The other F-word

“If you don’t fail it’s because you did not risk enough, and if you didn’t risk enough it’s because you didn’t put your whole self out there.”


Sometimes you just need a good run. 


The view from Tim’s start line. Hubbards is beautiful!

Every year at my work we hold a “Surviving September” party for the team. It’s a celebration of making it through the events, the hustle and bustle of the “back at it” month. It’s a celebration on surviving those 12-14 hour days getting the events going, the magazine to print, the office moved, and to get everything else going. It’s non-stop.

These are the times that training and the health-conscious me begins hibernation. I know better to sign up for the final triathlon of the season, knowing that my training wains and I end up cursing my way through the course (it only took 2-3 years to realize this fact!). Miraculously, I’ve kept my swimming up, and leading classes at Cyclone keeps me in the saddle. But running. Oh, running. It’s like drying dishes, submitting my taxes, or cleaning out the fridge; I’ll do anything but that. Anything.

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September Sunflowers. My favourite!

I find it sad that running and I were taking a break. We’d become so close over the last 9 months. I promised myself – after countless ‘re-starts’ – that I wouldn’t quit running. If I didn’t give it up, then I wouldn’t have that horrible first run back. You know the one. The sweaty, slow, painful, first run back that hurts the lungs, the head and the heart.

But there’s this marathon that I signed up for in 2 weeks….I’ve been battling about which distance I should realistically complete on October 11th, because I sure as heck aint ready for a marathon. I ran home a few weeks ago (6K) and I wanted to stop and walk, no crawl home. It was hot, I was sore, slow and the whole experience just wasn’t what I had been experiencing with running over the past year. I could not motivate myself to go running this month, even with Tim coming home from really great runs, I just wouldn’t dig out the runners.

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My speedy love, kicking relay butt. (4th place!)

Rum Rummers Relay happened today. Tim and I had signed up for this relay in May, and today was the day. I didn’t set any expectations for myself, knowing my 9.3K leg was a hilly one. I wanted to finish without the desire to crawl into the ditch (that is so 2014). But you know what? I killed it. I frigging loved the hills, down and up. Seriously. I ran hard, pushed myself and wouldn’t let ol’ wheezy behind me pass, though he tried. One woman passed me on the first 3 hills, going up and I promptly passed her going down. I challenged myself. It was amazing. The sun was shining, but it wasn’t 25+C like last year, the wind was moderate and I was well rested and fed. I smiled at the volunteers and cheerers. I love it, and thus loved running all over again.

A good race was exactly what I needed to get my running mojo back. Do I think I can achieve a PB on my marathon next month? Not likely, but heck, let’s give it a go!


Catching my breath and oh so happy at the finish line! (49:08 / 9.3K)

Challenge Accepted.

I did it.

We did it.


Crossing the 70.3 finish line for the first time

This weekend was a memorable one. Not only was it race weekend, something I have been counting down to for close to a year, but with Hurricane Arthur landing on Saturday, there was a threat to take our race away!

HTC ST andrews

What a team! Friday night pre-race gathering.

I kept surprisingly cool leading up to the race. I thought the anxiety would set in as we arrived in St. Andrews….or the night before….surely as I got dressed that morning…or treading water before the horn sounded.

But I didn’t. I knew I trained to the best of my ability, and I was going to give it my all. Funnily enough, I experienced more anxiety with my first sprint race in June, than Challenge St. Andrew’s.

My family and friends made all the difference in the world. They reassured me, they were there to have lunch with me, and play bingo the night before. We didn’t start dissecting the race or freaking each other out. Not even once. I had the best support there and I hope I was helpful to the people around me.

race eve

Race eve.

On race day, the alarm went off at 4AM and Karen and I rolled over to eat our “race cake” from Ironman/Hero Sam Gyde. We thought we may be able to grab an extra 20 minutes of sleep (fat chance!) and we were up and getting ready to move out shortly thereafter.

We racked our bikes and set up transition at 5:30. Karen and I were setting up next to each other, when we heard that dread “POP” of a tire. It was so close to us my eardrums hurt. I was ready…if it was me, I could do this. (Thank you Shane for your lessons.) But it wasn’t me, or Karen or Shannon (huge sigh of relief!), and I did a final check before leaving the transition area for the last time before the race.


This looks like some kind of bizarre sleepover. Oh, wait….

I didn’t expect to enjoy the pre-race/pre-swim time, but my fellow HTC’ers united and we had fun. A few photos, well wishes, and smiles. Andrea Hachey, you have no idea how much your smile calmed me as I entered the water and swam to the start line, you are an inspiration.

As we treaded water and started at each other, I broke the tension with “What’s everyone drinking tonight!?” Val, Laura, Shannon and Devon, you made it fun.

swim girl

Girls (and Tony) just want to have fun

And when the horn sounded, I took a deep breath, went wide (no head kicking, please) and swam. The water was chilly (from 27C on Thursday, to 18C on race day) but calm and the staggered start time made it the best open water start l’ve ever experienced.

womens start

The women’s age group start. I’m in there!

Leg 1 would take me ~40 minutes and I focused on my breathing, sighting, reaching, sighting, and brining my body over my arm. And sighting.

About half way through the swim I took just a few seconds to take it all in. I’d caught up with a few men (!!!!) and a few aqua bikers had caught up with me. I looked at the beach and smiled knowing my support team was there, waiting for me to climb out of the water.

This is actually happening. This isn’t practice on Lake Banook, this isn’t the Navy Sprint warm up race. This is THE race, I thought. Now swim, finish it strong!

I came out of the water at 39:10, knowing that I kept it at my one of two speeds, “Steady as she goes”. The other being “Leave me laying for dead after 500M”.

exit water

Outta the way fellas, coming through.

I had mild fear of race brain. Fear of not being able to locate my sneakers, fear of forgetting the plan to take off the wetsuit and then run up the hill. Fear of forgetting fuel, sunscreen or not putting my helmet on before touching my bike.  T1 went seamlessly – if you saw my time (7:34) you may think differently, but the 400M+ climb up from Katy’s Cove to the Algonquin would clear up that confusion.

I could hear mom as soon as I got out of the water. Mike B. walked/ran up the hill with me, encouraging words all the way. I saw Tim taking photos and coaching me on. And I heard my friends cheer. Jenn & Mark had the biggest voices I’ve ever heard. And they were calling my name. I had no choice to be a grinning goof as I ran with my bike to the mount line. I’ve got this.

Amazing support. Amazing people.


The mom’s cheering the athletes on!

And the bike. I had ridden the bike course just three weeks earlier, but I wouldn’t go as far to say that it was familiar. Fuel, fuel, fuel. I dug out my sandwich in the first 5K and had a picnic, loosened my legs, and get focused on the next 3.5-4 hours on my bike.

bike start

Amazing cheers from friends kept me smiling

My first thought as I neared the 10K point was: Ok, it’s time to get serious.  Do I want to finish this racing wondering if I could have done better, or knowing that I gave it my all? Let’s go.


One of the highlights of the race course, was the partially closed course and Highway 1. Flawless pavement, lots of support and no traffic make for a cyclists dream. The fact that there were 2 loops made it so I always had someone near me on the course. I’ve done plenty lonely races, let me tell you. It’s true that some of those people whizzed by me in seconds, making me question if I was moving at all, but hey, they were there. I didn’t let their race interfere with mine.

I was feeling strong until kilometer forty, when I felt my first pain. My IT band was shooting pain from my hip, through my glute, and past my knee.

I couldn’t believe that my injury was coming back to haunt me so soon into my race. My IT band has never bothered me on the bike before. I was expecting some soreness in the run (which I got) but not on the bike. F*#@. I attempted to stretch on the bike and found that getting out of my saddle to pedal helped. At 60K I had to get off and stretch. Someone from a nearby aid station came to my rescue and offered salt tablets. I was skeptical that they would solve my problem (Do you have any dry needles?), but with no other choice I downed the four tablets he gave me (thank you, kind stranger) gave my legs one last stretch and hopped back on.

The final 30K were decent. I had no more pain, and despite the (up) hilly return, I stayed positive. Leave nothing on the road. The cyclists were fewer and further between, but I kept focus. I was averaging 25KM/hr and needed to remember that this is where I wanted to be – where I planned to be.  For a brief second I thought about some of the athletes that were likely minutes from the finish line. I commended them, and then crushed those thoughts. This is my race.

Seeing Coach Jeff and his wife Ashley at the turn off was like icing on the cake, for training with them in the cold winter months is where it started.

I reminded myself to eat more as I returned. Listening to more seasoned athletes, I knew that I may have trouble taking on calories for the final trek, so now was the time. Fuel, fuel, fuel. Gels, banana, Hammer.

I saw my mom first as I retuned from the bike leg. I heard Tim, his family and my friends. I saw Gus and Dawson dogs. I made it in and out of T2 much quicker. Again, I heard Jenn & Mark cheering me through…when I went beyond the regular T2 activities (having a drink, stretching my legs, perhaps thinking of grabbing a little nap) I could have bet my allowance that I would hear Mark say “Get outta there Becky!”. I heard it before I actually heard it. It made me smile and most definitely got my ass in gear. Thank you.

I couldn’t believe I’d already made it through the swim and the bike portion. I knew I’d been out for over fours hours already, but in an inexplicable way time was flying. I was feeling high as I headed out to the run course and received a high-five from Shane.

A saving grace of getting off the bike at the Algonquin was the gentle decline for the first three kilometers. True, I would have to climb back up (twice!) but to loosen my legs and to feel strong at the start was ideal.

I have yet to talk about the volunteers and race crew of this race. It could be a separate blog post. They are amazing, they were up all night to clear the streets after the hurricane. The roads were spotless, all the aid stations were present, they cheered us on. The people of St. Andrews went above and beyond throughout the run. The water, the sponges and the hoses were my saving grace under that blazing sun. And when I ran through town with Kenny Loggin’s “Footloose” blaring through the speakers, I knew I’d died and gone to triathlon heaven.

The run was challenging, but I managed to keep my pace between 6:10 – 6:40 min/KM. I walked only when at the aid stations drinking. I knew if I stopped for a walk break, I’d be done for. High fives from some ironmen kept me positive as I rounded for my second loop. Even up that final slope to the finish line where I thought about letting myself take a little walk break, I powered through and kept on running.


Blurry, but captures the moment of friends cheering me to the finish

And then I heard it.

My team. 🙂

“GO Becky”

“You MADE it”

“100 meters left!”

“Amazing, Girl”


Then, and now when I write this, I tear up.

The support I’ve had every step of the way – from people that may not even realize it – has made this experience more than I could have ever hoped for.

Crossing the finish line was surreal. I wish I could slow it down, or possibly relive it. I kept running an extra 20M to ensure that I was actually over the mat.

A medal. A Finisher T-shirt. A huge hug from my mom.


In September I set up a goal time of 6:35:00, not knowing many factors (T1, surprise vacation/eating binge, and a 2 month long injury that prevented me from running, etc.). I’m not making excuses; I’m saying that my completion time of 6:45:20 sat really, really well with me, all things considered. Two years ago I ran the Bluenose half marathon for a time of 2:18:10, which was only 20 seconds faster then this half marathon and I had a few other activities beforehand!

htc finish line

And the fun post-race events that I loved every minute of:

  • The soak in Katy’s Cove with mom’s company.
  • Eating that Mars bar I had tucked away (in transition) for the occasion.
  • That shower. Oh, that shower.
  • The lie in the sun, with Tim, Karen and Gus with an ice-cold cider. Tim you’re the man for me.
  • The awards banquette.
  • The post Halifax Triathlon Club photo shoot/hang out/ice cream. You guys are amazing.


Loved. Every. Minute.


I love the people that were there to share this experience and their support I felt from home. To all the people that trained with me, early in the morning, mid-day, early evening; thank you, I know some workouts were better than others (Scott, I’m especially sorry about that bike ride in mid-May). To the people that lent me advice, on everything; thank you. And finally, to the people that have been so patient with me over the past six months (or more) as I put parts of my life on hold to train; thank you and I’ll be reaching out to you for a proper catch up (likely over wine).

Thank you Mom for your continued support and joining me to St. Andrew’s. It was amazing to have you there!

And thank you Tim, for knowing that I could do it. For pushing me out of bed at 5:30am, for walking the dog. Every morning. For making me dinner when I was too exhausted and cleaning up. For picking up spare tire tubes, gels, and other tri gear. For giving up your time to cheer me on always. You’re the best.

In the two hours I returned home from Challenge St. Andrews I had ventured to the hardware store, removed my broken screen door, primed the trim, scrubbed the bathroom and all my triathlon gear. Those chores that could wait until “after the race.” I’m looking forward to some down time…..but of course my head and heart can’t help thinking:

Now, when’s the next one?

It’s Time to get Lost

Written on Wednesday, May 21st. (At Sea)

It’s been five weeks of no running. It’s been hard on my soul, but I’ve been dealing quite well with the direction I’m in.  I wouldn’t say that it’s a total waste of training, shortly after I was injured I completed my Lactate Threshold Testing at Kinesio Sport Lab. This allows me to understand my heart rate zones and train in the correct zones, depending on my training requirements.

Here is a brief synapses, right off KSL’s webpage:

The Blood Lactate Threshold Test is an incremental exercise test to determine personalized heart rate training zones. This test is conducted using a treadmill, a CompuTrainer (bring your own bike) or a Monark stationary bike. At specified intervals the physiologist records your heart rate and blood lactate level. Heart rate is recorded using a heart rate monitor and a droplet of blood is taken from your fingertip, using a lancet, to record your blood lactate level. The lactate in your blood is analyzed and used to identify your aerobic and anaerobic thresholds, which are important for designing training programs and race strategies.

A huge thanks to Coach Jeff, for pushing me through the test and explaining what all those numbers mean and what I need to do to reach my goals!

I now know what I need to do.

I just need to actually do it. How funny it is that I could be so gung-ho in my training mode to being so heart broken about my injury that I’m questioning my motives in racing altogether. I haven’t completely thrown in the towel on my training, but I’m still surfacing from last months depression (See entry: (Wo)man Down from April)


Spring has sprung in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia ~ my garden has bloomed!

Physiotherapy: My road to recovery.

I’ve attended four physiotherapy appointments with continued improvement. Maura Connolly-Wieczorek is both physiotherapist and owner of Bluenose Physiotherapy and an amazing support system for me. She was easy to talk to and made talking about my injury easy. She was positive but always honest and I’m glad that I listened to the recommendation from my friends to contact her for assistance.

Thank you Maura!

I’ve been practicing my exercises and have been on the painful end of some dry needling, something my dear friend is also participating in. Her reaction is laughter and tears. Mine is excessive sweating. Either way, we’re both seeing positive results and swear by the treatment. Maura has been nothing but fantastic throughout this entire experience. Beyond the physical limitations I’m facing there is a larger issue that I’m dealing with – the mental roadblock.

After three treatments, I was ready to give it my “new” knee a test run but I just didn’t make the time. Swimming, biking and taking some poor bloke to the ER as a result of a bike accident, all became reasonable excuses. Maura allowed me to run – strongly encouraged me to try – with the full assurance that I could stop when/if my knee started to bother me. My swelling had decreased, my IT band was improving and the treatments were working. In addition to that, I managed to build up my weak glut muscles.


Taking 5 minutes before my Physiotherapy session on an early morning. Being thankful and optimistic about the coming weeks.

So here I am on a cruise ship floating just off of Corfu, Greece psyching myself up to try the outdoor track. I’ve participated in a cycling class and ample paddling around our pool but know that I’ve got to get back to the running soon; the big day is less than 8 weeks away.


Getting ready to board the Regal Princess in Venice, Italy on May 20, 2014

I promise I will run on this trip, but I’m also promising to enjoy this vacation. This is a trip of a lifetime, with my incredibly supportive family that we’ve been looking forward to since dad’s retirement was announced. Five Mediterranean cities, three countries on one of the biggest cruise ships in the world (maiden voyage, no less!) with many tours, amazing meals and shopping. None of which will be overshadowed with my triathlon-training plan!

The timing of this trip isn’t ideal, training wise, but that’s life and I’m going to have to make it work. I will have just over 35 days to train when I return from vacation and I know that I can get back on track and complete this race.  Certainly not in my original (slightly stretch) goal, but I will finish and enjoy the journey.

Stay tuned for my near-future running adventures!

running is a gift

A friendly reminder from my friend at Tonic Fitness

(Wo)Man Down

I debated checking in tonight. I’m curled up with my heating blanket with dinner (consisting of wine and chocolate) feeling quite sorry for myself.

But the way I’m feeling is part of the journey, and I’m hoping that tonight, wait – this week, is considered the valley of this journey. I’m hoping that I will come out of this funk, and the next two months will be a positive experience, and I will get back on track.

Let me explain.

Two weeks ago I tweaked my knee on my long run, when I was running post swim with a group of quite accomplished athletes. It was ego, I know. Even as we headed into the final 3K, I told myself I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone. My pace should have been at least a minute slower than theirs. But the sun was shining, I just killed 2000M in the pool, the day before I ran a PB and was still flying high, and we had sun. Sweet, glorious, magnificent sun. I COULD do it. A big difference between if I SHOULD, I realize now.

Long & slow, Zone 2. I know better.

I decided that rest was the best bet and to take a little breather from running. I had some mild pain training for a marathon last year, and taking it easy for a week or two fixed me right up. I was hoping this would have the same effect.

The first few days of deciding not to run were torture. It seemed that the sun came out, and every single person that could run, was outside Maple Street, doing hill repeats past my window. I was proud of those strangers, I knew they were likely training for the Blue Nose Marathon, but more so, I was envious. I’ve never been injured before, so this is a new experience for me. I’ll admit it, I hate hill repeats, but I would give almost anything to be able to do them (injury free) right now.

As you can tell, I’m down. There has been frequent napping, tears, and questioning why I’m evening doing this. I’ve put in 180 hours of training since late fall. I’ve read books, purchased gear, put the rest of my life on hold, essentially. I’ve started comparing myself to where I thought I would be, other athletes and well, you can imagine what that does to the psyche. Tonight I was close to tears during an FTP test that I bombed.

I can’t decide if this negativity, weakness and a continuous desire for spicy Doritos are all a result from a minor injury or if I’m burning out. I’m hoping to figure it out soon. I have ten weeks left in my training plan.

So, I think it’s safe to say I need some professional help. Once I make it through my 14 hour workday tomorrow, it will be Thursday’s priority #1. My foam roller and avoiding running all together is not a plan that will get me to the 70.3 race feeling confident. (Goal #1) This is how people fall off the fitness wagon (Fear #1) I’m not sure how to approach the rest of this week…. I’m hoping to set up an appointment with a reputable sports physiotherapist, someone who understands the importance of training. And perhaps?,can just solve this problem for me!

I’ve essentially kept up with my biking, swimming and strength training program but completely ceased running. I can feel small amounts of pain at certain times I’m biking and doing squats, so I’m not getting better. I’m not sure if I need a few days off to reset and refocus, or if I should jump in the pool bright and early tomorrow. The next glass of wine shall help me make that decision.

Thank you for indulging me. I have so many things to be thankful for in my life, it’s a shame to get caught up in self-pity.

“Self pity is the sworn enemy of your ambition. It is the number one killer of your aspirations and goals. Give it a foothold in your life and you’ll chase away every dream, dreamt and every friend, befriended.” 
― Jason VerseyA Walk with Prudence

Here are some things, over the past month, that have made me happy and I am incredibly grateful for:

(I call this hitting the reset button!)

swimming 30 years

Thankful for having my mother insist that I know how to swim. 30 years of swimming at Centennial Pool! Great companions too.


Having access to an empty gym. Small win, but a perfect break in the middle of my workday


Visits with family over beautiful meals, wine and great conversation.

backyard and men

A sunny backyard with space to garden, and the love of these two


Meeting this guy. Dad took his girls out to see the farm after Easter dinner and I fell in love.

first bike ride

The first outdoor bike ride of the season with some excellent company and sunshine.

hfx skyline

This view and the amazing city I am blessed to call home


These amazing girl friends that make me laugh and teach me about raclette. Everyone should know about raclette and have friends that make you laugh so hard you cry.


Crawling into bed with fresh sheets that have been hung to dry. Nothing feels and smells quite like it.

Just Breathe


I’ve fallen victim to not being able to know when to stop. My days are filled with working out and when I’m not working out, I’m planning my next run, bike or swim. I’ve even noticed that I’m constantly talking about training, races, and the need for fuel. These days, my friends that I have been hanging out with are all athletes, perhaps it’s because of my conversation topics! Talk about emersion. This week happens to be ParticipACTION’s “Sneak It In” week – making time to incorporate physical activity into one’s daily routine….the story of my life these days!


A short run turned into a longer one. I couldn’t help it – the sun was out and the road was calling my name.

Last night, after my session at Kinesio Sport Lab I could tell I was tired. Not in the “I didn’t get enough sleep last night” kind of way…but in a way that I need to Simmer. Down. I had a great ride on the trainer and pushed it hard, and I absolutely love the computrainer challenge. However, my body is talking to me, and I need to listen. My biggest training hurdle right now is knowing when to give it my all and when to stop.

My morning plan was to hit the gym for a run and some weights before my 10AM meeting, but I knew when I rolled over this morning and felt the throb in my legs – before I even rolled out of bed – that my schedule needed a change.

So here I am, at one of my favourite hideouts, Just Us! at King’s Wharf. Sometimes – like today – there are only a handful of us in here and it is so peaceful. The atmosphere is perfect, with comfy nooks and a view. I was taught recently that it’s important to stop and work on your business, rather then in your business without taking time to reflect (hamster wheel, anyone?).

A moment of rest

Be calm.

On a personal level, that means stepping away from the day-to-day to focus on what is important to me, what really matters, what are my goals (career, family, home and physical) and sometimes just chilling the heck out and drinking some awesome coffee while watching the beautiful harbour we live near. My run was swapped with slowing it down. For now.

I’ve called in help for the remaining three months of training. I have my time goal (that I often waiver about) but must remember the ultimate goal is to walk up to the race start line, knowing that I’ve done everything I can to get me through the best possible race I can complete.


My friendly reminder I woke up to on Saturday morning.

One of my favourite songs is called “Breathe” by Telepopmusik, it’s perfectly suited for today. Enjoy!

Betty and I Take a Ride.

18 weeks to go. So my training plan tells me.

I’ve been exploring different training options since last month, and having a great time. I didn’t know that I would enjoy this experience, in the way that I am. (Although, that leads me to believe I may be a masochistic for signing up for 6+ grueling hours of straight exercise if I DIDN’T think I would enjoy the training part?).

I love my little training corner in our house – but it’s time to branch out!

betty at home

Here’s my “Betty” at home:

But let me tell you about my newest crush. Computraining. This is the perfect way to train indoors during the off-season. Jeff gave me the heads up before he opened, but I guess I needed a little bit more of a push to get there – thank you Sarah!

Here’s how it all works (in my laymen’s terms):

I brought my Betty to Kinesio Sport Labs in the North End and set her in one of the eight trainers that are set up to use power based training within our group of riders. Jeff has a variety of courses and on Saturday we experienced my race (it’s mine.), Challenge St. Andrew’s. The “magic” computer gives individualized feedback (speed, average speed, heart rate, incline, etc), which brought out a competitive side that I (nor Scott or Karen) ever knew existed. The tiger awakens.

After my first few pedals, I knew this was going to be both a challenging and unique training session. The ability to see (and feel!!) the upcoming hills (and drops!), while charting my progress against my bike mates created a playful environment between us. This is a game changer in training.

photo 1 (8)


It was great to avoid the discouragement I sometimes feel from falling behind the other riders out on the open road, and I surprised myself on the distance (and hills!) I completed that day*. I wouldn’t trade the open road for anything, but given our climate, this is the perfect solution. (8 days to Spring!)

Fast forward 3 hours…unbeknownst to me my friends were all off their bikes, having completed their own goals, and cheered me over the 60K mark. (Thank you friends!)

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I immediately committed to an 8-week program that I am starting this evening. It’s a 2-hour session, and I’m really looking forward to improving in my weakest area of triathlon. Stay-tuned to learn more of my growing love affair.

Today’s thought comes from KLS’s website:

Failing is never starting.
Athleticism is a mindset.
Success is moving forward.
Triathlon is a lifestyle.
Everyone is different.
Reaching your goals is a journey.

I must have known that there’d be days like this when I signed up for the 70.3. In the most awesome and satisfied way, of course.

*St. Andrew’s by the Sea isn’t bringing a whole lot of “flat” to the bike course. *Gulp*