Category Archives: Running

Is today a 5 mile day?

Is today a 5 mile day?

It’s a saying in our house when we look for the life insurance for all quotes. Is today your 5 mile day? It’s a reference to when I finally broke my 5k wall and I do mean wall. I’ve run on and off since university, running is actually how I kicked smoking – and yes I use to smoke. I can’t even fathom the idea but when I was in high school and university I smoked.

I first started running in my 3rd year; well, it was more a brisk walk/jog on the treadmill but I discovered I could memorize a large quantity of information if I did it while running. Running became my smoking gun to nailing my university exams and then I stopped once school finished. I’d pick up running on and off in a half-hearted effort throughout my 20’s but it was after my second child I really started to fall in love with running. For one, it seemed less intimidating than the weight machines and definitely way less intimidating than the free weight area. I’d watch the women in the free weight area, self-assured and confident in what they were doing and I think I actually shrank. The treadmill provided safety and confidence, slowly it translated to running outside as I became stronger and overtime I learned how to use the weight machines and the free weights.

I officially became a gym rat but I never could run past 5k. I ran 5k well – even fast, but at 4800m my mind and I thought body started to turn off. Anything past 5k just didn’t happen. I couldn’t breathe, I hurt … I’d possibly die or at least fall to the ground crawling like Paula Newby-Fraser for my imaginary finish line … but no matter what, I knew I could not run more than 5k. Then I took a hiatus from running and triathlon for my third child, when I returned to the gym it was hard. Like every woman post baby, my body had changed. This was my third c-section, my abdominal diastasis was even larger, I was severely anemic and with 3 kids 3 and under. Essentially I felt like I was back at the bottom of this immense mountain with an impossible climb to the top.

One day on the treadmill a friend joined me on the elliptical next me and we chatted while we did our cardio, I decided to run 5k that day. Today was my day, I hadn’t hit 5k since the birth of my daughter and I decided this was my moment but 40 minutes in I was only at 3.8km’s. I was so demoralized but my friend kept encouraging me and reminding me of my goal; the point wasn’t how long it took to run 5k but that I ran 5k. Just shy of an hour I hit the 5 mark on the treadmill, elated and frustrated all at the same time only to realize I just ran 5 MILES!! It turned out I didn’t die or disappear into a heap of goo, in fact I felt pretty good. After that I entered 10k races, I even placed in a few 10k races. It turns out the only thing holding me back …. was ME. My mind fixated on the distance to the point I crippled myself. Only when I tricked my mind did I discover what I truly was capable of.

It’s an incredible moment when you realize you are the only thing holding you back. Since that day when we are stuck or need to push, we ask each other is today your 5 mile day. The past two weeks I started honestly training for triathlon again; putting down base mileage and thoroughly enjoying myself. But last night’s run sucked. It was hard and again I just can’t seem to run past 5k, so I gave myself permission to suck – to be horrible and suddenly my run turned around. I turned the speed down on the treadmill, I gave myself permission to walk intervals and before I knew it I ran for 50 minutes and reached 5 miles.

It doesn’t matter how long I’ve done this, or how successful I’ve been in the past … I still need ask: is today a 5 mile day?

You’re Only Limit is You.

I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot these past few weeks. Sometimes we let the ghost of ourselves limit our future greatness. The images and ideas that we carry round with us talk to us when we push. They whisper in our ear reminding us that we can’t do something, that we’ve tried this and it didn’t work last time. How we dismally failed. That voice can sometimes be so loud we can’t hear anything else. But more often than not it is so quiet we barely register it but it’s there. The quiet whisper is the most dangerous, the most deadly because it speaks to our subconscious before we even realize it’s spoken but it’s just loud enough to make us stop. Maybe it stops you from signing up for that course or race you always wanted to try. Maybe it stops you from joining your friends on an amazing adventure. Maybe it stops you from walking through the gym door. Maybe it stops you from really digging deep during a workout. Maybe it stops you from getting out of bed. Whatever it is, it stops you from reaching your true potential because you’ve stopped before you’ve even realized you wanted to start.

That quiet nay sayer in your head is what holds you back before you even realize you wanted to try in the first place. It’s the one that makes you feel panicked when you are running your best run and about to squash your last record and all of a sudden you feel tired, you can’t breathe … and you stop. That’s the quiet voice whispering in your ear. You feel great coming to class and say today is the day you step up your weight but when you go to grab the weights you grab your standard weight. The whisper spoke. You’re friends or colleagues are talking about a race they are doing and say, “hey, you run don’t you? You should race with us.” Before you even realize it, you say “no, you’re not a runner you could never run a 5k.” But in reality you’ve been running 2x a week. Whisper. Maybe you signed up for a class but never made it. Whisper. You bought new running shoes that sit in your closet. Whisper.  You bought the dvd’s because at home you know you will be successful but you never play them. Whisper.

The quiet whisper talks to all of us. The people who silence the whisper decide the limits in their lives are the ones they set. The ones their current self chooses. They let the self doubts of yesteryear fall on deaf ears. The negative comments old teachers or classmates or coworkers may have said are silenced. They shout from the rooftops that today is the day! So remember you’re only limit is you. Tell every whisper that sneaks in that you are better, you are stronger. That anything it can say to you will not break you. It will not stop you. That today is your day.



I spent 3 years working to be in that moment and I wanted to stop. Everything in me wanted to stop, pushing through I found a new strength I never knew I possessed.

Spring is finally here!

I never thought I would be so happy to see +1 on the weather forecast. This winter has definitely been a long, deep cold winter and most of us are desperate for any hint that spring is around the corner. It’s hard to stay motivated when you are staring at the treadmill t.v. screen again because it’s -21C outside and no matter how committed you are, -21C is just cold. Too many of the triMom runs turned into core workouts because the roads or weather were horrible.

Ready for -19C temps. I never run with a scarf but tonight it's a necessity. It kept freezing from my breath hitting the cold.

Ready for -19C temps. I never run with a scarf but tonight it’s a necessity. It kept freezing from my breath hitting the cold.

But as I type I can hear the wind blowing in warmer air and the rain is washing away the last of the snow mounds. When you lift your face to the sky you can actually feel the sun warm your face – yes, I really am vitamin D deficient I think and ready for a new season. This spring I am introducing a number of new clinics for families and individuals that are near and dear to my heart. For me, exercise is always something that I share with my family. My husband and I go for long bike rides instead of date nights. We share are enthusiasm for the sport and for pushing our limits each time we go riding. My kids are getting bigger (too big, too quickly) and now go running with me or jump in on a workout; whether, it’s doing a few push ups, burpees, planks or just hanging out and talking to me while I finish off my last set. The point is it isn’t something that tears me away from my family but is something that bonds us together. Gives us something to do together, to share, to make time for each other. I can’t wait to hear about my daughter’s day on our run. She’s guaranteed uninterrupted mummy time, something she is always looking for.

My daughter completing her first triathlon.

Whenever we hear ads about gyms or making the time to workout, or the latest Pinterest post about fitness, the slogan is always about making time for yourself. Hey, don’t get me wrong I think we all need some time to ourselves but exercising shouldn’t necessarily be yet another thing that pulls us away from our family, making our schedules that much more compressed and stressed. There are more than enough things going on in our lives to stress us out. And the sad thing is our kids are getting less and less active too.

On one of our runs my daughter had a brilliant idea. She asked me if she could start a running group with her friends, just like my triMom running group. She said she wanted her friends to see how much fun it can be to go running with your mom or dad. She was 7. So starting April 27th, she and I will be running a Family Run Clinic for 9 weeks. We are going to teach everyone some key running drills, technique, how to pace yourself and most of all …. how much fun you can have running together, being together. Participating in an activity with our kids versus watching them and spending quality time together.

I also want to start right at the beginning, the same way I started. Give moms a chance to get outside, meet other moms while exercising with their babies. It really does start at birth. The more active we are as parents, the more active our kids will be. Now triMom offers a Stroller Fit class and when the weather isn’t cooperating a Mom and Baby class. It is one of the best hours in my week. A room full of adorable babies and motivated, beautiful women.


We do only have so many hours in a day. Or more importantly so many seconds – 86,400 seconds in fact. Each day we are blessed with another 86,400 seconds. How do you want to spend those seconds?
Family Run Clinic-page-001

stroller fit poster-page-001

Are you ready to start?

Fitness Inspiration #6
The New Year is in full swing and I am sure many of you are looking at how to achieve your new year’s resolutions. Many of you have already begun, working steadily with me week after week and the work is most definitely paying off. Some of you are thinking about starting and maybe aren’t sure if triMom bootcamp and/or running is the right route for you. I understand how hard it is to start, how daunting the task is. I still remember my first trip upstairs at the local YMCA. I had never been to a gym. I had absolutely no idea how anything worked. I literally followed my friend from machine to machine – stalking her. I copied what she did and hoped nobody noticed. We have all been there.

What I like most about the current triMom classes is the intimate setting. There is usually 4 people to a class with room to fit up to 6. It is a comfortable group of women that encourage and help each other. Each has their own story, own reason for being there and they celebrate each others successes. I think we let our own insecurities hold us back and in my own personal journey, can project those insecurities onto other people; causing me to worry about what other people may say or think. I found going up those stairs at the Y was intimidating and deterring. After enough visits I became comfortable and looked forward to working out and meeting other people.

At triMom I eliminate that initial awkwardness by providing a friendly, intimate environment for you to start your path to a new, healthier you. To be yourself, let your guard down and enjoy yourself. And before you know it, you will be revelling in the fact that you can now do a full push up, or “X” about of jump squats, or how much more energy you have. Most importantly you made the change happen. You and only you. There is something incredibly powerful in the knowledge that you created this positive change in your life. That you chose to walk down this path and to stick to it.

If your goal this year is to be more physically active or to try something new, let me help you reach that goal. To work with you, to build a new healthy life. I offer classes Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6:30pm-7:30pm and 7:30-8:30pm. I also offer a core class Wednesday nights at 7:30pm-8:15pm. One-on-one personal training is available. There is also the triMom Runners. A running group that meets 2x a week for a social run, providing an opportunity for like-minded people to start or improve their running. The underlying theme is the mutual support you receive from me and the triMom team.

Let this year truly be a new year! To join triMom you can email Amy: or leave a message on this page.
will you?

Christmas Eve 2013

My eyelashes encrusted in ice after my run.

My eyelashes encrusted in ice after my run.

Most of you know about my not so secret tradition of going for a run on Christmas Eve. I tuck the kids in, bundle myself up, plug in my Christmas tunes and head out for a run. This year I added a few more layers than usual, it’s -19C tonight. Definitely my coldest Christmas Eve run to date but also the most beautiful.
Ready for -19C temps. I never run with a scarf but tonight it's a necessity. It kept freezing from my breath hitting the cold.

Ready for -19C temps. I never run with a scarf but tonight it’s a necessity. It kept freezing from my breath hitting the cold.

A few days ago Southern Ontario was hit with a freezing rain winter storm. Over 10,000 are still without power 3 days later and at the peak over 350,000 had no power – including us. My entire town went dark and simultaneously blanketed with a thick, shimmering cover of ice. The effect is stunning.


During the day, the sun kisses the ice, intensifying the light and making the most beautiful spectacle of light. At night, the Christmas lights are the back drop and the trees are the stars. The light from houses, cars and the moon dance off the ice, setting a stunning light show that only mother nature can create. It is breathtaking and peaceful to run silently through the streets tonight.


I use this time to calm to my mind after a usually stressful lead up to Christmas and recenter myself so that I can fully enjoy the coming festivities. I also use it as a time of reflection; about the year, the season, and family. This year my thoughts kept circling back to the group of women I am working with. I started a running group this past fall. It is a fun, social group that enables women to start running and hopefully come to love it as much as I do. I think it’s safe to say it’s a success. These strong, beautiful women run through rain, snow and blistering cold temperatures. Some days and nights they are dragging me out for a run. I love watching them grow and become more confident as runners and women. I know they don’t see themselves as runners but I do. And the title of athlete is not far off as they continue to workout and push their limits. They are proof of my personal mission statement: “I can and I will.”



This year brought me to new heights in my own athletic career and opened new doors to a promising career and friends. I feel blessed to live this life and to share it. I can’t wait to see what 2014 will bring for me, for my family, for my friends and for the women I work with. Our journeys have just begun.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Day 5 and Race Day!!!


I did it! I still can’t believe it. Friday flew by in a whirlwind. We woke up at 6:00am and went straight to transition. Transition was open from 6-7:30am and if you were late you weren’t racing. Of course it was raining. My bike was soaked and there was no point towelling it off. Normally you set up a towel to wipe your feet on and if it’s raining you put your shoes in a plastic bag so they are dry when you run into transition. Because of the number of athletes in transition no towels and no plastic bags; which on the one hand made set up really easy and on the other everything was sopping wet.
I was out of transition by 7ish and heading for breakfast at this lovely little french bakery down the road of our hotel, when we saw several athletes sprinting for the transition area. We don’t know if they made the cut off. Some were only just entering the park at 7:30am. Could you imagine coming all this way, training for over a year and then told you can’t race. I felt so sorry for them as they rushed through the park.

After breakfast we headed back to cheer on the earlier waves and get a feel for the roads. It poured it down with rain the previous night and it was on and off all day. I wanted to see how much speed you could safely take into the corners. Just as I turned to say to Peter how fast and well riders were taking the corners a man from Brazil miscalculated the corner, lost his back wheel and slid on his hip through the corner. His chain slipped and it looked like he hurt his hip. He managed to get back on his bike and carry on. It was one of many crashes that day.

Before I knew it it was time to get my wetsuit on and head to the swim start carrels. For the first time ever, I felt a good excited – like a kid in a candy shop. I made sure to stick to the back of the group so that I was last in line and had the outside start position. My swim coach has drilled into mine and all his athlete’s heads to always start on the outside. You are told to enter the water and hold onto the pontoon, then … Bang! The gun goes and I’m off.

I had the shortest line to the first buoy and I usually swim straight but I underestimated how aggressive the other swimmers would be in the water. It shouldn’t have been a problem if they swam a straight line but I think they were sighting one of the inflatable banners over the run section so they kept heading for shore. Or in other words they kept swimming into me and pushing me towards shore as I kept trying to swim for the first buoy. In the past this would have led to a full panic attack but this time I didn’t break stroke and just kept realigning myself. I had my best swim yet.

Swimming parallel to shore I could see Peter. So I decided to wave.

Swimming parallel to shore I could see Peter. So I decided to wave.

By the time I was out of the water and at the end of the pontoon I had my wetsuit stripped to just below my waste. Another nod to my swim coach who made us do drills stripping our wetsuits while running out of the water. It was a 250m run up to transition and then another 50m or so in transition to get to your bike with another 100 m out followed by 25m to the mount/dismount line. My time shows 4:17 which is unusually long even though it was my fastest transition ever. Very calm and well executed. The extra distances ate up time but it was the same for all the athletes.

The bike was 3 loops of Hyde Park. It’s a technical course with corners and fast sections but it was especially tricky with wet roads and rain. As you left transition to head out to the bike course officials were urging you to be cautious as many athletes had already crashed. During the run you saw many torn and tattered tri-suits from sliding across the road. Even still I had a blast! I loved this course. With each loop I gained more confidence. By the last loop I was taking the corners at full speed. I averaged 32km/h on the course. The results are skewed because the course actually measured over 23k, which we were notified of during the briefing. This makes our times and speed look slow because 20k is used to calculate speed not the 23k of the actual course. I didn’t want to get off the course I was having so much fun. You can see in Peter’s pictures the rain and the water flying off me. I was more soaked from the ride than the swim.

I did the fancy dismount and headed back into transition. Again it was a long run in to even the playing field. I had no idea where I stood in the race but I new I wasn’t last out of the water and that I passed people on the bike. I hit the run course feeling good but by the end the run was a struggle. I gave it everything I had. My first lap was under a 5 min pace and the second was just over. The last lap was a mental battle but I won. I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:31. When you factor in the longer than usual transitions and the longer bike course I had a personal best! I finished 69 out 97 of the best female athletes in the world in my age group.

It was my best race and I had the time of my life. Now that I know what to expect and what I need to do I want to go to Chicago in 2015!


Ps. A friend gave me a Canadian flag and I carried it with me for the entire race. My own good luck charm.

Day 3 in London

Meeting the President of the Triathlon Ontario

Meeting the President of the Triathlon Ontario

Today was the busiest day yet and the official opening to the games. My day started with conquering the water. I joined the team for a swim in the Lido, a sectioned off part of the serpentine. I’ve been putting this off because all the athletes are complaining about the water temperature. It turns out it’s normal lake temperature. Lake Ontario is significantly colder. Now the outside air temperature is a different story. It’s cold when you get out, cold enough that during our race briefing we were informed we can wear long sleeves under our tri-suit or wear our team jacket while on the course.

My swim felt great! The water is exactly the same as home, right down to the murkiness. It’s a perfect working temperature. About 100m in and your wetsuit is nice and warm and you can get to work without overheating. I started feeling so comfortable I started doing timed 100m sets and I was bang on pace and feeling strong – not winded. By the time I climbed out of the water I felt ready to tackle the race and shook off my insecurities. I feel ready to race this Friday and ready to own the swim.

Afterwards, Peter and I went back to grab our bikes. I had a crash course on urban cycling. You get to split lanes in England, not that I did, but you do move faster on bike than foot or car ironically. We also did laps in Hyde Park. I drafted the Netherlands Junior Team for one loop … :o) The coolest part of this whole experience is meeting all the athletes from around the world who all have this passion for triathlon. We added more countries to our collage. I now have Japan, Hong Kong, Grenada, Chile, Hungary and Russia. I met the Russian silver medalists for the Junior Aquathon. She had the biggest smile! You can see her medal in the picture.

Japan Junior Team Coaches

Japan Junior Team Coaches

ChileHong KongHungaryGrenadaRussia

I had race registration today. Fastest and most organized of any race I have ever attended. And I met more athletes while scoping out new gear. Afterwards we headed out for dinner. The restaurants around the hotel are fantastic. We have had Italian, Indian, Spanish and French cuisine. We will be so spoiled by the time we go home.

The day finished off with the race briefing at the Canada House in Trafalgar Square and then Opening Ceremonies. I wish I could tell you about Opening Ceremonies but my foot was killing me and I decided to head back to the hotel to rest it. This mush walking is talking a toll, big time. I’m hoping to do next to nothing tomorrow and rest my foot. I need my massage therapist and bucket of ice – both of which are hard to come by. We don’t have a fridge in the room so there is no where to store ice packs. That will be tomorrows adventure. The only thing I have tomorrow is a team photo and I rack my bike for Friday’s race. There is room for 4000 athletes in the transition area. I have never seen a transition this huge! I have a picture of what it looks like now and I will try to get one with all the bikes in it. It’s crazy how many athletes are here but the Canada jackets stand out the best. ;o)

2013 Fall Bootcamp

It has been a fantastic summer training outside. I want to say a special thank you to everyone who has made it out to the summer classes. You pushed through even on the smouldering hot days! This Wednesday, August 28, 2013 is the last class of the summer session. We will be meeting at Rockcliffe Park from 7:00-8:00pm. There will be NO babysitting this week.

The fall schedule! Many people are asking what the fall will look like so here it is:

Starting September 3, 2013 Bootcamp Schedule:

Tuesday 6:30-7:30pm Rockcliffe Park
Thursday 6:30-7:30pm Rockcliffe Park

Starting September 18, 2013 Running Group Schedule:

Wednesday 6:30-7:15pm Brown Dog Cafe
Saturday 9:00-10:00am Christie Lake

We will continue to meet at Rockcliffe for Bootcamp as long as there is daylight and the weather cooperates. It’s a beautiful park with tons of space. We will eventually be moving inside but for now we will enjoy the fresh air. I am introducing a card system for the classes going forward. I am still offering 6 classes for $75 but you choose what classes and how many times you attend. You purchase a card for $75 and every time you attend a class I will mark it off, when your card is full you simply buy a new card. This allows for more flexibility and allows for life’s hiccups when you can’t make it to class. Bootcamp starts the first week of September. No breaks and straight to work! ;o)

The running group! Several people have inquired about running and incorporating it into their fitness routine so I have decided to start a running group. The cost is a flat fee of $20 a month. You can choose to attend as many runs as you like. Wednesday nights we will be meeting at the Brown Dog Cafe and will run for just over 30 minutes. To get everyone on the same page we will be running 8:2’s which means running 8 mins and walking 2 mins. Overtime we will switch to 10:1’s and then a continuous run but all in do time. The idea is to add a cardio element to your existing workout in a fun, social environment. The Saturday run will have the same pacing but on the beautiful trails of Christie Lake finishing off with a 20 minute core workout. A great way to start your weekend, refreshed and energized for the day!

Since the running group doesn’t start until September 18th when I return from London, it will have an introductory rate of $10 for September.

To register you can either purchase a Bootcamp Card at this Wednesday’s class or via email transfer. You can also sign up for the running group at this weeks class or via email transfer. Please contact me by email for the email transfers.

I look forward to starting this next chapter with you! Please feel free to share with your friends and encourage people to come and check us out. The more people, the more fun.

A Lesson in Humility

i swim hd_w
I raced the inaugural IronGirl race in Grimsby, Ontario this past weekend. It was my first women’s only race and it was much harder than I expected. I hate to say it but I went into the race with a certain amount of arrogance that I am ashamed of and behaved even worse after the race. My husband warned me not to underestimate the women who would be racing and he was right.

Although the race is a great, friendly race for all women to compete in (and I strongly suggest every women try the race at least once) it is also an opportunity for high performing women to compete in a no holds bar race. There are no men to swim through or ride through to get clear space. The race course is theirs for the taking. And it was empowering to see so many strong women at one race. Most of the races I attend through the various race series available in Ontario there are anywhere from 125-200 or so women and usually anywhere from 25-50 women in my age group. At IronGirl there were over 500 women racing and 92 in my age group. The top women in each age group were serious women, all looking forward to owning the course.

My aim had been to podium but that didn’t happen. I still had my best race to date. If you are following my blog posts you know that the swim is my physical and mental achilles heel in the race. I have been painstakingly working on my swim with my coach Mat Reid with the goal of holding onto the feet of the lead pack by the time I get to World’s – which is in 4 1/2 short weeks. Yesterday not only did I hold on but I was 5th out of the water. 5th!!!! Out of 92 women. I remember getting out the water hearing my husband scream: “You are at the top! At the top baby!” I shook off the swim and headed for transition. I took too much time in transition and let two women slip past me.

I hit the bike course and started hunting. My bike leg was consistent but not nearly as fast as the Toronto Triathlon Festival. I averaged 31.6 km/h according to sportstats and here is where my bad behaviour starts. My garmin had me clocked in at 32km/h and although it is only .4km/h difference it somehow makes me feel better. And either way it doesn’t change where I place in the race but I still stomped my feet and had a full-blown temper-tantrum over the difference when really I was mad at myself. I was at the 7.5k mark when the race leaders passed me. It was so exciting to see women as the leaders and they were only 5k ahead of me. I’ve never been that close before!

As I entered the dismount area I jumped off my bike. I even did the fancy one footed dismount. Again I took too long in transition, feeling tired. Every time I had a chance to slow down I wanted to stop. Not throw in the towel but maybe have a nice little nap or rest before I moved onto the next section of the race. I forced my feet into my running shoes and headed out onto the run course. This is where I really started to beat myself up -the run. Ever since I injured my foot in May I have struggled to get my run back.

As I left T2 my cheering squad was waiting for me. I could hear them cheering as I approached and continued to hear them as I hit the road. Later my daughter would tell me I looked tired and she thought yelling extra loud would help. God bless her. I owed her a big thank you and explanation later about Mummy’s poor sportsmanlike behaviour. So yeah, I was tired when I hit the run course but I started to settle into a good pace by the 1.5k mark. I was running a 5:15 pace which is my best pace since injuring my foot. It told me the intervals are paying off and my pace is starting to improve. Then I hit the trail section of the course and I lost my rhythm. I struggled to get my legs to turn over. By the time I exited the wooded trail my pace was right off and I had a km to go. On the run three more women in my age group passed me. One of them in the last 300 meters.

Within 15 minutes or so of finishing the results were being posted. This is when I started behaving badly. I really thought I had done well, which I had, just not as well as I had hoped. When I saw that I finished 9th I started complaining about the discrepancies between my garmin and the results. Very loudly. That I should have placed higher, never acknowledging the women above me and the excellent race they ran. I went into this race thinking I was fantastic and would sweep the field. That I was Team Canada and look out. Well I was served a well needed lesson in humility.

The truth is as I later had to explain to my daughter, I have been training so hard and ran my best best race to date yesterday and it wasn’t good enough. I hated that! I hated that even though I have been training so hard and so consistently I still couldn’t make it to the podium. That I was frustrated but that doesn’t excuse my behaviour. The women who finished above me ran a great race and instead of complaining I should have congratulated them. There are no guarantees in life and even though I worked hard and I ran my best race I didn’t win and I didn’t podium and that’s life. I should be proud of the fact that I came out with the leaders not behind them. I was in contention the entire race. I finished 45th out of 500+ racers. I finished in the top 8%!!! These are all huge successes. All of which I told my daughter. I told her that success isn’t always measured by where you finish or a grade but by your own personal achievement.

For three years I have been diligently working with my swim coach so that one day I could be on the coattails of the leaders in the swim. Yesterday I became one of the leaders. That success is unmeasurable!

Toronto Triathlon Festival – It’s all about the Expo

Crossing the finish line
On July 21st I raced the sprint course at the Toronto Triathlon Festival, also host to the National Championships for Age Groupers, Para-triathletes and the Elite Juniors Under 23 as well as 10 spots were available for next year’s team competing at the 2014 Grand Finale World Championships in Edmonton. It is the biggest race I have ever participated in! Athletes traveled from across the country to compete. I have never seen so many Team Canada race kits at one venue before – which helped ease my nerves as it’s the first time I raced in my team kit. The transition was massive! With the bikes racked, the racks seemed to go on forever.

Transition Zone

TTF is organized a little differently than other races I have attended. There is a mandatory race briefing and it is the day before. Biggest waste of time ever! And every athlete who came out of the briefing was grumbling about it. Unless you have never raced before there was no point in sitting through the briefing. The only key information were changes to the course from the previous year which are highlighted on the on-line course maps and that the ITU drafting rule of 12m on the race course would be enforced which can be shared via email. For athletes travelling from within the Golden Horseshoe or further it meant 2 hours of driving, an extra $20 in parking for a 12 minute pointless meeting followed by a forced walk through of the Expo. So in other words, you were forced to attend (anyone who did not attend would not be permitted to race and would not be refunded their race fee) a pointless meeting to guarantee “x” many athletes walked through the Expo to see all the vendors. You actually had to walk past each and every vendor to get the second part of your race kit. Unlike other races your parking on race day is not included with your race entry. If you choose to race this event next year add $40 to the race fee to cover the parking for the briefing and on race day.

The wave set up is a little different to other races. All the men are grouped first and all the women last. To keep the waves divided by gender the wave 30-44 for both genders were oversized by 40%. Normally it’s not really a big deal and I have swam in much larger waves but in this case the swim course is around the docks at Ontario place. It’s a very narrow, zig zag location so the swimmers in those waves were literally being squeezed together making it difficult to move forward never mind pass. When you factor the panic a lot of swimmers were experiencing from the unusually cold water it was like trying to swim through pea soup. The buoys were difficult to sight once you cleared the west channel with the sun being directly in your line of sight and obscured by boats and the congested swimmers. Most importantly there was nowhere to warm up in the water, which considering the temperature of the water that day would have been a huge benefit. Actually, I should say the women were unable to warm up. There was enough of a gap between the olympic distance and the sprint that the men and the Elite Juniors Under 23 were able to warm up but not the women. The women’s waves didn’t start until half an hour after the first gun for the sprint. So the men were primed and ready. The women, it felt like were an after thought without the clear advantages the men experienced that day. For a national event, championship and team qualifier the discrepancies between gender are unacceptable. When the race organizers were questioned about the discrepancies they could not or would not provide an answer. They need to address these issues moving forward as most women were extremely frustrated. Had this not been chosen as a championship race or qualifier the number of entrants would have been significantly less. Changes need to be made going forward if this race wants to have the success and stamina of other races in Ontario like Gravenhurst and Guelph Lake.

So what did I like? The bike course is amazing! You feel like you are flying. It was 1.5km short based on my Garmin 510 but it was fast and fun. There was more officials on the course ensuring everyone raced a fair, individual race. The transition was well organized and close to the swim exit, giving a more accurate swim result. The transition was easy to navigate except for when the organizers shut down the centre aisle while out on the bike course screwing with your navigation off the bike. The transition and course were lined with country flags stressing the significance of the race. The run course had plenty of drink stations, it was easy to see where you were in the race. The km markers were difficult to see. Maybe making them brighter, larger or more in your direct line of sight? You knew where you were based on the drink stations. The finish line was a party! Every racer received a finishers medal and recovery food/drink was right there when you crossed the line. And for my family, there was a lot to do which my husband was grateful for. At the end of the day when you packed up your transition you had to have your wristband with your race number matched to your bike before you left. It was a nice detail that I think should be instituted at all races.

The police, firefighters, Maple leaf mascots and more were at the Kid Zone

The police, firefighters, Maple leaf mascots and more were at the Kid Zone

This race has the potential to be a great race but they need to make some significant changes going forward.
*The waves need to be more evenly distributed and stay small in order to navigate the harbour.
*Everyone needs to be provided with a satisfactory warm up.
*Ditch the mandatory briefing and the obvious walk through of the expo; if the briefing is necessary then provide free parking and omit the expo walk through. Let athletes make up their own minds if they want to visit the expo.
*Figure out the parking scenario. There should be a discount or parking should be free. The race is fee is higher than most sprint races to begin with and those races include entry into the park and parking for athletes.

If this hadn’t been the national championships I wouldn’t have signed up for the race. And it won’t always host the championships …

Celebrating my finish with my family. My Aunt came down to cheer me on. I could hear the extra voice. Thank you!

Celebrating my finish with my family. My Aunt came down to cheer me on. I could hear the extra voice. Thank you!