Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Better than Expected: 2015 Year In Review

How is it almost the end of the year already?  This year absolutely FLEW by.  To be honest I'm happy to see the end of this year.  It wasn't awesome, but it wasn't horrible either - It was just kinda "meh".  It wasn't a HECK YEAH kind of year like some of my previous years (2013 in particular) I did get to race a fair bit this year but I never raced at 100%.  There was always some kind of niggle or pain somewhere in my body.  My knees, my hips, my back.  I didn't have many races where I felt really amazing.  I fixed my knee problems only to have some sciatic and SI joint issues crop up.  Those plagued me for the first half of the season.  By August I started to feel better and when I raced Toronto Island, I think that was when I felt as close to 100% as possible.  Ironically, I led that race from start to finish.

I had 3 goals at the start of this season:

1) Break 20 minutes for a 5km.  Didn't happen.  Changing my gait resulted in other weird issues with my SI joint and speedwork became very uncomfortable for me.  So I didn't do it.  I matched my 5km P.R at the Frosty 5km this year and that was without much in the way of any speedwork.  I'm chalking that up to my new running gait.  I was actually using my glutes so I had more power.  It ended up resulting in other issues with my sciatic nerve so speed work fell to the wayside.

2)  Race another 70.3:  G and I made a last minute decision to race Eagleman in June.  We signed up 9 weeks out.  My longest run at that point was 10km so it gave me push to start building my run mileage up.  It was the hardest race I've ever done.  It was so disgustingly hot, it was all about survival.  It was also my first non wetsuit swim, which I made through without freaking out.  I ended up 11th in my AG which I was pleased with given my ad hoc training plan. 

3) Take the 40-44 year old AG title in the Recharge With Milk Series for the 3rd Year in a row:  Nailed it.  I had some tough competition this year with some of the speedier girls that aged up.  My bike became the stronger leg for me vs. my run which was a nice thing to see.  Next year I'm in a brand new AG so I'll have new ladies to chase! 

I ended up doing 11 races this year which is way more than I expected to do.  And given my injury issues, I did quite well so I honestly can't complain about my results.

The somewhat dissatisfying part of this year was that I never really felt "on".  There was almost always something that felt off or not right.  Perhaps not having a coach was also part of the problem.  Normally I'm fairly confident in my abilities but this year every race I went into I took a "we'll see" approach.  That feeling really starts to wear on you after a while and you begin to doubt your abilities.  Taking the time off running after Scotia was exactly what I needed.  In retrospect I probably should have taken more time off and used that time to fix my bike fits.  I do think that has been a major contributor to my knee issues.  I was actually feeling pretty good after Scotia but once I got inside and started riding on the trainer, my knee issues resurfaced.  I've since had a very comprehensive bike fit on my road bike and will do the same on my tri bike in February.  Thankfully my knees no longer hurt off the bike.  A positive that I'm hanging on to right now!

While my running may have taken a bit of a back seat this year, my cycling did not as evidenced by my miles logged on Strava.  I've ridden almost 4700km this year and run only 975km.   I joined Morning  Glory cycling club and worked hard at becoming a better cyclist.  I still have a ways to go but can honestly say I've improved in leaps and bounds compared to last year.  And not just speed wise, but skill and confidence wise as well.  I'm looking forward to another year of chasing those fast guys around High Park.

Got the Yellow Jersey award on my first ride with MGCC

This year was definitely more low key than 2014 (i.e no big crazy trip), but we still did a bit of traveling.  We went to the Dominican in February, Maryland in June, Newfoundland in August and Mont Tremblant in September.  We were out in Newfoundland for a wedding and it was amazing.  Neither G nor I had ever been out to Newfoundland so that was a nice little adventure.

Cape Spear, Newfoundland
Cape Spear, Newfoundland

Whale watching in NFLD

Riding in Mont Tremblant
The best part of this year has to be the growth of my coaching business.   I got my NCCP Triathlon coaching certification in January and I coached my first triathlon client to an AG win in her first 70.3 and then on to the 70.3 world championships.  I had a full roster of runners all year long, many of whom will be continuing with me in 2016 along with some new folks.  I can't wait to see what my crew of athletes can do in 2016.   I am honoured and thankful that people have come to me to help them achieve their goals.

As for my 2016, well, that remains to be seen.  Once again I'm in rehab mode so who knows.  Yes, I have races I've registered for and yes, I have goals but I will leave all of that for another post.

I would be remiss if I didn't give a huge thank you to people that have helped me get through this year and have given me some pretty awesome opportunities.

My rehab crew:  Dr. Kris Sheppard at the Runner's Academy for showing me how to run.  My chiropractor Dr. Peter Lejkowski for making things right, even though it wasn't always pleasant.  My pal and RMT, David Lamy for keeping me limber.

Michelle Clarke and Barb Mitchell (a.k.a The Mizuno Fairy) for giving me the opportunity to be a Run Bird and to do my first ever video.   Being a Run Bird was one of the highlights of my year.  Hanging out with great women and supporting other women in their achievements = so much amazing.

The Mizuno Run Birds at the Toronto Women's 8km

Burnbrae Farms for sponsoring me into two races this year.  One of which I actually won some prize money at!  

My friends and co-workers at Westside.  I work with a fantastic crew of people who are always so supportive of everything I do outside of the studio and for that I am eternally grateful.

A massive thanks to all of YOU who read along and follow me on social media.  I have met so many awesome people because of blogging and social media.  Following your stories is inspiring and encouraging.

And of course, my amazing husband Gary (a.k.a "G").  I have no words to express how lucky I am to have someone so supportive and encouraging.  Someone who believes in me more than I believe in myself.  He is my voice of reason and my rock.  Love you to the moon and back.

That's a wrap for 2015.  Bring on 2016!

How was your year?  Any big plans for 2016?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Winding Down

Here we are, heading into the final week of 2015.   I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  Ours was the usual bit of crazy.  I also came down with a cold on Christmas Eve so that really sucked.  I'm just getting over it now.   I had big workout plans for Boxing Day but thought it would be better to take that extra day of rest.  I also had a big feast to prepare for so I lounged around in my pjs for a bit in the morning and then tackled cleaning up the dining room and getting things ready for the Kennedy - Rodrigues family invasion.   I managed to squeeze in my physio work and then buckled down in the kitchen to prep some things to freeze for lunches and then get started on dinner.

I still had a pretty good week of workouts, especially now that I'm back running.  Sure it's not more than 3-4km at a time but it's better than nothing.  And, I got to run in shorts on Christmas Eve.  It was 15 degrees and sunny.  Christmas Day we drove to my parents with the top down on the Eos.  Hello El Nino.  The weather is changing a bit now but it's still warmer than it usually is this time of year.  I think my time in shorts is probably done, ha ha.

It was a pretty busy week with my last couple of days of work, G's birthday and then Christmas and Boxing Day.  I didn't make it to the pool during the week at all.  We were out late on Tuesday for G's birthday dinner.  We went to Canoe.  What an experience that was!  Great food and a spectacular view.  So amazing.

The view from Canoe - the 54th Floor of the TD Tower.
Of course I slept in the next day.  Splitting a bottle of wine will do that to me, ha ha. I did make it to hot yoga though.  And I got in a wee run.  Christmas Eve a bunch of us went to WattsUp and did a 75 minute ride inside, even though it was spectacular out.  After the ride 2 of my friends ran / walked with me.  WattsUp is really close to my house so we ran down to the water and they turned around and went back up and I headed east through Samuel Smith Park towards home.   It felt like spring out it was so warm.  And then I got sick, ha ha.  Oh well.

Anyway, this is how this past week rolled out:

Monday:  Skipped swimming but ran 3.17km and then did a 40 minute easy ride on the trainer in the p.m.
Tuesday:  3.28km run, 40 minute strength session
Wednesday:  75 minute hot yoga class, 4.47km run
Thursday:  75 minute ride, 4.07km run

Friday:  OFF - CHRISTMAS!!!!
Saturday:  OFF
Sunday:  2200m swim, 60 minute hot yoga class, 4.4km run.

Total time:  7h 56 minutes.  Gradually building back up to my usual 9 hours.

Despite my knee nonsense, I ended up signing up for yet ANOTHER race in 2015.  We're off to Florida for a training camp in March and this race is at the START of the training camp.  I'm pretty excited because I'll get to meet Kelli Wright and Allison Reed, two ladies I follow on Instagram (and I read Kelli's blog regularly). Team Wattie Ink is holding a training camp that weekend and a bunch of them will be racing so we will all get to meet.  SO MUCH FUN!  It will be my first Olympic distance race in over 10 years, which should be interesting.   It will definitely test my limits.  I'll have to work at pacing myself vs. going all out like I would in a sprint.

How was your Christmas?  Did you travel or stay close to home?  Did you get anything exciting?  G got me a Macbook Air that is super fast and super light.  I also got a lot of interesting beer, ha ha.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Starting From Scratch

2 more days of work for me!  Today and tomorrow and then that's it until 2016!  WOOHOOO!  Truthfully my brain has been in vacation mode since Friday, ha ha.   I'm sure these next two days are probably going to drag as well.

Tomorrow is G's birthday and we're headed to Canoe for dinner.  Can't wait for that.  We started his birthday celebrations this weekend.  We went out to dinner at our local favourite restaurant with a few of our close friends.  It was a blast.  I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard.  Good food, great company and lots of wine = a super fun evening.  Friday night we stayed in and watched the latest Mission Impossible movie (Rogue Nation).  That was amazing.

Starting the birthday celebrations early!
Saturday was a pretty busy day.  I got a ride in and then went and got my road bike fit by Scott Judges at Fitt 1st.  Holy smokes what a difference.  My saddle was too low and my seat was too far forward so I was creating a fair bit of strain on my knees (SURPRISE!).  My cleats were also not quite in the right position.  Scott also added shims to my cleats.  That is something that I had done with my very first fit and I'm not sure why I never kept them.  Given the amount of riding I did on my road bike this year, I'm not surprised that my knees are messed up.  It kind of makes sense because I raced all summer on my tri bike and my knees were totally fine.  I piled on the mileage on my road bike in the latter half of the season.  Riding outside was a lot more forgiving than riding on the trainer and I think I paid the price for it once I started riding inside.  There were a few other fairly dramatic changes, namely in my handlebars and the stem.  I need a much shorter stem and new, smaller handlebars.  I can manage without the shorter handlebars for a bit but I definitely need the shorter stem.

I'm going to get him to take a look at my tri bike at some point in the new year.  For now I'm going to stay on my road bike to work on developing my leg muscles a bit more evenly.  On my tri bike I'm in a quad dominant position.  On my road bike I'm using both my hamstrings and my quads.  Given my knee situation, I think this is a better choice for me right now.

I went and saw my friend Lauren (the physiotherapist I mentioned) and she's getting me to start from scratch with my running.  I basically have to walk 5 minutes, then run 1 minute, walk 1 minute then walk 5 minutes.  I need to do this every day, gradually increasing the number of times I run and walk.  I was supposed to start at 3 intervals yesterday but did 5 because I forgot to turn around after the second one.  My knee hurt on the first one but I think it was because I was so tense when I started running.  I was anticipating the pain.   Lauren told me that if I felt pain, I had to stop but I'm a bit stubborn so I thought I'd give it another go and try to run relaxed.  The second one was fine.  So I did the rest of the workout.  My knees were a bit tender after but that was it.  I got on the bike later in the day and a did a 45 minute recovery ride.  No knee pain what so ever.   My knees felt tight but nothing hurt.  This is HUGE. 

I've got a little routine that I have to do every day to help improve my ankle mobility and work on strengthening my calves and my quads, specifically my VMO.  You can't target that muscle on it's own so I'm working my entire quad with a very slight movement.  It's tedious but I know it's going to help me.  And it's simple enough I can do it in the gym if I bring my band with me.   Here's to a speedy recovery.

Once again I had every intention of going to yoga on Monday but that got derailed by work.  So much for putting my one month unlimited pass to good use, ha ha.  I should be able to make up for that once I'm on holidays!  Anyway, I got a few workouts in this week but again, it was a relatively low volume week.  My work party was right smack in the middle of the week so I didn't do anything Wednesday night OR Thursday morning, ha ha. 

So Festive!
 This is what went down last week.

Monday: 1900m swim
Tuesday:  60 minute strength session
Wednesday:  2650m swim
Thursday:  60 minute ride in p.m. including a 5 minute time trial.  Average watts for that 5 minutes: 240.  BOOYA! 

Friday:  OFF
Saturday:  60 minute ride
Sunday:  2.47km run + 45 minute recovery ride

Total time:  5h 36 minutes.

I suspect this week will probably look much like last week with the exception of a few more running km's and a lost less swimming, ha.  As much as I wish I was able to get out and run for hours in this amazing weather, I'm kinda glad I'm sidelined.  It's really forcing me to take things easy.  And I'm not stressing about finding the time to get things ready for Christmas because I have LOTS of time, ha.

Are you ready for Christmas?  Do you have any time off during the holidays?

Friday, December 18, 2015

What I've Tried: Watts Up Home Cycling

A little while ago, I was given the opportunity to test out the WattsUp Home Cycling Program.  As a new instructor there, Adam wanted me to get familiar with the workouts and the terminology they use in their workouts.   The Home Cycling program is essentially most of the same workouts you'd experience if you went in to one of their classes but you get to do it in the comfort of your own home at a time that works best for you.   It's all about convenience.

His and Hers Home Cycling Programs in action!
The WattsUp program is a periodized training program that works at building your fitness so you're in peak shape by the summer.  It is a year long program and it's based around your power zones.  If you don't know your power zones, you can book at test with one of the WattsUp testers for It's almost like having a coach but without the hefty price tag.  You get several workouts to choose from each week:  3 recovery workouts varying in length (30 min, 45 min and 60 min), 2 quality workouts, also varying in length (60 minutes and 90 minutes) and then a long ride that is close to two hours in duration.  You could ride every day and never do the same workout.  That's a win / win.

The Long Ride in the Watts Up Home Cycling Program

All of the rides I did had me warming up with with some easy spinning along with various drills like high cadence work and everyone's favourite, single leg drills.  When I normally get on the computrainer to ride, I do the warm up and then ride a course.  I always SAY I'm going to do drills but I never do them.  The WattsUp program incorporates those into the warm up so you actually DO them. 

I used the program 2-3 times a week over the course of 4 weeks.  From that time alone, I noticed a difference in my riding.  Power numbers that seemed a little tough to hit at the beginning didn't seem to be as hard to hit or maintain by week four.  Every workout I did was a little different.  Even the recovery workouts were engaging.  You don't just get on your bike and pedal easy for an hour.   Every workout has some variety in it.  G had the opportunity to try it for a week and he signed up for it before the week even ended.  For $50/month, you can't beat the price!  He absolutely loves it. 

If you don't have a computrainer or another type of power based trainer, but you have a power meter on your bike, that also works for the home cycling program.  If you don't have a power meter or a power based trainer, don't worry, WattsUp has got you covered.  You can rent one from Bike Watts.  They offer monthly computrainer rentals.  They have partnered with WattsUp to offer a Home Cycling package.  You can rent a computrainer and get the home cycling package for $120/month.  That's a pretty sweet deal.

I haven't been riding much because of my knees but whenever I get on the bike, I use the WattsUp Home Cycling program.  The workouts are interesting and challenging enough that I'm working hard but not killing myself.   These workouts are much better that my usual "off season" workouts.  Those would usually consist of mostly aerobic rides with a little bit of tempo work thrown in here and there if I felt like it.  Which didn't happen often.   This program offers people a smart way to train in the comfort of their own home year round.  It's definitely something I will look at using for the long haul.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Tis the Season for the Loss of Reason

As much as I love the holidays I really dislike the time leading up to them.  Christmas is always such a panicked time of year, especially in my line of work.  I work in advertising and December is traditionally the "use it or lose it" month when it comes to budgets.   Throw in the fact that most ad agencies close for a week between Christmas and New Year's and that equals 3 weeks of insanity.  Mix that in with an already hectic schedule and you have a recipe for a Stressball Cocktail.  Some days it's so busy I don't stop from the time I get in until after I get home (answering emails etc).  Everyone needs everything asap and usually at the same time and some of the requests are just plain crazy.  It is both mentally and physically exhausting.  I like to think of it as the Season for the Loss of Reason. 

Normally I'd lace up my shoes and go for a run, or hop on my bike and go for a ride.  But I can't.  Well, I can but it's more than likely going to be painful.  I'm having knee problems again and obviously this is the source of much stress because I can't seem to figure out what is causing it this time around.   So I've opted to take things easy, which essentially means I'm getting cranky faster because my normal stress release outlet isn't available to me right now.  What's really stressing me out about this is the uncertainty as to when I'll be better (I'm saying when vs. if because I'm trying to remain as positive as possible!)

So I'm trying my best to grin and bear it.  If there's one thing I've learned in my 15+ years of producing, it's that everything always seems to work out.  So I should know by now that all that stress is unnecessary.  One day perhaps I'll learn but for now, I'll just bust out my stretchy pants and make sure the beer fridge is fully stocked.

What part of the holidays do you find stressful?  How do you deal with your stress?

Thanks to Deb Runs for hosting Wednesday Word!

Deb Runs

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Weird Week & Some Good News

I don't know if there is enough coffee in the world to wake me up this morning.  This was a busy weekend.  I'm 99.9% sure I'm done my Christmas shopping.  We finally got our tree.  I started my Christmas baking and we had a family get together that sapped a lot of energy out of me.   Actually yesterday in general was just not a great day.  I am feeling pretty shitty about a lot of things right now.  Mainly my knee situation.  I am frustrated beyond belief and it's really wearing on me so yesterday I had a really good cry.  I'm trying not to go down the worst case scenario road (i.e that I won't have a race season next year).   I just want to feel better.   I have my third shockwave appointment tomorrow, I'm going to try to see my physio friend since things are a bit quieter this week at work and on Saturday I'm going to get my road bike properly fit.  I'm really hoping that things turn around soon.  I hardly did anything this week and I feel like I've gotten worse.  I had a really hard massage on Thursday and all he worked on was my right side.  My ankle mobility isn't great so we worked on releasing some of the muscles / fascia in my lower shin and my calves which was excruciating.  My right adductor is also really tight so he worked on that.  I have a wonderful purple streak down my leg as he had to go pretty deep to work out the tightness.  Things feel a lot looser, at least on my right, ha ha.

I had decided last week that I was going to take the rest of the month off.  When I saw my chiro on Tuesday and told him that, he said he didn't think that was necessary.  He said all I needed to do was moderate my activity and give myself more rest.  THAT made me really happy.  Even with that news, I didn't lace up my shoes and go for a run.  I took it easy for most of the week.  I had intended on swimming as much as possible but my Wednesday swim plans got derailed by a really weird fever that hit me on Tuesday night.  I got back from my shockwave appointment after lunch on Tuesday and about an hour later I started to feel warm, which wasn't unusual - I felt that way the first time I had shockwave.  This time though, it got worse and I started to feel achey and then I started to get chills.  By the time I left work I was running a fever.  I got home and checked my temp.  It was 39 degrees Celsius.  So I had a bit of a fever.  I ran a really hot bath, wrapped myself in my bathrobe and pj's, made some soup, ate that, got in the bath and almost fell asleep.  I got out and took a Benalyn cold and flu and went to bed at 8:00 pm.  I woke up a couple of times and drank some water.  At around 2 am I woke up again and I was soaked.  Completely drenched.  I changed my pj's and went back to bed.  I slept like a log until just after 6:00 am.  When I woke up I felt totally fine.  Whatever it was, I sweat it right out of my body.  Weird.  I missed my morning swim but I was at least able to go to my friend Jo-Anne's Bosu class at Pur Energy Wellness Lofts that night.  THAT was fun and really tough.

 So, things were a little quieter this past week and will probably be similar this week.  My work party is Wednesday night so that means I will not be getting up early on Thursday to do anything, ha ha.  So far I've been pretty good at navigating all the holiday treats and what not but I suspect that after this week, that will probably change.  "Tis the season!

Anyway, here's my pared down week of workouts!

Monday:  Slept in
Tuesday:  60 minute strength training session
Wednesday:  60 minute bosu class
Thursday:  OFF
Friday:  1800m swim
Saturday:  60 minute ride from the Watts Up Home Cycling program while watching U2's HBO Special from their concert in Paris.  HOLY AMAZING.  I wished I had a longer ride so I could have watched the entire thing.

Sunday:  2000m swim.  Then we decorated the tree and headed off to my parents.

Total time:  4h 20 minutes.  I had every intention of getting to yoga but once again, that didn't happen.  I've got all my stuff with me today so hopefully I'll get out of work on time and I'll make it.

Are you done your Christmas shopping?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Celebrate the Little Things

This is the time of year for celebration and it can be quite busy.   We celebrate our holiday traditions with friends and family.  We celebrate the end of another year.   The end of the year always has me reflecting on how the year unfolded.   What things stood out for me?  What things did I take the time to celebrate for myself and for others?

There are a LOT pretty awesome moments that I celebrated this year:

Two of my friends completing their first Ironman
A friend of mine completing her first half marathon
Coaching a friend of mine to complete his first marathon
Getting through a non wetsuit swim at Eagleman without freaking out (this was probably THE highlight of the year for me)
Multiple weddings
Leading my AG from start to finish in one of my favourite races
My sister heading back to school to do her second Masters
My sister's boyfriend graduating from Teacher's College
My mom's 65th birthday
A friend of mine walking the first half of the Appalachian trail BY HERSELF (my mind is still blown by this)
Getting my Triathlon coaching certification
Helping one of my athletes win her AG and get to the 70.3 World Championships
And being told yesterday that I didn't have to take the rest of the month off from running / cycling.  Which was nice to hear after I wrote this post on Monday.

I think it's important to take the time to celebrate the little things as well as the milestones because it helps us appreciate what we have to be thankful for. 

Thanks to Deb Runs for hosting the Wednesday Word link up!

Deb Runs

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tri Talk Tuesday - 10 Great Gifts for the Triathlete In Your Life

17 days until Christmas!  And it's Tuesday.  You know what that means??  It's TRI TALK TUESDAY!  Today Courtney (who just became a new mom) Cynthia and myself will be offering up some gift ideas for that triathlete in your life.

Gifts Under $25

1.  Race laces:   These laces transform your regular running shoes into speedy race ready triathlon shoes.  Never mess with tying laces on race day again.  They come in a myriad of colours so you can always #runmatchy.  Lock laces and Xentex are popular brands. ($8-$10)

2.  Nutrition:  Does your athlete prefer to use whole foods for training and racing?  Then this product from Untapped that uses pure maple syrup would be a great stocking stuffer.  You can get a box of 5 gels for $9.95.  Of course Canada has their own version called Endurance Tap.

3.  Road ID:  This is one of THE best things you can get the athlete in your life, especially if they do a lot of their training solo. (Wrist ID slim and Wrist ID sport are under $20!)

4. Custom Bike Stickers:  Make your favourite athlete look and feel like a pro with these custom bike stickers with their name and country flag on them.  Order online from VeloInk.  (approx $10)

5.  Motivational Jewelry / Accessories:  I've just recently become an ambassador for Momentum Jewelry and they have some AWESOME pieces for that athlete in your life.  It's something a little different as well.  This single Foot Note is $9.99 US or you can get a pair for $15.99 US.

Gifts Under $100

6.  Nightrunner 270 lights.  I got the chance to review a pair and now I use them all the time and I can't say enough amazing things about them.  Every time I wear them, people comment.  I've actually had people run me down to ask me about where I got them.  $60 U.S.

7. The Arena Wetsuit Sack.  Not only does this amazing bag provide storage for even the bulkiest of wetsuits, but it also does double duty as a changing mat and staging area.  Not bad for $80.

The "You Were Really Good This Year" Gifts - $100 +

8.  The Hyperice Vyper Foam Roller.  This is the Cadillac of foam rollers.  It is a battery powered foam roller with 3 settings that allow your muscles to relax so you can really get into those tight spots.  I got the chance to try it at the Runner's Academy and it's amazing.  Triathlon Canada magazine claims it is one of the best self care items on the market.  For $300 it should be!

9.  The Garmin Forerunner 920xt:  I've been using Garmin devices for a long time and this one has got to be my favourite.  It's got indoor and outdoor settings for running and biking and it has a pool and open water setting.  It also tracks your running cadence as well as your steps taken throughout the day AND, if all of that wasn't enough, it also tracks your sleep.  Add the heart rate monitor to the mix and you've got the ideal training tool.  $650 CDN

10.  Bontrager Ballista Helmet:   This helmet offers you all the same benefits of an aero helmet but with better ventilation and the traditional styling of a road helmet.  So if you don't like the look of traditional aero helmets or if you're going to be racing somewhere really hot, this helmet is ideal.  It comes in 3 different colours;  bad ass matte black, classic white and the uber bright high-viz yellow.  $175 CDN

What's on your Christmas list?  I'm hoping for the Vyper foam roller!  

Head on over to the link up to check out the other posts!  

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Tough Decision

If you've been reading this blog for the last year or so, you'll know that I've been struggling with knee issues.  They seem to come and go and just when I think I've gotten better, they crop up again.  I can't seem to figure out what the trigger is other than the fact that it's something chronic that needs fixing.  And fixing it must involve rest.  Rest is something that I'm not terribly great at.  I'm good with giving myself a week or two off running after a big race but the not running is usually replaced by cycling.  I have decided that I'm going to take the rest of December off of running and cycling and focus on strength & flexibility as well as swimming.  I have big goals for 2016 and I'm really worried that if I keep pushing through this discomfort that I won't be able to chase those goals.

I have my suspicions as to where it's stemming from.  It's taken multiple opinions and tests as well as a lengthy process of elimination to get there.  The biggest issue was fixing my lazy ass and wobbly hips as well as my gait, both of which I have addressed.  That helped for a while but there is something else amiss and I really notice it when I'm in the pool.  I think it's my ankles.  My right ankle has a much more limited range of motion than my left and it's my right knee that is bugging me.  I have a little routine that I've started doing that I will get into in another post.  For now, it's all about rest, recovery and foam rolling.  I am going to see a friend of mine who is a physiotherapist to see what she thinks.  She has said she doesn't want me to give her ANY MRI or x-ray info.  She wants to do some tests and then formulate an opinion.  So that will probably happen in the next few weeks. 

This means my weekly recaps will be somewhat boring, ha ha.  But that's ok.  It will give me more time to share my rehab workouts with you all!  That brings me to this past week's workouts.  There wasn't much as some of our training plans got derailed by the delivery of a new stove and a late night out.

Our fancy new stove!

Me & My Best Bud Sue, before things got crazy, ha ha
 Monday:  2550m swim + 60 minutes of hot yoga in p.m.

Tuesday:  7.7km run + 50 minute strength work in the gym
Wednesday:  2300m swim
Thursday:  6.7km run + 55 minutes of strength work

Busted out my new Dona-Jo Tights.  LOVE these!
 Friday:  OFF
Saturday: 60 minute spin in the pain cave
Sunday:  Nursed a hangover, haha.

Total time 6h 43 minutes.  I'm happy I got to yoga again.  That was a particularly sweaty class as it was packed and I loved every minute of it.  Not sure that's going to happen this week but now that I won't be riding on weekends, I suspect I'll be able to get a class or two in.  

On Saturday G and I went out to Hamilton for the Recharge With Milk Awards Series banquet.  At the beginning of the year I had said that one of my goals was to take the 40-44 year old age group title for the third year in a row.  I am happy to say I achieved that goal.  Next year I move up to a new age category so I'll have a whole bunch of new ladies to chase.  

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!  Only 18 days till Christmas....tune in tomorrow for our rescheduled Tri Talk Tuesday post on "Gifts for Triathletes".

How was your weekend?  Have you finished your Christmas shopping?

Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday Five - Dream Vacations

Happy Friday Folks!  Today I'm linking up with the DC Trifecta Ladies, Cynthia, Courtney & Mar for Friday Five!  This weeks topic is dream vacations which is perfect because this time of year has me dreaming of warmer climes.   There is a great big world out there and it's begging to be explored.  If money was no object, these are the places and things I'd love to do.

1.  Visit Australia and New Zealand.  See as much of them as possible.  Definitely go to Ayers Rock.  Toss in a 70.3 or local tri while we're there.  I'm pretty sure I could easily devote several months to this.

2.  Eat, Drink and Cycle our way through Italy.  We spent a week in Northern Italy last year and I'd have to say that was my favourite part of the trip.  The food, the coffee, the wine, the people, all of it.  So amazing. 

Bassano del Grappa

The famous bridge in Bassano del Grappa
3.  Travel around Europe and ride all the major climbs in the 3 Grand Tours (The Giro d'Italia, Le Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana).    This would require a LOT of training before hand and I'd have to get a whole lot better at descending mountains as I have a score to settle at Alpe d'Huez.  I'd also need a sweet new bike of course, ha ha.

Sitting on the mountain about 1/4 of the way down, waiting for a ride.
4.  A couple of weeks at a private villa somewhere hot with nice white sand beaches.  Turks and Caicos would be nice as would any of the British Virgin Islands. 

5.  Explore California.   We went to visit friends in San Fransisco several years ago and we totally loved it.  I'd love to go back to explore more of the state.  We'd definitely bring our bikes, haha. 
Walking around downtown San Fransisco.  Holy hilly.

Driving up Mount Tam.  If only I had my bike!

If money was no object, where would you like to go?  Head on over to the link up to check out all the other great Friday Five posts!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Tradition:  the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice.  -

December is the month of tradition in my world.  Work wise it's traditionally always busy as clients look to spend the rest of their advertising budgets for the year.  After the mayhem of the first few weeks of December, the studio traditionally shuts down for at least a week between Christmas and New Year's.  I look forward to that break every year.  It's nice to have the time to decompress.  

Our Christmas has become a melting pot of traditions over the years.  When G and I got married, figuring out where we'd spend Christmas day was a bit tricky.  We both agreed that the kids (his niece and nephew) would win out for Christmas morning. We couldn't leave my family out of the picture on Christmas day either so they'd get us for dinner.  We figured once we had our own kids that things would change.   We didn't have kids so these traditions have remained, even though his niece and nephew are now teenagers and are usually still asleep when we arrive on Christmas morning.  Since our families really enjoy hanging out together, we decided to host everyone at our place on Boxing Day.  Christmas eve is our time together.  We open gifts, have a nice dinner and maybe watch a movie.  Christmas day we drive out to Bolton hang out with G's family have breakfast, then around 2:00 we get in the car, make the hour drive to Guelph to hang out with my parents, my bother and my sister and her boyfriend. Boxing Day everyone makes their way to our place in Toronto and we have a feast.  It's two days of crazy that I wouldn't trade for the world.

There are few other Christmas traditions that I love.  Some old, some new.  

* Our friends Christmas party, always the first weekend of December, and always a good night out.  I generally don't make any plans for the next day, ha ha.

Me and my best bud, Sue, at last year's party. 
 *  Watching the Sound of Music - I have no idea why this is a Christmas tradition but it's been a tradition of mine since I was a teenager.  I NEVER get tired of this movie.  I usually enjoy it with a cup of spiced rum and eggnog because that's what you do.  My sister and I will always call or text each other to let each other know when it's on.

* The smell of garlic pork cooking at my parents.  I don't normally partake in it but it is a Guyanese tradition and my dad LOVES it.  Once in a while I'll have a bit but it's SUPER potent.  

* Picking out our Christmas Tree.  After we rebuilt our house, we actually had room for a Christmas tree so we decided we'd get a real tree every year.  So, we usually go out mid December and pick out a tree from a local merchant.   With that comes the changing of the sofa cushions as well, haha.

* Spending a Sunday baking Christmas cookies for my friends and co-workers.  I've done it every year for as long as I can remember.  Sometimes I even do it AT the studio. 

Getting my Martha Stewart on at the studio

The finished product!

* Our food drive and decorating of the Christmas tree at work.  This is something that is fairly new at the studio but I think it's something that will remain for years to come.  This year we're having a snowflake making competition, just to make it interesting, ha ha.

Thanks to Deb Runs for hosting Wednesday Word!   

What are some of your favourite traditions?

Deb Runs