Friday, September 12, 2014

On to the next (Goofy) challenge!

Since #birdcamp I’ve started on a run only program with Coach Angie.  My goals for the next few months are most definitely running related so this made the most sense.  What are my big plans?

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photo via Run Disney

It is time to take on the Goofy Challenge in Walt Disney World in January 2015!  This will be my third time taking on the challenge.  How could I forget sweating with Winnie the Pooh in 2008??

Goofy 2008

2008 - 2:41:58 + 6:21:05

Goofy 2013

2013 - 3:02:16 + 5:44:25

I’m pretty excited to tackle Goofy again, especially since it is the 10th anniversary of the race.  I’ve had some fairly good runs lately as I begin tackling the back to back runs.  I’ve enjoyed some new scenery...

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I’ve run into friends…  Hi Michelle, Jen, Tina and Sophia!

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I even found my reflective vest and headlamp for some early morning runs.

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And I’ve run in snow…in September…really!

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What big event are you training for right now?

Who else is running the Goofy Challenge with me?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Oiselle #birdcamp

Back in August I had one of the most wonderful experiences in Bend, OR at the Oiselle #birdcamp.  Shortly after I was invited to join the Oiselle Volee team in August 2013 there was talk about organizing a running camp for the Volee and Haute Volee members.  Initially an August running camp seemed awfully close to Ironman Boulder, but luckily once the final dates for camp were revealed I figured I could make it work.

Camp was a week and a half after Boulder.  I was still recovering and had only been for one short run after the race.  Luckily there were plenty of things planned for camp besides just running so I knew I could take things at my own pace.  I flew from Calgary to Portland just after lunch time, then found a few other Oiselle athletes at the airport - Jen Bigham, Kimmie Pearlman and Atha Vermillion.  We boarded a teeny tiny plane and made our way to Bend!


Photo via Kimmie Pearlman

Soon after we arrived in Bend the heavens opened up and it started to pour!  Here was hoping the rain wouldn’t stick around all weekend…  The rain couldn’t dampen spirits though as I excitedly met so many ladies I’ve interacted with on twitter and Instagram in person!

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with Victoria Freile, Kelly Burns Gallagher and Jill

Expert Panels

Oiselle had arranged for some amazing guest speakers to come talk to us.  Jay Dicharry, PT and author of Anatomy for Runners talked to us about keeping our body healthy, imbalances and the importance of strength training.  

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photo via Thomas and Velo Photography

Takeaway: to build muscle strength you want to do high intensity with heavy weights, 5-8 reps, 3-4 sets.  To build endurance you want to do higher reps (15-20) with low weight.  Since we already train our body to build endurance with running that is less effective though!  Jay told us we should plan for one strength day per week to maintain, two days a week to see progress.

Stephanie Howe, nutritionist and winner of Western States 100 this year came to talk to us about sports nutrition.

Stephanie Howe

photos via Thomas and Velo Photography

Takeaway: nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated and carbohydrates aren’t evil.  Emphasize fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Aim to fill up 50% of your plate with fruits and veg, then add a whole grain and a lean protein.  You need to take in enough energy to power your metabolism (how much energy your body requires to sustain itself), thermogenesis (energy required for digestion, absorption and transporting nutrients), NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) and exercise.

Lauren Fleshman talked to us about goal setting.  She discussed the difference between setting an obvious goal (e.g. completing a marathon), something that a lot of people want to achieve but not necessarily understanding what achieving that goal means to you, versus creating a goal from scratch.

Takeaway: Set your own definition of success as a goal needs to be meaningful to you to be effective.  There are so many things you can gain if you keep moving forward in the face of adversity.  Have an athletic goal, but also set a personal goal to encourage balance.

We also had a pro panel discussion with Kara Goucher, Lauren Fleshman, Kate Grace and Stephanie Howe.  No question was off limits!  I asked the girls how they overcome negative internal dialogue during training or a race.  Some suggestions?  Write down the negative thought as that helps to take away its power, then write down the positive counter thought.  Also don’t be afraid to talk to yourself out loud.

Deschutes Twilight 5K

There just happened to be a 5K race in Bend while #birdcamp was going on, the Deschutes Twilight 5K!  A 5K race with 100 teammates followed by celebrations with Deschutes Twilight Ale?  What isn’t to like?

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photo via Thomas and Velo Photography

The race started off with a nice run up a hill, then a rewarding downhill and a flat push to finish.  I really wasn’t sure how the race would go…my main goal was to just keep running.  I pushed hard to the finish…ow, pain face!

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photo via Thomas and Velo Photography

Garmin says I squeaked in at 29:52!  I wasn’t sure I had a sub-30 5K in my post-Ironman tired legs so that was a nice surprise.  It was then time to enjoy some Twilight Ale (which was delicious) and time with my teammates!

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with Ashley (my roommate for the weekend) and Paulette

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with Beth and Alicia

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with Becky, Stacey, Paulette, Victoria, Jessica and Emily

Hiking Smith Rock

Luckily the weather was glorious for the rest of camp and we all boarded a bus to head out to Smith Rock.  IMG 3868

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photo via Thomas and Velo Photography

Lauren explained the different options for trail running or for hiking.

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photo via Thomas and Velo Photography

I joined up with the group hiking up Misery Ridge…apparently most difficult??


The trail climbed swiftly.


It was so neat to look down and see all of the birds below!


The views near the top were so rewarding!

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Finally at the top!


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photo via Thomas and Velo Photography

Lauren really can fly!

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On the way down we went past Monkey Rock, where there were a few rock climbers scaling up the side.


It was such a beautiful day at Smith Rock, and what a great hike!

Saturday Morning Trail Run

It was time to explore some of the beautiful running trails around Bend!  A lot of the girls were running long distances, but luckily Lisa was hoping to run something a bit shorter at whatever pace.  We hopped in a car with Christine Babcock (one of the Little Wing runners) who took us out to one of her favourite trails (that was also a bit flatter).

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The trail was so pretty as we ran into the trees...

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…and towards some waterfalls.

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Lisa and I had met when I was in Boulder but it was really nice to run with her, chat and get to know her better.  Thank you for the wonderful run Lisa!

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Bend Brewfest

We had some free time on Saturday to explore Bend as we wished.  I did a little shopping at FootZone and grabbed my first ever cold brew coffee from Thump.  That cold brew was delicious and I now need to try and make some at home!

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After that Atha and I decided to explore Bend Brewfest.

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photo via Atha

Admission was free, but $15 got you a tasting mug and five tasting tokens.  Extra tokens were $1 each.

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I really enjoyed the opportunity to try so many delicious brews from the Pacific Northwest and I really enjoyed spending time with Atha.  Our beer tastes are very similar and there were some really great IPAs for us to try.  This is an event I would love to go back to, plus I know Neil would love it as well!

The Wrap Up

Saturday night finished up with tacos, more beers, donuts and dancing at Crow’s Feet Commons in Bend.  It was hard to believe our time at #birdcamp was coming to a close!

Bird Camp Collage

The experience at #birdcamp was one I will never forget.  The passion that everyone at Oiselle has for the brand and for women in sport is inspiring.  Sally may have started the company thanks to a need for flattering running shorts, but it has grown so much beyond that.  Considering I hated running as a kid I’m amazed by how much I love it now, and how much running has brought me.  My heart and passion for running was uplifted and rejuvenated by meeting everyone and discovering what running means to them.

It is such an honour to run for Oiselle and represent them, and I am so grateful I was able to go to #birdcamp.  Thank you to everyone I met that weekend for making it such a special experience for me.  And thank you to Sarah Lesko, Kristin Metcalf and Sally Bergesen for putting so much heart and effort in to organizing a marvellous weekend for everyone!

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photo by Thomas and Velo Photography

Monday, September 1, 2014

August Recap and September Goals

It has been a few months since I’ve done a goal post because I really only had one goal for July and August…have a great day at Ironman Boulder.  I thought it would be useful to catch up on everything that has gone on in August and then set the tone for training after Ironman.  Here we go!

September Goals

Ironman Boulder

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Done!  If you missed my race report, you can catch up on the swim, bike and run stories.  It was quite an amazing and tough day and I’m really proud of my race.

Las Vegas

After the race Neil and I drove to Las Vegas for a few days of post Ironman R&R.  It was such a great way to unwind and celebrate.  We stayed at the Aria, saw Penn & Teller and ate some very delicious food!  We ate at Julian Serrano (delicious tapas), Mesa Grill (blown away by the amazing flavours and great service) and Craftsteak (we love Tom Colicchio’s restaurants) and I would recommend all of them.




Just before we left for Boulder we discovered a raspberry growing on Peat’s rear leg, right on the ankle joint.

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Luckily Peat has an amazing vet and we were referred to a specialist for an appointment after we got back from vacation.  He had the mass removed that day and sent in for biopsy.  The great news is that the mass was benign, but because it was in such a tricky spot Peat’s recovery is a bit tough.  

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He still has to wear the cone of shame most of the time and Neil and I have to change his bandage every day.  Despite the discomfort and that he has to hop around on three legs he’s still a pretty happy dog.

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I haven’t had a chance to put the amazing experience that was Oiselle #birdcamp to words.  It was a long weekend in Bend, Oregon with some of the most passionate and wonderful people I’ve ever met.  We raced a 5K, we hiked, we ran trails and we got to hang out with some of the amazing ladies of Oiselle.  It was one of the best weekends ever and I felt so fortunate to have been able to go.

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Photo via Thomas and Velo Photography

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September Goals

I am now working towards the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge at Disney World in January!  That is a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday.  Neil and I are also off to Disney World for the Tower of Terror 10 Miler in October for the third year in a row and I can’t wait for that!

My goals for September are:

  • Bring back strength training!  I did 30 minutes on Monday and I was hit with the worst case of DOMs for several days afterwards.  Ironman training doesn’t leave much time for anything but swim/bike/run and I’m looking forward to incorporating more strength training into my routine.
  • Core training, three times per week, including the Lesko Dozen two days a week.  Some of the ladies I met at #birdcamp have started a check in group on Facebook to keep each other motivated to get our double Dozen in!

There we go, pretty simple goals and nothing new.  Just stuff I want to bring back into the routine!  

What are your goals for September?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ironman Boulder - the run

I had made it through the bike (not very cheerily) and it was now time to run.  I stuck with the same tri top and tri shorts (my favourite tri shorts from Coeur Sports), but I decided to add on a blue Sparkle Athletics skirt to my race ensemble for fun.

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That might have been one of my best decisions of the day!  As soon as I get out on the course I hear the fellow behind me say, “nice skirt!”  It was my teammate Phil who was now on his second lap of the run.  Phil and I chatted and ran together a tiny bit, but then I let him pull ahead so I could start out at my own pace.

I had my Garmin set to beep for 5:1 intervals.  I was hoping that this would give me a walk break about half way between aid stations and another walk break just in time for the aid stations.  I started grabbing Coke and water at each aid station.

A couple of miles in I came upon my cheer squad!


My mom and dad, Neil, and my friends Kelly’s and Shannon’s husbands.


My first thought when I saw them was I had no idea what my time was in the race.  I hadn’t looked to see what time I had gotten in the water at and my Garmin had been set to auto pause on the bike.  I didn’t know how much time I had lost to stopping and I wasn’t sure if the total time on my watch included those stops or not.  Luckily Neil had my tracking information handy so he was able to tell me my bike split but I still wasn’t sure what the total time on my watch meant.


Oh well, I had to keep moving!

I was having a very difficult time catching my breath while I was running.  I was really surprised as I hadn’t expected the altitude to affect me that much.  After all, Calgary is fairly high up too.  I soon left the shady part of the course by the creek and was out in the open a bit more and it was still a pretty hot day.  I had mentioned the number of people I saw lying in the ditch on the bike…it was pretty bad on the run too.  Lots of people being ill on the side of the path.  One person laying down on a big rock and having a nap.  Golf carts giving people a ride to the finish line because their day was over.  

I had to make a quick stop at a porta-potty at mile 6 and there was a girl standing outside.  She told me to watch my step because she had just been sick on the ground right in front of the toilet.  I tried to get in and out as quickly as possible but the heat in there and the sick outside was making me feel dizzy.  From there I started to feel awful.  I was still having a hard time catching my breath, I was feeling dizzy and my stomach was starting to feel like it was going to be sick.  I started walking.

At the next aid station I tried grabbing Coke and water again but it was not sitting well and I had to throw it out.  This was going to be a long race if I was going to have issues keeping nutrition down.

I saw my family around mile 9.  I managed a smile for my dad...


…but as soon as I got to Neil I broke down crying which very swiftly turned to hyperventilating.  Neil told me to keep walking and he walked a few steps with me.  I told him about the shortness of breath, the dizziness, the unhappy tummy and that I was really worried that I would have to pull out of the race.  He told me I had plenty of time to finish even if I walked.  I still had no idea what my time was in the race so I didn’t truly believe him on that, and I knew that it would be a really long night if I kept walking from here on out.

Just as Neil was trying to give me a pep talk Kelly saw me for the first time!  That poor girl…she is always so excited to see me on the run course at Ironman and I’m always having a melt down when I see her!  The same thing happened in 2012.  Both Neil and Kelly told me to get on my way so I kept on walking.

I told myself that I needed to fix this problem.  I needed to find something at the next aid station that I could stomach so I could keep fuelling.  I was initially thinking pretzels but as soon as I saw grapes I grabbed those.  They were like little bursts of heaven in my mouth.  Those, plus some more water and Coke and my stomach was feeling okay.

My number one goal for the run at Boulder was to not walk the marathon so I knew I needed to try running again.  I figured it didn’t matter how much, but any amount of running would help me get to the finish line faster than if I was just walking.  I switched up my Garmin to beep 1:1 intervals…1 minute of walking, 1 minute of running.  Okay, I could do this.  I spotted my friend Shannon running towards me.  The last time I had seen her she was in a similar boat..unhappy tummy, not feeling well and she was going to start walking.  Seeing Shannon running was my motivation that if she could turn it around so could I.

I heard someone yell my name and it was my Oiselle teammate Bret!  She ran up beside me and told me that I was looking great!  I told her I wasn’t feeling so hot, but she kept telling me that I looked awesome.  Seeing her was a huge boost!  I mean…if I looked awesome maybe I should be awesome too?

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I thanked her for the cheers and kept going.  The 1:1s were doing the trick.  My stomach was settling down and I wasn’t feeling so dizzy and lightheaded anymore.  I passed by special needs.  I had stashed some chips, a way too big shirt from Great White North from last year and my headlamp.  I grabbed my headlamp but left the rest behind.  I wasn’t too worried about it cooling off too much later in the evening.

I hit the halfway point at 3:09:53.

My teammate Evan caught up with me on a walk break just before he made his turn off to the finish.  We ran together for a little bit before his turn.  This was his first Ironman so I told him to enjoy the moment running to the finish line…one of the best feelings in the world!  One of my favourite things about the run course at Boulder was that I was able to see all of my teammates except for Angie and I was able to run with Phil, Chris and Evan for a short bit.  I loved having those moments out on the race course with them!

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The sun was starting to set now and that made a huge difference in how I was feeling.  I decided to change my intervals up to 2 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking.  Anything to keep me moving forward a little bit faster!  I didn’t really notice it to begin with, but the majority of people around me were all walking now.  Just as I approached a turn around at mile 16 I passed a lady.  She commented that I’d been passing her all day and that I needed to keep it up, stay in front of her and start picking off the people in front of me.  From there to the finish I passed a lot of folks but I think maybe only three people passed me?  I couldn’t believe that I was still running while everyone around me was walking.  I heard from people after the race about how they saw more people walking and from really early on than they had noticed in other races.  I think it is a testament to how tough of a day it was out there for many people.

I kept up with my 2:1 intervals and just kept moving.  I also kept grabbing Coke and ice water at every aid station, plus grapes here and there.  Once the chicken broth came out I alternated between that and Coke.  Once it got dark out and they started to hand out the glowing necklaces I put my headlamp on.  It got really dark out on the pathway so I was glad I had thought of putting my headlamp in special needs!  I was also feeling a lot of love out there on the course for my Sparkle Skirt!  I got a lot of comments from fellow racers and so many cheers from spectators.  It really helped to put a smile on my face!

I kept looking at my watch, trying to think if I would be able to make it in under 16 hours.  I estimated that if I had started at 6:30 and if I kept up the pace I was at I should be able to do it.  Finally I made the turn off course and towards the finish line.  People were cheering, yelling congratulations and that we would soon be an Ironman.  I could hear Mike Reilly announcing people in at the finish line and the emotions were catching up with me.

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The final few meters along the red carpet to the finish line were so sweet.

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I had wanted to make Boulder my best day ever.  I went from thinking I may have to pull out on the run to running a negative split on the marathon.  I had mentioned my first half of the marathon was 3:09:53.  I ran that second half in 2:55:47!  Run all done in 6:05:40.

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And I even managed to make my goal and come in under 16 hours.  15:42:23!!!

I’m proud of my race and that I was able to turn things around on that run course.  It was not an easy day out there and I feel like I really earned that finish line.  Thank you to every single one of my friends, family and team members.  Their little words of encouragement meant so much and helped pull me up when things were getting tough.  And thank you to everyone who was tracking online, tweeted me or has cheered me along on my journey to Boulder.

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And to my best teammates Kelly and Shannon, thank you for all of your love and support on this journey to another Ironman.  I’m so lucky to have you as friends!  (PS Tara…thank you for being such a great training partner and friend…I missed you in Boulder!)


The finish line…the best feeling in the world...