Tag Archives: race

It’s About Time!

12 Oct

When my friend CC asked me to run the BMO Okanogan Half Marathon I figured I’d surely be guaranteed a dry race. But as my luck would have it I stood near the start line with less than three minutes before the gun went off with thousand of other racers and was blessed with a monsoon. “I came here from Calgary to run.” said a petit lady standing beside me. “Doesn’t look like you’ll need those!” I pointed at the sunglasses on the top of her head.  In front of me stood a tall lanky man wearing rabbit ears. He was the 1:50 race bunny. “Hummm wonder if I should try and keep up wi th him.” I pondered.

As the race started I decided to attempt to stick with Bunny 150. Less than two kilometers ran I noticed my shoe lace was untied. “Dammit!” I ran over to the right side of the street doing my best to move away from the runners to bend over. I must have lost 30 seconds; for whatever reason I just couldn’t get my shoe tied up. Once laced up, I jumped up and sprinted as fast as possible to get back behind Bunny 150. As my body warmed up my pace increased and I passed right by Bunny 150. “There no way he’s running at the proper pace.” I thought.

The temperature was warm which made me grateful for the rain; it was a perfect combination. Around kilometer twelve I was feeling strong and enjoying my tunes when out of nowhere Bunny 150 zipped passed me! I looked down at my Garmin and realized I’d slowed down a bit. Since I was ahead of my projected pace I was annoyed to realize that I still had to fight a few inner battles. The struggles lasted for about three kilometers when I decided to take back control and refocused. “Fast & easy! Fast & easy! Fast & easy!” I kept repeating over my head; and as always my pace picked up, my breathing calmed down and I started cruising.

Around kilometer seventeen I decided to play my ‘hunting game’. I started this game a few months ago as I tried to chase down a few cuties in the park. The rules are simple. Find your PREY running ahead of you. HUNT by focusing on that person and slowly start making my way closer to them until finally KILL by pass them. I found my prey; he was blond, tall with broad shoulders and wearing a grey and back Nike long sleeve. Running about ten feet ahead of me he was just the motovation I needed to push harder. I managed to pass Mr. Good Looking; feeling mighty fine I picked up a bit more speed.

After seeing the 19 kilometer marker my game was no longer required. My adrenaline kicked in knowing it was less than eleven minutes to the finish line.

I did it… FINALLY!!!  I broke two hours and demolished my previous personal best by seven minutes, finishing in 1:53:47

I grabbed my medal and scanned the crowed looking for CC. She’d participated in the 10 km run and would have finished way before me, so she had to be around. I saw her, waved, yelled and jumped up and down. “What is she looking at?” I thought. Seems CC was also preoccupied eyeing Mr. Good Looking who somehow managed to pass me. “Cheers!” We clanged our water bottles together smiling and feeling fabulous about our runs.

Next stop, Las Vegas Rock and Roll Marathon. With seven weeks of training I’m still somewhat  confident I’ll be able to meet my goal of running my first marathon in sub 4 hours.

PT Girl xo


3 Sep

My personal trainer deWolf has been preparing for the Subaru Ironman for the last twelve months. This test of endurance has to be one of the most challenging events known to men. For the second year now, Alicia and I packed up my truck and drove out to Penticton. The hotels sell out for this epic athletic event so I was forced to make unconventional arrangements. I’d found an accommodation online. When we arrived at the address my contact Shannon had gave me; Alicia and I both sensed something eerie. We stood at the front door with much apprehension; I rang the doorbell. The door swung open and an unusual blond man stood in front of us barefoot.  “Come on in. I’m Charles.” He motioned to us to follow him down a hallway and opened the second door to the left. “Here’s your room girls.” he leered. “Make yourself at home” he mumbled and walked away.

Alicia and I sat on the bed both staring at the dreadful painting on the wall. “Where’s the TV?” Alicia asked. I shrugged, opening a bottled of wine attempting to stay positive. “Where’s the heck Shannon?” I said throwing down the local tourist magazine. As fate may have it, the magazine fell open on page 7 and there looking back at me was an ad for the Summerland Lakeside Resort and Spa. “I’m calling, I’ll pay anything!  Alicia looked at me with a glimmer of hope. “Oh, ok… no lake view…yup, ok, great. We’ll take it! See you tomorrow!” I hung up. We just have to make it through one night. “This bedroom is probably rigged with spy cams.” Alicia laughed. “Let go drink!  she said grabbing her purse and walking out.

 We over indulging in great food and wine at Theo’s Greek restaurant. Afterwards we ventured down towards the IM festivities.  We saw Charles eating poutine and dancing by himself a good ten feet away from the rest of the crowd. Alicia went up to him “Hey Charles, can we get a key?” “Nah! You don’t need a key, I leave the place open all the time!” he laughed sinisterly. Stunned, we forced a smile and walked away. “We’re going to end up on Dateline!” Alicia said in all seriousness as we walked into the first pub we saw. We cozied up at the bar and ordered two more glasses of wine. All the bartenders were wearing IronMan 2010 t-shirts “I’m want one of those shirts and before the night is over one of these guys will give me a shirt! I said.  “Hahaha! You’re funny!!!! … and we aren’t going to have pay for any drinks either!!” Alicia laughed.  The place was hopping and the bartenders’ decided to mix us some flame shooters. As the liquid courage started to run through my veins I began spouting off to whoever would listen “I’m going to sign up for IronMan!!!” No one seemed to take me seriously as I sipped from the trough. (The Bartenders specialty; a bucket of all mixed alcohols)

We sat at the bar for hours chatting and laughing with many great, interesting people and as predicted we stumbled out at three a.m. with no bar tab and an IronMan t-shirt on my back! “Oh what a night!!!”



The next morning, sleep deprived we showered, packed up and got the hell out of Charles’s house.

We were ecstatic with our room at the Summerland Resort & Spa


We took a quick ride back into Penticton to wish deWolf good luck.  He was oddly relaxed; not showing any signs of anxiety what’s so ever. “It’s just another day of exercise” he smiled.

The morning of the IronMan race came fast and we rushed back into town to see the 3.8 km swim.

As returning IronMan supporters we were pretty familiar with the bike route and well equipped with road pops, air conditioning, tunes and snacks. We managed to meet up with my trainer about 6 or 7 times along the 180 kilometers ride.

We veered off at Keremos to grab a bite to eat. Once we returned to the highway we weren’t able to find him again so decided to catch him at the start of the run.  Standing at the seven kilometers marker the wind picked up and it started to rain. Alicia spotted him up the road and I waved my big homemade sign YOU ROCK!! He ran by us “Shoot me!” he said smiling.

We had a few hours to kill so we went back to the hotel to shower and rest. By the time we retuned it was dusk which makes it hard to see the runners clearly but I know deWolf’s stride and saw him from afar “Here he comes!” I pointed and dashed to the side of the street. “Run with me.” he said.   He mentioned his foot hurt but he didn’t even look tired. “You’re doing great! You’re almost done! I said as I handed back his water bottle. “See you at the finish line” I yelled as he took off.

As we waited for him across the finish line I watched the many other Ironman finishers rejoice with friends and family. Congratulation, after all IronMan was the very FIRST triathlon he’d even signed up for and completed!

 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike and 42.2 km run!  Crazy, impressive and extremely inspiring!

PT Girl xo

Iron Mike’s Ride for Cancer

11 Apr

If by any chance you’ve been reading my blog from its inception you’ve seen Mike’s name before. He’s the fitness freak who got me into running and encouraged me to stick with my Personal Training journey at times when I wanted to quite. He’s also the one that warned me that once I started down this road there was no turning back. “Slippery Slope!! I’m warning you.” he always says. With a positive attitude and passion for life, Mike  has a way of encouraging people of all fitness levels to get moving.

Mike ran his first marathon in 2005 and completed his first Iron Man in 2006 in 12:37:55. He is a three time Penticton Iron Man finisher who loves to subtly hint that I should do one (or at least a half) as well.  We usually have this conversation after we’ve drank too many GG martinis and my confidence is soaring. “Yeah for sure! Next summer!” I always say.  My pounding head ache in the morning is a reminder that the vodka was doing all the talking. Although my inner voice whispers telling me it’s just a matter of time until I venture down that path…Yikes?!

Mikes second Iron Man was in 2007 and he finished in 12:00:29
In 2009 he cut another 32 minutes off his time and completed in 11:28:30

2009 Time Breakdown

Swim 3.8 km – 1:08:33
Transition 1 – 5:13
Bike 180 km – 5:49:47
Transition 2 – 3:02
Run 42.2 km – 4:21:57

My friend Alicia and I were there to support Mike at his lastest race. Watching the athletes compete ALL DAY LONG put the grueling race in perspective for me. The swim started at 7 a.m. I get claustrophobic in the water; I can’t even wrap my mind around swimming 3.8 kilometers in a sea of people.


We drove ahead of Mike on the bike course, stopping four to five times to take pictures and cheer him on. It was over thirty degrees in the blazing sun and the 180 kilometer route was painful to us even though we had air condition, music and road pops. I couldn’t image having my butt on those tiny bike seat’s for countless hours battling endless punishing hills.


By the second transition, Mike’s been going nonstop for about seven hours and is now preparing to run a freaking marathon. I’ve heard this switch is the most challenging, since your legs need to adjust to the different motions.  By this point Alicia and I were wiped from watching all the madness. We knew we had a few hours to kill before meeting up with Mike at the half way mark of his run, so we parked the truck and headed to the nearest pub for a bite to eat and a few cocktails.


After finishing his swim, ride and run in 11:28 he still had enough energy to join us at the pub for a few rounds. We sat there replaying the events of the day. I was amazed at how many people participated and astonished at their dedication! I was also shocked at the different caliber of fitness levels that competed and completed. “So are you going to sign up for next year?” Mike asked me. “No way! Not after seeing the painful ride” I replied, secretly wishing I had the nerves (aka balls) to line up the next morning.  As we ordered another round of drinks we saw the very last contestant make the cut off time; Sister Madonna, 75 years old crossed the finished line at 16:54:30. “Huh…..? You got to be kidding me!! That’s absolutely amazing!!…I’m such a chump!” I thought to myself.

This year Mike’s putting all his hard training towards a great cause and is signed up for the Ride to Conquer Cancer®

This two day, 200 km ride through the Pacific Northwest takes place on June 19 & 20, 2010. Every one of us has been touched by cancer. Some of our experiences may have ended in tragedy where others, thanks to research and new treatments are stories of survival. Visit Mike’s Ride to Conquer Cancer® page and support finding a cure for cancer. No amount is too little, every dollar helps, so please donate today!

PT Girl xo

6 Apr

The BMO Half Marathon’s gun goes off in 25 days, 16 hours, 41 minutes and 30 seconds and I have officially started to freak out!!!  How many more long runs, hill intervals and speed workouts can I squeeze in before race day?  I figure I still have three full weeks of training ahead of me; giving myself a full week to taper. But will anything seriously make a difference in my performance at this point? Or am I at my full race potential already?

Last Saturday I ran my fastest fifteen kilometers ever. Finishing in 1h22mins (5:28 per km) but during the entire run I kept thinking about what I could have done better during my training. What if I’d run on the rainy Saturdays rather than stayed in bed?  I could have definitely done more hill training and logged more miles! I thought of all the lazy runs I took where I didn’t push myself.  I remembered the countless drinks I consumed in February during the Olympic celebrations which hindered my training for ten long days; and I replayed the training session with de Wolf where I could have honestly given a better effort.

I know I’m stronger this year and there is no doubt I am faster yet I’ve been having anxiety that on the day of the race I’m going to blow up.

I started training for BMO Half Marathon mid January and since then I’ve ran about 300 km and been to over 25 hours of training sessions. But will it be enough? Have I trained to my full potential? Will I conquer my goal finish time?

PT Girl xo

A Woman’s Touch

7 Mar

The weather has been accommodating this winter. Vancouver hasn’t had any snow and barely any rain; since the New Year I’ve ran in nothing but sunshine.  After a long hectic work week I was exhausted so I canceled my Friday night plans and was tucked in bed by 11 p.m. Day five of my detox I woke up early, the sun was shining (again) and I felt good. I leisurely ate my oatmeal and drank my green tea while catching up on some e-mails.

I hit the pavement by 8 a.m. and I had a very specific run pace in mind. The seawall was just the way I like it, quiet. One of the best things about running is that I can just tune out.  I have a fatal obsession with my blackberry; which is connected to five email addresses, bbm, text message, twitter and facebook. I have an overzealous dog and 3 demanding clients; running is my only real solitude.  My first check point was kilometer five, I was ahead of pace as I entered Stanley Park just under 28 minutes. The sun was warm on my face and I let my mind go blank. At kilometer ten I was right on track at 56 minutes and still felt strong.  As per normal around kilometer 14 my hamstrings started to burn… A LOT, but I managed to stay on pace and got to kilometer fifteen in 1hr25mins. My legs got heavier and heavier but I refused to slow down. I pushed, ignored the burn and got to my front door in 1h38mins (17.3 km).  “Yeah!! I did it… Now it’s spa time!”

As I lay on my stomach totally relaxed after my facial, the esthetician said “The masseuse will be right in.” There was a knock at the door, I looked up and there stood a dude “Hi ma’am I’m here to give you your massage.” I’ve been to lots of massages, hundreds and I’ve never had a male masseuse. I first thought about the Sex in the City episode where Samantha got banned from the spa for trying to get the male masseuse to pet her ‘cookie’.  Except my guy wasn’t 6’2 blond and build like a brick house, he was a long haired, tubby Spanish dude. My second thought was that I’ve never been alone in a room with a guy with just my underwear on without the intention of ‘giving it up’, so this was just weird. Usually when I’m getting a massage I am so relaxed time flies by, sometimes I actually fall asleep; but not today. Although his man hands may be strong and more efficient since they can cover more ground, the entire experience was wrong. He was fumbling, making noises and kept dropping the bottle of oil. I felt like it was never going to end and I started cursing the receptionist for not telling me the masseuse would be male when I originally called to make the appointment. Spa Utopia would never book a female with a male therapist without her consent. “It will be over soon. No, no you can’t ask him to end the session early, that would be rude!” I told myself. Anyone who knows me would tell you I am incapable of masking my body language and I was sure he could feel my annoyance; for which I felt bad. “For god sake it’s not his fault… but make it stop! “ I sigh out loud.

I’ve always preferred to work with men and it goes without saying that I like my trainer to be a man but after today there is no doubt I prefer my massage be performed by a woman.

PT Girl xo

Anyone Can Run

24 Feb

New fitness enthusiasts fill the gyms every January but their excitement tends to fizzle out by this time of year.  I know many of you vowed to start running…but have your new shinny sneakers seen the pavement yet?  What are you waiting for?

Running has many benefits; it minimizes stress, enhances your mood as well as improves your cardiovascular and bone health. Running is one of the most effective calorie burning workouts which is it great for weight loss.  It doesn’t require a partner, a gym membership or any fancy equipment.  All you need is a pair of sneakers and a little patience.  Newcomers should try to follow these tips.

Set a realistic goal: as a new runner signing up for a local 5 km or 10 km race is a great way to stay focused. Most races are during the spring so this is the perfect time to start training.

Google it: search for a suitable training program that works with your lifestyle and stick with it! Depending on your level you may want to start with a run/walk program.

Schedule it:  at the beginning of every week enter your workouts/runs in your blackberry or jot them on your calendar. This will help keep you accountable.

Support system: find a partner. Join a local running group or online chat forum.  There will be bad days, I promise you. The support and reassurance that everyone has hard times will make it that much easier to stick with it and push forward.

Invest in a proper shoe:  a good running shoe should last you at least 400 miles.

Pace yourself: Run slower than you think you should. But run more often than you think you should.

Posture: relax your shoulders, unclench your fists and stand tall.

Hydrate: Hydrate! Hydrate!

“Everyone is an athlete. But some of us are training, and some of us are not.” –Dr. George Sheehan

PT Girl xo

Crossing the Finish Line

3 Feb

As mentioned in my previous blog, once upon a time I had a serious gym phobia and as a result the first year and a half I worked out outside with my Personal Trainer Steve. Under no circumstance did we set foot indoors. For 18 months, come rain, snow, sleet or shine we were out there twice a week. Steve’s fitness knowledge was apparent from the start but his subtle approach at breaking down the physical and mental limitations I’d place on myself was crucial to my development.

My only reference point to “sports “or “fitness” was equestrian jumping and a few seasons on the basketball team as a teenager. So when Steve asked me what my fitness goal was I offhandedly said “I wanna run a 10 km race under an hour.” Where that thought came from I had no idea but I believed this to be unattainable and had no intention of following through.

Each session Steve would make me do a variety of resistance exercises but always incorporated some running; and every couple of weeks I would notice I was capable of going a bit further before I had to stop to gasp for air. Before I knew it I was jogging for over 30 minutes without stopping. It took me a long time to admit it, but I was enjoying the workouts and even though Steve was a tad self-lovin’ he really grew on me.

Then one day, out of nowhere Steve reminded me of my goal and told me it was time to sign up for a race.  I tried to back pedal and make excuses but he would have no part of it.

I ran the Sun Run as my first 10 km race in 58min 24sec. When I crossed the finishing line I felt completely exhilarated and at that very moment I knew there was no turning back…I was absolutely hooked!!

PT Girl xo

The Personal Training Phenomenon

In 2008 approximately 261,100 people were employed in the fitness industry.  A growth of 29% is predicted between now and 2018.*  This is an above average growth for any sector and is due to the increasing number of people who are choosing to spend their time and money on fitness as well as the  recognition from corporations’ of the long term benefits health & fitness programs have on their employees.

A Personal Trainer should provide you with the proper guidance for reaching your fitness or weight loss goal. They should hold you accountable for your successes as well as your failures.  Finding the right Personal Trainer can have many benefits such as: quicker results, speeding up your learning curve and providing a great source of knowledge and motivation.

What to look for in a Personal Trainer:

  1. Proper Certifications &  Insurance
  2. Listens to your wants and needs
  3. Records your progress by taking regular measurements or conducting fitness test
  4. Able to provide a solid network (chiropractors, physiotherapist, massage therapist and contacts to sport specific training)
  5. Enjoys his job and gets excited about your session – a good attitude
  6. Professional  and accountable
  7. Ends the session with a stretch

My Personal Trainer’s Warning Flags:

  1. Doesn’t look more physically fit than you
  2. Plays doctor and diagnoses your injuries
  3. Takes calls or text messages during your session
  4. Ignores your questions or needs
  5. Arrives late for your session or doesn’t return your calls
  6. Recommends trend diets and questionable supplements/herbs

*Statistics taken from United States Department of Labor http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos296.htm