Great White North 2015- Race Recap

Well race #1 of the season is done!

The Great White North Long Course (Half-Ironman) distance triathlon took place on Sunday July 6, 2015. As always this race proved to be a fantastic day with amazing volunteers and a race staff!

This was my 4th year in a row completing this race. It was my first ever half-iron distance race, well my first triathlon ever in 2012 and it will always hold a special place in my heart. That first year I went out ‘just to finish’ and finish I did in 6hours and 20min. Fast forward to this year, I finished in 5hrs and 14minutes. A 10min PB from my race last year! My 2 biggest wins being my swim time and my run. The 20km headwind on the majority of the bike course made things a bit slow heading out on the 1st part of each loop, but was a huge help coming back in to Stony Plain each time.

The morning started off cool and windy, the nerves were there, but not like they used to be. I felt confident in my training and strong. The water for the swim was warm and I mad sit through with little to no thrashing from my fellow race-mates which is always a bonus. The bike was a tough rolling hill course with 2 loops, I managed to hold a pretty steady pace even with the headwind and my legs felt strong. The run started off with some pretty numb toes coming off the windy and chilly bike, once I got the feeling back I was happy to maintain a solid pace enough to bring me in for an 1hr 40min run split. Coming off this run I feel like I have a better idea of what sort of pace I can maintain at Ironman.

Photo courtesy: Ken Anderson Photography.

Photo courtesy: Ken Anderson Photography.

I felt strong the whole race and felt like I was able to really leave it all out there, something I’ve never really done before. I felt so comfortable on my bike, in large part thanks to Nicole Zacharias at National Spine Care in Calgary for her painful  (but helpful!) IMS sessions that have my hips and traps in working order again so I am no longer seizing up on my climbs!

Overall, this race has left me feeling ready for Ironman, I know I am stronger than I was in 2013, and I am excited to see what I can leave on that course. The butterflies have definitely started and I am hoping for a relatively nice day. Although after pushing it through the wind at GWN I feel more confident that faced with not so decent weather in Whistler that I have the strength of mind to take it in stride.

As I prep the rest of this week and into next I have the words of RC in my head: “You’ve got this”.

What Drives Me.

I am often asked what keeps me motivated and going. My journey started as a way to deal with my grief, but it has evolved into so much more.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I strongly believe this to be true, in my life I have had the 428956_841228265876_1857275023_nblessing of an amazing support system, starting with my parents and stemming out through the rest of my family, to my friends and co-workers. When taking on big goals like Ironman or trying to qualify for World Championships, there have been many times when I have had to say ‘No’ to invites
out on a weeknight, or had to leave an event early or miss a special occasion. My family will
sometimes not hear from me for a week, my friends even more. Yet, it never ceases to amaze 1234096_10151624921972496_1433234800_nme how they all still ooze support and encouragement and even more so understanding. The type of person that I am, losing touch with those I love is sometimes pretty heart wrenching, it makes me second guess why I am even doing all of this training and at what cost? And then just when I think I am all alone and that this training and racing thing is maybe not a great idea, I’ll hear from a friend or I will have that one free night where I can catch up on phone calls, or be at an event and I am beyond grateful for the support and encouragement I receive. I always get asked how my training is going, I have people tell me that I inspired them to go out for a run, or just someone telling me that they are excited or proud of me- even though they haven’t heard from me or seen me in weeks maybe months- I can’t even begin to express how this makes me feel. To feel the support from everyone drives me forward, it lifts me up.
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Moving to Calgary in September I’d be lying if I said its been an easy transition. In January and February I felt lost and unmotivated as I tried to figure out what to ‘do’ in this new city. I found my way back to an amazing company that I used to work for- lululemon and started part time with them. Being surrounded by a company and group of people that believe in goals, fitness, and sending out positivity was exactly what I needed and felt I had been missing. A couple weeks ago at an event for the company called ‘Get Quiet, Live Loud’ I was blown away when they not only recognized my efforts as an athlete and an employee but gifted me with funds to put towards another Ironman to help me realize my BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) of qualifying for Kona by 2017!! I was floored! I am pretty sure I floated through the rest of the evening, and into the next week. The gesture was again another testament to my village and the people that surround me. I found even more motivation to keep pushing towards my goal, feeling like I have this new support network to carry me through here in my new city.

On top of feeling support from those around me, I also garner inspiration from them. Many obaby G team amyf them may not even realize how much they inspire me, but daily I quietly will dedicate a workout to one of the amazing people in my life. I will think of my girlfriends (Alison, Kate, Mischa, Ariel etc..) with young children that are amazing mom’s and work so hard to keep their children happy, healthy and loved. I think of my dear friend Cynthia that has fought one of the biggest battles anyone can fight, and kicked breast cancer’s ass, not to mention running a 1/2 marathon while she was in the midst of it all. (Cynthia will be presenting medals at this years Ironman and I can’t wait to see her face at the finish). My beautiful strong friend Taryn, who has been battling Lyme disease for 6 years now and keeps fighting with all her might, defying doctors and even herself whenever she can!
1235060_997749610846_465577939_nMy Mom who has overcome so much in her life and is still and always will be my rock, my Dad who has taken up working out every day (If he can be in the pool at 5am so can I!) My brother Jacques who saves lives for a living (NBD) and is an amazing athlete, My sister who is probably the hardest working person I know, with an even bigger heart to go with it. My boyfriend Jason who will never settle for ‘good-enough’ and pushes himself every day at work and at the gym… The list goes on…I have so many amazing people around me that have had life try and kick them down and they have gotten back up each time, saying ‘is that all you’ve got?’.

I guess what I am getting at here is that at the end of the day we all need a little support and encouragement for all the big, and small goals in our life. We don’t always realize it at the time, but I can say this- That I wouldn’t be able to do what I do each day without knowing the amazing people that surround me, they inspire me with what they do and who they are and its with all of them in mind that I find strength to push on with my goals.