Road to 70.3: Week 7

It’s hard to believe that as I’m writing this I will be starting the second month of my 5 month training program. Time certainly is flying and the great news is that I’m still having fun.

Last week was another big build with one three hour brick – eventually this will grow to be around 7 hours. Finishing workouts like this require prep – not only the physical prep of the body to get to a place where it’s doable – but also prep of life – having the time to get it done – having the supplies/fuel you need to be successful. Time is often no problem – I’m able to get it done – I’m still a little unorganized when it comes to fuel and supplies, so that will continue to be my goal.

Here’s how it went down:


MONDAY: As with every Monday, today was a double run day. Sprints with our workplace crew at TMX, followed by Sprints with Tribe. This was my first real sprint session back after my ankle and I really enjoyed picking up the pace. The CNE was packed with people on their way to a concert, but we dodged the crowds and got the work in. Certainly not as fast as pre injury, but I’m looking forward to working on that in the coming weeks.

TUESDAY: I did my first of two big bricks this week on Tuesday, alone. I got in a 1.5km swim followed by a 50min bike. I got my 10km run in after teaching YFit on a special Tribe run with City Running Tours Toronto. This run was a charity event supporting the fires of Fort McMurray. The tour was their music history tour – it was a lot of fun, but my legs were spent and felt like bricks.


WEDNESDAY: I switched up the 45min ride for our Tribe 5km run. With all the other Tribe events happening this week only a couple gals showed up, so we kept it nice and light. Stretching and rolling filled up the rest of my night.


THURSDAY: After a blogger event in the morning I took part in the Bike For Tykes charity spin class. I rode for 60 minutes with all funds raised going to SickKids. This was my third time participating in this fun event for a great cause.


My day ended with another sweating for social good event with the Black Lungs Ekiden Relay. This is a very fun crew event where local run clubs an crews enter teams of six to run the distance of a marathon. Tribe had 3 teams, and I was very happen to run a 6.1km leg of the race. As a result I kept the remained of my training light (aka I didn’t swim). If was a lot of fun, filled with Tribe Love, and many laughs.

FRIDAY: Knowing I wouldn’t be available to work out on Sunday I moved around my weekend brick and got it done today. After training a morning client I started with a 1.5km swim at 10:30am, hopped on my bike for two hours, and during a very hot point in the day went out for a short 4km run. The heat was brutal and my lack of fueling prior to the workout and during the swim and ride really showed. I simply wasn’t prepared with great breakfast food and then taking quality food with me during my workouts. Again, I just need to get my butt in gear and have great food to fuel on and train with all the time.


SATURDAY: Although we have started our Tribe SeaWheeze training, many of our crew are continuing to come out for 10km. Anticipating this I went out prior to our crew workout to get some extra km in. This plan worked out very well and allowed my to hold pace with the 10km ladies while getting my full workout in.


Saturday afternoon I met up with Courtney, Mel, Kat, and Ale for a brief and dang cold open water swim. We went to Cherry Beach, which wasn’t as packed as I had anticipated and took to the water. The cold really got the best of me. I did about 400m but my hands, feet, and face just couldn’t handle it. I was still happy with the work, but know i’ll need to get out there even more as I prep for my half iron man.

SUNDAY: Today was my rest day and was all about family. I had hoped to do a strength workout, but I slept in until 9am (so nice) before attention a family event for the remainder of the day.

My goal for this week is to take either Thursday and Friday and ensure my kitchen is stacked with great food to fuel my workouts. I need to make sure I have quality breakfast foods that will sustain me and get used to riding and running with hydration for my long efforts.

Missed a week of my training?

Week Six  Week Five  Week Four

Week Three  Week Two  Week One

Road to 70.3: Week 6

For the first time in my training this cycle I actually thought to myself “I feel strong”. With my hamstring and lower back/hip injuries, and of course my ankle, it’s been a while that I’ve run or lifted weights and actually felt pain free and powerful. Happily, this happened last week.


MONDAY: Today continued our 10 week workplace wellness run club out of the Stock Exchange. This is a very fun group with a variety of paces and always lots of laughs. We did 7km of intervals, and as I was supporting all runners my pace varied. I usually follow this workout with our Tribe interval workout, however today Tribe Mentor Allison was going to lead the workout, so I enjoyed an evening of stretching and rolling at home.

TUESDAY: After a long weekend of working out I wanted to bump my cross training/rest day. I also knew I had a Tribe run on Wednesday so I wouldn’t be able to take Wednesday off. Today I went to Studio Lagree in the morning. This is a Pilates studio that uses reformer machines. I always get a great workout here and this was the first time in a while that I actually felt strong and back to myself after my various injuries. I spent the afternoon planning a new YFit class profile and taught later Tuesday evening.

WEDNESDAY: Today’s workout was a 60min tempo run and 30 minutes of either strength or flexibility. With our Tribe run being only 5km I added on to the start of the run and made it back in time only by the skin of my teeth. My legs were feeling heavy, but I am certainly feeling better movement through my hips and spine. We kept the pace steady and even included a small sprint to the finish. Post run eats were had at Tex Mex Radio Bar – it’s always great to spend time not running with our crew.


THURSDAY: Today Kat and I got in a morning brick consisting of a 2km swim and 20km bike ride. My ankle often starts off pretty stiff during my swims but loosens up after about 100m. For the ride we mixed up our route and headed East towards Cherry Beach and the Leslie Spit. East has way to many stop lights and the first and last 2.5km were incredibly slow as we navigated the waterfront trail. I had a noon hour appointment at my chiropractor and was happy to share how good I’ve been feeling during my workouts.



FRIDAY: This morning Kat and I took off extra early to get in a 95 minute ride. We rode to High Park and did a series of loops – including High Park, but also Ellis Avenue. Ellis is very steep and was a key part of my 2014 70.3 training. It is a challenge and when you get to the top of the hill breathless you feel this amazing sense of accomplishment – we did it twice before riding back. I actually didn’t realize this workout was to be a brick – so after the ride enjoyed a good sit on my couch.


SATURDAY: Today was another brick fail. I did a great run with Tribe getting in 75minutes and followed it up with brunch – it was delicious but not the brick I was to be doing. Later in the evening I stretched but didn’t swim as was scheduled.


SUNDAY: Nancy was in town today for a Mirvish show so after teaching my final weekend YFit for the summer and watching How To Get Away With Love and Murder we went for a 45 minute swim. Nancy trains with a club in Hamilton and has frequent swimming instruction as part of her training, she shared with me a drill I repeated three times (2 lengths zipper, 2 lengths hands in fists, 2 lengths head up, 4 front crawl). I enjoy swimming with my sister as she’s stronger then me and often challenges me to work harder which I enjoy.

In order to better plan my week I’ve been taking my schedule (as viewed at the top of the post) and integrating it into my daily planner. Clearly by my couple brick mishaps I need a better process, so I feel that this transferring of my training schedule into my work/life schedule will really help me pull everything together. Will it work? Stay tuned.

Race Recap: Muskoka Half IronMan

Yup, this happened. Last weekend I raced my first IronMan 70.3, the Muskoka Half. I quietly began my training back in June, wasn’t totally convinced I could do it, definitely wasn’t sure I wanted to do it, but after my July and August became unexpectedly open, I knew with the motivation and support of my all star training team, this was the time. So after a few days of reflection, here it is, my Muskoka Half IronMan Race Recap!

Friday – 2 days before the race

Nancy and I arrived to Deer Hurst early in the afternoon. The bike transition area was already set up and a giant “Welcome Triathletes” sign greeted us at the main entrance to the hotel. After learning that we couldn’t check in until later that afternoon we decided to visit some of our favourite rolling hills on a short 30 minute bike ride.

welcomeThis race would actually be the third time we’ve sweat on this course as twice this summer we came to Muskoka and trained the route. This I believe is a must because nothing anyone tells you will prepare you physically and mentally for the 94km bike loop. Knowing these hills in and out was what gave me piece of mind and helped me stay upright, unlike the many cyclists who I passed who couldn’t change gear fast enough, or didn’t have the legs to get them to the top of this “naturally challenging” course.

My legs were heavy. My hamstrings were twingey. My body was questioning why I was back here. I set my goal – to finish. bike

We checked in and grabbed our race kits, this was a very simple process, and we hit up the expo (I bought a water bottle, finisher shirt, and cycling jersey) just as the rain began to fall and a killer storm rolled in. Dinner time. We were thankful to be off the roads and eventually team “Rumblestino” was all present and we began chatting race excitement, nervousness, and strategy. The hard work (training) was done, this was the

Saturday – 1 day before the race

The next morning was relaxed as we headed out for our final shake out, a 20 minute run. Another trip to the expo, into town for lunch, and lounging around the hotel before a 5pm pasta dinner, early night of stretching, final clothing decisions, and for me, a great nights sleep. I was calm, relaxed, and ready for what race day would bring.clothes

Sunday – Race Day

Sunday morning wasn’t a particularly early start as our swim wave didn’t go until 8:30am and we had until 8 to set up in the transition zone. We prepared our places, pumped our tires, were graffiti marked with our ages, and in our wetsuits headed to the start. After a few words from Coach Kim, we were walking down to the beach, this was it. I had my first moment a panic and tears filled my eyes, the thoughts of am I ready? Will I make it? Can I do this? What did I get myself into? All flashed across my mind and took my breath away, this was happening.nancy 1

The Swim.

Nanc and I entered the swim ready in our matching pink swim caps. We were there with about 80 other women, 40+ of them in our age category. The water was surprisingly warm and following Nancy’s lead we took off using our 6 minutes to get in a few strokes, review the course, and talk about how sunny it was with another first timer. We found our place at the start line. I was surprised (and thankful) by how much room we had as we treaded water waiting for the gun – it shot – we were off. Following Nancy and Coach Kim’s advice I started my swim with 20 pulls head up, a great strategy to calm down, and find your groove. I continued to have plenty of room, so the head was in and the fun began. After not to long the typical triathlon swim scenario began where people bump and push and grab. This was all from one gal, who had PLENTY of room on her other side, but insisted on swimming right on top of me. So after a few seconds of this I stopped. Let her pass then moved to her left side, and enjoyed 39 minutes of uninterrupted space. Pretty much the entire swim I was alone. I had lost Nanc when this gal began knock    ing me under, but our plan had been to meet in transition, so I wasn’t worried. I begin passing many pink caps, and then started passing some white, I was now swimming with the heat before mine and was excited to be doing so well. I routinely asked myself “Can you hold this pace for another 15 minutes?” A question I learned from my Runway run coach Darren Weldrick. My answer was yes, but I continued to focus on calm and controlled breathing. This was going to be a long day. Before I knew it the swim course was done. I approached the stairs and a gentleman grabbed my arm and pulled me out. As soon as he let go, I pulled my wet suit half off and lied on the ground for the “strippers” to help with the rest. I held on to my shorts and begged the gals helping “please don’t pull my shorts off, I have this fear of being naked here” – that was it – my only fear for this whole race was that when taking my wet suit off my cycling shorts would come of too. They didn’t. The ladies laughed. Up I was and on my way. I ran to the transition which was 800m away and of course up a hill. As I ran I began thinking of what was happening next, I looked up the hill I was to run carrying my wet suit, and racing in front of me – Nanc! I called her name, she turned around and paused for me to catch up, and I knew from that moment – I got this!

The Bike

The bike course is the most challenging part of this race. Even if you are the worst swimmer out there, the swim is still easy compared to the bike. The bike course is 4km longer then the typical half IronMan course and has an elevation gain of 2,660 ft. From riding the full course twice during the summer I knew what I was in for, so bunkered down and got to work. I gave lots of attention to remaining relaxed, especially through my shoulders and left hand – I’m still wearing my brace from a fractured wrist this winter. I focused on my quad burn and tried at all cost to work my gears and avoid that training zone. I fuelled according to plan, finishing a bottle of sport drink by every 30km, gelling every 45 minutes and snacking on sport berries and pretzels in between. Nanc rode ahead of me and we pushed through until 60km. We hit the 60km mark and I started to get massive cramps through my side and stomach. I knew right away it was low sodium and began drinking my sport drink and eating more fuel at an even faster rate. The pain became so painful that I knew I couldn’t ride much longer. If I had to climb, I would fall. I could barely sit up straight, so remained in aero out of necessity. Nanc was about 3 riders ahead of me. I called out to her – nothing, again – nothing, I considered asking the cyclists who were now passing me to get her attention. If I stopped she would continue to ride and I would be alone. I gave one more call, she heard, turned, and we stopped. Nanc gave me one of her salt pills, I almost instantly felt a relief and we continued on. As we rode towards the 85km mark I continued to feel ill. Slowly those massive cramps came back and I began to question whether I would finish. I was thankful to have my sister there, but really thought is this it? Is this my race story? We got to the top of a short but very steep hill (two men ahead of us fell over) we rode to the top and Nanc stopped waiting and prompted me to continue on. I couldn’t. I stopped and fueled (my butt was very thankful for the break from my seat too). We had 15km left. The pain was back and I begin licking the salt off of all the pretzels I brought. Sucking them and spitting the pretzel part away. Nanc was direct “we’re got 15km left, you can do this, and I need to go to the washroom real bad – let’s go!” and we did. We racked out bikes and I took one more salt pill before we headed out into the run. Instantly I felt better; we headed out into the run.finish 2

The Run

Feeling almost instantly better we headed out for the final leg of our race. The afternoon heat and some rollers during this half marathon would add a challenge but I knew we had this. The run was hot, and 12km of it was on exposed highway. A frequent saying of ours became “spray me with your hose” or “Let’s see if you can hit us with the water” there were many cute kiddies supporting who were more than happy to splash us. We knew the course turn around point was in downtown Huntsville, what we didn’t realize was that it twisted and turned and eventually we would turn around. This was slightly irritating as it was hot, we were tired, and we just wanted to be heading back. Our race plan of 20:1s (run 20 minutes, walk 1 minute) turned to 18:3s, then “let’s walk up this hill”, “let’s run to that sign”, it wasn’t pretty but together we got it done. We did end up walking the final hill of the race heading back to Deerhurst, we were beyond tired, and so we decided to save some energy for the big finish looping through the crowds around the hotel parking lot and down the finisher chute. And there, after 7 hours and 20 minutes, together holding hands, my sister and I finished the race.

This race was hard and together we rocked it. I surpassed every time goal I had on course, but most importantly I had fun and we had fun.0794_027107


  •  There is no way I could’ve done this race alone. This wacky idea was my sisters, and while I was unsure for the first 1.5 months of training, I would not have wanted to train and race alongside anyone else. I am thankful to have had her on course to calm my nerves and get me through the ride, and I was excited when she shared that I had helped her get to an IronMan best for her run time. To know that I gave her motivation after the strength she gave me on the ride is just the best.
  • Big thanks to Kim and Ang for their coaching and friendship. My wild “gym mom” Kim is an amazing role model for active living at any age. She was the person who first got me into marathon training almost 8 years ago and her wild ideas continue to face me with fitness challenges I didn’t think were possible and she helps me surpass every one of them. Paris Marathon here we come!
  • Thank you to Tribe, who in pursuit of their own run and multi sport goals inspire me to be a better athlete and a better coach.
  • Thank you to Dr. Romana and the team at The Health Loft. This training puts a lot of strain on your body. I entered training with an injured hamstring, fractured wrist, and chronic hip pain. Through the three months, lots of other fun ouchies appeared. Her body work got me stretched out and race ready and then massaged out afterwards.
  • Thank you to my darling husband who is patient and supportive with my wild fitness goals. He was understanding when I had 8 hour workouts (including one on his birthday), was tolerant when our eating became extra clean at the end (and pizza night was put on hold), and was encouraging when I was tired, it was late, and didn’t want to train – he reminded me why I did.finish 1

The most popular question asked post race was “Will I do another one?” The answer, YES! I loved training, I loved racing, and I can’t wait to do it again. Maybe at a flatter and shorter course, but definitely!