Learn to Tri

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Weeks to the Tremblant Ironman: 26 weeks

This past week I had my longest swim, bike, and run workouts since last summer – a 2500m swim, a 2h20 bike, and a 70 minute run. These distances are a far cry from the actual full distances that I’ll have to complete come August, but it feels good to get some good mileage in this week.

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Right now I’m working on staying consistent and not letting my immune system get in the way – this week I was fightingย  a cold and missed my swim workout with the club, but managed to do my other workouts and even hit my 5 min time trial. I’ll take it!

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As I’ve started my training in the last few weeks I have been asked by a few people how they can get started in triathlon. They are interested in the sport but have no idea what they need to do to get started. What equipment do they need?ย  What kind of fitness do they need to have? What kind of distances exist?

I’m going to share some of my answers to the most common questions, all centered around learning to tri and needs vs wants (we all know the sexy triathlon bikes are a draw!):

1. I want to do a triathlon but the Ironman is far too crazy for me. What other options exist?

I sometimes question my desire to complete the full distance Ironman (3.86 km swim, 180.25km bike, 42.2 run) but know that the distance is right for me, at this time. There are however many different distances –

The Sprint – 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run

The Olympic – 1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run

The Half Ironman – 1900m swim, 90km bike, 21.1km run

There are also relay options – love to bike but not swim? Have a friend take on the swim portion and do the bike and run. Or love to run? Try out a relay race with two friends and only do the run. Make a weekend out of it and remember to have fun.

2. I’ve heard that triathlon is a very expensive sport. I love the idea of trying one out, but my budget can’t handle all of the pricey equipment. Any solutions?

Yes! You definitely don’t need too many things to try out a triathlon. And there are many things that you can buy second hand. (Check out this swap next weekend if you’re in Toronto and looking for a good deal on gently used triathlon products: Enduro Sport Swap.)

Here are a few of the needs and wants of triathlon:

Need: Swimsuit/Goggles, Cycling shoes, Helmet, Running shoes + fitness clothing

  • Swimsuit: You don’t need anything fancy here. Pick a suit that fits well and that you’re excited to wear. Have you had the same suit for the last 10 years? Maybe it’s time to invest in a fresh one for your training ahead.
  • Goggles: Make sure you find a pair that fits well. Try them on outside of the pool and check their fit – do they stay in place without you having to put the elastic around your head?
  • Cycling shoes: If you decide to clip into your pedals you will need cycling shoes. Road shoes are generally heavier and more durable, although higher end ones are fairly light. Triathlon shoes can be worn without socks (they have more ventilation) and can be pulled on more easily. What kind of riding do you mostly do? Pick a cycling shoe that fits well, and is within your price range. Don’t be tempted by the $400 carbon fibre shoe… (yet).
  • Helmet: Fit here is key. A lighter helmet with plenty of ventilation will also be more comfortable, and aerodynamic helmets exist as well. But most important is a proper fitting helmet that will protect your head. Change your helmet every 3-4 years, and never keep a helmet that was involved in a crash, even if a minor one.
  • Running shoes: So many options here. Cushioned or minimalist, pick a shoe that work for you and your terrain. Not sure where to start? Many stores will give you a proper gait analysis and suggest a pair. My favorites right now are New Balance Fresh Foam Zante – cushioned but light, and they make me feel fast!
  • Fitness clothing: Whatever fits well and keeps you cool – both in temperature and in style. I’m a big fan of colorful fun fitness wear and am fortunate to have a sister in law who runs her own great athleisure apparel studio, Cardio Glow. Thanks Kathleen for all the great clothing!

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Want: Wetsuit, Aero bars (if you want to add them to your road bike), triathlon bike, triathlon shoes, power meters, triathlon watch, the list goes on.

  • Wetsuit: Prices range from $200 to $1000+. A more expensive suit will fit more closely to your body, and provide buoyancy and flexibility, allowing a greater range of motion, and an easier and smoother pull. My advice? Rent an entry level wetsuit for your first race. Then, if you see yourself doing a minimum of a few triathlons (regardless of distance), invest in a good quality wetsuit. Skip the first entry level model and get the second tiered suit, or something a touch higher quality. This way you start off the race with a comfortable suit and your stroke will benefit too. Look at the suits that start around $350+. Don’t forget that you can also buy wetsuits second hand – just double check that there are no holes or tears.
  • Aero bars: If you choose to get aero bars make sure to have a professional check on the new fit of your bike. Your body will be positioned differently when leaning down on the bars, and you will likely have to get used to a new fit. Reserve about $175-$350 for the bars, when bought new.
  • Triathlon bike: Triathlon bikes are beneficial when doing longer distance races, especially if they are flat courses. Planning to do a half and/or a full distance Ironman? Look into entry level bikes and consider possibly getting a second hand bike. Many triathletes upgrade their bikes once they realize how much they love triathlon and so it’s worth checking out some second hand options while you are looking into triathlon/time trial bikes. Triathlon bikes are approximately $2,000 and up, but often heavily discounted if used.
  • Power meters: If you’re a metric focused athlete who wants to have a way to measure fitness and effort (and have some money to spare) getting a power meter might be aย  good idea. Knowing how much power you are generating can mean that you are exerting yourself consistently when riding varied terrains and distances, meaning that your legs and lungs will be stronger for the run portion of the race. Generally speaking power meters start at around $1,200.
  • Watches: My watch is a triathlon specific watch – the Garmin 735xt – and it’s been awesome to have in the last couple of months. Do you need a triathlon watch? No, you can track your workouts in a diary and follow a plan and do well. After all, it’s all about putting in the time. That said, I do find having a watch helpful and so would recommend that you start training without one first and then research options if you feel like your training would benefit from the additional feedback/tracking that the watch can provide. A GPS running watch can set you back $200 and fancier ones are closer to $600-700. Here too you can buy second hand, just be sure that the battery life is long enough for your race distance and time.

Rent/Borrow:

  • Wetsuit – You can rent a wetsuit for around $50 for 4 days and then usually put that $50 towards a purchase in the future.
  • Road bike – You can rent a road bike for your race – but make sure to rent it at least once before race day to get a feel for it. Also make sure that you know some basic bike maintenance so that you can change a flat tire, or adjust your saddle.
  • Cycling shoes – If you are trying out a shorter distance race and you have access to a bike and cycling shoes that fit, then give them a try (make sure you know how to clip in and out of the pedals). That said, you can most definitely do a shorter distance race with running shoes and flat pedals. You can also take your mountain bike or hybrid bike to most races – just be sure to double check that you are allowed to use the bike so that you’re not surprised the morning of the race, and left without a bike!

3. I’m a fairly fit/unfit individual – how do I pick the right training plan?

It’s important for you to be fairly realistic when it comes to planning out your training. Although my plan right now consists of two workouts per sport, per week, start out with one swim, one bike, and one run per week – fit in some cross training and general activity (walk/bike to work) too. Include recovery weeks – I take every fourth week off as a recovery week (this next week for instance! woot woot!) when I still complete the workouts but they are shortened and less intense. Lastly, pick a race that allows you to train properly and patiently. Do not plan to train for an Ironman in two months. Know your abilities and choose wisely.

4. I’m a really strong swimmer but I don’t know if I’m weaker at cycling or running. How do I decide which sports to focus on most?

Biking is my weakest sport, without a doubt. I have come to realize that in order to be successful at my Ironman race I have to become a stronger cyclist. Does that mean that I can take it easy on the swim or the run? Of course not. My swim needs a lot of work too, but I enjoy it, and I am more motivated to stay in the pool than I am to train on an indoor trainer. I also love to run, but I can certainly become a stronger and faster runner. All this to say that you should make an inventory of your stronger and weaker sports – which do you enjoy most, and which require work? When life gets busy and you need to skip a workout (it happens to the best of us) try and get a quality workout in your weaker sport. You’ll thank me come race day!

5. None of my friends are interested in doing a triathlon this summer but I need the extra support and accountability. What can I do?

Having the right support system is so important. Even if none of your close friends or family members want to try a triathlon with you, you can easily find others in your area to join in on the fun. Here are a few ways to make new tri friends:

  1. Join a club – I’m a member of the Toronto Triathlon Club and have met so many fellow triathletes through my membership. We’ve sweated it out together at bike studios, motivated each other to hit the pool deck for workouts, and trained together in Collingwood, Muskoka, and Tremblant. If you’re more of a cyclist you can join a cycling club or a running club too. Often times you’ll meet athletes who like a challenge and they might be keen to register for a triathlon too!
  2. Follow triathletes on social media – I’m fairly visible on social media and try to inspire others to lead healthy and active lives. I also love to follow other triathletes – both amateurs and professionals – to get a dose of motivation delivered to my phone. Some of my favorite accounts to follow? @gwenjorgensen, @mirindacarfrae, @linseycorbin, @IronmanTri, @paula_findlay,ย  and @janfrodeno.

6.What’s all this talk of triathlon having a fourth or fifth sport?

You might have heard that there are many other parts to the triathlon race, that it’s not only a swim, bike, and run race. That is in fact true. You have to learn about transitions, about nutrition, and you have to learn a lot about time management. All in all these new challenges are exciting and help you grow as an athlete and an individual. Don’t feel scared to take them on. Follow my lead by taking it one day, and one workout, at a time.

7. This seems like a sport for the young, is it not?

No, not at all. More and more age ranges exist in triathlon. Simply put, you are never too old to tri.

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And so, although it may seem daunting to commit to tri this season, if you break down the steps needed to see that finish line you’ll quickly notice that you can in fact do it. Find a goal that motivates you and works for your schedule, take an inventory of the people and the equipment who will help you get there, and start putting in the work. Be consistent and remember to have fun.

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Are you a newbie? Have any other questions about the sport? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll answer or point you in the right direction.

Until next week,

Happy training!

xo

Animas Canadaย has graciously chosen to support me with the Dexcom CGM and the Animas Vibe Insulin Pump as I train for and race Ironman Tremblant. I believe in full transparency and appreciate that Animas Canada does not review or approve my blog posts. They want me to share my honest experience with the device. I am also fortunate enough to have been chosen to be a Diabetes Sports Project Champion. Learn more about their great work here. As always, all opinions and posts are purely my own

 

 

14 days +

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Weeks to the Tremblant Ironman: 27 weeks

I’ve been at my training plan for two weeks and the biggest thing that I have noticed is that my diabetes management has significantly improved. I need less insulin, and my metabolism has really kicked into a healthier zone – ie. the after effects of exercise are helping my blood sugars remain steady and happy. I’ve had a few lower than usual numbers, but knew that it would be a process to get my basal levels where they need to be.

Diabetes aside (when is it actually ever ‘aside’ though, really?) I’ve been taking the training one workout and one day at a time. Having the experience of training and racing the half and full distance races has been really helpful in setting up my mindset this year – I know all too well the extent of work that is involved in preparing for the 140.6 miles. Although the Ironman is a long day and I will have to be at my peak fitness in order to complete it strong, confidently, and within my goal time (Sub 15 hours), I am focusing my energy on being consistent. There’s something really beautiful about endurance athletics – You can’t succeed unless you start small and remain consistent. You really do need to put in the work.

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Hmm. Double down arrows post late evening workout (ie. blood sugar level is dropping, fast!). Time to drop that basal rate.

So you might be wondering, what do my workouts actually look like? Maybe you want to one day tackle the Ironman distance and think it’s just a little bit too crazy,ย  a little bit too much of a commitment, but somehow find yourself looking up Ironman motivation videos and checking out registration sites for future races.

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Welcome to my Saturday morning routine. Join me?

My training so far looks a little something like this:

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For a weekly total of around 8 hours. It’s taking some getting used to (the night of my first rest day I remember asking my boyfriend: “Do I really workout again tomorrow morning?”) but I am loving having the routine.

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Juice boxes and fans. Two of my favorite things.

My focus in these first few weeks has been to 1) be consistent 2)be in the moment – working hard and focusing on technique and breathing and 3)enjoy the process.

Next up for me will be to focus on my nutrition so that I am eating enough to sustain myself as my training volume increases. I have mapped out my training until August 20th and in order to really grow and become a better athlete I need to get lean and strong – and I know that food will make a huge difference. I also need to keep focusing on sleep. It’s such an important priority for me that I need to reinstate my ‘go to bed’ alarm, and actually keep to it.

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Reading up on my ‘racing weight’ and learning about strategies to get lean. (And yay for a nice bg!)

The funny thing that happens when you start doing the daily actions that drive you closer to a goal, is that you start to question your other life goals.

Why don’t we all go after our wildest dreams? Why do we sometimes resort to living a life that makes sense for others? That is expected? Easily understood?

I’ve often done things against the grain and am called a free spirit by some – I am passionately driven for the right cause, and constantly seek out opportunities that will enable me to grow both as an individual and as a professional. This Ironman journey has re-sparked my desire to do things a little differently – I find myself watching tiny home DIY shows (don’t worry mom I won’t live in a tiny home, but a tiny cabin by the lake would be nice?), thinking of how amazing and chaotic a home with 4 kids would be (did you know that the norm right now is only 1.2 kids per family?), and dreaming of a self imposed schedule that would allow me to be a role model for my family and my friends – whether in athletics, in business, or in inspired living.

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I’m in a really good place and it feels like the opportunities are endless. (Consistent exercise and activity have a way of injecting life with positivity. Try it!) How do I now use this energy to propel myself forwards?

How do you take an inventory of your life, your relationships, and really examine whether they make sense for you and your life vision?

I sometimes start by looking at my day to day living and listing out the things or activities or people that I would like more of in my life (what do you want more of in your life?), and then listing out the things that you are happy to let go of. Then it becomes a matter of finding time every week to take on more of the ‘more’ and less of the ‘less’.

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More time in the outdoors please! Check.

I don’t know why so many of us put off our dreams – we shelve our desires until the right time rolls around, sometimes waiting far too long to take that leap, to even take that first step. I challenge you to try. Take that first step. Try it on for size.

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The first day, the first swim, of my training plan.

My Ironman journey is certainly one of many steps, and I feel like I’m heading in the right direction by taking it one workout and one day at a time. I visualize a strong race and a happy finish line. I am also using the mental strategies that I learn while training for this grueling race in my day to day life – breaking down my goals in baby steps, being present, and enjoying the (majority) of the process.

Tomorrow I begin week 3 – ‘only’ 27 more to go!

See you next Sunday,

Happy training,

xo

Animas Canadaย has graciously chosen to support me with the Dexcom CGM and the Animas Vibe Insulin Pump as I train for and race Ironman Tremblant. I believe in full transparency and appreciate that Animas Canada does not review or approve my blog posts. They want me to share my honest experience with the device. I am also fortunate enough to have been chosen to be a Diabetes Sports Project Champion. Learn more about their great work here. As always, all opinions and posts are purely my own.

 

 

 

Mission #TremblantIronman

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In a little over a week I’ll be starting my official training plan to get me to the Tremblant Ironman finish line. I’ve decided to hire a coach to help me get there, and I’m looking forward to working hard, and most importantly, consistently, over the next 7 months.

So many of us set goals at the start of the year, only to let them go by the time February rolls around. What did you resolve to do in 2017? Are you still on track to accomplishing those goals?

I shared a few training goals with my triathlon coach (more about him and the coach-athlete relationship in an upcoming post), and I wanted to share them with you too, so that I am more accountable.

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My top 2016 pictures – time to create some more memories for 2017!

Training goals:

  1. Reach the Tremblant Ironman finish line standing and smiling. (Let’s be real here – this is THE goal of this year’s training.) No explanation required.
  2. Hit a 14ish hour time.ย  Why? Because I don’t consistently push myself in training, and I know I can do better. Some people say not to set a time goal for your first Ironman race. I know myself quite well though, and I would still make a secret time goal regardless. And so, rather than keep it to myself I’m sharing the goal with you. I’m more of a ‘comfortable’ athlete and not one who likes to huff and puff too much, even though I’m capable. And so, although I’m more focused on the finish line then goal times, I want to set it to push myself to aim a little higher, push a little harder, and have targets to hit to get there. A 14ish hour time still allows me to be relatively comfortable – 1:30ish hour swim, 7:30ish hour bike, and 5ish hour run.

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    My sexy new watch (735xt) will help me reach my goals!

  3. Manage my diabetes and my pesky immune system so that I remain consistent with my workouts. If you’ve been following along my blogs in the last couple of years, you know that I have to manage my type 1 diabetes while training. It’s taken some time but I have a relatively good grasp of my trends – how food and insulin and exercise all influence one another, not to mention how swimming, biking, and running all impact my blood sugars differently. I alsoย  know how endurance workouts can cause your immune systems to dip, and so will be making a concerted effort to keep my immune system happy.

The big piece of the puzzle in reaching all of these goals is consistency. It’s one thing to dream big, and quite another to put in the work. I’ve been getting back to a routine in the last few weeks and it has felt great. From fitting in a few morning workouts, to jumping back into the pool, and sweating it out at the bike studio, I am retraining my mind and body to welcome this training plan. I’m pretty excited. I’ve been through this training once, and I know what to expect. I also know how awesome I feel when I stay healthy, and get stronger. I also know that managing my training time is important, but not as important as balancing my life. I have the most supportive partner and family and friends, and many exciting things to come in 2017: a baby niece, weddings, and trips. So triathlon training will continue to only be a part of my life, so that I can spend quality time with the ones I love.

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Health goals:

Another important element of racing is being the healthiest version of yourself – specifically when it comes to nutrition. I love to eat, and last year when I was training I definitely indulged in foods that were higher in calories than in nutrition. (I’m looking at you ice cream!) I want to make a concerted effort this year to watch my diet so that I am supporting my body to be the best version that it can be. Lanni Marchant, the Canadian marathoner, speaks of her body as her equipment – it allows her to be the runner and champion that she is, and so she feeds it with the right foods so that she can make it the best equipment possible. It’s all about fueling your engine. Recently she was interviewed for a podcast and she shared her views of women in sport – the pressure for runners to be lean, and her struggle to fit into the collegiate track culture. She’s an intelligent and passionate athlete and I definitely recommend giving it a listen: https://runnersconnect.net/running-interviews/lanni-marchant/

In terms of my diabetes management I know that better nutrition will directly influence my blood sugars. I also am looking forward to the Dexcom G5 being available in Canada, so that I can see my trends and my values on my phone. The continuous glucose monitor and my Animas Vibe insulin pump have been such great pieces of equipment, and I honestly can’t imagine my life without them.

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What’s next:

I’ll be starting my plan in a little over a week, with coach approved workouts until I hit that starting line in August. I’ll be blogging throughout the journey and keeping you all in the loop with the highs and lows of the training cycle.

I will begin to blog more often (remember my Sunday posts?), as I already have a few blog topics that I want to cover, inspired by some of you, who have reached out with specific questions or thoughts. How do you get started in triathlon? Is there a budget friendly way to enter the sport? (Short answer is YES!) How can you exercise for mental health, rather than for race specific goals? How do you create a plan that motivates you? What are the key pieces of equipment to be successful at, and enjoy, triathlon? If you’re a recently diagnosed type 1, how can you start working out without the worry of going low?

As a fun creative side-project I will also start to produce and share some training videos. Partly because I like the technology of it all, but also because it allows me to capture my training and share it with you in an engaging way. Like many of you, I am often overwhelmed by the amount of content being shared online. So why not follow the trend and share more video content, right?

That’s all for now. Have any specific topics you’d like for me to take on? Let me know in the comments below.

Training day 1 of Mission #TremblantIronman is fast approaching! Let’s do this!

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Sunshine? Check. Insulin pump? You bet. Taking it one morning, one day, at a time.

Happy training,

xo

Animas Canadaย has graciously chosen to support me with the Dexcom CGM and the Animas Vibe Insulin Pump as I train for and race Ironman Tremblant. I believe in full transparency and appreciate that Animas Canada does not review or approve my blog posts. They want me to share my honest experience with the device. I am also fortunate enough to have been chosen to be a Diabetes Sports Project Champion. Learn more about their great work here. As always, all opinions and posts are purely my own.

 

 

Lessons and Questions for the New Year!

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It’s almost 2017! Can you believe it?

Let’s not worry too much about resolutions. Let’s think a little bigger, a little more holistically, a little more long-term. Life is beautifully messy, and goals worth achieving are not easily completed. (Case in point: my Ironman journey!)

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Here are a few of my lessons from 2016, and some of the questions that I like to ask myself as the calendar turns the page to a New Year:

A few lessons from 2016:

  1. Consistency is key. As I train for my second Ironman attempt in 2017, I need to stay consistent with my workouts. I need to put in the miles and get stronger. I also need to realize that if I am not consistent then my life is unbalanced. Am I missing workouts because I’m tired? Have I over-committed myself to social events? Am I sick because I’m not eating enough leafy greens? We all need to have balance in all aspects of our lives in order to be consistent.Exercise needs to be priority, not an after thought, regardless of whether or not you are training for an Ironman.

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    Yikes! A brand new and ready to be filled out diary! Consistency, watch out, here I come!

2. Weather is unpredictable: So this one is not a shocker and not technically a ‘lesson’, but I do need to remind myself of it. I need to ride and run in all conditions, so that I am better prepared come race day. (Can we do some rain dances this year though so that the chances of rain are lowered? Maybe?)

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Discovering a new bike studio in my new West end neighborhood.

3. It is a triathlon. More time needs to be spent on getting stronger in the water and on the run, even if I am confident and most comfortable during these two sections of the race. Yes my cycling needs work, but that doesn’t mean that I ignore the need to become an even stronger and faster swimmer and runner.

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New toy courtesy of the Mr! It definitely will help keep me on track in all 3 sports in 2017!

4. It is ok to need a coach. I tried to go the coach-less route last year, knowing that I am more than capable of finding and following a plan. That said, I now realize that I need someone to push me and hold me accountable. A coach does so much more than simply create a plan. I need to have the extra set of eyes watching my progress, and making sure that I am challenging myself in a way that is making me a smarter and stronger athlete.

 

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Now, training aside, what are some of the questions that I like to ask myself as the New Year approaches?

So many of us spend time putting together a list of ambitious resolutions, only to put them aside once life gets in the way, usually in mid-January. (Sound familiar?) And so, I propose a different approach to resolution building. Instead of resolutions, let’s answer the following questions:

  1. Thinking back on 2016, what memory makes you smile the most? What are you most proud of? Focus on the positive events that occurred throughout 2016. Make a list of all the things that made you come alive. This list will reinforce your values and remind you where to place your time and efforts in 2017. Loved that road trip with your girlfriends? Have a great time teaching your nephews to ski? What about the feeling you had when you closed that big deal? Whatever puts a smile on your face is worth repeating. Resolve to have more smile worthy memories in 2017. Some of my smile worthy moments? Having family present at my Ironman races, exploring Prince Edward County with my man, racing in NYC and having my brother bike the route and cheer me on, and having fun with the Toronto Triathlon Club up in Collingwood.

2. What has been one limiting belief that you keep telling yourself? You can’t lose weight? You don’t deserve love? Whatever it is, spend some time acknowledging it, write it down, process it, then let it go. Let. It. Go. Start the new year free of these thoughts, and make room for all the uplifting and positive thoughts that will help you achieve your goals.

3. What do you want your word to be for 2017? Rather than a cumbersome resolution, how do you want to feel in 2017? Want to focus your energies on feeling passionate? Healthy? Make 2017 the year of feeling _____. Strong? Adventurous? Happy? Fulfilled? Free? Check in throughout the year and see if your actions and activities are matching up to your word.

4. Can you resolve to help someone else reach their goals? Not a fan of resolutions? What about committing to another friend or colleague or family member? Help your mom quit smoking. Support your cousin as he loses weight. Reach out and let them know you are there for them – resolve to spread more kindness. (Kindness is always on trend by the way.)

What do you think? Are these questions a refreshing way to review the past year and start thinking ahead? Have any other go-to ways to start the year off on the right foot? Let me know.

 

I’m definitely excited to start my year off and see where it leads…

Happy New Year!

And happy training!

xo

Animas Canadaย has graciously chosen to support me with the Dexcom CGM and the Animas Vibe Insulin Pump as I train for and race Ironman Tremblant. I believe in full transparency and appreciate that Animas Canada does not review or approve my blog posts. They want me to share my honest experience with the device. I am also fortunate enough to have been chosen to be a Diabetes Sports Project Champion. Learn more about their great work here. As always, all opinions and posts are purely my own.

Streak time!

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Last month I shared my thoughts on my Ironman experience, and how I was all set to tackle my training in order to reach the finish line next summer. I was ready! The gym bag was packed, the shoes were dusted off, and the low blood sugar supplies were all counted and sorted. And…well… then I lost my motivation. Big time. I found it hard to workout, to break a sweat, to even get out of bed to make it to the gym. I signed up for swim classes and (sorry Eric!) have yet to go. I was in denial that I, the super motivated runner and triathlete, was…gulp… in a funk. A real, deep, ugly funk.

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Hmm. Be gone funk!

I knew it couldn’t last forever and yet here I was, choosing to have an easy night in rather than my usual sweat fest at the gym. I picked Homeland marathons over handstand push-ups (who am I kidding.. even normal push-ups were given a pass). I slept in on weekends and enjoyed noon-time brunches rather than long trainer rides. I started missing my routine and began feeling less like myself. I realized that my exercise routine was not simply a training plan for an Ironman. It was a way of life. My life. And my positive and ambitious self depends on it. (Of course this wasn’t new news for me – I know that exercise makes our minds think clearly, and allows our truest and healthiest self to come forth.)

Action, after all, breeds action. And inaction, well, you guessed it, breeds inaction. It’s a vicious cycle, for exercise, or for life. I’ve told myself this often when I am stuck in a rut: Just start. Put on the shoes. Get out the door. It’s time for me to lace up. Consciously and consistently.

I need to get back on track. And I’m going to start by taking it one day at a time.

I’ve completed a few running streaks in the past – namely the holiday challenge of running one mile a day, every day, between Thanksgiving (November 24th this year) and the New Year. The idea is to have a fun challenge in order to be active during the busy holiday season, and prepare the body for the spring training that usually begins in January. (Want to join me? Use #RWRunStreak and check out the details here: http://www.runnersworld.com/rwrunstreak)

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Quick FAQs:.

  1. Run at least one mile per day, every day.
  2. Streak begins on Thursday November 24th and runs until Sunday January 1st.
  3. Become part of the community at https://www.facebook.com/rwrunstreak
  4. Share your pictures and posts on social media using the #RWRunStreak

I have a good feeling that this run streak will be exactly what this doctor ordered. A challenge that will push me to be consistent, to get out the door, and lace up my shoes. With some biking and swimming in between I should be ready to focus on triathlon come January.

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I see you motivation! I’m coming after you!

 

Have you ever been in a workout funk? What have you done to get out of it? Let me know. I’d love to hear it!

Come find me on twitter and Instagram and join the Run Streak too! Let’s motivate each other to get and stay active together.

Here’s to 39 days of awesome!

xo

 

 

Back at it.

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It’s been awhile since my last post. In fact, it’s been almost two months. It’s hard to believe that so much time has gone by since my attempt at the Tremblant Ironman. I’m not one to focus on the past, and I’m excited to start planning my goals and schedule for next year, but I’m sure many of you want to know how the race unfolded.

And so, first, the basics:

  1. I didn’t reach the finish line, and that’s ok. The weather conditions at the Tremblant Ironman this year were very wet, and windy. The lake swim felt like a washing machine, and it poured for the entirety of the bike leg. All I wanted to do was get to the run portion of the race, but I could not bring myself to swim or ride faster, in those unfamiliar wet conditions.
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    Feeling the nerves on race morning and closely watching the blood sugar levels rise with adrenaline. Luckily my levels behaved all day! #DiabetesWin

    I made it to the 125 km mark of the bike course, and although I was an emotional wreck for a few hours (ugly crying and all), I was grateful to be able to participate in this kind of event in the first place (I even had E -> O written on my arm to remind myself throughout the day to embrace the opportunity). Once I let myself feel all the feelings, and grieve for what didn’t happen, I quickly focused my thinking on the future. I knew I’d see that finish line another day.

     

    2. My diabetes and nutrition management was right on point: My blood sugar throughout the day was ideal. After years of trying out different strategies for my type 1 diabetes management, I finally found a plan that worked. I ate at the right times. I lowered or raised my insulin when needed, and my body felt good. Really good. And that my friends, that was a huge win!

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    A quick little spin before checking in my bike. I used to admire Ironman triathletes and think that they were ‘other worldly’. And now, I’m one of them. It’s still surreal. #BecomeYourOwnRoleModel #SpotThePump

  2. I have the best support system. Friends from near and far came to cheer me on in Tremblant. They showed up with so much love and support, and battled the elements in order to keep me going on that miserable day. As I shouted out to them that I hated biking (5 hours of pouring rain and sideways wind can alter your mood significantly!) they smiled and pushed me forwards reminding me that they were proud of me.
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    Siblings out to support my crazy endeavors! xo

    This was not an easy feat, and Mother Nature certainly wasn’t making it any easier. Knowing that my friends from the Toronto Triathlon Club and the Ottawa Triathlon Club were out there as well battling the elements motivated me, and reminded me that I was not alone on the course.

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    Moms are the best. Hands down. #BiggestFan

  3. Tremblant knows how to host an Ironman. Yes, I’m biased. Quebec is home for me and my heart feels content in the mountains. The whole town comes alive during race week. The volunteers are first class. The residents are welcoming and supportive. The scenery is unparalleled. If you haven’t decided on your 2017 race, give Tremblant a try. You’ll love it!
  4. I will try again. It didn’t take too long for me to realize that what I love most about the Ironman race is not the actual race. It’s the process. The many months of hard work. The decision to prioritize an active and healthy lifestyle over the opposite end of the spectrum. There’s a reason why I don’t own cable, why I don’t like to spend Saturdays in shopping malls, or head out late on the town.
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    I’d much rather chase waterfalls with this guy than chase cut-off times at the Ironman. Next year’s goal? Get stronger!

    I’m ready to take on the challenge again but I need to be realistic and smart about it. I now know that my buffer needs to be a lot bigger. First off, the weather caused my expected swim time to be 25 minutes longer than in training. Then, with slippery roads and no experience riding in rain (yes, I’m a fair weather cyclist who had never been out riding in rain!) my average bike speed was a fair bit slower than usual. And so, before I toe the Ironman starting line again I need to become faster, and stronger. I don’t want to be chasing cut-off times all day long. I want to feel strong, and confident. There’s a lot of work ahead!

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    #TeamHospod! Love them.

And, now, what’s next?

Now it’s time for me to plan the year ahead. To think about how best to schedule my training and my life so that I remain motivated, inspired, and healthy. After a fantastic vacation in Paris and Iceland, and a few much needed weeks of fun and relaxed training, I am starting to crave structure.

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Jumping for joy in Iceland!

I want to check off workouts. I want to aim for new goals. I want to become a stronger athlete. Although my plans are not yet finalized, I know that I will continue to enjoy running races – from the Beaches 10km race in December to the Ottawa half marathon – and will also participate in community training opportunities like the Toronto Triathlon Club’s training weekend in Collingwood, and possibly their Arizona training camp in April. Next year I’m considering both the Muskoka 70.3 and the Tremblant full again – courses and venues that I’m familiar with. For now I’ll focus on being consistent and enjoying the off season. img_8608I’ll also get back to writing this blog. I’ve missed sharing my journey with all of you and I am looking forward to having you along for this ride. Nothing in life that is worth having comes easily. And that’s ok. If anything, it’s a reminder to us all that life is an amazing opportunity to go after what we really want – with patience and perseverance.

Know what you can control and be a superstar in that domain. Can’t control something? Let it go. Choose your goals. Work and hustle for them. And always take some time to reflect and redirect if the process or the goal no longer feels right.

For me,ย  this Ironman goal still feels right. I’m ready to put in the work. To sweat. To push myself. To prepare myself physically and mentally to take on the race again. And, to see that finish line.

Join me for the ride?

xo

Let’s Pack!

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Days to the Full Tremblant Ironman: 6

I thought I’d share something a little different on the blog today. Many of you have asked me how to get started in triathlon, and what to pack for races. Triathlon is a logistically heavy sport, and it’s easy to forget key equipment and accessories, especially when your nerves take over.

And so, as I’m preparing and packing for my first full Ironman triathlon in Tremblant this upcoming weekend (gulp!) I thought that it would be a perfect time to share my packing list with you. (If you have a unique packing ‘must-have’ that I forgot about, let me know!)
The Ultimate Ironman Triathlon Packing List:

ย Before Race Day

  • Directions to hotel
  • Directions to race registration
  • Camera/Phone
  • ID/Money
  • Glasses, Contact Lenses, Solution, Case
  • Sunscreen, Lip Balm
  • Pre-race workout clothes and swimsuit
  • Compression gear
  • Utensils/Plates if staying at a hotel
  • Favorite snack and meal foods โ€“ if staying somewhere new
  • Motivational notes for transition bags

Swim

  • Wetsuit
  • Trisuit, or tri top and shorts
  • Extra flip flops or shoes to walk to start
  • Water bottle
  • Pre-swim snack
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Extra blood glucose tester for the start to leave with family and/or in morning bag (See below for Type 1 specific list)
  • Garmin/Watch
  • Nutrition for the swim (In cap or wetsuit sleeve)
  • Extra goggles/cap
  • Ear plugs
  • Body Glide
  • Towel/old shirt
  • Pull buoy, and propeller (A girl can dream right?)

Bike

  • Bike
  • Extra race wheels (if switching)
  • Helmet
  • Sunglasses and case
  • Jersey
  • Bike shorts (if changing after swim)
  • Sports Bra
  • Shoes
  • Socks (Extra socks)
  • Tube(s)
  • Tire(s)
  • CO2 cartridges
  • Tire levers
  • Floor bike pump
  • Multi-tool
  • Pedal wrench
  • Water bottles
  • Computer/Garmin
  • Nutrition
  • Rainy weather jacket/vest
  • Gloves
  • Shoe covers for rainy weather

Run

  • New legs (Right?!)
  • Running Shoes
  • Shower cap to cover shoes if rainy day
  • Socks (Extra socks)
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat/Visor
  • Shorts/Pants
  • Top
  • Sports Bra/Underwear
  • Rain jacket
  • Garmin/Watch
  • Nutrition
  • Race and/or fuel belt
  • Head lamp โ€“ if you plan to run into the night
  • Reflective tape/clothing
  • Warm clothing for special needs bag โ€“ especially if running at night

After Race Day

  • Warm clothes
  • Towel
  • Wet wipes

Type 1 Diabetes

  • Insulin pump (Plus an extra vacation loaner pump just in case!)
  • Dexcom CGM
  • Pump infusion sets, cartridges
  • Dexcom sensors
  • Extra pump batteries
  • Insulin
  • Copy of your prescription and/or phone number for your pharmacy in case of missing/lost medications
  • Frio Insulin Cooling Sleeve
  • Extra meter for the swim start/morning bag, and one for transition
  • Extra batteries for the glucose meters
  • Test strips
  • Ketone strips
  • Fast acting glucose

Technology and Accessories

  • Charging cords for watches, phones, etc.
  • Electrical tape and scissors
  • Sharpie pen
  • Maps/Swag/Thank you gifts and cards for your cheer squad
  • Plastic/Garbage bags โ€“ to help you put on your wetsuit, or cover your seat if itโ€™s raining
  • Sodium tablets or salt packets
  • Motivational sayings โ€“ labels to stick on your bike, or notes in your special needs bag
  • Safety Pins
  • Chalk for road signs
  • Pillow
  • Foam roller, The stick
  • Kleenex/Toilet Paper
  • Zip lock bags
  • Reading material, music to relax and unwind
  • Real food for the special needs bags. My go-to? You guessed it! Butter tarts.

The other usual stuff

  • Cosmetics (Hair brush, toothbrush, creams, etc..)
  • Sleepwear
  • Cozy lounge wear
  • Underwear/Bras
  • Casual clothing
  • Flip flops
  • Extra running/walking shoes
  • Feminine products
  • Birth control/Prescription drugs
  • First aid: Advil, Band aids, KT tape, Chamois cream

And that’s it! Let me know if I have missed anything important – do you have certain things that are must haves for race day?

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A little taper run in San Diego!

Although I can’t exactly pack it, a right attitude is also key. Knowing that you have put in the time training, and mentally and physically preparing, is so important. Trust the process. And remind yourself to give it your best on your race day, for as many moments as possible. Race in the now.

Happy packing!

xo

Animas Canadaย has graciously chosen to support me with the Dexcom CGM and the Animas Vibe Insulin Pump as I train for and race Ironman Tremblant. I believe in full transparency and appreciate that Animas Canada does not review or approve my blog posts. They want me to share my honest experience with the device. As always, all opinions and posts are purely my own.