It did actually happen and I still showed up race morning to give it my all. 
I thought this year would be different. I had a ton of support from my family and friends. My bestie was showing up bright and early just to do body marking (Thank you Colette). I had lots of great friends racing this as their first 70.3, my coach was going to be there. I had great intentions, except there was a nagging feeling in me that I just wasn't excited about this race. 
This was my first big race of the year. Doing long distance triathlon we tend to not race as frequently as shorter distances. I remember when I first got into triathlon I'd do a triathlon every month for 6 months. This year I did a quick little sprint in March and that's been it. Victoria was my big chance to see where my fitness was at.
We arrived Friday with our trailer in tow. I prefer going to races this way so I have my home away from home. Sure I only live an hour away but who the hell wants to get up at 3am to get to a race? Did I say I'm not much if a morning person?
The bestie and I met up for a quick little swim at Elk Lake. I probably should have tested the waters at Beaver but I knew the dirty Beaver was questionable and I didn't need any extra stress. Lets just say there was more chatting than swimming and it was awesome!!!

I woke up Saturday with a splitting headache and feeling a little off. I decided to do my last taper workout and then I could take it easy the rest of the day.

I headed over to the race site to connect with my awesome Soas Sisters and get my package and check my bike into transition. 

 Once I got all my tasks done I also met up with C and her buddy who was also racing. 

Spirits were high and the Ironman village was bustling. 
Lots of the pro's were hanging out mingling with the rest of us too. 

Both my girls did the kids race which was a blast to watch. 

After all of the festivities we were all done and needed to get back to the trailer for some RnR.

Some of us didn't even make it.

Once I got back to the trailer I got all of my race day gear sorted out. I was still torn on what to wear on the bike. The weather was calling for 12* I would make the final decision in the morning.
I was feeling hangry so I got right to work on putting some food together. 
I can not go wrong with rice bowls. It's got a little bit of everything.

The fan and I went for a nice post dinner walk down to the beach. The kids got a chance to run around and burn whatever energy they still had. We needed to get everyone to bed for our early morning start. 4am was approaching fast.

Race morning was chaos. Even though I gave us lots of time to get to transition I still ended up walking a good 4 km due to ridiculously heavy traffic. 
Got my transition all set up and decided on a cycling jacket. I was feeling chilled and coming out of the water was not going to help. 
My rack mate was a fellow B78 athlete. Notice our matching visors??? 

Catching up with my buddies who were racing was so much fun. Definitely the best part of the race.
Once I was settled I headed over to the swim start and had Super awesome Jasper Blake (head coach of B78) help us into our wetsuits. With little time left I had to go seed myself into our super awesome rolling swim start.
For those who oppose these swim starts, I just can't figure out why. You get awesome drafting benefits because if seeded correctly you are swimming with people who are about the same speed. I loved it!
The swim ended up being only 1600m due to the dirty beaver weed issue. My time was 26' I was happy with that. 
I got into tradition feeling fantastic. Good swim, fairly quick transition and then bam. I went down right before the mount line. Not sure what I did but I went down hard and my bike joined me. It took a big bite out of my leg. I was mortified. I picked up my bike and just hoped on and was on my way. The first 30km I was feeling pretty good. I averaged a 31km/h pace and then I could feel a burning sensation in my right lower leg. I tried to brush it aside as nothing and gave another push to get past some more athletes. Again, more burning and I can feel weakness setting in.
I got to the 40km mark and knew something was not right. My pace was slowing and I was in pain. I took a look down around my ankle and there was blood. I tried to push it off as nothing more than a scrape and tried to push again. I had nothing. I was now relying solely on my left leg to do all of the work. I came to terms that I was not going to be able to run if it hurt this much on the bike. I knew my bestie wasn't far at that point on the course. I just had to make it to about the 50km mark, then I could decide what to do. I'm not going to lie, I cried, actually I sobbed of quite a while. I pulled myself together for when I got to their spot but as soon as I saw Colette I bawled some more. My leg hurt like you wouldn't believe but I was about to get my first DNF. 
They pulled me off of my bike, got all of my gear off, wrapped me in some blankets and tended to the wound. They called my husband to come and get me. Seriously, they were awesome. There was a reason I rode 50km to them.
My husband came and got me, took me back to race site where I had to go to medical. 
I think they were a little bored...
After I was seen by a doctor on site he advised me to go to hospital. I need to get the wound cleaned up because of all the dirt and bike grease in there. They were concerned of a fracture too even though I was pretty sure it was all soft tissue damage.

So off to the hospital I go!
After 3 hours in the ER I got x-rays to rule out fracture, a tetanus shot to help with all the grossness that entered my leg and a super hot nurse who also cycles. He must of thought I was badd ass because he spent a lot of time in the room with me. 

He cleaned things up a bit for me before his shift ended at 3.
So what's the verdict? Well I guess the punctures were substantial enough to warrant sutures however because of all the grossness they needed to leave the wounds open in case infection sets in. So now I am oozing all over the place. We are now over 36 hours later and I am still bleeding. So I have been instructed to keep leg up and keep still. They obviously don't know me very well. 

This is blood starting to soak through after trying to walk on it. So now I hobble around with crutches. The good news is as soon as the wounds clot and no longer bleed when I move I can get right back to training. 
I'm starting to think a shark bite story would have been a much better story here.
Anyways, moral of the story is I don't think I should be doing Victoria 70.3 anymore.
My chin is up and my head held high. Calgary 70.3 is 41 days away and I am so excited for this one!

Monday, April 11, 2016

That's a PR (April Fool's Run Race Report)

As usual I'm a little late getting up my race report but alas this one is a gooder!!
Last weekend was my first trip to the Sunshine Coast. I've heard spectacular things about Gibsons and Sechelt but from the 7 years we've lived on the Island we never got the chance to check out the beautiful Sunshine Coast.
When choosing my races for this year I had to reach out to my sister to help me find a race that happened near the beginning or up to the middle of April. There wasn't anything on the Island that appealed to me timing wise. For some reason she can find you a race anywhere in the world. So when we came across the BMO April Fool's Run it peaked my interest.

Going in to this run I thought it would be an easy one. It boasts a net downhill course. Much to my dismay though... it was not all downhill. 

We took a ferry from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay on Friday evening. The ferries were super busy but the weather was looking awesome.

We got to Horseshoe Bay and then got on the Langdale Ferry. Unfortunately due to heavy traffic we had to wait for the next (last) ferry. Needless to say it turned in to a bit of a late night.

Our hotel was a bit run down and old looking but it was clean and the manager was very nice. There were other runners staying there too. It was only 2 blocks from the start one so super convenient. 
We got a bit of a sleep in Saturday morning and wandered around the town of Gibsons to find some coffee and breakfast. 
We then hoped in the car and decided to drive the half marathon route so I could get a look at this course. I had my bottle Nuun keeping me hydrated in the car.
It became quite clear early on this was not going to be as easy as I thought. There were many rolling hills and 3 pretty big climbs. This is when I accept that this might not be a PR for me after all.

Once we passed the nice town of Sechelt (also the finish area) we got the chance to explore the area.

We came across many beautiful beaches for the kids to play.
The weather continued to impress us so we just kept stopping at different beaches to keep exploring.

After some great fun we headed back towards Gibsons so I could go pickup my race package. 
We came across some pretty spectacular views and chatted with some locals.

Downtown Gibsons has charm and character. All of the light posts have cute little bird house attached to them and gorgeous bright colours. There is some beautiful green space that overlooks the harbour.

Lots of little ponds and gardens.

The best part is the Beachcombers was filmed here. This is going to date me a bit but Beachcombers is a Canadian classic. I believe the fist episode was in 1972 and ran for 19 seasons. Of course the town is very proud of its fame.

So we of course did a few photo ops!!

So after a wonderful day of exploring we had some dinner at the local past place and headed back to the hotel for a little rest.

I woke up Sunday morning after having a pretty awesome sleep. That almost never happens day before races. I felt calm and ready to run. 
I put on my brand new Soas team tank and sports bra. Loving the new gear!!!

This was a pretty small scale race. Only 400 people. 
The race start time was set for 9:17  (I love late starts).

As I was walking to the start line I ran into some of my fellow Nuun athletes. We said our hello's and headed to the start.

After the gun went off I held back a bit. I wanted to ease into things before getting down to business. Right from the beginning you head up a hill before turning left and then left again and then you start flying downhill (for now).

The first 10km was fun. I was more then on track for getting a PR today.

Then things got ugly. The second half of the race we had some pretty good sized climbs ahead of us. Shortly after the halfway mark some guy came out of nowhere and started chatting me up. I'm pretty sure he was on a relay team because he seemed pretty spry to be chatting so freely as I was sucking wind big time. To add insult it was just as we are starting to climb our first of 3 hill climbs.

No what goes up must come down, but racing downhills is tough on the quads. I could have played things safe and not pushed so hard on the downhills but I knew we had that last big climb at 16km that was an entire km long. That is where I would lose time. So when I had a nice solid downhill I kept things rolling. 
I kept checking my splits at each km. I knew I had room not not a lot of room. When I finally hit that 16km mark and started the climb out of Roberts Creek I noticed everyone was walking. I had to make a decision. Keep pushing on the climb and run just as fast as the walkers or just bite the bullet and walk the nasty hill and just giver on the 4 km downhill to the finish. I picked plan B just walk the tough part and make up time on the downhill.

After that big climb I just let it all go. I cruised down those last 4 km. The one thing that really stood out for me was at the 18km mark there was a volunteer that told me I was looking so strong. The thing is I felt really strong. I kept my feet under my hips as I rolled down those hills. I was hurting but still feeling in control. I could hear the finish line approaching. 

My family was there waiting for me. I looked up at the clock and it was 1:47:52
I couldn't believe it. Even with a bit of walking up that monster hill I was able to finally get a sub 1:50:00
I will remind you all I was never a runner. Going in to triathlon running was always my weakest. Over the last 5 years I have worked my butt off to get under the 1:50:00
I must say reaching this goal has got to be one of my happiest moments.

I can honestly say I had a great race. It was not easy, in fact I think this was the toughest half marathons I have done. All those hills gave me a run for my money. I feel very accomplished. After this great race effort and last weeks sprint tri I'm feeling like this season is shaping up well. 2016 will be a good one I'm sure. I still have a long road ahead of me until Penticton at the end of August but I'm off to a pretty good start.

Until next time, enjoy the views!!!