Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 in Review

Last year, I did a year in review post.  Since I've been mostly MIA, I'll use this opportunity to look back on my year, as well as update you all on what's been up in the Happy Triathlete world lately!

January:  I spent a lot of time on the trainer, at the spin studio, and on the indoor track.

February: We embraced winter (and the coldest month ever) and went out skate skiing a few times. The plan for 2016 is to become a real x-country skier!

March: I went to Clermont, Florida for a week long training camp! I got to soak up the sunshine (aka thaw out) and completed my first 100+ kilometer bike ride.

April: Training and life continued as I turned 29.

May: The Ottawa Race Weekend brought a huge 10k PR!  It was also my first chance to rep Team Coeur!  I also spent a few weekends training up at Mont Tremblant.

June: I was diagnosed with a stress fracture, my first official sports injury of my career.  It was a challenging month mentally and physically.  However, June also included the first race of the season, and even though I couldn't finish the race, I had an amazing time in Mont Tremblant with my tri family!

July: I got to visit Mom and Dad in Saskatchewan at the lake.  And I had a lot of fun swim-biking at Magog for Nationals (unfortunately I didn't get to finish the race.)

August: I got to finish a race!! Finally! And I finished as the 2nd place overall female.  It was definitely the most fun that I have ever had in a race.

September:  Worlds in Chicago was the highlight of my season.  It was an incredible experience to represent Canada in an international event.  My race went well and I had a great time with my mom, grandma, and friends!

October:  I chilled out a lot and took pretty much the entire month off of training.  I got to visit Chicago again for a dear friend's surprise 30th birthday party.

November: Magali Tisseyre and Eric Lagerstrom came to hang out with us at the OTC Coaching Clinic!  And I mostly continued my off season.

December: I switched coaches and embarked on MAF training.  It has been challenging, but exciting to see some changes starting to happen. My roommates and I did the Santa Shuffle 5k (non-timed race).  I went on a few runs and to my first Crossfit class in 8 years with my new beau.  And I got to spend a lovely, fun-filled week in Seattle for Christmas with my whole family! During the week, I got to run with my puppy nephew Ralph.

My 2015 was a year of lessons - particularly in patience - and I feel like I grew a lot as a person and athlete.  There are a lot of amazing things on the horizon for 2016 though, so I'm happy to be turning the page to a new year and new adventures. Wishing you a wonderful last few days of 2015 and a happy, exciting year, full of new challenges and opportunities in 2016!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Exciting Changes

I thought I'd post a little update on some exciting things happening in the land of the Happy Triathlete.  It's mostly a lot of changes, sort of all at once, and it's been fun, but at times challenging.

New Coach

My old coach, Mike Woods, was signed to Garmin Cannondale for 2016, which is super exciting for him, but means that his team obligations have increased and his time available to coach has decreased.  Luckily for me, I was able to quickly transition to my new coach, Jon Slaney.  Both of my roommates were already Jon's athletes, and I swam with Jon a bit last year.  He is really knowledgeable and has a strong background in nutrition and strength as well, so he provides a pretty comprehensive program.  However, his methods are pretty different from anything I have ever done before, so it's a bit of an adjustment for me both mentally and physically. 


In January, I will also be doing a bit of coaching with the Ottawa Triathlon Club.  I'm excited for this opportunity, particularly since I get to continue to hang out with my HPS crew and I get to co-coach with Coach Dave!  We have an awesome group of athletes for our Wednesday night session and I predict a lot of fun and friendship... and of course, fast times for 2016!

Team Coeur 2016

Coeur Sports picked me to be a member of Team Coeur again for 2016!! I can't say enough amazing things about this company, its products, its mission, its people, etc.  And the women on Team Coeur are phenomenal and so inspiring.

New Challenges

For 2016, I decided that I would give a 70.3 a "tri," so when I visited the site for Timberman and saw that the price increase was happening the next day, I bit the bullet and signed up for the race!  I'll still race plenty of sprints and Olympic distance races next season, but it will all be building toward Timberman in August!

New Whip

One of the benefits of being on Team Coeur - our sponsor Argon18. I decided it was time to get myself a TT/Tri bike and just ordered the new E-117 Tri+ bike from Argon!  It is BEAUTIFUL and I can't wait for it to arrive!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

OTC Coaching Clinic

For the second year in a row, I attended the Ottawa Triathlon Club's coaching clinic.  And for the second year in a row, it blew my socks off with how awesome it was. This year our special guest was Canadian rockstar triathlete, Magali Tisseyre.  Magali has won 21 half iron distance events (most recently at Los Cabos 70.3) and placed 4th at this years 70.3 World Championship.  Magali is so down to earth, fun, charming, and it is easy to tell how much she loves triathlon.  She has also gone through lots of ups and downs, and this has certainly given her good perspective on the importance of balance and finding happiness through the sport.  We were extra lucky because she brought along her boyfriend, Eric Lagerstrom, a speedy ITU triathlete and the 2015 winner of Escape from Alcatraz.  (Eric makes super cool videos of his races and has a web series called Viking Life.) Both Magali and Eric shared tons of useful insights on their experiences in the sport.

The weekend started out a the pool with some warm-up exercises, drills, and sighting practice.  Then a big group of us went out for breakfast before reconvening at OTC headquarters to continue to discuss swimming. Kim and I gave a presentation on "life in the fast lane." We described some of the differences between our former lives as competitive swimmers and the swimming lives of triathletes.  We talked about some tips for improving technique and improving the race day experience. I can do a bit of a recap in a later blog post, but here is another post on swim tips.

Magali gave us a great presentation on overcoming adversity.  She focused on the idea of finding balance and enjoying the process, rather than focusing so much on the end results. The results will come if you are doing your best at every moment, not only of the race, but in training as well.  If you are doing your best, you will have the confidence that you need to succeed. She also talked about having a specific plan with specific tasks to complete on race day.  If you can execute those tasks, then you do not have to worry about what will happen in the end.  Having balance, by making sure you're having fun and not always trying to go hard all the time, brings perspective that helps you to overcome obstacles.  It was great to hear her perspectives on this topic, especially after being injured all summer.

After lunch, we talked about different coaching styles and how athletes respond.  I'm very excited that I will be co-coaching the High Performance Squad with Coach Dave this upcoming season. We have an amazing group of athletes and I'm excited to be working with Dave to inspire and motivate them on Wednesday nights.

For the final session of the day, we went outside to practice running drills and learn a dynamic run warmup.  It was freezing, but a lot of fun! Saturday evening, Magali gave an interview at the OTC Anniversary Party. It had been a long day, and I'm still recovering from some sort of virus, so I skipped the party and went home to rest.

On day two, we started out with a discussion of using heart rate in our training, then hopped on the spin bikes for a threshold test.  Since I wasn't feeling great, I decided to forgo the test (plus I have a power test on Wednesday morning!).  The group totally crushed the test though!

After the test, Geordie gave a presentation on creating a training plan.  He went over different theories of periodization and emphasized that a one-sized fits all approach doesn't necessarily translate to the best gains for athletes.  After lunch, Dave and Steve gave a very comprehensive, informative talk on the 70.3 distance.  Magali provided lots of insight on her vast experience and successes as a half iron distance specialist.  And Eric gave some insight into the similarities and differences in the training he does for the Olympic distance.  The talk had me very excited about the possibility of doing a half next season!

We finished the day learning some strength and mobility moves from Magali and Eric! Then took some group photos before we said our goodbyes.  It was a fantastic weekend, full of learning and friendship.  I left inspired and excited for the 2016 season!

Photo credits to Erik and Derek!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Reflections on the 2015 Season

I am almost two months removed from my race at Chicago and I'm slowly, but surely returning to activity after thoroughly enjoying my off season. Just recently I hopped back on my bike a few times and I experienced the pure joy that biking brings me now (crazy, because I used to kind of hate my bike!).  

I've touched on some of the lessons learned from my injury here and here, but I'll expand a bit on some of the other things I've learned over the season as well.

Racing isn't everything

The journey was the most important part of my summer.  The races are the icing on the cake, and well, this summer, I didn't really have a cake to ice.  Being injured forced me to really think about why I do triathlon, and while I do love to race, I realized that there are about a hundred reasons beyond racing that I swim, bike, and run.  The injury forced me to think day in and day out about my WHY.  Some days, that why was a dim and distant speck on the horizon, a flickering light that was close to burning out.  Other days, I dug deep and found within me a passion for challenging myself, going outside my comfort zone, and continuing to improve my weaknesses. Triathlon is a lifestyle choice, it's about trying new things, enjoying nature, building friendships over a shared love for the outdoors and sport, and nurturing my soul.

Fun with friends IS everything

I had so much fun watching my friends improve this summer. I didn't quite get to train with them as much as I have in the past, but we had a ton of fun going to races together.  The friends that I have made through triathlon continue to inspire me and motivate me every single day.

Pay attention to the little things

The details matter a lot in triathlon, from training to race day.  Whether it's fitting in my muscle activation drills before heading out the door for a run or placing my bib in my helmet so I don't forget it during transition, I gained a newfound appreciation for doing the little things right. It can take only a few seconds to do some things, but a lot longer to fix the mistake of skipping them.

Be patient

Patience has never been my strong point, but I had to really fine tune my skills in waiting and even learning to enjoy slowing down this summer.  Recovering from injury is not a process to be rushed.  Being kind and gentle to myself was really important throughout the journey.  Patience has helped not only in recovering, but in remembering that results will come with time and that we can't really expect to see the fruits of our labour overnight.

It was a good summer, full of lessons and full of fun.  Now that I'm quite removed from the season, I think I have a better perspective on what I experienced and I'm finally ready to get back to training and looking forward to the next season!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Training and Life Update: Week of 10/26

Oh, hello there. It's been a while, eh?

Well, I've been enjoying my off-season and extending it well beyond what I had originally planned.  But, last week, I got some training done!  I was also sick most of the week, but then I got my butt in gear and enjoyed some unseasonably warm weather this weekend. It was gorgeous and I had the company of some of my favourite people, so I thought I would share a bit and say hello to all of you!

A note on off-season - I've found it hard to motivate myself and I think that was a sign that I needed a break.  There is still no plan at all for next season, so that has also contributed to the lack of motivation, I'm sure.  But, I am working on getting back into it and finding my desire to train again.

Okay, last week looked like this...

Monday:  I hit the spin bikes at the newly opened Iron North Studio.  The folks there are super nice and welcoming.  It was a shock to the system and a reminder that I've let myself get very far out of shape, but it was still a fun class.

Tuesday - Thursday:  I picked up some sort of bug while traveling and letting my body get run down, so I rested a lot mid-week.  I did play tennis on Tuesday night. My body certainly isn't used to moving in a non-linear fashion! It was a lot of fun though and a gorgeous night.

Friday: It was a gorgeous morning, so I forced myself out the door for a very short, slow run. 

Saturday:  Gilly and I got out for a trail run in Gatineau Park.  It is incredible how nice the weather has been, and Saturday morning was a dream.  After I split off from Gilly, who had a longer run planned, I started to feel overly confident and was brought back to earth, quite literally, when I tripped on a branch and found myself sliding on my hands and knees across the forest floor. My knees were pretty bloody, but luckily I didn't rip my tights!  To help the healing process, I stopped at a café in Old Chelsea before heading home.

Sunday:  Jenn, Dave, and I hit the park again for an easy loop.  It was pretty chilly and a bit wet (we had about 2 minutes of torrential downpour near the start), but the fall light and the forest covered with leaves was just magical. I feel very fortunate to live in such a beautiful place and to have great friends to enjoy it with!

Friday, October 9, 2015

30 Before 30

Over the past week or so, I've been working on a list of options for my 2016 race season.  Some of those options revolve around the fact that I turn 30 in April.  When I had originally put in for the London Marathon, it was to be my 30th birthday gift to myself - a perfect combination of a new goal (my first marathon), an epic race (the London Marathon is a big deal after all), and a bit of travel (I would have stayed in Europe for a few weeks post-race to backpack).  I'm back to the drawing board and it is somewhat overwhelming to consider all of the options - races, trips, and the various combinations therein.  So I decided to start with a little bit of a list - a 30 before 30 list - to get myself grooving toward that milestone birthday.

The list is a combination of ways to get myself travelling, trying new things, and being a better person.  There are things on the list that I've always wanted to do and things on the list that I really ought to be doing already.  Some of the things are easy, and some will be a stretch out of my comfort zone.

Over the course of the next 6 months, I'll check in with how things are going, particularly the triathlon related things.

Go Outside My Comfort Zone:

1) Say "yes" more often - Saying yes to me means being open to new experiences and adventures.

2) Compete in a snowshoe running race - Last year I got running snowshoes, but I wasn't comfortable entering a race.  Why not try it this winter?

3) Paint a picture - I'd like to tap into my creative side more (or see if I even have one).

4) Do a 30-day yoga challenge - One of my off-season goals is to reconnect with my mat, and I've always thought it would be cool to try one of the yoga-every-day challenges.

5) Play on an intramural team - My friends and I have discussed maybe innertube water polo.

6) Swim sub-1:10 for a 100m freestyle - Last year I got really close, so with some work, I think I can get even faster.

7) Break 20 minutes in a 5k - Again, something I got pretty close to - 20:20 (on a track) and 20:39 (in a road race), so I'll try for this again.

Learn Something New:

8) Learn to skate ski - I started learning last year and it was so much fun. The goal is to be good enough to ski up to the huts to drink wine with my friends.

9) Learn how to knit or crochet - When I was little, I knew how to knit, so this is really "re-learning."

10) Read 6 books (1 per month) - There are stacks of un-read books in my room, so it is time to tackle them.

11) Take an online course - A friend recently introduced me to Coursera.  I've been out of school for many years, but it might be fun to learn something new.

12) Learn some Italian or Spanish for my birthday trip - The likely candidates for my epic birthday trip are Italy, Spain or South America (Argentina and Chile).

13) Make a soufflé - My experimentation in the kitchen has been put on the backburner due to the time commitment of triathlon.  Soufflé is one of my favorite desserts and a classic culinary challenge. (Sometimes the universe also sends you signs, like seeing this recipe
 in my FB feed minutes after writing it in my notebook).

14) Build / make / refinish a piece of furniture (looking for a trunk for my room or a dining room table!)

15) Learn how to drive stick - mostly so I can move my roommates' cars if they need me to!


16) Take a spontaneous road trip - I love road trips. There are so many great places within a reasonable driving distance, so why not go!

17) Visit somewhere new - This could be combined with the roadtrip or not.

18) Go camping - I really enjoy camping and there are tons of beautiful places to camp nearby (I just need to do it soon, before it is too cold!).

19) Ski at Tremblant - I've been to Tremblant a number of times now, but never in the winter. I'm also hoping to get over my fear of heights and going fast down a mountain with this one.

20) Be at tourist in Ottawa - There are 30 museums in Ottawa, and I've only been to two. There are countless amazing cultural events, delicious restaurants, and fun activities to do, so it's time to enjoy my own city a little bit more.

21) Plan an epic solo trip - It is unlikely that I will be able to go on the trip before my 30th, but I want to make sure this trip happens, so the planning needs to take place now.

Be a Good Human:

22) Find a cause to lend my time to - It's been a while since I've done more than donate money to the causes I believe in, so I'm going to work to change that.

23) Volunteer at a soup kitchen - Again, the last time I volunteered at a soup kitchen was in high school.

24) Manage my finances and save some money - aka be a grown-up!

25) Totally unplug for an entire weekend - Technology is great, but so is being present and actually connecting with the people around you.

26) Help rescue a puppy - Okay, this one may not be realistic, but Jenn wants a dog, and I'm happy to help!

27) Send letters and postcards to my friends and family - I like mail and I love my friends and family!

28) Call my sister and grandma once a week - I love these two and don't chat with them often enough.

29) Fall in love with myself - Pretty simple!

30) Practice gratitude - The more gratitude we express, the more things we find to be grateful for in our lives!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Rest and the Off Season

It's been two weeks since Worlds.  I have gone on two runs and I have worked out approximately two other times in those two weeks.  I have set my alarm to go to swimming twice, only to turn the alarm off after laying awake for hours unable to fall asleep.  I guess I'm just not ready to get back into training.  It is strange how that happened without me even realizing it.

Before I left for Worlds, I knew I was ready for a break.  Then, I came home to Ottawa and I felt so unsatisfied that I felt like I was ready to just keep training.  But, subconsciously I obviously was still ready for rest.  So that is what I have been doing... resting, sleeping in, and not working out. 

All the top athletes take a break.  They spend weeks, sometimes many weeks, doing no swim, bike, running at all. It is good for both mental and physical health to take a break, to reconnect with friends and family, and to reconnect with activities outside of triathlon. 

That said, this break won't last for long.  I think I'm nearing the point where I'm ready to get back out there.  And, I'm ready to make some plans, at least for the fall (still totally unsure about next season!).

Here is the off season plan:

1) Run - It took me so long to get back to feeling good while running that I'm afraid to take a real break from running.  These two weeks have been good, but I don't want to lose the momentum I worked hard to gain back after my stress fracture.  Specifically, I've just signed up for my first cross country race.  And Gilly has been hitting the trails lately, so I'm going to try to start joining her.

2) Bike - Before it gets too cold and snowy, I'm taking the bike out as much as possible.  The fall colours are a great incentive to get out to the park.

3) Swim - I am signed up for another year at ROCS and I will get back in the pool soon. I ended up having some great swims, and again this is an area where I don't want to lose momentum.

4) Strength - As part of my stress fracture recovery, I had a corrective strength program designed for me by Jon. I've been working on that, but because I hadn't been  super diligent, I'll take another week or two before moving into the weight lifting portion of the program, which will be about 8 weeks long.

4) Play - I would like to keep this fall light and fun, with lots of group activities and training with friends. There could be some yoga, barre, and maybe even organized sports thrown in for good measure. We'll see!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Short vs. Long Course

As a short course triathlete, I often find myself explaining to non-triathletes that I don't do "full triathlons."  I find myself saying things like, "I just do short ones," or "maybe one day," or justifying why I ONLY do sprints and the odd Olympic distance race. It is not that they aren't impressed. It's just that somehow the Average Joe thinks that if you do triathlons, you are an Ironman (way to go on the marketing there). 

When I was competing at Worlds, for some reason, I had this feeling that somehow my accomplishment of going to Worlds in a sprint triathlon was less of an accomplishment than someone who competes in a half or full iron distance event.  I tried to shake it off, because really, I work hard.  I put in lots of hours and I make sacrifices in my personal life similar to those made by people who do longer events. Just because my event only takes a little over an hour doesn't mean I should feel bad about it. Obviously it takes guts and perseverance to complete longer events, and I have tons of respect and admiration for those who take on that type of challenge. But for me, at this point, it has not made sense to try for anything longer than an Olympic.

As I contemplate my next move, I wanted to talk about why I love short course triathlon and why I think it is perfectly reasonable to not be an "Ironman" at this point in my triathlon career. 

Shorter races mean less training time. 

I can't imagine what my life would be like if I had to add an additional 4-8 hours of training per week.  I also can't comprehend how people with families do it. Again, I'm totally impressed by those long course athletes.  At this stage, I like having a semblance of a life outside of work and training. (I also have found it really difficult to convince anyone to date me, even with the lighter training schedule I have... I'd probably be dooming myself to cat lady-hood if I decided to do a longer race right now.)

Shorter races mean I can RACE.

I like racing. I like trying to go fast.  Sure, it's possible to be really fast at longer distances. I'm just not ready to give up on going really fast over short distances.

Shorter races mean I can do local races.

We do have several nearby options for long course races, but that can't beat the plethora of local races at the sprint and Olympic distance.  Local races mean familiar faces, sleeping in my own bed, and easy travel time.

Sometimes it feels like there is an expectation that you'll go longer and longer distances in triathlon.  It is okay to "just" do sprints though (or even super sprints if that's your jam).  As a relatively new triathlete, I feel like I still have a lot to learn and a lot to improve upon in the shorter distances (like staying injury free). While there is a chance that I may attempt a half iron distance race next year, I will most likely be sticking to the sprint and Olympic distance.

What is your distance of choice? Why? Are you jumping up to a new distance next season?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Race Report: Age Group World Championships

It is crazy to think that I'm writing my race report for Worlds. This race was one that I set as a goal for myself way back in September 2013, right after my first triathlon.  When I realized that I could potentially qualify, with enough hard work and dedication, I set it as a goal.  Then I qualified to represent Canada last summer, and I worked hard the past year training.  And now, the race has come and gone.  The whole process was full of ups, downs, and everything in between.  I spent hundreds of hours swimming, biking, and running. I battled my first injury.  I met lots of awesome people.  And my love for triathlon grew and grew.  Chicago was the focus the whole time.  So, how'd it go?  Great. It was awesome. I'm so happy and grateful to have had the experience.  Let me tell you more...


We arrived in Chicago on Monday to allow for plenty of rest, relaxation and adaptation before the race on Thursday.  I got to swim in Lake Michigan and bike and run along the beautiful Lake Front Trail.  Mom, grandma, and I ate some delicious food (Eataly, Owen + Alchemy, Quartino's, and Whole Foods were our picks). On Wednesday night, we opened up the week with the Parade of Nations with nearly 7,000 fellow athletes representing 65 nations.  And before I knew it, my race day had come.  Of course I engaged in all of my usual pre-race rituals, and we racked our bikes on Wednesday afternoon, ready to race on Thursday.

On Thursday morning, I had overnight oats and around 7:50 was off to set up my T-Zone (which turned out to be smack in the middle of a sand pit).  Jenn came with me to be my super Sherpa, and helped to keep me calm as the time ticked away to my 10:40 race start.  As the start neared, I wriggled into my new ROKA Maverick Elite wetsuit (love it!) and went to join the other purple capped ladies of the 25-29 age group in the corral. Finally, it was time and we jumped into the icy cold (63.5F) Lake Michigan!


The swim was mentally and physically exhausting.  I started out in a decent position and sprinted as usual, but I could not shake the girls around me.  It was a strong indicator of the level of talent in my age group.  Over the course of the 750m, I was stuck between two groups of two girls.  They kept pinning me between them, and I could not find clear water.  I could see the two lead swimmers up ahead and desperately wanted to bridge up to them, but couldn't.  It was frustrating and I found my mental energy was wasted on worrying about the girls next to me. Finally, with about maybe 300m to go, I decided to only worry about myself and I found that I started catching more water and feeling better.  It was wonderful to see the swim exit!

T1:  Drats! This was one of my worst transitions ever.  We had a 380m run from the swim to the T-Zone and I managed to pass three or four girls on the way.  But I struggled getting my new wetsuit off and then in my excitement to grab my bike, I left not only my watch (I wear it on my wrist for bike and run, but not the swim), but also my race bib.  I didn't realize I had forgotten my bib until I was nearly to the exit, so had to run back upstream against girls with their bikes flying at me.  All the girls I had passed, plus some, passed me back on the way out to the bike.


The bike was pretty fun, though really windy in one direction. It was also getting pretty crowded on the course by the time my AG got out there (and it was 3 loops), so it was difficult to avoid drafting.  A few times I really wished that I had my watch, but overall, I just tried to keep up a solid effort.  I'm happy to be realizing the gains of my extra work on the bike during my injury.  There is still a lot of learning and improving to do, but I've certainly come a long way!

T2:  After my disastrous T1, I just said, "screw it!" and tried to get out on the run as fast as possible.  That meant shoving my sand crusted feet into my running shoes and again just leaving my watch sitting in the T-Zone.  I figured it was only a 5k, so I could handle the sand (my feet were not pleased with that decision).


The run was HOT and I definitely should have been faster.  But it was also awesome to have so many friends, family and fellow Canadians cheering me on while I was running.  By that point, I was really having a great time, despite feeling like things hadn't quite gone how I'd hoped.  I smiled and cheesed for the cameras.  As it was time to round Buckingham Fountain the second time toward the finish, I felt a surge of pride and accomplishment.



Chicago was an amazing experience.  It was pretty magical to be surrounded by so many like-minded people from all around the world, and to have the opportunity to represent Canada in international competition. Everyone was friendly and excited to be there.  Strangers stopped us on the street to wish us good luck or struck up conversations with us after noticing our team apparel.  The venue in Chicago is stunning, and we really lucked out with the weather.  Racing against the backdrop of the iconic Chicago skyline is such a unique experience.

Do I wish things had gone differently on the day? Yes, I do. I had set some lofty goals, but I had also tempered my expectations due to my injury.  As my coach reminded me, I had already achieved the biggest goal of the summer by getting back to running.  BUT... I still wanted more.  Or maybe I just feel like I don't want that race to be it. I don't know.  I'm feeling a bit unsatisfied with how it all ended. This could also be related to the fact that I don't have a single plan on the horizon, which is an unsettling feeling and one that I'll write more about in a day or two.

Leaving aside those feelings though, I definitely accomplished my goal of having fun and I didn't let the little things get to me in my race. Despite the challenges, I still smiled and still soaked up how amazing it was to be out on that course. It was a privilege to participate and that is not lost on me.  Representing my country and coming in the top 10% of women is awesome.  Having my mom and grandma, plus friends (new and old) to cheer me on was so special.  Receiving well wishes from so many of you made my heart burst with joy.  I am so lucky. I am so grateful for the experience and for all the support I have received over the past year.

A huge thanks to my family, friends and training buddies, Coach Mike, Coeur Sports and our amazing sponsors, Triathlon Canada, and all of you! 

Final Results:

11th AG / 78th Woman
Swim: 11:09
T1: 4:21
Bike: 32:30
T2: 2:40
Run: 22:59
Total: 1:13:37

Friday, September 11, 2015

Chicago... It's my kind of town!

On Sunday, mom and I will be hitting the road to Chicago. I couldn't be more thrilled to have the chance to race next week in one of my very favourite cities.  Chicago holds a special place in my heart because I had the opportunity to live there for two summers in university.  The second summer my bedroom window overlooked Grant Park, Buckingham Fountain, and the vast expanse of Lake Michigan.  On a warm summer night, I could look out and watch the fireworks over Navy Pier.  In early August, I could hear the headliners at Lollapalooza as clearly as if I was standing in the front row.  Chicago has a bit of magic to it. It has so many cool little neighbourhoods, full of culture, amazing food, and interesting people. I'm happy that I get to soak it all up next week and share the experience with my teammates and family.

It's been a long road, but I am so glad that I set this goal for myself.  As soon as I heard that Chicago was the host city for 2015 Worlds, I set myself on a mission to qualify for Team Canada, because I wanted to race there.  I'm thankful for the people that helped me to make that dream a reality.  It's so important to set goals, big and small, and I think it's also important to reflect on the journey at the end.  Well, we are so close to the end of this little journey.  I'm actually not sure what the next goal will be (it's a scary, but exciting feeling), but I have some business to finish next Thursday first!

I'll plan to update on the Facebook page, as well as my Instagram page while I'm in Chicago! There will also be a live finish cam on www.triathlon.org/live on Thursday. I'm expecting to finish sometime between 12:48 and 12:58 p.m. EST (depending on how things go.).

Before I sign off on this one, because I think it's okay to put your goals out there and own them...

My goal is to finish in the top 3 of my AG next Thursday. That would get me to Worlds in Cozumel next year (since I couldn't finish my race at the qualifier).

My #1 goal though is to have FUN and to SMILE and to soak the experience up as much as possible.

The specific goals (these may or may not be enough to reach my big goal though)

- A swim like Cornwall - 10:30
- A bike faster than last year in Chicago -  under 34:00
- A run where I tap into all the built up frustrations from my injury and leave it all on the course - 21:00
- Cool, calm and fast transitions
- RACE the whole thing

Chicago, here I come!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Training and Life Recap: Week of August 31

Down to the wire.  It's now only 8 days until I line up to start my race at Worlds.  At this point, I'm in the best place mentally that I've been all season.  I stopped worrying about things and just decided to keep moving forward in order to get myself to the start line healthy and happy.  That means I stopped worrying about trying to shed a few pounds (I gained 8 during my stress fracture) and started focusing on fueling my best to get me to Worlds.  That means I missed a workout because sleep seemed like a better idea. That means I tried  my hardest in the workouts that I did. That means I have been reflecting on how much I love triathlon.

Monday: A rest day!

Tuesday: I was in a rush and got lost on my way to do my brick, so I ended up cutting it a bit short. It was a warm night, and I got to enjoy a beautiful sunset!

Wednesday: I got to swim with Colin and Jenn in the morning.  ROCS practice was on hiatus between seasons, so it was up to me to do a workout on my own. After a solo warmup, I joined Jenn and Colin for their 100's.  In the evening, I had a very sweaty and hard tempo run.  It was 3x10 minutes with the first 10 at marathon pace, next 10 at tempo pace, and the final 10 building from tempo to 10k pace (5 minutes rest between efforts).  It was mentally and physically challenging.

Thursday: I skipped my morning ride, because as I mentioned above, sleep seemed more beneficial at the time.  In the evening, I was teaching barre classes, so it ended up being an extra rest day for me.

Friday: A late night, solo swim that started out delightfully (I was the only person in the pool).  It didn't end as well, but at least I went (it was 8 pm on a Friday night).

Saturday: Track brought another test for my leg.  I had 3x1k at 3k pace to complete and just like Wednesday's tempo workout, it was a challenge.  It went relatively well, though it certainly wasn't comfortable! I was thankful that Adrian decided to hop into my workout and just pace me through it.

Sunday: Jenn and I hit the River Pathway for an easy Sunday long ride.  We ended up at about 2:20. I took it mostly easy, though Jenn was able to convince me to put in about 15k of a steady effort, plus some big gear intervals.  The legs felt great and it was a beautiful morning to be out riding.