Thursday, October 31, 2013

Beautiful Fall

Having missed fall last year, (what with traipsing around New Zealand and all), I’m feeling extra lucky to be home and soaking up this amazing autumn that we are currently experiencing in Victoria.

The colours of this season all seem so vivid and so bright!

The blue skied days have been amazing (even if today has more of a grey tinge) and I’m pretty sure the leaves are extra crisp and vibrant this year.

I love crunching the freshly fallen leaves under my feet as I run, or hearing them rustle under my tires as I pedal my bike. Rusty seems to like running through the piles of leaves on the sides of the roads too, and watching his joy never gets old.

Another favourite odd little pleasure is stepping on a freshly fallen pine cone and feeling that slow "crunch" underfoot. Scraping the ice off my car windows, and yet still needing sunglasses is pretty awesome too.

Aside from the colours and brisk, bright days, (and scarves and boots and chunky sweaters) another thing I’ve been enjoying about this fall so far has been getting back into a bit of structure and routine on the training front.

I took some time off post-TransRockies (and absolutely loved it) but when October 1st hit, it was time to get back at it. When I checked my training calendar and saw all the lovely planned workouts, I may have been, oh, just a little bit excited. [As much as I loved and needed the “do what you feel like” month post-TRR, I think I like structure more. More simply put, I like having someone tell me what to do – it gets me off my ass.]

I’ve started back training with Kelly this year, and you know, it’s great. It was nice to have a bit of a break and learn some new things and train with a different coach for a season (especially when it was such a different season for me), but there is something very comfortable and familiar about working with Kelly again and I’m really happy to be back under his guidance. I’ve got big goals for IMCdA, and I think with his help, I’ll achieve them.

Training isn’t anything crazy right now, mainly just easy workouts, redeveloping my routine, working on my strength, and getting in the habit of early mornings and the ol’ two-a-days. And you know, I am really enjoying it – especially my early mornings at the pool! (Remind me of that in June when I'm so sick of training and just want the race to be over, mm'kay?).

So yeah, there isn’t anything mind blowing or awe-inspiring happening in my life at the moment, but well, I’d say, so far, this fall has been pretty darn good.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I sat down to write a post about this past weekend (Thanksgiving weekend), about how it was filled with so many reasons to be thankful… and while this is so soo true (it was a great weekend), I can’t seem to get it to come out of my brain, through my fingertips, into any sort of sensical writing.

So, instead, here is a list of just a few of the things that made me feel all warm and fuzzy this weekend…
  • Sunny fall weather.
  • Evenings filled with wedding dresses and race expos.
  • A quiet pool and swim lanes all to myself.
  • Solo bike rides with the colourful leaves falling all around me.
  • Red Barn wraps and chocolate milk.
  • Marathon weekend in Victoria.
    All of it. The cheering. The smiles at the finish lines. The grimaces. The determination.
  • Awesome friends.
  • Witnessing Justin rock his first half marathon.
  • Apple fritters and americanos.
  • Seeing Kirsten grit out another marathon when her legs decided to fail her ~ and getting to run with her for the last few kms and think that maybe, I helped distract her, even just for a second, from the pain.
  • The return of The Walking Dead.
  • Sleeping in and lazing around the house.
  • De-slugging and portaging canoes.
  • Family dinners.
  • Apple crisp and tofurkey.
  • Comfy pants.
  • Gummy candies.
  • Cuddles with the pup.
  • Family.
    All of them. Shane. Rusty. Mom. Dad. Kirsten. Tyler. Grandma(s). Aunts. Uncles. Cousins.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thursday Things (5 of ‘em)

1) I had a thought in the pool this morning that maybe Kirsten and I should go to Colorado to run the TransRockies Run3 next summer as a fun last minute bachelorette party before her wedding (don’t worry Shane and Tyler, it was just a thought).

So yeah, I guess it only took me 7(ish) weeks to make it to that point where, when I’m asked “would you do it again?” that I’m not like “well, maybe, but definitely not next year.”  I suppose I have my answer now, haha.

7 weeks to get to that point is definitely a slower turnaround than Ironman, as I usually go from “not again” to “sign me up” in less than 8hrs with an Ironman, but still… progress.

2) Speaking of, as much as I enjoyed all the trail running I did this summer, it did make me realize how much I love the variety of triathlon. In the last month I’ve probably spent more time in the pool and on my bike than I did all summer long, and well, I’ve liked it, a lot. Like, a lot a lot.

The combo of swim, bike AND run are good for my soul.

3) I’m getting back into a bit more structured training regime as I start to look ahead to IMCdA.

Of course, that means getting back into the morning routine and heading to the pool before daylight breaks. This morning I swam in a near empty pool [amazing], forgot a towel and had to dry off post-shower with my sweatpants [hilarious], and followed it up with an early arrival in town and a leisurely stroll to Habit.

Not that I don’t go there often, but let me tell you, that first sip of a Habit americano after a swim workout is one of my favourite things. I’m not sure why, but something about swimming makes it taste that much sweeter (and not in the sugary sweet way, but in the amazing tasting way).

"Once it hits your lips, it’s so good!" – Frank the Tank

4) As for the bike, I mentioned before that I’ve been commuting by bike a bit more frequently over the last little while. I know that there aren’t any ‘no drafting’ rules in commuting, and that people are free to do what they like, but holy-hell do I get pissy when people sit on my wheel.

Allow me to rant about one such situation…

A couple weeks ago a guy (who was clearly very fit and probably way faster than me) sat on my wheel for a good 10k. I slowed down to let him pass, and he slowed with me. I sped up to try and drop him, and he stayed glued to my backside. Then, at one of the stoplights we hit, he stayed so far and awkwardly behind me that I couldn’t actually say anything to him (you know, like stop being a dick).

Anyway, as I said before, I’m aware people are free to do what they like while commuting, and drafting isn’t the huge no-no that it is in triathlon, but man, I still think it is flippin’ rude!

So, Mr. Drafter, at the very least, maybe take the lead from time to time and don’t make me do all the work. Let’s work together, mmmkay? Maybe we could even be friends. Maybe.

Phew. That feels better to get that off my chest.

5) And finally. This.
[The whole tumblr is actually pretty great, and while it is ultra-specific, I could relate to a whole heck-of-a-lot of it].

One more day until the long weekend ~ Happy Thanksgiving my Canada peeps!

Friday, October 4, 2013

My sister is Awesome, with a capital A!

Those of you who already know Kirsten probably agree, she's pretty awesome, right? For those of you who don't know her, well, let me give you just one little reason that will prove my point.

In follow up to my last post [click here to go back and read it, I'll wait... ♫ final Jeopardy music sweetly plays in the background ♫]

Okay, good, you're done? We're all on the same page now? Perfect.

Anyway, to follow up on that last post, Kirsten decided to make one last push in the fundraising department for Right to Play as she heads into her taper for the Victoria Marathon. (Yes, she is running the marathon after having fairly recently completed TransRockies... she's awesome. And crazy).

This last little push for Right to Play comes with one SUPER AWESOME GIGANTIC TWIST though.

You ready for this?

Any money she collects from now until the marathon (or until she reaches her newly upped goal of $1500), she will personally match, and pay it forward to Audrey Lou.

In my opinion, this is a win-win-win all over the place, as this means every dollar donated to her Quest for Kids page is actually matched 4x! 

3x by Right to Play for the children of Benin and 1x by Kirsten for Audrey.

In Kirsten's words: "It will make suffering through a marathon that much easier, because really compared to what these kids deal with, running is easy."

Told you she was awesome.

Anyway, you can check out Kirsten's newly updated Quest for Kids page here.

Once again, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to everyone for the continued support.
It sure does make my heart smile.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Audrey Lou ~ this one's for you kid!

About a month after Kirsten and I decided that we were going to support Martin Parnell’s TransRockies Quest 888 and raise money for Right to Play on our journey to the TransRockies Run, good friends of mine and Shane’s got dealt the blow of a lifetime.

Just shy of her first birthday, their baby girl (Audrey Lou) was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

Shane does not cry much, but when he got the call from Justin (Audrey’s Dad), and tears started streaming down his cheeks, I knew something wasn’t right.

Through all the ups & downs, rounds of chemo and surgeries, lil’ Audrey Lou has been a fighter and continues to battle this disease with a smile, making each and every doctor who meets her fall in love.

Tell me you don't melt, just a little, when you see that toothy grin.
Audrey's parents, Justin & Amber, are an awesome couple who I feel incredibly lucky to be able to call my friends. Throughout this whole ordeal, they've continued to remain positive and strong, even though the strain (emotionally and financially) on them is absolutely massive.

[More info about Audrey and her amazing parents can be found here].

Anyway, at the time we found out about Audrey, it didn’t feel right to pull the plug on the commitment Kirsten and I had made to raising funds for Right to Play (because I do believe it is an incredible organization and Martin is an awesome ambassador, who I was honored to meet and fundraise with), but I also struggled with asking people to support that cause when I knew what Justin & Amber were going through. As such, Kirsten ended up doing most of the fund raising for Right to Play and I just kind of piggy backed along on her efforts. Nevertheless, I am so grateful and absolutely humbled by the donations we received. Our friends and families willingness to support a cause we believe in is truly awesome.

Anyway, fast forward to a week or so after TransRockies…

Shane and I were talking about Audrey (as we so often do these days) and we both realized that we really wanted to run our next Ironman for her. When I proposed the idea to Kirsten, she was in too.

Our ideas on how exactly to do this are still a work in progress, but I can say one thing for certain ~ Audrey will be front and center in our minds as we prepare for IM CdA. This race is for her (and Justin & Amber) and will be fuelled and inspired by lil’ A-Lou’s fighting spirit.

And so, TEAM A-LOU is born!

We hope to raise some funds to help lighten the financial burden on Justin & Amber, so they can focus fully on Audrey and not have to worry about money. Should Audrey beat this disease or the financial strain on Justin & Amber lessen before we make it to the start line in Coeur d'Alene, we will shift our fund raising efforts to be in supports of BC Children’s Hospital. The work the doctors and staff do there is simply amazing.

We are currently tossing around the idea of doing a spin-a-thon type fundraiser on the bike trainers ~ ‘cause, well, if Audrey can kick cancers ass, we can sit our butts on the trainers for hours on end. We’re still hammering out details and will decide on a date soon. So, stay tuned!

Anyway, as I said, our ideas on are still a work in progress. In the meantime, you can check our Audrey Lou’s Fund on Facebook, as well as her Fundrazr Page should you wish to donate.

One of my favourite photos of Audrey Lou (and her little buddy Liam)
cheering us on last summer at IMC.