Race Report: Toronto Triathlon Festival

This past Sunday one of my favourite triathlons of the season happened, the Toronto Triathlon Festival. I have participated in this race almost every year it has happened, and for the past two years have had the honour of being the Director of Ambassadors, coordinating the community ambassador team.

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This years race happened a couple weeks later in the season which was really nice, because the water was much warmer, and definitely felt that way. Something else new this year was the location of the expo. The swim start, finish line, post race party, and expo all happened in the parking lot of Ontario Place. This great change meant that everything you needed was close at hand, and it definitely made for a more spectator friendly experience.

The race festivities kicked off on Friday when the expo opened, and got really exciting Saturday with the shake our run with Olympian Simon Whitfield, and the ambassador team. Over the past couple years I’ve got to know Simon through this event and any chance to hear him speak is one I jump all over. He makes amazing connections to mindfulness and sport and has this real way of speaking the truth while being motivating and hopeful for athletes no matter their level of experience. What resonated with me this year, was him once again keeping it real, and sharing the nerves he experienced when at the start line – questioning whether he belonged – if his equipment was ood enough compared to others – and his ability… turns out he’s just like us!

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My Goals

After coming off of back-to-back injuries since May my goals were pretty modest, as even days before the race I was uncertain that I would even cross the start line. After an extensive self-care and recovery strategy I felt healthy enough to start and set the following three race goals:

  1. Run Fast! Prior to my injury, I had been putting more of a focus on running, racing faster, and using the race mantra that no mater what my watch said I would be racing to the maximum of my intensity – and in an ideal race situation, not referring to my watch.  I was able to do this in Mississauga and in Kincardine and I’ve found that with my watch I have been intentionally running slower, because I would look at my pace and doubt myself thinking “oh no, I can’t hold  4:55” when truthfully I could, and did. So my goal was to stop doubting myself and run fast and the hardest I could in every moment.file1-6
  2. Place something other than 5th and 8th. So the truth about this goal, and any goal that has to do with place, it really has nothing to do with me and my performance as much as who else is there that day – so it’s a crappy goal. You see, I can race a PB, but if someone faster is there, my goal has failed, I can’t control it. So really I don’t suggest these types of goals, but for me it seems like every triathlon I place either 5th or 8th, including Kincardine where I set the same goal, and still came 5th. So I set this goal again, and placed 7th in my age group. Now fourth would’ve been nice too, but I’m happy with 7th – and not 5th or 8th.
  3. Look competitive AF! This goal was a fun extension of our Ragnar Relay. When we thought we might be placing near the top our van came up with the one liner “You look competitive”. It was funny and made me think of the gals in my crew, which acted as inspiration as well. So in action, this goal was similar to my first, at every moment of the race, keep my head in the game, and look strong and focused and competitive AF – even if that wasn’t how I felt. It certainly helped me to stay in the moment and keep moving ahead and being strong.

Following the race TTF had food trucks, vendors, and a beer garden. I picked up a new triathlon kit from a Montreal company called Brava (check them out here) and we hung around, recovering, reflecting, and having a great time in the sun.

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This was certainly a great year to race TTF and if it’s on your goal list, don’t wait any longer.

My next race is in Wasaga Beach, where i’ve decided again to race the sprint distance (vs my original plan of the Olympic). TTF has certainly fired me up and I’m already looking forward to putting in the work to stay injury free and cross that finish line – maybe this time in 4th 😉 (who am I kidding, I really want to podium)

 

Making The Most of #IPLC2017

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This post was originally shared through a blog I wrote for Parc. View the original post at http://parc.ophea.net/article/making-most-iplc2017.

The International Physical Literacy Conference (IPLC) is coming to the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, April 12-15, 2017. The IPLC is designed to bring together sport, health, education and recreation experts and practitioners, and policy-makers from across Canada and around the world to advance the knowledge, application and implementation of physical literacy programming across the globe. The conference will engage leaders, practitioners and stakeholders of physical literacy from around the world in a truly collaborative and innovative environment – and just happens to be the first place my book with Human Kinetics, Physical Literacy On The Move, will appear.

PARC and Ophea are very excited to be participating in this year’s IPLC. As a PARC Trainer, and H&PE Consultant with Ophea, I will be leading two workshops at #IPLC2017, so have complied my top five list for getting the most out of your conference experience!

1. Start following the hashtag NOW!

See who else is getting excited about #IPLC2017 and start connecting. Learn what they’re looking forward to and where they’re coming from. People come from around the world to this conference, so let’s get excited for a global physical literacy uprising together. Also, don’t forget to follow @S4L_SPV and @parcontario on Twitter. (And me too! @CatchingHeather)

2. Be prepared!

Many of the workshops at #IPLC2017 are active, so wear your runners and be dressed to move. Also consider bringing a water bottle, healthy snacks, and possibly an extra shirt for a quick change – you never know when a DancePl3y flash mob will break out!

3. Plan your workshops now.

Why wait? Sure, from years of attending and presenting at HPE conferences I know the first evening is usually reserved for sitting around with your team, and a few drinks, and making your conference workshop picks. “Ok, I’ll trade you a Getting Active After-School workshop in time slot B3 (Thursday April 13th) for an Addressing the Gender Gap in Physical Literacy workshop in time slot D3 (Friday April 14th)” Don’t wait! Make those picks now! Check out the workshop descriptions and conference festivities on IPLC website.

4. Leave the pen, bring your smart phone.

Why worry about missing an important fact while copying notes from a Power Point when you can just take a photo of the slide and keep on learning. This also applies to resources, videos of games, dances, or activities – don’t worry about writing the rules or steps, catch it in live action for later reference. Even better yet tweet that out (referencing the presenter of course – or even better, tag them directly in the tweet) and share it with the entire physical literacy community. If it’s inspired you, it’ll be guaranteed to inspire someone else. Don’t forget the hashtag #IPLC2017.

5. Be open to new ideas!

Take risks and move out of you comfort zone when it comes to new experiences, and learning. Try activities that are new and be open to new ideas and ways of thinking and doing. Attending a conference of this calibre is about connecting with people. So, be sure to bring a great level of energy, pack a water bottle, and most importantly have fun!

Sweat It Out: Orangetheory Fitness

At the end of October I was invited to check out Orangetheory Fitness in Oakville. I had seen this company popping up on my social from their Ottawa center and was excited to give their interval based training a try. After checking out the Oakville studio I was hooked and within two days I found myself at their Park Lawn location signing up for a monthly unlimited pass. Here’s what OTF is all about.

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What is OTF?

Essentially, OTF combines intervals of water rowing with strength training and various treadmill running intervals for a killer one hour workout. Classes are designed to push you into the “Orange Zone,”(get it…Orangetheory Fitness) which translates to 84% or higher of your maximum heart rate, for 12 to 20 minutes of the workout.

Throughout the workout you are tracked through your heart rate monitor (via chest strap or wrist band) to TV monitors throughout the center and your metrics including heart rate, calories burned, heart rate zones, and what OTF refer to as “splat points” are displayed.

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The Science.

OTF is backed by the science of Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (or EPOC), where their heart rate monitored training workouts are designed for you to maintain a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy. When you first enroll you give them your height and weight and this is used to give you specific metrics from anyone else. During the workout you are encouraged to earn 12 or more “splat points” (aka spend 12 or more minutes in their orange or red heart rate training zones) in order to experience what they call “the after burn”. OTF claims that their members “burn an estimated 500 to 1,000 calories in 60 minutes” and with this after burn “keep burning calories for up to 36 hours.” I have now attended 6 classes and my calories have ranged from 510-600, and I’ve seen the monitors of others displaying calories in the 1000 range. Here’s some data emailed post workout from my first visit:

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A Typical Workout.

Now there is no one class, according to an instructor last week they have 364 unique classes (they are closed on Christmas day). The classes follow four themes—endurance, strength, power, or a combination of all three on the same day. So you’ll spend 20-25 minutes doing cardio, 20-25 minutes doing weight lifting or rowing which could include TRX, medicine balls, free weights, body weight exercises – in my six classes I have yet to do the same exercises twice.

The Draw For Me.

After attending this free class I actually purchased an unlimited monthly class pass. What I like about OTF is that it gives me my strength training which I’m often lacking with my busy training and work schedule. It’s competitive but it’s also not. In one class you’ll have ultra-competitive and experienced folks (like a guy last week in his Boston Marathon shirt) and then people who are clearly new to fitness, older, and just needing to move. Also having the heart rate monitor and seeing how hard you’re working, means for me, that I can’t slack off – but don’t think this means other people see you metrics – well the physically do, but no one cares. Typically you don’t know peoples names and people are so concerned with their own workout that I’ve never heard of anyone passing judgement on the results of others. We’re all in this killer workout together. Plus, the workout is always different and changes every day so that makes it fun too.

Top of the line equipment, great music, killer moves, if you’re looking for something different day after day this is definitely a workout you should check out. Studios are popping up all over the GTA and they have various priced packages depending on your goals and workout needs. Check out OTF online to find a center near you.