Napping is the key to salvation whether it be in the middle of a tough training block or 10 days in to two kids at home.  I’ve always excelled at napping and these days it’s a skill I don’t take for granted.  I napped at least 5 times per week for the last 10 months foregoing only on days my toddler wouldn’t allow it or I had to work (gasp!).  And it’s possible that the frequency and duration of these naps occupied the time I had previously spent writing things on this page.

Although I could have probably found a little time to write some snippets about my summer, I probably would have offended readers.  I don’t think it’s a big secret from my last post that pregnancy and I don’t get along and saying I was a tad grumpy is the understatement of the year.  I was more like a female House (from House, duh) as obviously I consider myself as intelligent as he.  Better I think myself a genius than ridiculously good looking right?

Over the summer, I attempted to keep moving which became harder and harder as the lbs came on and my top speed over land reached that of a giant tortoise.  I did manage to keep swimming and am proud to say my performance in the water was a little faster than a manatee which, as it turns out, is still faster than 85% of the human population of Kits pool.

I also bit off more than I could chew with taking a new job for the summer.  Instead of racing Ironmans, I worked them with the athlete services team up here in Canada.  It’ll be a whole other blog post to go into the detail of a behind-the-scenes look of working an Ironman, but let me just tell you that racing one is easier and takes far less time (for me anyways.)

So without going into the gory details, I’ll tell you that my new little man arrived at 4:04am on August 19th.  The parking ticket my husband purchased at the hospital is stamped 2:59am.  Labour was a total BQ qualifying time of 3.5hrs and there was screaming.  I distinctly remember thinking three things: “I would rather be running an Ironman marathon,” “I can’t wait to not be pregnant anymore,” and “men could never do this.”  Seriously, that’s what I was thinking.  When it was over I nuggled my second son Elliot.

So here I am a mom of two and figuring out the new normal.  I can’t wait to get back out “training,” but to the few people that have asked when I’ll be back on my bike, I’d like to tackle pooping without fear first.  It’s going to be a long slow slog back to fitness, but my mood has improved greatly.  I’m more my usual sarcastic self.  I’ll let you know how it goes as it goes, but for now it’s time for a nap.




Big plans for 2016…

It’s Wednesday at 11:25am. Henry is already down for his nap so I’m writing this in between planning of an all-girls training camp this weekend. The thing is, for me, this training camp is all a ruse.   I am going to go swim-bike-run, but “training” not so much. My season is now all laid out for me: get huge and not in the Arnold- “pump you up” sort of way. No, in the gain 35+ lbs from doing very little and eventually (very eventually) end up with a tiny person sort of way.

I’m only 10 weeks as I write this so probably won’t post for another 4 or so at least, but I figured the joys of pregnancy are fresh on my brain at this point so I should write them down. Joys such as waking up every day terrified to eat and terrified not to eat as either produce that throat full of saliva about to barf kinda feeling. Joys such as leaving the house for a 30 min run, getting 6 mins in and barely able to walk home. Joys such as begging your toddler to be quiet for 30 mins as your migraine takes hold and you crawl into a dark room for 12 hours.

It’s not all bad though. Oh wait, yes it is. Sorry, but at this point I’m just not the glowing, excited momma to be. In my experience, that will arrive with the arrival of tiny human and not before. I know I should be grateful and I am, but it’s hard and I’m not going to paint it like it isn’t. For all you women that don’t get sick and slow and cranky while pregnant or embrace it all as part of a “miracle”, here’s a slow clap for you.


Recap of things that make me tick (other than my family): training, wine, racing, beer and to some extent, looking fit. That’s 5 for 5 out. For most of 2016.

So here I sit, an Ironman athlete trapped in a slow, tired body that is getting softer with each passing day. I’m looking into cooking classes, and adult colouring books to try and find something to pass the time. You really do find a lot of free time without training 12+ hours a week.

Luckily, I have my athletes to keep me engaged in the triathlon community and I really can gain almost as much satisfaction from watching them race as racing myself. So there you go, something positive to say.

It’s now 12 weeks in and the glimmer of hope I felt last week of feeling human again quickly left with the reappearance of most of my breakfast this morning. I’ve managed a few workouts in the last few weeks that were legit, but all resulted in my sleeping it off for the better part of the next day. I long to awake one morning without my first thought being “how much did I have to drink last night.” (no, of course I haven’t been drinking.) Yesterday I walked up a set of stairs I usually take two at a time and had to put my hands on my knees to catch my breath at the top. I can hear screaming from my former fit self inside this body. Athletes, even recreational ones, spend most of their time controlling both what goes into their bodies and what they can get out of their bodies. Pregnancy forces you to relinquish that control at least part of the time.

Now I’m up to week 13. A few days ago I was feeling pretty good in the morning. I blow-dried my hair, put on jeans and left the house only to get as far as my car and have to scramble outside to expel a foamy, bitter substance that had the distinct flavor of canned salmon. I realized it was my prenatal vitamin complete with Omega-3 fish oil that was being rejected onto the neighbour’s rhododendron. This was a whole new low and somewhat of a turning point. I found humour in my situation for the first time. Progress.

And here we are at week 14. I’ve finally told my family, friends and athletes. Obviously, the most common reaction is “Congratulations!” But there are always those people that need to let you know “I knew it!” Wow, you sleuth you. You noticed I didn’t order my usual IPA, haven’t been running and my barely B-cups are a solid C? You should really consider being a PI. Here’s some advice: even if it was painfully obvious just stick to congratulatory responses. No one likes a know it all.

So there you go, three months in one post. I’ll apologize now for a summer of posts about pregnant athleticism or lack there of, but write what you know. OH, and a big shout out to the team at Coeur Sports for supporting (another) sidelined athlete. I’m sure they knew the risks of an all-female team of mostly child-bearing age. I’ll still be out there in Coeur colours at races, just not IN them.

I’m open to questions about being a pregnant athlete and I promise the most honest response possible. Hormones and fatigue have pretty much removed any last glimmer of a filter to my thoughts so be prepared for brutal honesty.

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From the sidelines.

Ironman is tough. As a competitor you have to swim far, bike really far and run a whole stupid marathon. But I’m not even talking about competing in an Ironman, I’m talking spectating. It’s exhausting.

After the inferno that was Ironman Coeur D’Alene, friend and training foe Christine signed up for IM Arizona. After 9 years of long distance triathlon, if there’s one thing I know about myself it’s I’m no late season athlete. It pretty much gets to August and I’m ready to put my feet up for a while, even if it means I can feel my hips jiggle as I walk. Besides, the race was sold out.

Adding a new dynamic to our friendship, training buddy, racing rival relationship, SMO entrusted me to coach her to this Ironman finish line. There are some great lessons learned about yourself when you coach someone so close to your own speed and training mindset. Enough to learn that I probably won’t attempt another race season self-coached again, but that’s probably a whole other post.

Back to Arizona and my very long day. Alarm at 4:23am. Make coffee and head to the start line with nervous athletes. I did what I could to help calm nerves and give a last minute pep talk, said my good-lucks and headed to the bridge to watch the start.

You gotta love an Ironman swim start. Especially when you get to view it from a dry bridge holding another coffee.

The day continued as an IM viewing day could be expected: watch some bikes, yell at people you recognize, run into internet friends, take a nap, watch some more bikes. I’d like to take this line to mention a wonderful invention to cyclists and triathletes: chain lube. There were a large number of people with thousands of dollars of gear and drive chains that sound like Chewbacca. That can’t be fast.

Once my people were getting close to being on the run, I knew I was bound to be no more than a block from the race until the end. I get this nagging guilt being too far away from athletes working this hard. I stood in the pouring rain walking back and forth along the run course to hopefully provide a few seconds of reprieve of the internal dialogue. It was a bit of a dreary day, which is too bad, but after the other two IMs I attended this season this was a mere hiccup. I’ll take your 17C (68 F) over my 4C (38F) at Whistler any day and I’m sure it was much more manageable than the 44C (108F) in CDA. Without weather, however, what else would we complain about? Oh, right; mechanicals.

Luckily for me, my crew is speedy. After only 9:35 I was at the finish chute watching Christine Fletcher arrive for 11th place. I collected her and watched the updates closely waiting for SMO. I came around a corner with just enough time to see her cruise down the chute in a 10 min PB of 10:56. With the sun already set, there were no sunglasses to hide the tears. I’m an admitted Iron-cryer; there’s just something about that finish line that makes this crusty, sarcastic tom-boy get all welled up.

So that was at about 6pm. I finally found her after the race at 7pm. In the pre-race leadup we had made zero post-race plan. I must have run around that compound 17 times, checking medical, massage, food, gear, the car and even calling the hotel in a panic. It was like I had lost my dog at a county fair.

After some tacos and a few beers, I was exhausted and ready for bed. It was 9pm. I’m sorry to those folks that were still out there, but I’ll need to start training for the 17 hour spectating day.

My thoughts on Ironman Arizona? This is not a race on my list. The contrast between this race and Ironman Canada in Whistler is shocking. My run on the course in AZ took me along a 10 lane freeway, in Whistler I was dodging the toads around a mountain lake. The beauty of Whistler makes up for its reputation as a “hard” course and I would recommend anyone looking for a wildly stunning race sign up for IMC. If you need a coach that knows the area, give me a shout, I’d love to join your team and no matter what time, I promise to be at that finish line.

Just a regular day

PSA: This is not a post about Kona or running with or without your pants on. For that please tune into any social media channel of any other triathlete anywhere.

October huh. If you live in the Pacific North West, the arrival of October is the start of the end. Tri season up here is over. Sure, there are a few crazies that register for fall races in warmer climates, but for the most part we turn back into pumpkin spiced somethings.

Life gets back to its little routine:

  • swim in a 25m pool dodging the apple-picking sidestroker in the fast lane
  • run in the dark in the evenings with people that apparently don’t let their fitness plummet after August
  • get up at ungodly hours to teach indoor cycling because “Spinning” is trademarked
  • go to bed at 9:30 (actually, that one is pretty much year round)

Not that I could have it any other way. I’m not one of these people that can power through 12 months of triathlon training. Or even 10 months. I like a bit of change. I like being lazy. I like needing to buy new pants because Ironman weight was not a small adjustment.

Yep, up here these weeks are about having things to look forward to just to make it to Christmas. On my list are:

  • suffer through a half marathon in a few weeks to slow lower body expansion to a reasonable amount
  • suffer through Halloween which, in my house, means turn off the lights and pretend no one is home
  • cheer on my sister (remotely) in her first IM 70.3
  • cheer on my athlete, training partner and smallest best friend at Ironman Arizona (this time in person!)
  • do the snow dance nightly in hopes I get to ride the new skis I bought last year.

For today, however, I’ll settle with getting through some prime time TV that I missed last night. At least we have new episodes to look forward to. Will Juliette settle back down?  I’ll go find out.


new look, new name, same snark

Hey y’all,

Why yes, I have been binge watching Nashville.  What else would one do post Ironman with oodles of free time?

LOOK, my blog is getting a makeover.  After 4 years of being nothing more than a tri-athlete with the lowest form of humour, I’ve decided to broaden my scope and offer my two-cents on so much more.  I bet you can’t wait.


It was a dark and stormy Ironman.

This tale starts 6 weeks ago. Three girls in a Suburban with questionable brakes hit the road and arrive in the Idaho town of Coeur D’Alene. The plan: swimbikerun 140.6 miles in scorching heat with 2000 other complete strangers that also though this was a good idea about 8 months ago. If you are going to race on the surface of the sun they say it’s best to pre-hydrate, get lots of rest and eat all the things. My body had a different plan. It figured expelling all food and fluid and disallowing new food and fluid would work better. Instant race weight?

I got up at 4am on race morning and set up my transition with all the would-be Ironmen that morning. I stuffed myself into my wetsuit and sauntered down to the water. It was a nice swim. I thought about getting out after one loop, but I didn’t want to look stupid to the crowd no, no dummy, you have to do two loops. So I kept swimming. Turns out I can breast stroke as fast as some people can free style and volunteers on kayaks are super surprised when you stop to say thanks. I got back to shore, walked to transition and turned in my timing chip.

I spent the rest of the day either in the sports themed bedroom of an 8 year old boy or out cheering for my friends that conquered an Ironman in seriously tough conditions.

Now that I was an IronQuitter, I needed a new plan. It was obvious: Ironman Canada. Pretty much my hometown race with free accommodation. Boom. In (with huge thanks to Forerunners North Shore for being an expo partner). Now I just needed to recover, stuff in 2 weeks of training and re-taper. Ugh.

Out of the frying pan into the freezer?

I try not to be one of those athletes that obsessively checks the weather forecast every hour for three weeks leading up to the race. The fact is you can’t control it unless you are Storm from Marvel comics and if you are we should talk about some well planted tornadoes out on the course that maybe delay the rest of the 35-39 age group. There was no denying that this weekend wasn’t going to have the 30 some-odd temperatures we’d all been training in this year. I wasn’t that worried though. I’m tough. I’m Canadian (other than that half British whinge-at-a-drop-of-rain thing.)

Before the start, it was nice out. No real threat of rain, just some clouds. I waded out to the lake during the national anthem and continued out to the start line with a small attempt to freak people out by throwing in some fly. I love a deep water start. It’s fun treading out there, looking around, getting psyched. I started just on the left of the start buoy with a perfect sight of the line. A few somersaults to get ride of jitters and BOOM off we go!

After a few jabs and kicks, I found clear water right along the buoy line and stayed there. I don’t worry about finding feet. With that many people the current is strong and it always seems that the feet you choose go the wrong way. It must have been about ¾ through the first loop when I notice you could see the rain hitting the water. Awwww maaaan. Brrrr. The wind was also picking up, the chop was noticeable. I had taken a calculated risk in not swimming much between my ill fated CDA swim and IMC to give my shoulder a break, in fact I hadn’t swam at all since the Tuesday before the race.   I exited the water in 1:04 feeling great.

On my way to the change tent I saw my parents in transition. They had been there since 4am sorting clothes bags. That’s when I really noticed the weather. They were soaked. Ick. I put on everything I had in my bag, grabbed my bike and headed out past my sister and the crowds.

I rode cautiously or like one of those little old lady’s you see in a boat of a Cadillac with just the cotton top visible from the street.   I was thankful for some of the climbs, but what goes up must come down in rapid apparent wind chilling you to the bone. I tried to stick to my plan of eating every 20 min, but the mechanics of getting food in became increasingly difficult. I didn’t even occur to me to take an open waffle package from the aid stations; it does now of course.   Finally, even the bottles were too hard to get out of the cages and I had to come up with some creative ways to shift my bike other than using my fingers. Maybe I can use my head


Coming back through Whistler was fun and I wasn’t even that bothered by the cold. I did notice, however, that I couldn’t really feel anything below my waist. Maybe that’ll be a new technique for childbirth: natural freezing.

legsJust past Whistler I stopped at the porta-potty because damn if I still haven’t figured out how to pee on my bike. Why not eh? I was raining, who would notice. Ooooh, the warmth of the plastic closet. I continued on down to Pemberton on what at times looked like my own private road. No one in sight. Stopping at special needs now seems pointless. I hadn’t made much of a dent in my three bottles on my bike and I still had a bunch of food to get through. I had the volunteer throw my Mars bar in my jersey pocket as my hands didn’t have the dexterity.

Then it was onto the Meadows. If you had asked me before the race what part I was least looking forward to, it was the Meadows. Living in Whistler for 7 years and learning to ride there meant many, many trips out the dead flat Meadows Road. Oddly, I rather enjoyed it. I rode steady watching the roads dry out and feeling my body temperature rise. I tried to get back in the calories I had missed in the past few hours and started to pass a few people out there. New issue: with my body temperature coming back up, I was getting sleepy. I’ll just close one eye for a sec…maybe both just for a second… I couldn’t shake the feeling of wanting to get off my bike, lie down in the clover and take a nap.

It was about here that I noticed just what a pleasure cruise I had been taking. Average speed was more like a recovery ride. Whoops. The ride back to Whistler is tough, but I was ready for it. There’s where I was going to make some gains….orrr get frustrated with my speed and the stupid sign that said 155km when I’m sure I had already past 160. I made it back to Whistler with what I consider an almost embarrassing 6:12 bike split. Mother Nature:1. Liz: 0.

Getting off the bike at an Ironman is always amazing. Seeing your mom and sister on the fence cheering makes it even better. I made my quick transition into running shoes and headed out.

I felt good. I had a little stitch from needing to pee, but my legs felt good. Another sister was on the road and gave me the news I was sitting in 3rd in my AG and running better than they were. No problem, I felt great, I’d catch them. I ran well for 15k. Then that feeling came back. The I need to lie down on this gravel path and close my eyes feeling. It was like someone had changed the label of my morning espresso and I drank….DECAF! Oh, the horror. I was trying whatever I could to find some energy: caffeine GU, Pepsi, Red Bull. It wasn’t until the special needs area that I could get my 5 hour energy shot. New lesson: 5 Hour Energy Shot goes in T2 bag. So I plodded along with legs that felt fine and one eye open.

I don’t know if you guys realize this, but 42.2km is a long way. Also, 11+ hours is a long time to spend with your own thoughts. I’m not nearly as funny with me as my only audience. I don’t recall much of what I thought about. I am the triple treat. Ooh, look! toads! Running is stupid. I have 26k to go, ugh. I feel a bit more awake. Ooh, ok, go time! And off I went! And there I stopped. Cold riding leaves quads and calves far too vulnerable to cramping. So now I had some energy and legs that shout “If you run even a teeny bit harder, I’ll make you regret it” Back to my shuffle. I did eventually pass those two women in front of me…but only after I was passed by two others. Looks like 3rd is where I’ll stay.

Eventually, after those 42k, I get to run that little bit into the village. Both sisters, their husbands, my dad and my own little person were there welcoming me back to town. I enjoyed every second of running down Blackcomb Way towards that finish line. I embraced finishing my third Ironman and was greeted at the line by my partner-in-training-crime SMO. Then, there was my mom with tears rolling down her face. And finally, standing just behind them was my wonderful husband who had driven up from Vancouver in the middle of the busiest week of his life to watch me cross that line. I can’t thank my friends and family enough for coming out to support me and on my road to these races. Matt, SMO, Mum, Beryl, Dad, Laura, Ginny, Damian, Jer, Chrissy, Laurel, all the BRITE Coaching peeps and so many others including the great crew at Coeur Sports and Ken and Jerry at Forerunners North Shore. You are all part of my team.

So there it is: Ironman 2015. Hindsight has no place in Ironman in my opinion. If I had looked at the results for this race I would have been sure I would win my AG. I came third with two Kona slots allotted. Honestly, I’m not upset about my narrow miss. Financially it doesn’t make sense right now and I know when I’m ready to go I’ll get my chance. My last Ironman was August 2012. I finished in 11:26:45. This year I finished in 11:26:50. Three years apart, 5 seconds difference. But 5 seconds is a lot. In 5 seconds I became a wife, started a new career path, moved three times and…became a mom. It’s been a great 5 seconds.

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