You are what you eat

Howdy! I wanted to check in and talk about a topic that is usually pretty touchy with most people: nutrition and weight loss.

Before I dive into what’s been going on with my own nutrition situation, I want to point out that I have no expertise in nutrition; I am simply writing about my own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Nothing I write should be interpreted as advice and if you need guidance with nutrition, you should seek help from a qualified professional. I also do not believe that there is a single approach to nutrition that works for everyone. I respect each person’s right to decide what they put in their bodies and I expect the same in return.

Several times, I’ve written about how I’m unhappy with my gradual weight gain over the last 1-2 years and how I know that my less-than-stellar nutrition is playing a huge role in my athletic performance. I have been needing help getting back on track, and have been quite vocal about it.

For a few months leading up to the holidays, I was mentally ready to start committing to better nutrition, yet something had not fully clicked. I was motivated to eat well and feel better, yet still found myself having dessert or reaching for an extra glass of wine more often than was good for me. The bridge from thought to action was a slow build.

For better or for worse, I have been here before. I’ve already lost a ton of weight in a healthy way, so I know I can do it. Losing weight a second time is considerably harder than the first time, and infinitely more frustrating. I know what I have to do, yet I just can’t seem to get it together in executing it. Having already been through it, losing weight should be seemingly easy, which makes it even more frustrating when it turns out to be much harder. Does that make any sense?

I’m also harbouring some counterproductive, yet perfectly normal, feelings of anger toward myself for letting my weight gain progress as far as it has. I’m trying to feel those feelings and move on, recognizing that they will not help me achieve my goal of feeling better. Thankfully, I am making some progress with this.

To help things along and to keep me accountable, I’m working with a nutritionist for the next few months. I’ve already met with her a couple of times. I will admit that the holidays were pretty relaxed on the eating and drinking front, and it’s been a gradual transition to healthier eating.

Seeking professional help for my nutrition goals is scary. I’m working really hard not to feel ashamed and embarrassed by it. It’s okay to ask for help when you’re struggling and I know this and, in fact, tell my friends this all the time. I just need to practice what I preach. Why are we always so hesitant to take our own advice?

When I was losing weight the first time around, I kept a food diary religiously. As liberating as it was to not have to do that once I hit a goal-ish weight (read: when I felt great), I recognize that I may always need to track my food in some form as a method of accountability, and that is a-okay.  


I bought a new journal. Isn’t it pretty? Right now, we have decided that my food journal is best kept in a notebook, as opposed to an online platform, like My Fitness Pal. Online trackers are heavily focused on calorie counts, and might instill some unhealthy habits in me from the start (Keeping in mind that nutrition and its tracking are completely personal and never one-size-fits-all, I’m moving ahead with what I think will work best for me. To be clear, I’m not slamming online tracking platforms and people who use them.). I’m undecided about whether or not I will weigh myself daily, as that has been a triggering behaviour for me in the past. So far, I have not been weighing myself. I’m getting kind of curious about my progress several weeks in, though, so I may do that soon.

As for how I’m feeling, I can feel such a huge difference, particularly in the last couple of weeks. I’m sure I will be sharing bits and pieces of my experience over the next few months. Don’t expect a weekly weigh-in post, though, and probably not even before-and-after photos. When I’m ready to transition out of weight loss mode, trust me, you’ll know. 🙂 Similarly, if there’s a particular aspect of my experience that you want to know more about, let me know. If there is an interest in reading more, I would be happy to write about it!

I’m not a great cook and my photo skills and creativity are limited to iPhone snaps and filters, so I had not planned on sharing many of my meals on here. I will occasionally post something on Instagram if it has been extra tasty, or I worked particularly hard on it. While I can follow a (simple) recipe with the best of them, a food blogger I am not. If you’re interested in me posting or writing about an occasional snapshot of what I’m eating, let me know and I can throw in an occasional photo or a day of eats.

So, that’s about it right now. More to come!


I Resolve…

Ah, 2017. You started off so bright and promising. I had big plans for you. As the year went on, though, you became more like my friend Emily aptly described you: a scooter to the ankle.

This isn’t entirely fair, as there were many high points over the year, too. It was a very up and down year. The good things were really good, and the bad things were, well, really bad. I dealt with a lot of unexpected stuff in 2017. Some of it threw a real wrench in my training, while other things helped my training. Think about it: you read a lot of ramblings from me about weight gain, struggles with running, (now) an injury, an unexpected and heartbreaking move, and maybe a little more if I take out the microscope. There is nothing to be gained from that, though, so let’s leave it there.


Despite a near constant feeling of putting out one dumpster fire after another last year, it wasn’t all bad. I’ve definitely had worse years. While I can’t say I’m sad to see 2017 go, it has given me *a lot* of things for which I’m eternally grateful, so let’s focus on those, shall we?

In the grand scheme of things, the rest of the stuff in between shouldn’t matter too much, should it? Especially looking at that list, I should be trying to think of everything else as the small stuff, and try not to sweat it too much.

So, with all of that being said, I’m heading into 2018 with a single resolution: be kind to my body. It will be a huge undertaking that will affect many, if not all, areas of my life. As endurance athletes, some say that we ask a little too much of our bodies all the time. Our bodies do some truly amazing things for us, and we often reward it with negative self-talk and underappreciation, bordering on downright disrespect at times.

Being kind to my body sounds like a simple, straightforward resolution. It will be the opposite for me. If you think about it, there is a lot involved in honouring that resolution. I will have to be mindful of when to push my body a little further for long-term benefit and to reach my goals, and knowing when to pull back and listen to it when it begs for rest. I have to commit to giving it the fuel it needs to perform at a level that I demand of it (probably my biggest challenge), and I have to commit to giving it the rest it needs (never been a problem, ha!).

If I am ever feeling overwhelmed in 2018 (and I know those times will come), I hope that I can ground myself by coming back to my ‘simple’ five-word resolution.

I have a lot more to say about the baby steps I’ll be taking to keep my resolution, because that’s the key. In retrospect, I’m thankful that 2017 was definitely not a year of instant gratification with respect to my goals. Nothing worth having comes easily, and the obstacles along the way are teaching me a ton about myself.

Words to guide me in 2018: Eat the elephant, one bite at a time.


I hope to be writing a bit more on here, as opposed to spending time on social media, which I found particularly draining close to the holidays. I’m sitting on drafts for a few posts already that I just couldn’t seem to get over the hump on in November and December. It’s been some time since I’ve felt that I have something meaningful to share that didn’t sound complain-y, and that’s about to change with 2018 plans taking shape.

Thanks for taking the time to read my scattered thoughts, friends. Here’s to an exciting year ahead!

Something Shiny and New

Sadly, I did not buy something shiny and new, like a new bike (FTR, I really like this one), as my title deceptively suggests, so my apologies for that. On with the show!

The quickest of updates: I’m still not able to run. I should say, I have not attempted to run, on the advice of my physiotherapist and coach, and also on account of my ankle still not being pain-free. However, I am able to swim (with modifications), bike with no noticeable side effects, and strength train. There’s been quite a bit of the latter happening lately, so let’s talk a little bit about that, shall we?

To give you a little context, I used to lovelovelove strength training and lifting weights. In 2010, I worked with a personal trainer to kickstart my weight loss, and it helped so very much. I found it both enjoyable and effective, and I continued to lose weight as I supplemented my weights workouts with cardio and eating well. When I moved to Toronto in 2010, I fell in love with BodyPump and that love affair went on for about 5 years. I attended classes religiously twice a week (three times in my off-season), and was stronger than I had ever been.

Various injuries, life events, and house moves threw my strength routine for a loop and it has not been a priority at all for some time. I’m not here to make excuses, though. There are none – I simply did not make it a priority, and I accept responsibility for my lost fitness on that front.

Last year, my coach reintroduced strength training to my plan and it made me nervous. I struggled to hold planks, do push-ups and execute good lunges, etc. Having been through a few rough patches with fitness, I knew (and still know) that the first little while of getting back to anything just plain sucks. If you accept that, then the rebuilding phase will be a lot less of a struggle than it needs to be.

Now that my marathon build is being put on hold briefly (fingers crossed!), it’s the perfect time to focus on rebuilding that lost strength. Historically, I know I run my best and stay injury-free when I’m doing some form of strength/weights training to supplement my running, so this really is for the greater good. That should be the end of the story and enough to keep me motivated. We all occasionally run out of steam on the motivation train, though, and I’m no exception to this.

I digress.

So, what exactly does this new strength routine look like? Well, it’s a significant departure from what I’m used to and incorporates a different approach. Most importantly, it’s a welcome distraction from not being able to run!

NB: I have been doing body weight exercises semi-consistently for the last while. I’m not being thrown into a lifting program with no base.

Since I am, in fact, a child at heart, the easiest way to stop me from throwing a tantrum about something (not being able to run) is to distract me with something else temporarily, something shiny and new. At this point in time, that something shiny and new is a completely fresh and new-to-me base lifting program.


I couldn’t help but do a little head tilt when I saw my new program. I’m lifting four (FOUR!) days a week, and each session is SHORT. The sessions alternate upper body and core one day, and lower body the other day. I’m doing each session twice per week. This is a real change for me, since I previously focused on total body exercises in circuits and supersets. I’m eager to see how I like a more targeted approach.

So far, I’ve done each session once, and reeeeeeeeeeally enjoyed each one. The only snag I’ve run into thus far is that the lunges in my lower body workout irritated my ankle quite a bit, so we’ll be making adjustments for that. Note to self: not ready for lunges yet.

It could be the novelty of having something new to focus on, and perhaps it is too soon to be writing about it. Perhaps not, though. Getting reacquainted with lifting at the gym has me feeling a little nostalgic, and a bit like my old self. I have to remember to take some measurements and photos to document my progress, as I believe this phase will last about 8 weeks.

In the meantime, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t getting a little bit uneasy about my upcoming training cycle. The marathon is a little less than 21 weeks away, and I’m still unable to run. I’m not sure at what point I will have to scrap the idea of running my goal race, although I suspect I still have some time to go before that becomes a topic of discussion.

For the time being, I’ll just keep doing my rehab exercises and putting in whatever workouts I can safely do to build my strength. There are no shortcuts to be taken. Beyond that, I will just have to let the rest take care of itself. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: A change is as good as a rest. Or something like that. 🙂

Next Stop on the Pain Train: Inflammation Station

If you stop reading right now based on what is perhaps the cheesiest post title in history, I wouldn’t blame you at all.

Still with me? Okay.

When I last wrote, there was some annoying kinda-maybe-sorta injury stuff going on. Here’s what has been happening since.

I woke up last Monday morning with a moderate amount of soreness and stiffness in my right foot, across the top and opposite the side that had been giving me trouble when I attempted my long run the day before. Going down stairs was aggravating it a tiny bit. I was still able to walk without limping, etc., although I was definitely aware that something wasn’t right. My coach and I agreed after my painful run last Sunday that it was time to have it checked out and taken care of as soon as possible.

As many of my Torontonian friends are aware, last Monday was the day after the marathon. Have you ever tried to make an appointment with a physiotherapist for a new issue the day after a marathon? Ha. Godspeed to you. My coach recommended someone to me and after seeing no availability with her until November 9, I called my previous physiotherapist. Coincidentally, his first availability was also November 9. After leaving a message with my coach’s recommendation, she called back later in the day with an opening for me just two days later. Hallelujah!

I won’t go into too many details, although I will say that I’m feeling quite a bit better. There are a couple of things going on in my foot, both of which seem to amount to inflammation right now, which is relatively minor, thankfully. I had my first ever round of acupuncture, I’ve been doing some work with a theraband to work on getting my ankle joints moving correctly and already seeing some relief, although I am not completely out of the woods yet. Lauren recommended a couple of weeks off running and any activity that irritates my ankle, so this means running, swimming with fins, and some of my strength exercises are off the table at the moment. As annoying as it is to not be able to train without restriction, I can’t say I miss burpees. 😉

I was in some level of pain off and on for most of the week last week, and feeling a bit sad about not exercising. In particular, I have been really eager to begin building my run mileage. My parents and niece arrived for a short weekend visit on Friday night. While I normally do not feel any guilt about relaxing my training schedule a bit or completely when I’m fortunate enough to get some time with my family (they live in Newfoundland), I found myself yearning to start my day with a little run pretty much every day for the last week and a bit.

I’m in this odd state of logically knowing that I have to take things easy until the inflammation completely subsides, yet being so mentally ready to fully dive into marathon training. I wrote to my coach that I get a little envious every time I pass a runner or whenever I walk by a track, I get a near uncontrollable urge to go out on it and run really fast. The last one is extra tough, as I have to pass a beautiful outdoor track on my walk to work from the subway every day.

If you’re prone to injury like me, though, you know the drill – you just have to wait it out and do the rehab work. I notoriously lose momentum with rehab work after a couple of days. This time around, I’ve been keeping up on all of it. I’m more determined than ever to get these aches and pains sorted out so I can start my marathon build in a 100% healthy state.

Although there is nothing groundbreaking on this list, here’s what I’ve been doing:

  • Keeping up on my exercises and stretching. This should almost go without saying. If you’re like me, you pretty much need someone on you multiple times a day to get this done. So far, self-motivation alone has been enough to keep this rolling along. Woo hoo!
  • Foam rolling. Like a boss. I hate it so much and it hurts like hell. It’s a necessary evil, though, and I saw a lot of improvement in my running this past winter when I dedicated some time to the dreaded torture device.
  • Putting things in perspective. Yes, it sucks to be on the verge of injury. Like most unpleasant things, this, too, shall pass. I’m sure I’ll be back at full strength before I know it.
  • Focusing on my upcoming goals. Another one on the no-brainer list, I suppose. Knowing that I’ve already registered for my spring goal race is keeping me motivated to nip this in the bud.
  • Concentrating on what I can do. I’m not usually such an optimistic person, to be honest, so this one came as a surprise to me. If this slight setback had happened to me a few years ago, I would have been taking the opposite approach. I would have wallowed in self-pity because I couldn’t run, and fixated on the negative. Maybe that’s because running used to be my main sport. Now, though, I have two other disciplines to turn my attention towards, plus all the strength work that I need to prioritize in the off-season. I can still bike comfortably, as well as swim and do strength work, although the last two need some modification for the time being.
  • Not allowing myself a pity party. This is not a full-blown injury. I’m not weeks away from a goal race that I had painstakingly prepared for. I can still exercise. I can move without pain. There are way more positives than negatives about this situation. I should clarify that I did not go through the pity party phase at all with this setback, and there is no need for it yet, which has helped me stay positive.

I’m hoping to be able to attempt a short run next week, and that all of the stretching and mobility work I’ve been doing will mean that it will be a pain-free run. There are just under 22 weeks until the marathon (not that I’ve been counting or anything), so I keep telling myself that I have lots of time, and no reason to panic.

Onwards and upwards!

What was your worst injury? How long did it take to heal?


One Step Forward, Two Steps Back


Hi there! Me again!

First of all, a *huge* congratulations to all of my friends who raced at the Scotiabank 5k, half marathon, and marathon yesterday! That race will always have a very special place in my heart. It was my first half marathon and my first full marathon. I’ve said it a million times – I always race my best at home. As fun as it is to travel around and see new places while running, Toronto will always be home and there’s something extra special about marathon weekend.

Last week, I was finally starting to build some momentum with this training thing. I was having a pretty solid week up until Sunday (more on this below), and it was nice to get myself into something of a groove, however short-lived it is going to be.

To save you the theatrics and drama, I am kinda, maybe, a little bit injured. Ish. Maybe.


2500m swim: Swim group this morning focused on a lot of drills. Many of the drills required a lot of kicking, so our coach had me wear fins so I could concentrate on form during the drills.

50 minute interval ride (28.3km): An evening interval ride that went pretty well. 


35 minute Z2 run (5.6km): I felt fairly sluggish for part of this run. I picked it up near the end because my HR was actually too low.

40 minutes strength: Immediately after my run, I did my strength workout. I was at home this time, and I didn’t make any modifications. After just a few strength workouts, I’m feeling stronger and I know I’ll be publicly burpee-ing before you know it. 🙂


Rest. Glorious, glorious (scheduled) rest day. 


52 minute interval ride (29.9km): Some Z4 intervals to keep my legs turning over quickly. I did this before work.

42 minutes strength: Not much to report here.


2800m swim: A super challenging workout! It involved a few sets of 300m steady and 100 recovery, with the middle part of that working up 100, 200, 300 hard. Oof. It felt good to get this done.

35 minute Z2 run (5.7km): Here’s where all the trouble started. About 20 minutes into my evening run, I felt some pain on the inside of my right leg. Just above my ankle, and it radiated upwards a bit. It was dull, although not intense enough to alter my gait.


1:10 ride (42.4km): A long trainer ride. It would have been a beautiful day to ride outside. Someday, when I’m braver riding outside, I’ll be able to take off outside the city on my own. 🙂


42 minute run (6.4km): Long run, aborted. The pain in my ankle returned and I implemented a three strike policy. I stopped, stretched, and restarted three times before I pulled the plug. It was supposed to be 55 minutes.

1372m swim: I thought it would be okay to go ahead and do my swim, since it’s a no-impact activity. I did my swim without issue. There wasn’t a lot of kicking in the workout, so that helped.


Swim: 6672m/2:38

Bike: 98.9km/2:53

Run: 17.7km/1:52

Strength: 1:24

Total Time: 8:47

So, there it is. An overall excellent week of training, with the exception of a potential injury looming. I’m really pleased with my swimming and biking volume for the week, and that I committed to both strength workouts. I fit in all my workouts and looked forward to most of them. This might have been my highest volume week for swimming ever!

I am seeing a physiotherapist about my ankle issue on Wednesday, and I hope I won’t be out of the game too long. I was just starting to get excited about my marathon build, and am trying to remain positive.

I’m sure I’ll have much more to say about this next week once I have a rehab plan. In the meantime, I hope those of you who raced this weekend are putting your feet up and enjoying some treats and downtime.

Have a great week, everyone!

New Rest Day, Who Dis?


Twice in one week?! That’s right, friends. Your eyes do not deceive you.

In my latest weekly training recap, I reported that my rest day last week was Wednesday. That is true this week, as well, and will be for the foreseeable weeks going forward. Say what?!

For as long as I have been working out consistently (closing in on 8 years now), Friday has always been my rest day. I can’t remember if it was by accident or by design. It worked out pretty well in practice. It was a nice way to end my week by not having to rush off to the gym after work, and to truly decompress.

When I first moved to the city in the fall of 2010, I was working at a place where there was a real after-work-hangout culture (which I loved), and I also had a large, fairly tightly-knit group of friends that I had come by through my cousin. At that point in my life, I was definitely not a morning exerciser and I always worked out solo, so having Friday completely free for the weekly tradition of post-work dinner and drinks was as sacred as Sunday brunch is to some.

In 2011, I started training for my first half-marathon. I became more focused on distance running and was able to maintain the Friday rest day. Fast forward a few years and I’m at a completely different workplace and most of our friends from that core group don’t even live here anymore! The latter is a bit mind-blowing. I digress.

I have since gone through four marathon training cycles, each of varying intensity and commitment level. Friday rest day remained. I started training for triathlon more consistently last year. Friday rest day remained.

However, when I went to sign up for my swim group’s full year offering this September, I saw that I would be swimming on Friday mornings. Heh. I never realized just how attached I actually was to my Friday rest day until the time came to give it up. I worried that on Fridays, I would be tempted to hit the snooze button or head straight home after work to tuck into a glass of wine and some takeout. The temptation was definitely there for the first couple of weeks, although I think it had more to do with habit than any actual physical or mental exhaustion. Y’all know what a Type A creature of habit I am, so that should come as a surprise to no one.

So, what have I noticed over the last few weeks with changing my rest day? All good things, actually! Once I had gotten past the urge to head straight home and crash at the end of the work week, things have been good, although I think I’ll still experience some of that until I get used to this new routine.

When I was training for Around the Bay last season, I recall that I frequently felt wiped between Tuesday and Thursday, which occasionally compromised my workouts and performance. Friday could never come fast enough.

In the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that I’ve been able to get through my midweek workouts with a *bit* more energy. I’m usually darting off to work out in some form after my work day finishes, so being able to have a free evening in the middle of the week has left me feeling  mentally recharged. I’m already accustomed to having workouts scheduled both days on the weekend, so a Wednesday rest day is a nice way to break up my work week without sacrificing any me time or training time.  

If I’m having a particularly rough week trying to fit in both work commitments and training, I tell myself that I only have to make it through Tuesday. Then I get a rest day. By the time I return to training, it’s already Thursday, which is practically the weekend. 😉

Switching things up with my training schedule has left me with a new appreciation for the work I’m putting in, and giving my body the rest it needs to recover. I’m less likely to reach for a glass of wine or two and a treat meal on Wednesday versus Friday, so it is helping a little so far with my associations of what constitutes true rest and recovery. That’s not to say that I will never have a treat on my rest day. I’m sure I will, although it might look a little different than it has in the past.

I’m eager to see how this might play into my training and performance this time around. As soon as training ramps up a little more (remember, I’m still technically in the offseason before my marathon build), I’ll go back to writing a training journal to keep a close eye on things like this.

All of this to say that change is often good. If you’re feeling burnt out either mentally or physically, I strongly encourage taking a look at your most deeply ingrained training habits and experimenting with them, where appropriate. As my mother says, a change is as good as a rest. 🙂

Have you ever made a change to your training structure? Was it a good change?   

Wednesday is the new Friday


Hello, hello! I hope everyone has been enjoying the summer-like weather. I am full-on Team Summer, so I’ve been enjoying the extended sunshine and warm temperatures. I could do without the humidity, although I refuse to complain. It has been a strange season for running and, even though I’m loving the shorts-and-tank-in-October weather, I’m ready for some (slightly) cooler temperatures and being able to breathe properly on the run.

After a pre-Thanksgiving bout of the stomach flu, I was more than ready to get back to a more consistent training schedule. I achieved that last week, for the most part. Here’s what I was up to last week…


50 minute interval ride (29.9km): There was so swimming this morning because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Before you ask, yes, the fact that my ride ended at 29.9km did eat away at me a little. I had pre-programmed my ride on Zwift, so I couldn’t even keep going to hit the 30km mark. If these are my greatest training problems at the moment, I’ll gladly take it.


30 minute Z2 run (4.73km): My HR immediately took off on this run. I did manage to bring it down to the very high end of my Z2, though. I’m paying extra close attention to my HR while running these days, as I know my running fitness needs to rebound and my HR zones need to be updated. I’m trying really hard not to completely exhaust myself on the run, especially in Z2. 🙂

40 minutes strength: Yay! Back to strength training. I can usually talk myself out of strength pretty easily, so I did it right away post-run.


Rest. Glorious, glorious (scheduled) rest day. Say what?! 


30 minute Z2 run (4.7km): Thursday was a very busy day. I had two after-work commitments, and two workouts. In order to make it work, I had to go immediately to the gym, do my run on the treadmill to cut out time for lights, etc., and then get right to my strength workout.  

32 minutes strength: I admittedly rushed through this a bit more than I should have. I normally take my time with each exercise and focus on feeling the burn and nailing good form. I was also at a gym unfamiliar to me in the downtown core, and I did something during my strength workout that I haven’t done in a very long time and that I’m not particularly proud of: I modified my workout because I was self-conscious of how I looked doing burpees and worried that others around me were judging me. There, I said it. I’m not proud of it. I am really kicking myself for worrying about my jiggly parts and lack of grace while burpee-ing. Not every day is a cake walk, and I’m committing to developing some confidence with my strength training.


457m swim: After two workouts and two evening events, I came home around midnight and knew that a 4:45 wake-up call to swim wasn’t happening. I brought my clothes to work and hit the 25 yard pool after work. I had *just* hit my stride and felt my legs loosening up when I got booted out for swimming lessons. I hadn’t been expecting that, so was caught off-guard and a little annoyed. Oh, well. 500 yards is better than no yards.


50 minute run (8km): I had a super fun weekend that started with Lululemon and Strava’s virtual race, #TheGhostRace (there’s still time to get in on this, I think!). I met up with my crew at Tribe Fitness and we ran the 8km course together along the Martin Goodman Trail. In the interest of sticking to my guns when it comes to HR training, I stayed firmly in Z2, even though I was definitely tempted to run a little faster. After the run, we went back to the Tribe Fitness headquarters and enjoyed a great spread of post-run eats, thanks to Lululemon!


After that, I had a busy day of hitting up the bike show (didn’t buy anything! Victory for my wallet!), a hair appointment, and the best date night (we ate dinner at Planta, and it was *divine.* Toronto friends, I would recommend checking this one out, even if you are not eating a plant-based diet. So good!) that ended with Ryan and I having drinks at a bar full of hockey fans while we streamed the last nail-biting miles of the Ironman World Championships in Kona. Ha! I could write a whole other post about this. I’m so freaking proud of Lionel Sanders and his performance at Kona.


1:10 ride (42.4km): Sunday was originally long run day. We swapped my ride and run so I could do The Ghost Race, and I’m so glad. The weather was really terrible on Sunday, and I escaped running in a monsoon. I was nice and toasty on my trainer with an endurance ride that I felt very strong during, thanks to a solid week of training and the inspiration from Kona the day before.


Swim: 457m/0:11

Bike: 72.3km/2:01

Run: 17.4km/1:54

Strength: 1:13

Total Time: 5:19

So, that’s it! A solid week of training that left me feeling pretty good is always a win. Aside from feeling unsettled about my discomfort around strength training in public, I think I had a good week. As I’ve talked about before, the real focus right now is consistency and getting into the habit of moving my body regularly. Once those good habits are back in place, fitting things in will be one less obstacle I have to overcome when the time comes to start really putting in the work. 🙂

P.S. Good luck to all my friends racing Scotiabank this weekend!


Next Up…

Well, hello there! I didn’t intend for my absence here to have been so long. I honestly thought I would have more to say in the offseason, yet here I am. That’s not to say that things haven’t been happening behind the scenes. So, let’s play a little game of catch up, shall we?

When I last checked in, things were not going as spectacularly as I would have hoped. Granted, I was being patient. And still am, to be honest. Missing mojos can take a while to reappear. Mine has been making its appearance off and on. I’m still occasionally experiencing cases of the I-just-don’t-want-tos. Luckily, those are few and far between.

So, what *has* been happening?

Swim club has resumed. My club takes a four-week break at the middle-ish of August until mid-September. We have a new coach, which I was exceptionally anxious about before he arrived. Swimming is not my strong suit (har!), and I had really gotten into a groove with our old coach. Turns out, our new coach is great! The workouts so far have been challenging, and I think I’m going to see a lot of improvement working with him. I’ve already zoned in on a couple of technique points that I’m working on, and I seem to be making some headway with improving my kick. 4:45 wake-up calls are back on like Donkey Kong.

There isn’t much to report on the cycling front. The goal with my riding for the next little while is simply to get some time in on the saddle. I’ve been trying to ride 2-3 times a week, mostly easy stuff, occasionally some intervals to keep me honest. Keeping a decent cycling base is important, although it won’t be the main focus for the next little while because of my running.

My what?

Yes, my running. A couple of weeks back, I met my coach over a cold beer to talk about my goals for next year. This process of thinking so far ahead had been completely foreign to me. She sent an email late in the summer, asking what was on my mind for next year, and that I might want to start giving it some thought. Oy.

So, I did. I gave it a lot of thought, in fact. I waffled back and forth. I made my lists, as I often do when pondering decisions. Not only did I make myself write out those goals, I made myself attach a WHY to them. Not everything is about a PB these days (I need not remind you that I have not achieved a running PB since 2015), so I’m trying to really get at the root of why I’m setting certain goals.

Anyway, PK and I got together, and I threw my big scary goals at her. She was straight with me about what would be involved in meeting those goals (as she always is). Best of all, she was beyond excited for me. So, I wasn’t completely out to lunch when I started hatching these plans. The goals are big and scary. However, I am of the mindset that they should scare you at least a little.

So, barring any significant setbacks, here’s how 2018 is hopefully going to look:

  1. RUN A FREAKING MARATHON! In fact, I’ve already registered for the Paris Marathon in April! I’ve never run a spring marathon, so I’m eager to see how this will compare to my fall efforts. I usually do okay with winter running once I get going and am out there. As you know, I’ve got some unfinished business at Around the Bay and I had an amazing time at the Chilly Half, so I’m sure either one or both of those races will be on the tune-up schedule. I’m nervous about this one for a couple of reasons, one of them being that I generally don’t travel and race well. Hopefully not the case this time around. My marathon PB is from 2014 (4:17:35) and while I’m not heading in with hopes of beating that this time around, we will simply have to see how training progresses. My ultimate goal for this marathon is to make a return to strong distance running. I had a taste of that last winter, and I’m ready to dig back in.
  2. DO A 70.3! Well, we all knew this was coming, didn’t we? Some might argue that I should wait a little longer to take this on. I went back and forth on whether I would attempt this in the spring and leave the marathon for the fall. However, my coach reasoned that a fall 70.3 would be better for me right now, as it will give me a summer of training outside. I desperately need to work on my open water swimming and outside riding and it’s hard to do here in the winter because, well, Canadian weather. This is my stretch goal for next year. My BHAG, my way-out-of-my-comfort-zone goal. Much, much more to come on this! 🙂
  3. Rebuild strength and flexibility. You might have some trouble wrapping your head around the fact that I used to lovelovelove lifting weights and doing yoga. All of my strongest training cycles included yoga and weights as a non-negotiable part of my plan. When the going gets rough and I have to prioritize workouts, these are often the first to fall off the schedule when, really, they should be the last. Getting back to these things will not only make me a better athlete, I think they’ll help greatly with some of the mental struggles I experience around my training. 

Oof. It’s an ambitious list, isn’t it? It’s meant to be. Since I’ve been working with my coach over the last year, I’ve slowly been tapping back into any potential I have as an athlete and my ability to do hard things. I went through such. an. awful. time. in 2015 and 2016 with endurance sports and falling back into a terrible relationship with my body. I became almost unrecognizable to myself and convinced myself that my days of being driven enough to commit to endurance sports were behind me, that it had been just a phase I had gone through as I lost weight.

2017 has been a year of hard work and a demonstration that there is still at least some kick left in me. Even though there are still a few months left to this year, I’m already looking ahead.

I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings.


Missing Mojo Monday

Hello, friends! A very happy Monday to you all! I’m rebounding from a weekend of watching all of you badasses chase down BQs, play on the trails with your relay teams, and crush 70.3s. Usually, that makes me want to go out and run all the miles. However, as of late, I haven’t had much of an urge. Don’t get me wrong – I was still inspired as eff by all of you over the weekend, especially my coach, who gritted out a really tough race to land on the podium at the inaugural Ironman 70.3 at Lake Placid.

Lately, though, I’m having a lot of trouble connecting my mental motivation with the desire to get out the door and complete my workouts. I’m in the middle of an off-season of sorts, I suppose. There is little urgency in my workouts right now. All of my triathlons for this season are complete, and the only thing left on my schedule for this season is a half marathon on Sunday as part of a relay team at the Barrelman 70.3. My swim group is on its regular break and will resume next week, so my swimming has not been consistent. In fact, it’s been non-existent.

The post-race blues are a legit thing. After all my past marathons, I can confirm that I felt a little lost and slightly bummed in the days and weeks that immediately followed. I think I’m probably going through a little bit of that now, paired with a busy time at work. For the record, my day job is fairly predictable and I love it. I would say my profession is a relatively low-stress one, although it does get very busy at times like most jobs. Now is one of those times, with the academic year starting. My sleep quality and quantity has been horrific for the last week, especially during the weekdays. Save one day this weekend when I slept for 10 hours, I haven’t been getting good sleep at all, which has in turn affected my energy levels and desire/ability to work out.

All of this is further complicated by a huge tension I’m experiencing with high mental motivation. Hear me out on this one. Usually, it’s my brain that’s the source of negativity, with my body raring to go. This time, it’s vice versa, it seems.

I am so excited to start a fresh training cycle. I’m pretty sure that I’ve got at least one bigger event on my plan for next year, although the details and scheduling are foggy at this point. I’m eager to focus on some running goals after coming close-ish to my goal last year at Around the Bay. I’m excited to build on my triathlon fitness next year, too, and see how far that will take me. In short, I’m really eager for a fresh set of goals to pursue over the winter and spring.

That excitement and enthusiasm is not manifesting itself physically like I hoped it would at this point. I suspect my sleep woes, post-race blues, and hectic work responsibilities right now are all presenting a big mental and physical block that’s fighting it out with the enthusiastic part of my brain.

I am aiming for consistency in the off-season and I think I’ve got some time before I could potentially sabotage it, although that’s not an excuse to lay up and do nothing. I know it’s good to give oneself some time off mentally and physically after your big race/season. We’re just into week 3 post-Wasaga Beach, though, and my training mojo is nowhere to be found. While I’m certain it will return and I just have to wait it out, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.

In the interest of some consistency, though, I give you my (pathetic) training log from last week:


Rest. Glorious, glorious (scheduled) rest day.


33.1km ride: Up bright and early at dark o’clock for an easy trainer ride. Although the first few minutes of this was rough, it turned out to be okay.

55 minute interval run: I was supposed to run intervals after work on Tuesday. I was looking forward to them, honestly I was. I haven’t run intervals since March, I believe? It’s been Brick City over here. 🙂 Once I finally got home and settled, Ryan wanted to go out for dinner together, since he was leaving for a work trip the next day. I didn’t get my run in, and I was out much later than planned. Nothing crazy, just up late after a super early morning.


2100m swim: After the late night on Tuesday, I was up early again to see Ryan off on his flight. Two nights in a row of poor sleep, and I was a zombie after work. I had intended to swim before work.


45 minute run: The schedule originally called for a 45 minute Z3 run. After the debacle from the previous two days, my coach moved the interval run to Thursday. It didn’t happen then, either. 


1850m swim: Nope. I was just wiped at this point. You know the “I’ll start on Monday” mentality? Yeah, I was applying this to Saturday.


15.8km run: I slept for a looooooooooong time on Friday night. Just about 10 hours, which is practically unheard of for me. There was a long ride on my schedule on Saturday. When I woke up, the weather was perfect for running. Absolutely perfect. I was spry as hell, and my legs were itching to run. I opted to lace up and get my long run done. This was definitely the right choice. For the first time in what felt like forever, every single minute of my long run was absolute bliss. I crushed some hills, and just generally felt great the entire time.


1:30 ride: To be clear, my intentions yesterday were good. I had intended to do my ride on the trainer and track some friends and my coach who were racing, and meet up with a good friend for a belated birthday lunch, and to hit up the Vegetarian Food Festival. She messaged and asked if we could meet a little earlier than planned. I said yes.


Swim: 0m/0:00

Bike: 33.1km/1:00

Run: 15.8km/1:40

Strength: 0:00

Total Time: 2:40

So, there you have it. A crappy week on the workout front, to be sure. I’m certain that my desire to get back in the game is coming soon enough. Once I have something to sink my teeth into for next season, I think my weekly schedule of workouts will take on more meaning.

Am I nervous about the half marathon that I’ve got coming up on Sunday? You bet.

Do I regret giving myself some downtime? Maybe, that remains to be seen. Right now, I’m going to say no. It’s been nice not getting up at 4:45 to swim, and to go home from work and just enjoy a nice dinner and some TV and some crafting to take the edge off.

Do I wish I had made my friend wait and meet later in the afternoon so I could get in my bike ride? Absolutely not. I know the time will come soon when I no longer have that flexibility in my schedule, so I suppose I should just enjoy it now instead of giving myself a guilt trip.

More to come…

Have you ever lost your workout mojo? What did you do? Just ride out the storm and wait for motivation to return, or force yourself to work out when you just weren’t feeling it?

Wasaga Beach Olympic Triathlon Recap

2017-08-26 | 2017 MultiSport Wasaga Beach Triathlon

Photo: Zoom Photo

Hi, friends! If you keep up with me on the socials, you probably saw that I made it through my first Olympic triathlon on August 26. I’m super happy to have made it through in one piece. Truthfully, I had a much harder time than I thought I would, so buckle up while I share my tale. 🙂

Race Day

We drove to Wasaga Beach after Ryan finished work on Friday evening. I’m so glad I took Friday off work to get everything sorted out because I actually spent the whole day packing and fussing with my bike.

Ryan and Heather were both racing the Sprint at 8:30, so they were up a little earlier than me to get ready. I had a pretty decent night of sleep before the race. When I woke up, I felt rested. Not too nervous, which was surprising to me. I got dressed, drank some water and ate a bagel with jam, hopped on my bike, and rode the 1.5km down to the race site. I got there at around 8:00, so I had enough time to see Heather and Ryan off to the start as I dropped my bike off in transition.

I had given myself lots of time, so as soon as the Sprint swimmers went off, I walked over to pick up my kit. As with all of the Multisport Canada events I’ve participated in this year, everything was a well-oiled machine. I had my kit picked up, body marked, and chip on in under 5 minutes.

I went back down near the water and hung out with Mark as we watched the swimmers come in. Once Heather and Ryan had both gone out on the bike course, I returned to transition and slowly started to set up my area.

There were so many people at the race that I knew. The race was also hosting the Club Championships, so everyone and their dog was there. I mean this literally, as Guinness came along for the ride. In addition to cheering and taking some really awesome photos of us on Saturday, Mark kindly brought Guinness around with him all day. I think they both had a good time. 😉

As I set up my transition, I noticed that I had left my pre-swim gel back at the cottage. Well, shit. I scurried over to the area where the vendors were set up. I normally train and race with Gu. My options there were either e-Load or Endurance Tap. I took my chances on the latter and finished setting up my transition area.

Rather than hang out in transition any longer, I went back to the swim finish and started the process of putting on my wetsuit. I took the Endurance Tap and chatted with some friends from the Toronto Triathlon Club. Many of the sprint racers were finishing by then, so there was no shortage of people around and I got a ton of encouragement before the start of my race.

I was in the last swim wave, which also meant that I would likely be last out of the water. I made peace with that and got in to warm up and see the other swimmers off. Then, it was 10:39, and it was time to go!

*All times and stats from my Garmin.*


I started the swim feeling okay, to be honest. In the beginning, I was breathing every other stroke, sighting every few breaths, and waiting to settle in. Sadly, that time never came. After a few hundred metres, many of the swimmers were already ahead of me and my body seemed to be rebelling.

Thankfully, my mind did not rebel.

I was mixing up breaststroke and breathing every other stroke by 400m, and I knew it would be a battle to the finish. I sang to myself, I counted strokes, I tried every breathing technique I knew, and nothing worked. A lifeguard stayed with me the entire time, and I was eternally grateful that she stayed. Although I never had to hold onto her board, she encouraged me the entire time. Like my very first sprint triathlon last summer, I’m not sure I would have finished the swim without the help of an amazing volunteer.


Photo: Mark Gardner

Maintaining a positive state of mind was crucial to getting through the swim. At that point, my mental game was still strong enough to give myself a motivating talking-to. Every time I thought about quitting, I followed it with, “Not today. Not today.” I was not thinking about the rest of the race ahead at all. Just the swim. One discipline at a time.

Indeed, I was the last swimmer out of the water. My head was just reeling (not physically; I was not disoriented or dizzy at all), and I’m honestly not sure what my thoughts were at that point.

While I was fortunate to not have had anything cramp up, I was coughing A LOT during the swim. So much that my throat had become raw and in T1 I coughed up some red stuff, likely due to inflammation.

All things considered, this could have been much worse than it was. I swam 99m extra over 1500m, which is an improvement on my sprint efforts this summer, so I know my sighting has improved at least somewhat. Race day was my longest open water swim to date, and by quite a bit (about 550m).

1599m//52:55 (3:18/100m)


Clearly happy the swim is over. Photo: Mark Gardner


Once I had gotten out of the water and ran up to T1, I had sort of given up. Heather and Ryan were on the side of the fence by transition, checking in and encouraging me to keep going. Volunteers surrounded me in transition to make sure I was okay. That’s one benefit of being last out of the water, I suppose. 😉

The coughing continued in transition and that’s when I saw that I was coughing up red. I peeled my wetsuit off slowly and chewed away on a Clif bar while volunteers asked me question after question. Are you dizzy? No. Are you having trouble breathing? No. Are you too hot or too cold? No. Do you want to continue? Yes, although I didn’t know if I could. So much has been riding on this race and I’m afraid I won’t finish.

At that point, I put my arms across the racks in transition, and let myself cry a little bit.

Do you think it’s safe for you to continue? There are volunteers and support vehicles on course if at any time you think you can’t finish. Boom. Just what I needed – a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card. For about the millionth time that day, I talked myself into continuing. Even if it was just for a little bit. As defeated as I felt, there was still a lot of fight left in me.

Putting on my helmet and shoes, I took my time and tried not to overthink things. Don’t think, just go.

T1: 8:48


Ah, the bike. It kinda broke me as a human there for a while, to be honest. Although I was able to clip into my bike much faster than last time, I started the bike in a mental state of uncertainty, leaning towards failure. Just past the mount line, the bike course took a turn up onto a bridge, and Mark was waiting there to cheer me on. I remember the feeling of riding past him, and having a pit in my stomach, almost sure I wouldn’t finish the bike course.

Oh, well, I thought. Here goes nothing.

2017-08-26 | 2017 MultiSport Wasaga Beach Triathlon

BYEEEEEEEEE! Photo: Zoom Photo

And it really did feel like nothing. My legs were not turning over, and my energy levels felt like they were at rock bottom. I tried to focus on anything other than how crappy I was feeling. On the other side of the road, athletes were heading back towards T2. This wore me down a little bit at a time. Almost every athlete offered a friendly nod, or yelled out words of support.

As the kilometres slowly ticked by, I kept my eyes peeled for a volunteer or a race support vehicle. After 5-10km, I decided that I had had enough, and it was time to pack it in. Seeing no opportunity to call it a day other than actually getting off and walking my bike, I kept riding. At least that would get me to my DNF faster. My very first DNF. I rode, and I rode some more. I got to a hill that slowed me down to just under 10km/h. On the flat portions of the course, I could barely sustain 20km/h. My body was depleted, and I was beyond done.

Between the coughing that persisted in the first part of my bike ride and a few tears, I prepared myself for failure. I thought about what I would tell my coach. I thought about what I would tell Ryan and my friends who had come to watch me race. I thought about what I would share on social media. I started to mentally write this blog post. I’m glad this post looks much different than that initial brainstorming session. It was probably the darkest place I had ever been in during a race, though.

As always, my brain jumped about 20 steps ahead of where it actually needed to be. My logic shifted from that moment in an Olympic distance to the longer distances that I so badly want to take on someday. If I couldn’t finish a 40km ride, how would I do 90km? More importantly, how could I run 21km after riding 90km? I recognize that no good ever comes from that mindset, and I’m working really hard to change it.

By this time, I had passed the halfway point. As much as I had been mentally steeling myself to fail, I somehow managed to go through the motions of fueling. I had been drinking as scheduled, and I had even been taking my gels, so that’s something.

I felt angry and bitter. I was disappointed in myself. Even if I attempted the Olympic distance again on another day, I had spoiled this day. This would always be the memory of my first Olympic triathlon because you only get one first time.

You only get one first time.

I repeated that phrase over and over in my head, and something clicked. It’s true that I would only get one first time. I would make it count. It would be slow and painful, for sure. I would finish, though. Just like I finished my first sprint triathlon.

Having passed the halfway point already and heading back towards transition, I started to devise a strategy for the run. I struggle with running off the bike, and I am particularly prone to struggling while racing the 10km distance. If I started the run knowing that I would have to take some walk breaks and take it a bit at a time, I would get it done.

A few minutes after I took each turn, a police car would pass me. It was clear that I was the final cyclist on the course and the course marshals were packing up as I passed each checkpoint. Regular glances over my shoulder confirmed that a police car and event support vehicle were escorting me back to transition. While it’s difficult to deny how disheartening that felt, I was completely locked into my goal of getting this done that I tried to look at it as me having my own little entourage. 🙂


Photo: Mark Gardner

When I rode back into transition, I was in considerably better spirits than when I left. My cough had all but cleared, and it was time to get down to business.

40km//1:47:18 (22.4 km/h/avg.)


I rolled into T2 and quickly took off onto the run course. As I was running down the chute to start the run, Heather was there and yelled at me that another runner was just 7 minutes ahead of me. It was clear that she was giving me something to focus on for the run. If I could stay focused on catching at least one runner and closing the gap, it would give the run more meaning.

T2: 2:30


In the first few hundred metres, I saw Ryan and he started to run beside me. I think he was relieved to see me motivated and in such good spirits, as it was certainly not how I started the bike. I explained my strategy to him, that I was planning to walk whenever I felt like I absolutely needed to, and that I was determined to finish this thing. Ryan let me go ahead, and told me he would be waiting near the 5km turnaround.

The run course was two loops of 5km, so I broke it down mentally into quarters. A few minutes walking, a few minutes running. Little bit at a time. Eat the elephant, one bite at a time.


Locked in. Photo: Heather Gardner

I hit each of the aid stations. I poured a cup of water over my head, and drank a cup of electrolyte. Although it wasn’t particularly hot outside, it helped to keep me cool. I saw Ryan and Heather at the turnaround point. At this point, I saw the runner Heather had said was close to me. She was still a bit ahead of me. Catching her would take some focus and it wouldn’t happen instantly. By 6-7km, I had caught up to her, and noticed that she was in my age group. We exchanged a few pleasantries, and I wished her well on the rest of her race. Although I was feeling the need to walk, I decided to create some distance between us.

Sure enough, I was able to stay ahead of her. As I came into the last aid station, Ryan was waiting with the volunteers and came to run me into the finish. It was so special to share that with him. I talk a lot about how much he sacrifices for my racing, and it’s only fitting that he ran with me to the finish of my last race of the season. He hung back a couple hundred metres from the finish line to make sure I had my moment.

2017-08-26 | 2017 MultiSport Wasaga Beach Triathlon

Photo: Zoom Photo

I was never so relieved to be finished a race in my life. I had to think hard to remember a time when I had fought so hard simply to finish.


Photo: Heather Gardner

I’m so proud of how I was able to dig myself out of such a difficult place to finish the race. It’s motivating to have a finishing time to work towards beating next year. As usual, all of the doubts about my ability and desire to stick with triathlon that I experienced during the race have subsided and I’m already looking ahead to next year.

10.1km//1:11:56 (7:08/km)

4:03:29 (12/13 AG; 84/104 Gender; 271/322 Overall)


Sweet, sweet victory. Photo: Heather Gardner

To say I’m ecstatic to have finished would be accurate. While I had lofty goals of finishing faster than I did, I’m glad I adjusted my expectations and ultimately had a great race. As with all of my races this year, I learned a ton. I also learned a lot about myself during this race. I’m tougher than I’ve been giving myself credit for. My mental training has been progressing nicely. Being patient with mental training and not expecting immediate perfection has allowed me to soak up the full benefits of my training.

With the exception of the run leg of the Barrelman relay in less than two weeks, that’s all I’ve got on tap for this season. A couple of weeks before Wasaga, my coach emailed me to ask if I’d given any thought to what I might want to my goals to be for next season. I threw out some super scary (for me) ideas that we’ll work through in the coming weeks to determine what’s best for me next season.

I’ve been enjoying some semi-structured training with lots of downtime. I am looking forward to easing back into a more targeted program, whatever that will look like. My goals for the off-season are to stay as consistent with my training as possible and to build some serious strength.

I’ll write a lot more about next season’s goals and races once we’ve fully established what it will look like. 🙂

So, that brings my triathlon season mostly to a close. I’ve got a lot of thoughts on my season as a whole that I will share later, once I’ve had some time to reflect a bit more. I’m sure whatever triathlon goals I set for next season will bring some clarity to the work I’ve put in this season.

Big love and thanks to my supportive friends and family, my coach, and Ryan for putting up with my occasional nonsense, and encouraging me to keep at it. The best is yet to come! xo