Banff Subaru Triathlon – Race Recap

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Post Race at the finish line

Last week I conquered a fear and checked another item off my 101 bucket list. I’ve spent the past few months chronicling my training for my first Tri, specifically my struggles with the swim, but I am so proud to report that I did it! It wasn’t easy, and I won’t sugar coat my recount but I did it!

The day before race day:
I was a barrel of nerves, and definitely had an anxiety attack in fear I was going to be late to check in, and to drop off my bike off at T1, subsequently being disqualified before even having the opportunity to start. It’s hard for me to admit but there may have been tears in said anxiety attack. I got my emotions under control and we made Banff with time to spare. Of course we did though; the control freak side of me had left an ample buffer. I got checked in, picked up my green swim cap indicating to race officials I was a nervous swimmer (which I really had to check my ego for), and got my bike to T1 making it back in time for the mandatory race meeting.

I woke up bright and early gathered my stuff and met Adrienne for breakfast. Together we headed to set up our stuff at T2, hoped the shuttle bus and headed to the start at Two Jack Lake. Throughout the morning I was surprisingly calm, chatting up other racers as we all waited for the announcement it was time to head to the water.

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Two Jack Lake

The Swim:
We waited around T1 for a couple hours before the call came for us to get ready to head down to the water. The lake was beautiful, honestly picturesque and my photo doesn’t really do it justice. The announcer indicated the water was only 13 degrees and the Olympic distance would be shortened, I was disappointed our distance (the sprint) wasn’t. The buoys looked so much further than 500m, I was sure they misjudged the distance.

Excitement was building as the male sprint heat got in the water to start. Holy crap our heat was next, there was no turning back now. There I was at the edge of the water, wet suit and green cap on ready to go. Next thing you know we are all “swimming”, I put the quotations because where I started in the pack it wasn’t really swimming; it was frantic gasping for survival at best. I couldn’t catch my breath at all, and felt like my wet suit was choking me. I was terrified. The swim was the most chaotic thing I’ve ever participated in. I actually didn’t do one proper stroke the entire time. People were hitting me, and splashing water on me, I just couldn’t calm down. I even yelled at someone to beat it. I feel bad now looking back and know they were probably in just as bad, if not worse spot then I was but her panic and struggle really wasn’t helping my situation. I did my best to get away from her. When I looked around people were swimming in every which direction, it was quite the experience. Throughout the swim I thought of quitting several times… SEVERAL. Somehow though through a lot of self talk I kept with it and what felt like hours turned out to be 16 minutes of my life.

The Bike:tri banff2
When I got to shore, I was so freaking happy! The announcer kept advising the swimmers coming in to swim as far in as they could before standing up, but as soon as  able to stand I did. I was just so darn happy to be able to stand and not to be struggling that I didn’t listen to his advice. When I got out of the water I’m sure I was beaming. Unfortunately, by the time I got to my bike and out of my wet suit I had forgotten all the transition advice I’d been given.

I hit the bike with a fury, because this is where I really wanted to make up some time.  With each person I passed the more excited and energy I seemed to get. I just kept setting a goal to pass the next person in front of me. It was awesome. Then at about the 10 km mark my chain fell off – ugh. I don’t know how to fix a fallen chain, so I just got off my bike and started pushing it. As I was pushing  my bike everyone I’d passed started to pass me back – damn it. I yelled to a spectator biking in the opposite direction if he knew how to put my chain back on, luckily he did and he pulled over to help. Gosh, am I ever grateful to him. He helped me and I was back in the race. I had to work my tail feather off to catch and repass the people I had originally passed.  The bike route was gorgeous, with just enough hills to keep things interesting. As we got closer to Banff town center I knew the bike portion was just about over and I worked to finish the bike strong.

The Run:
When I finally reached T2, I racked my bike and was surprised to see my support group right across my transition area. I was thrilled, but rather disorientated. I could hear them cheering and sending words of encouragement but it was kind of a blur due to exhausting and excitement.  I got out of my bike shoes, into my runners and was away. As I exited T2 and started my run I saw my Adrienne coming to the end of her run. She totally killed it. The run was nice and my legs didn’t feel nearly as bad as I expected. I finished my run in 26 min.

run banffComing into the finish was such a wicked feeling that is really hard to put into words. I crossed the finish line at 1:35:12. All and all, this was one of the coolest things I’ve done. It was a lot of hard work, but I had some pretty great people in my corner supporting me throughout. I am so thankful for that email with the title “sign up now” and for my spontaneous nature because who knows if I would have completed this race otherwise. I raised money for a very deserving cause, found a new hobby, and made some great friends.

Now on to the next challenge…

XoXo

AmysSignature

 

banff subaru

Picking my bike up post race… nothing but smiles

 

First Triathlon fast approaching

Where has time gone!? Summer is over and my first triathlon is only 3 sleeps away. Nerves and excitement are starting to take over.

A few weeks ago I incurred an injury on a training run which I thought was going to completely derail my end of season races and most importantly the triathlon. What the doctor initially thought was torn tendons turned out to be an irritated bursa, which I seem to have got control over with physio and Core shorts (think compression shorts but stronger). Luckily I was still able to race Seawheeze which was such an awsome race with a beautiful course, I definitely want to race it again next year. While I didn’t achieve the race goal I had set out (missed it by 3 min), I am still happy with my result especially since I wasn’t allowed to train for 2 weeks. I was not an easy person to get along with during this time, as anxiety and frustration really got the better of me.

We got back from BC Friday, after taking a much needed break in the Okanagan post race to relax and drink some pinot. Probably not the most strategic thing to do since my most important race was a week out.  As Monday was a holiday  I met my friends Adrienne  and Aimee who will also be racing Subaru this coming weekend to “test the waters” – pun intended. And, I’m not gonna lie, it was cold, really cold. My test swim was, well Ok I guess. I was scared and cold. Luckily I could see the bottom in some areas which surprisingly made me feel more comfortable. Lake swimming is NOTHING like pool swimming. I was actually starting to feel semi confident in the pool coming on the end of the swim program but that lake swim really brought me back to reality, I am not a swimmer.

Tonight, I set out some of my race gear, read the rules and all the other need to know information. I feel overwhelmed to say the least. Will I remember all the important stuff? The thought of making a trivial mistake in transition is beyond stressing me out. Other triathletes say you are supposed to visualize the transition, how the heck can you visualize something you’ve never experienced before? I am just praying that I keep my composure and make it to the finish line. That is my goal for this race… finish.

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While laying out some of the gear I decided to practice getting out of my wetsuit which is trickier than it sounds. Wetsuits are not flattering nor are they easy to get on or off. They are also apparently delicate little things and you need to wear gloves or something over your nails so you don’t puncture a hole in it. What if I get stuck in my wetsuit!? How
embarrassing. Weather network is calling for a balmy low of 3 degrees celsius Saturday morning so I maybe just a frozen wet popsicle in my wetsuit by the end of the swim never making it out of the first transition point. Regardless of the result, I can’t wait to check this off my bucket list and can focus on something I’ve been neglecting… sleep.

Tomorrow I have to pick up some last minute things, finish packing and go over my check list twice, then it’s off to Banff Friday afternoon.

Wish me luck!!!

AmysSignature

 

Post-Summer Thoughts

September 1st happened today. It is bittersweet. I love summer. I enjoy the heat, the adventures, long weekends, bbq’s with friends, and tanned boys. Summer makes me feel like I’m somewhat care-free and have no schedule to adhere to. While I sometimes enjoy that, I tend to crave routine.

I have so many goals or things that I want to accomplish this fall/winter. Probably because September seems more like the beginning of a new year than January does. And who sticks to their NYE resolutions anyway?

I would love to take a few classes to learn how to cook better, or maybe learn how to sew and knit fun things. I want to join a sports league, go to the gym everyday and make healthy meals. I would love to be more invovled in my church, read meaningful books, and volunteer.

Are you tired thinking about all those things? I am.

I have so many ideas floating around in my head! Did I mention I also want to discover YouTube fame and wear purple lipstick everyday?

Amy is moving in with me this month and we have been so excited discussing all the new things we want to get after. I hope we can laugh along the way when things don’t really go the way we’ve envisioned in our heads. Life is too unpredictable to take every little detail so seriously.

I want encourage you to find something that makes you smile and get after it this season. It could turn out to be the worst idea or you’ll find something that inspires you for a long time.

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Just some of my thoughts this Labour Day.

xo

Artistic Talent

Artistic Talent:
Some people have it…some people don’t.

I am unfortunately one of the latter…however I am lucky to know some incredibly talented artists and I wanted to highlight some work of a friend of mine who amazes me with her concept ideas and raw artistic talent.

Her name is Sarah Gasparetto and she is the owner of TreMura Photography, which is a client based business focused on photographing individuals for headshots, boudoir shoots and also capturing special events such as weddings. You may have seen our new pics on our “About Us” page, and those are all thanks to Sarah!

Although she was incredibly successful with this type of photography, she is now transitioning to more fine art, and I wanted to share her new project concept as well as some of her past art pieces.

Here are a couple of her latest exhibits: (I was lucky enough to actually be the model for her “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” show piece :))

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Title: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” Showcased: “Paper Cinematheque” October 2014 UAS Satellite Gallery

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Title: “My Intermission” Showcased: “f100 Exposure Photography Festival” January 2013 Lougheed House Calgary Showcased: “Pin Up” February 2012 UAS Satellite Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new concept!

Sarah’s new concept is so interesting to me. To have the ability to come up with something so unique and powerful truly amazes me.
Her new project will be a collection of portraits (head shots) of artists from around Calgary who make visual fine art and relate their photos to their artwork and concepts. i.e. the below photo is an image of Ashley Huff (a local Calgary painter) of her own art depicted on herself.

456625_349599378434095_1152682711_oAshley Huff is a local Calgary artist that focuses her art on internal reflection and the escape from one’s self from the outside in. It is a hauntingly beautiful image that reflects the paintings that she has created and ties it directly to herself. Ashley made paintings of a woman who ate herself from the outside in. Therefore she was photographed with the image of a place setting and a large scar/cut on her cheek to mimic the cuts that she painted.

“My goal for this project is to create awareness that art is directly tied to artists and their concepts and experiences. I find this connection can often be lost” says Sarah.

I am so honored to know Sarah and be able to watch her career as an artist bloom. She is a fantastic lady, and I invite you to keep an eye out for her new exhibit coming to a gallery in Calgary soon. For those interested in participating in this project, or who would like to be notified (via mailing list) of its formal release and exhibition they may contact Sarah directly at www.sarahgasparetto.com or phone at 403-807-5079.

Xox

BrennaSignature

 

WTF (Welcome to France)

Salut mes amies! Greetings from France!

As some of you may remember from an earlier blog post, in a few short weeks I am moving to Paris! Yes, as of September 15 I will officially be Parisienne. Oh la la!

But before I call the city of lights my home, I am spending some time in a charming town called Vichy brushing up on my French. I must admit, before I left for this two week stint in Vichy I had what some might call a bit of a meltdown. Panic attack, tears in the airport…the whole thing. I was wondering why I made this decision to leave my wonderful home, with my amazing family and friends, to live in a foreign country? Things are weird in France. Now,  having arrived, I realize that France really isn’t so scary.

Not to say that things aren’t different. My colleagues have coined a term: WTF aka Welcome to France. Basically, it is a term you use while you live here to express all of the things that are crazy, confusing, amazing, and so not North American. I wanted to share with you a few of my WTF experiences in my first week here (I promise to keep adding to this list during my time here..)

People are ACTUALLY nice: Les Français get a bad rep. Always thought to be rude, I feel like some people are apprehensive towards them. Everyone I have met thus far have been oh so charming and very kind in a very French, reserved way. And that’s ok too.

Heathy food DOES exist: Craving baguettes and macaroons? This is your place, no doubt about it. But you can also find amazing fresh produce and produits bio (aka organic). Organic products are very popular and people are becoming more and more health conscious. Guys, I even found a Vitamix type blender for smoothies at the grocery store, along with protein powder. It was a thing of beauty.

People DO care about Fitness: Well, kinda. I have been very troubled by the fact that I might not be able to find my spin or yoga classes in France. I DID find a gym here (granted, it is closed for the month of August) and I did see a few fellow joggers when I went on a run (although people did still look at me like I was crazy). I will keep you posted on this one…

This country IS magical: The history, the joie de vivre, the food, the wine….FRANCE. I must say, I feel more at home in this place than I initially thought I would. I am so excited for what the next few years will bring…

That’s all for now. Can’t wait to keep you updated on this little adventure of mine.

Bisous,

ErinSignature

 

Belly Laughs

belly laughWe’ve all had them at one time, and they are probably one of the best feelings in the world. The dictionary describes it as “deep hearty laugh”. Today I had a belly laugh so loud that my coworker even commented saying she has never heard me laugh so hard. After that, I realized I probably haven’t laughed like that in quite some time, and it felt good! Life can get pretty crazy or stressful with so many things pulling us in various directions that we rarely stop to really appreciate the little things like a belly laugh with a close friend. I often find myself running from one place to the next with my calendar often being double or even tripled booked – ridiculous I know. The result is always the same, one way ticket to burnout ville and me. For a lot of people though it’s more than just needing to recharge their batteries.

Today a comedian that we all knew and love died at the age of 63 of an apparent suicide. Articles online are reporting that Robin Williams had been suffering of depression. Over the past few years I have seen an increase in campaigns such Bell Let’s Talk which hopes to build mental health awareness, and alleviate some of the stigma. Depressionhurts.ca says “1 in 10 Canadians will experience an episode of major depressive disorder (the diagnosis given to those suffering from depression) during their lifetime”. This is one statistic I didn’t know until today, 1 in 10 is a staggering number and means many people close to us or even us could experience depression at some point in our lives. It’s unfortunate that it takes a tragedy or something bad to happen to get us talking about something that is so prevalent. I am neither a doctor, nor a psychologist but I am going to start focusing on my own mental health, do my research, watch for signs and be there in case any of my friends or family needs a set of ears. I am not naïve enough to suggest a simple belly laugh is the cure, but I do know that when I’m down and feeling beat up it helps me. This isn’t my typical post but I wrote this in effort to contribute to the conversation.

If you want to learn more about depression here are a couple links to get you starts:

Bell Let’s Talk

Depressionhurts.ca

Canadian Mental Health Association

Hugs

AmysSignature

 

Unique Wedding Gift Ideas

If you are a late twenty-something chances are you are spending your summer at wedding after wedding. Watching your friends say “I do” is a blast but can sometimes be repetitive, especially in the gift giving department (envelope full of money anyone?). While you don’t want to be THAT person who goes rogue and completely misses the mark in terms of the gift, there is something to be said about going the extra mile to give a thoughtful present. Here are some fun, out-of-the-box ideas for wedding presents this summer:

Airline Gift Certificate: Who doesn’t love the gift of travel? Help your friends out on their next trip (honeymoon or otherwise) by giving them a gift certificate for a vacation. Your friends will appreciate having that money around the next time they want to plan a getaway!

Night out on their honeymoon: If you know the couple has booked their honeymoon, why not plan the ultimate night out for them? Keep it as a surprise until the night of and treat them to a night on the town completely paid for and worry free!

Chip in for a wedding extravagance: If you know the bride and groom REALLY want that ultra pricey photographer or that awesome DJ, why not get a group together to help pay for it? They will get exactly what they want without feeling like they are going over their wedding budget.

“Homemade” Gifts: If you feel like money is the way to go, give a little something small that is extra special and personal. Etsy has tons of creative ideas and items you can purchase for very little!

If all else fails, you know that you can get them that Vitamix on their registry! That works too 🙂

Enjoy wedding season! I know I will!

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Lots of love,

ErinSignature

Strength Series: Easy Booty Exercises

Happy Monday!!

For this strength series post, I’ve decided to focus on one of the most important and most commonly forgotten about body parts in our workouts. Not only do we all want to have those nice round, perky derierres, but the glutes are extremely important to keep strong to aid in back support and help with proper technique while performing other excercises as well.

For those of us that sit on our glutes all day at a desk, it is especially important for us to take the time to give this muscle group the extra attention it deserves! and it doesn’t have to be difficult or take a long period of time to achieve results.

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These simple and effective excercises can be done almost anywhere and are perfect for a lower intensity workout or as an addition to a cardio day. Feel free to add in handweights while executing the squats or the glute bridge for more of a challenge.

  • Donkey Kick – 15 reps each side (on all fours, lift one bent leg up and push your heel towards the sky, then bring back to 90 degrees for one rep)
  • Fire Hydrant – 15 reps each side (on all fours, lift one bent leg to 90 degrees and turn knee out to the side – think dog peeing on a fire hydrant)
  • Glute Bridge – 3 sets of 10 (lying on your back with knees bent and heels on the floor, lift you glutes off the ground as high as you can while having your shoulders on the ground. lower to just above the ground, and repeat for one rep)
  • Chair Kick – 10 reps each side (Hold onto the back of a chair and lift one leg out straight behind you as high as possible then lower without placing back on the ground, and repeat)
  • Squat Pulse – 3 sets of 10-15 (with legs just slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, get into a low 90 degree squat and pulse it out for 10-15 reps)
  • Squat Kick – 3 sets of 10 each side (bend into a 90 degree squat, then as you return to standing, kick one leg out to the side, and repeat)

Again for better decriptions of the different exercises,  look them up on bodybuilding.com, and also check out some of their other killer workouts!

Xox
Brenna

A little perspective

team in training TRILast night after swim practice our Banff Suburu Triathlon group met to put together a plan for  race weekend, when our Team in Training coach casually says there are only 7 weeks until race day.  Panic sunk in and I silently screamed, what the heck, 7 weeks!

After nearly 2 weeks off, I am behind in my fundraising and swimming. The swim hiatus was evident last night. I was disappointed that the progress I seen prior to vacation had dissipated. Our coach however, is so positive, and ensured I’d be where I needed to be in time for the race. The optimism in me wants to believe this, but the realist in me tells me it won’t come easy.

After practice the other girls were talking about a fellow Team in Training athlete, who joined Team in Training after losing her father to cancer.  She herself has just recently been diagnosed with lymphoma and has just completed her first round of chemo. Despite all of this this, the women is determined to complete the Nike San Francisco Half in October. Wow. Talk about perspective. It dawned on me later last night that as competitive as I am, this race is more than a personal accomplishment or a check off my bucket list; it’s supporting those diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma, it’s raising money to hopefully one day find a cure.

Armed with a healthy dose of reality, and a robust training/fundraising plan it’s full steam ahead for the next 7 weeks.

XoXo

AmysSignature

Want to donate to my Team in Training fundraising effort and support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada visit my page:

https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=2282711&langPref=en-CA

 

For the love of: Podcasts

I rack up about 2500km’s a month driving, which is a lot of time spent in my ‘mango tango’ vehicle.  I know most of you don’t have the same type of mileage, but summer usually brings a few roadtrips.  Whether you are with friends or had to do the drive alone, a podcast is an amazing way to pass the time.  I will admit it isn’t for everyone. However, I thought I’d share my top podcasts I listen to every week and you can give them a try the next time you want to kill some time!

1) This American Life – 60 mins

TAL This is one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes and for good reason. Every week the host Ira Glass presents a different theme of the week and brings stories on that theme (quoting from his tagline). That’s why I love it! I have been brought to tears, laughed, and said “this is a dumb episode”, but it’s always a podcast I like sharing with friends on long trips!

2) Freakonomics Radio – 30-45 mins

freakonomics If you have heard of Freakonomics the book or read any in their series, you know you will love this!  I find it so fascinating to learn about the “hidden side of everything” and have my perspective on things challenged. This is the type of podcast I can listen to over and over again and get something new out of every time.

3) Planet Money – 15-20 mins

 Want to feel smart? Want to pretend you have an opinion on random world issues? This one’s for you! I hesitated to post this one because I feel like I’m letting people in on my secret. For example, when the euro was tanking and causing huge issues in Europe, I became obsessed with episodes talking about countries like Greece and how crazy things were getting. I swear they present these issues in a very interesting and humorous way. Just check it out, like the episode titled “Why LeBron James is Underpaid”.

Enjoy!

xo