Category Archives: Triathlon

36 Years in the Making

Last winter I spoke to a grade 8 class about qualifying for the Age Group Team and about my inspiration to race triathlon. During the question period one boy asked me a really good question that I reflect on from time to time and I think I finally have a complete answer for him. He asked: “If I knew how successful I could be in triathlon when I was younger do I believe I could have gone all the way and competed for Canada at the Olympics?”

Trust me, I have no grand ideas that I am that talented but his question underlines a bigger more important question that we ask ourselves all the time – what if? We all do it. What if I had continued playing the piano? I showed potential, I just needed to work a little harder. What if I had stayed in school to pursue more education instead of going into the workforce? What if I made one choice over another, would I be in the same place? It is a very powerful question and it can excite you with the possibilities or it can gnaw away at your self-doubt.

So do I think if I had turned to athletics and triathlon earlier in life would I have been an Elite Athlete or even an Olympian? What an amazing idea, right? The short answer is – No. The long answer is – Athleticism, actually any achievement on that scale is about more than talent. People who can see, recognize, acknowledge their dream at a young age and give everything up for that dream are truly a rare breed of human being. You have to have such drive and determination, to not want “normal” teenage things. You have to want to sacrifice everything for your dream, not knowing if you will achieve it. I know I never possessed that type of drive in my youth and no amount foreknowledge would change that.

The other thing that makes our national and elite athletes stand out from the pack is their willingness to suffer for their dream. And I mean suffer. This past year I have experienced a small snapshot of the injuries and illnesses athletes suffer in their training to win and what they have to train through to win. It’s not pretty, it’s not easy and it is most definitely painful. Look at Clara Hughes who cycled with a broken back last year during the Olympics. No one knew, she had a broken vertebra as she cycled into 5th place. 5th place!! Out of the world!! With a broken back!! That is true mental toughness. And I didn’t have it when I was 15, 25 or even 30.

Instead my life has been 36 years in the making. I am where I am today because of all the good, so-so and bad choices I have made in my life. Each and every decision has put me here and I couldn’t be happier. I love my life right now at this moment. My success would have meant nothing if I hadn’t had my husband and children to share it with. I also own my success. I did not push myself and test my boundaries to please anyone but myself. No one has made me do this. No one forces me to train and no one puts pressure on me other than myself.

It took having my children and being faced with scary uncertainties to discover my mental toughness. I learned self-sacrifice through my children. Self sacrifice is a hard, humbling experience but it also builds crucial character and internal strength. Strength that I can now tap into when I want to give up. I also learned emotional and physical pain during the past 4 years. Being able to overcome pain and control pain has let me push myself to new limits.

My life has brought me to this place in time with the skills I need to succeed. It has brought people into my life who believe in me, encourage me and pick me up when I want to give up. I have a strength and vitality my 16-year-old self never new was possible or dreamed off. My father once told me he never regretted turning older or entering a new phase of life because everything in his life has made him the man he is today. I didn’t understand then but I do now.

The Olympics were never a possibility for me and I’m ok with that. I am a work in progress. Who knows what I’ll be capable of in 10 years from now.

Binbrook Triathlon Race Review

Amy cycling

Today has been an exceptional day for me and not because I broke records and killed the course. Quite the opposite. I did have my best race today and I also forgot my timing chip. Total rookie mistake and I made it but it really doesn’t matter. Today was an exceptional day because I finally overcame my anxiety in the water. I have written many times about my struggles with the open water swim in triathlon. I have also been using this site to help work through my triggers and discover coping strategies. It’s been cathartic for me to write about my fears and how to overcome them. It also helped me describe what I am going through to my swim coach, Mat Reid, so that we can work together to not only make me stronger, faster but confident in the water.

And it finally all fell into place today. I was able to get a warm up swim in before the start. I worked through my favourite drills and became acclimatized to the water. It was a brisk 64F or 17C. Definitely a wetsuit swim. After my warm up I stayed in the water and chatted with a few athletes I know from the Y. We didn’t talk about the race or the people. I didn’t even know how many people were on the beach. We were so busy talking about our training and past races that we were all surprised when the gun went off. There was no time to think, never mind be nervous. I just started swimming. Even though I was on the outside of the pack I was still pushed around, kicked in the face and pulled. All of which would usually cause me to panic and give up. But this time I didn’t! I just kept swimming and settled into my stroke. With the water being so cold I wasn’t able to use my usual 3 stroke breath and had to stick to 2 stroke. Before I knew it I was at the first buoy and I felt strong. On the leg back I was able to pick up my speed and swim stronger. I had a clear line to the beach and just zeroed in on the exit sign. I didn’t feel any of the fatigue I usually have climbing out of the water and I even had a smile for my cheering squad (husband and the kids).

I used my coaches trick for getting my wetsuit off quickly and it worked like a charm. My transition was poor. I have to say, if there is an element that needs work it is my transition. I have new shoes – that I love, but I need to take the time and practise slipping them on and off with wet feet.

The bike portion of the race went well and thanks to my Garmin 510 (courtesy of Rock and Road Cycle) I have all my data saved. I averaged 31.5 km/h over the 30k course. It’s a great speed for me and even better when you factor in I have been laid up on crutches for the past 3 weeks letting my foot heal. When I got home I was able to plug my Garmin into the computer and get a better look at my ride. I couldn’t be more pleased! I averaged 30.5 on the first half of the course (15km) and on the second half I averaged 33.4 km/h!!!!! I still can’t believe I pulled that speed off. It also proves my husband right. I’ll never live that one down. It’s all in my head. I have the potential to be so much faster if I would just turn my head off. The numbers prove it. I can do it so I have to do it. Starting this week with my training. All this data helps me focus my training sessions to help improve from these results and to remind me of what I can truly do.

It really is all just a head game isn’t?

TriMom Bootcamps

I am so excited to announce that I will be teaching several bootcamps this summer starting the second week of July. The dates can be found on my events calendar on this site. The details are below. Come join me for a work out and don’t worry about the kids – we have babysitting! Contact me by email to reserve your spot.

Summer Schedule:

I will be offering 3 bootcamps this summer for 6 weeks. Babysitting will be available based on demand. Pre-registration will provide us with an idea for babysitting and allow me to reserve the church so that we have a rain date location.

Tuesday 9:30am-10:30am Sports Conditioning Bootcamp
Focus on agility, coordination and endurance

Wednesday 7:30pm – 8:30pm Bootcamp
Focus on strength and endurance (continuation of our current Thursday night class.

Thursday 9:30am – 10:30am Bootcamp
Focus on strength and endurance (continuation of our current Thursday night class.

Pricing For Bootcamp: Pricing for Babysitting:
1 Bootcamp 6 week Session $ 75 1 child $15, 2 or more $25 for 6 weeks
2 Bootcamp 6 week Session $140 1 child $30, 2 or more $50 for 6 weeks
Unlimited access to all 3 $200 1 child $45, 2 or more $75 for 6 weeks

The sessions will run from July 8 th – August 29th, excluding the first and second week of August as the church is unavailable.

Is this the year you try a triathlon?

My first 10k race with my friends who raced their first 5k.

My first 10k race with my friends who raced their first 5k.

Could this be the year you try a triathlon? Why not? And if not you how about your kids? The Ontario Association of Triathletes announced this year’s race schedule for both adults and children. Every year the number of races increase, providing more variety to suit every whim. There are now women’s only races, there is the Sun Rype Tri Kids Triathlon Series that my kids love and will be racing again, the Kids of Steel Series, plus the Recharge with Milk Triathlon Series and the Subaru Triathlon Series. All having something unique whether it’s the race course (like jumping off a steamship), the venue or the theme – there is the retro race where everyone dresses up, something for everyone.

Now, no one is expecting you to suddenly sign up for an ironman. All of these races offer every distance from a try-a-tri, to a sprint (my specialty), olympic distance or the half and full ironmans. A try-a-tri is the best way to get started. The energy and enthusiasm are high, the crowds are loud and encouraging. The course is short enough to get a feel for each sport but not long enough to make you have second thoughts. And if the swim is just too scary there is the duathalon. So have I sold you yet?

Not quite? I am so passionate about this sport because it has changed my life for the better. And I don’t just mean being active and living a healthy life. They are amazing benefits but what I love is the sense of challenge, stepping out of my comfort zone. We all do it. Gravitate to the things we know, are familiar with but this habit can also cause us to get stuck in a rut. It is good for our health to step out of that comfort zone and try something new, crazy even.

Relay Guelph Lake II 2011

Relay Guelph Lake II

Plus I get to share it with my family. I relay with my brother and husband.I race the swim, my hubbie smashes the bike course and my brother destroys the run. We get to spend the day together cheering and spending time together. We spend time training together that isn’t a holiday dinner or birthday and it’s nice. Nice to have something in common that is special to us. And now my kids are racing. They love running down the finishing shoot with us cheering them on.

So is this the year you or your family try something new? Check out my race schedule for this year and join me for a race. Maybe make your own relay team. Three times the fun! But in all seriousness, I hope that by writing this blog I not only share my experiences but inspire you to try something new. Maybe it’s not a triathlon but we all have secret ambitions, dreams or undiscovered talents. Have you discovered yours?

My 2013 Race Schedule:

Backs in Motion Sunday April 28, 2013

MEC Road Race Series May 18, 2013

Recharge with Milk Binbrook June 8, 2013

Recharge with Milk Welland June 23, 2013 RELAY, swimming 2000m

Triathlon Nation Championships, Toronto Triathlon Festival July 21, 2013

Subaru Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon, Grimsby August 11, 2013

Subaru Triathlon Series Guelph Lake II August 31, 2013 RELAY Swim 750m

ITU Grand Finale World Championships London, England September 11-15, 2013

MEC Road Race Series October 19, 2013

**Hamilton Cycling Club’s Time Trial Races Every Tuesday Night.

What A Great Turn Out!

Set up

London Calling was an absolute blast! We had a full house Saturday morning and the competition was fierce. Cat calling, trash talk and cheering could be heard from every corner. We had 6 bikes to a station with 3 stations. One dedicated to computrainers and the remaining two stations had a variety of trainers giving everybody a chance to try something new. We raced on Tour de Giro’s 24km short course with some wicked hills to add some kick to our ride.

Scott and Derek from Rock and Road Cycle in Burlington came to check us out and encourage the riders. Thanks again for all of your support, both on the day and leading up to the event. A special thank you also to Hammer Nutrition and Preferred Nutrition who provided our prizes and the goodies in the swag bags.

And of course, a special thank you to Eric and Art of Tour de Giro who ran around making everything work and giving everyone a great ride. If you haven’t checked out the site, you have to. It really is the best and only way to train indoors.image-3

Here are the pictures from the event and the video that my very talented brother-in-law put together for your enjoyment.






Rock and Road

It’s been a pretty exciting couple of weeks. I am working with Tour de Giro getting everything ready for March 23rd. It looks like we will have swag bags for the event! I met Scott, the owner of Rock and Road Cycle in Burlington, who is sponsoring London Calling and who is now sponsoring ME! Yep, that’s right! Rock and Road is the official bike shop for triMom!

My husband and I are always checking out new bike shops, seeing what they have to offer, dreaming up wish lists for our bikes. We thought we had been to all the shops in the area but one night we were driving home and passed Scott’s shop. It was too late to pop in so we made a mental note to check it out. Best decision we made! My husband was shopping for a new seat post for his bike and what he wanted was on the expensive end. He went to Rock and Road and found what he was looking for at the best price. Within the week he was off and riding. Each time we price out parts Rock and Road has the best price, so when the owner’s of Tour de Giro asked what bike shop I’d recommend – Rock and Road was top of the list.

It’s not just price that makes Rock and Road so attractive to us, it’s the service too. We play a game when we go into bike shops looking for gear I need to see if the salesperson is going to talk to me or my husband about the product and if they are going to take me seriously. Especially this year. Most of the gear I bought was when I first started and I didn’t want to invest too much not knowing how far I would go. So now we are investing in quality gear. Shops either take me seriously or give me a little chuckle and dismiss me. I hate to say it but majority of shops fall in the latter group. It is hard enough to find quality race gear for women as we are not the target market in North America. I have gone to Mountain Equipment Co-op most of the time. They sell real cycling clothes for women that are equal in quality and fit to men without covering it in flowers and various shades of pink.

Looking for shoes is the perfect example of the gap in women’s products. There are either entry-level tri shoes for women maybe in 1 or 2 styles. For men there are at least 4 low-end options and a mid range plus the high-end version – all in the stores. For women there is only the low-end and high-end. There is no mid range and the high-end isn’t carried in the stores, you have to specially order it. It’s frustrating to say the least.

And this attitude of women being a secondary market carries through to a lot of bike shops. I can count on one hand the number of shops, and we have been to a lot of shops, that have taken me seriously as an athlete and Rock and Road is one of those shops. Like I said I have only had this experience a few times. Brant Cycle, Blacksmith Cycle in Toronto where I bought my new Lake tri-shoes and had my Retul bike fitting, and Rock and Road – my new go to bike shop!

If you have a minute you should drop by Rock and Road and check out the store. It’s time to get your bike tuned up and ready for the road. I was out riding this weekend. It was a little surreal to be riding on a sunny day in 10 degree weather surrounded by snow but it was so nice to be back on my bike. I didn’t manage to snap a picture of myself riding but here is a shot of my husband and his buddies enjoying the weekend.IMG_2274IMG_2275 Riding season is just right around the corner. You don’t want to miss a day riding because you were late in getting your bike to the shop. And if you are a newby looking to get set up, you can go to Rock and Road and know that you won’t be talked into something you don’t need. They’ll help you find the right bike for you.

And don’t forget to register for London Calling on March 23rd!! I am so excited about this event. The ride will be amazing. There are only 18 spots in total. Please don’t wait until the day to register.

12 Lessons Learned in 2012

1. Stretching is not over rated, it is necessary and I need make the time or else I will spend another season injured. Please hold me to this one. If you see me training and I don’t stretch – slap me on the side of the head.

2. Remember this is fun. Every once in awhile leave the gadgets at home, go out and just run or ride. Hit the trails and get lost.

3. I need to spend more time on my bike, even if it means plugging away on my trainer. I must learn to love the trainer. ….. That might take a bit of work.

4. Great training partners push you to new highs, pick you up when you fail and motivate you to get moving when all you want to do is sleep in.

5. I do need a detailed plan. It still has to be flexible but the difference between a good workout and great workout is to have clear goals for each workout. It is also necessary to prevent burnout or peaking too early in the season.

6. You can go it alone but coaching makes a difference. Training with my swim coach has improved my stroke and my confidence in the water. I’m looking forward to being able to train with Mat on a weekly basis this year and seeing the improvement in my swim times. I’ve already hit several PB’s and know that’s just the beginning.

7. Including my kids in the whole process – best idea ever!!! The reasons are endless but the top of my list would be the time we spend together. Whether its keeping me company on sprints off the bike, doing stretches, hanging out at the beach after a race or handing out posters I feel more connected to my kids.

8. Ask for help! My friends have been drilling this one into my head and I cave. They are right. Ask for help and you just might be surprised at the answer.

9. A training ride makes a great date night; especially, if it includes a stop at Domestiques in Dundas, Ontario. Riding together has given my husband and I a chance to play again. To do something we are both passionate about, removed from the kids – having fun together!

10. Trust my training. I will get sick, the kids will definitely get sick, there will be reasons why I can’t train that day but come race day I will be ready. I need to trust that, relax and enjoy the moment.

11. No more excuses! In my second post I talked about this and I’m trying to stick to it. So when you hear me pleading the 5th – call me on it!

12. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that I need to let go. Let go of the anxiety, the need to be in control. I need to do this for me and for my daughter. Like I wrote in my post “How do I learn to let go?” my daughter and I are two peas in a pod for better or for worse. For both of us, I need to do this.

What did you learn about yourself in 2012?

New Year, New YOU!

New Year, New You
It is time again to strap on your gym shoes and join me Saturday, January 26th at St. James United Church in Waterdown for a fun packed boot camp. I am hosting my second boot camp to raise funds to compete at the Triathlon World Championships in London, England. I am half way to my goal and I need your help to get there. My first boot camp was a huge success and I have you to thank for that.

Once again we will be offering babysitting for those who need it thanks to my dear friend Candice, all I ask is that you confirm how many children and what age so that we have enough crafts for all the kids.

A new feature will be the Sample Bar. I’ve raved about the power of Macca and Preferred Nutrition’s Protein Powder for months now you get to try them for yourself. We will have my favourite recipe made up – the one that tastes like a chocolate milkshake, to power you up for a great workout.

The raffle prizes this time are truly amazing. My friend Angela, owner of Cascata Bistro is offering a Chef’s Table for 2. I can say from personal experience that the food is a foodie’s delight. Authentic Italian cuisine sourced from local farmers will make your taste buds dance. The second is a stunning necklace with a diamond from Rabethge’s Jewellery Ltd. Never too early to start shopping for Valentine’s Day! ;o) And finally a secret prize to be announced that day.

Bring a friend and join me Saturday, January 26th!

Get Out There Magazine

I feel pretty honoured today. Get Out There Magazine asked me to write a guest blog for their Editor’s Blog. The post went live today. If you have a moment, check it out.

Made my day!

My eldest came running off the bus today saying she had a note for me from the Principal of her school. She was beaming so it was good news. She said: “If I keep giving you notes Mummy, I get a sticker!” Yes, my child can easily be bribed with stickers. The note is a thank you card from the Grade 8’s. I gave a motivational speech about making the National Team. It was a ton of fun and the kids seemed really engaged. They asked great questions and the time flew by. I’ve been asked to come back and speak to the Grade 7’s. Hopefully they find me just as entertaining.