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Ironman Race Report

Okay here it is, my race report. Grab your coffee it is long.

Last week was a long one. The boys were sick and we had a lot to cram into Wednesday to Saturday including rest for me so I had as much energy as possible for Sunday. The boys being sick meant very little rest. I managed to stay healthy from Wednesday on and got in all my mini workouts including a swim in the beautiful Canyon Lake with the Canadian Team TriLife crew.

Derek and I left the boys in the wee morning Saturday while Anthony had been up since 2 am. Grandma Deb took over (so thankful for Grandma! Not sure last week would of been possible without her) so we could make it to Tempe Beach Park for Derek to do his mini Sprint Triathlon. Derek is amazing and crushed it. He had to literally jump into freezing water (14 degrees) and just start swimming on a really cold morning and he did it. This is no easy feat for a guy who can not handle even slightly cold water.

After his race I did my practice swim, checked in my Bike and Run bags and checked in my bike. Time to rest and rest I did thanks to that Grandma person. Without the boys for the day and night I was able to stay off my feet and I slept for 7 hours!

Race morning was non eventful. We were up and out the door by 5:10 am which left me plenty of time to add my nutrition to my bike and pump up my tires.

We again met the TriLife crew. Danny helped me get my wetsuit on and then Tara and I headed to the swim start. Tara was like my security blanket from then to the swim start. We lined up and waited for the pros to start. They did a rolling start after that putting a few swimmers in at a time. I was in the water by 7:03 am and although the water was cold I barely noticed. Now if you have been following my journey this year you know I have been panicking in the water and easily becoming out of breath and gasping for air because of this. I was in that damn cold water for 1 hour and 43 minutes and not once did I panic or become breathless! I was hit by many swimmers but nothing to bad, this did not frazzle me! I had calf cramps in both calves at about 1:15 and I just swam with my arms changing my mantra to THIS – TOO – SHALL – PASS instead of JUST – KEEP – SWIM – ING. This was likely due to the 16 degree water and I knew I would be out soon so I wasn’t too worried. The 4 km swim took me 1:43:00. In July I swam 3 km in 90 minutes. I am beyond happy with this improvement! Mary Jessey thank you for being a huge part of this accomplishment.

Transition was a 400 m run with my bare cold feet on cold wet cement. The crowd was electric and I barely noticed it being as horrible as it was. I saw Derek smiling and taking pictures and Angie and Sharon cheering me on. By the time I got to the wetsuit strippers I had my suit to my hips so the rest only took a moment. I didn’t have a helper in the change tent and I just went through my normal system of wash feet, socks, shoes, chamois cream, helmet, sunglasses. I put everything else back in the bag and I was off. A volunteer offered sunscreen on my way out and I said “yes please but quickly”. I got to my bike before the next volunteer had it unracked and I was off. Considering the long run here I am happy with my time of 10:25

The bike was great. The course was flat with a 17 km incline halfway through each of the 3 laps. I stuck to my power plan using my 4iiiicom power meter and every time I thought I could go a little harder I reminded myself not to burn any matches because I still had a long day ahead of me. I stopped twice to pee and quickly at special needs. I just can’t bring myself to pee on the bike so I lost at least 10 minutes with the pee brakes but I can live with that. My nutrition was on point. 2 gel blocks every 20 minutes and one line of Carbo Pro out of my bottle every hour. I drank every 10 minutes and emptied my bottle over my head before every aid station to keep cool. I saw my cheer team after the first lap and then they headed to Lego Land. The Sharon Styles Hamm the TriLife Banana and Danny were there to cheer at every lap. All in all rather uneventful.

Transition 2 took a little longer than possible at 7:32 because I had to pee again! I coated my feet in Trislide as well as under my 4iiii heart rate monitor, thighs and underarms to avoid blisters and chafing. The sun was only going to be up for another hour so I left the sunglasses put on my Do Epic Shit hat and I was off to finish this epic shit!

Out on the run I knew I had to keep my pace below 10:25 km/min to make all my cutoffs and finish this thing under the 17 hours allowed. I knew I had this thing in the bag but I also knew I had to be smart because I had never ran 42 kms before! I veered from my nutrition plan slightly because the Carbo Pro in my race belt just wasn’t doing the trick. I grabbed water and ice at every aid station for the first 10 kms, some red bull here and there but wasn’t taking in enough calories. I set out to just suck it up and take in those gross gels. They make me gag eating them but they don’t bug my stomach and I needed that fuel. I took a gel at every other aid station and made sure it was down by the next station. I would say I had about 2 an hour but I lost count. I tried chicken broth at an aid station because coach said I should but I instantly knew it wouldn’t be good for my stomach so I tossed it. I got my salt all day from Base Salts because even Gatorade turns my stomach and I didn’t want to add stomach distress to my day. I was comfortably holding a 9:50 min/km pace for a long while but then I had to pee and that put me up to a 10:05 min/km and then again and that put me up to a 10:18 min/km by the end of the first half marathon. I was concerned but not worried. I decided to keep with it and do my 4/1’s and walk the hills up and run them down. No sense burning matches on those hills. I told myself if I could get myself back down to an average 10:16 min/km I could pee again, if not I would just have to hold it. I also backed off the caffeine because I knew that was likely making me have to pee more than I actually needed to and it worked! No more red bull for me for the rest of the race. I saw Derek, Angie, the banana and Danny cheering many times. I even saw Tara once after she finished. She finished an Ironman and stuck around to cheer, such a warrior! 7:09:19 for the run.

I saw Derek again with less than a km to go and then he ran off to the stands to take pictures of the finish line. I ran my 4/1’s right to the very end! I am proud of my resource management all day to make that happen! A couple of other racers in the last few kms told me to walk the finish chute to take it all in. There is nothing like finishing your first Ironman and it is a waste to run through it. They were right! The crowd cheering and high fiving is electric. The feeling of finishing 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running is surreal.

Derek, Angie, Sharon and Danny were all there for a post race chit chat and pictures. I was done an Ironman! A freaking Ironman!

16:33:26 total time!

There are so many people to thank. Angie Anderson thank you for taking me on with 2 months to go. I wanted to go into the race confident I did those last 2 months right and that is exactly what happened. I showed up Sunday knowing I was going to become an Ironman thanks to you.

Grandma Deb Hyslip. You and Noel are amazing. You helped us out every step of the way last week to make this dream of mine a reality. I know it wasn’t easy especially with both boys being sick but you did it and for that I am beyond grateful.

Thank you to the local Triathlon store Tri It MultisportRichelle Love and Todd helped me with every question from gear to nutrition to special needs. Thank you for your commitment to athletes, even the back of the packers like myself this year.

Everyone who cheered for me near and far. I felt your energy all day. Thank you.

For those of you that doubted me. Now there is cross over here between cheerers and doubters for some. I do have to say thank you. You gave me a little extra drive to say Fuck you I can do anything! To those that said point blank I couldn’t… Fuck you. Your opinion didn’t matter before and it sure as heck doesn’t matter now.

Last but definitely not least. Thank you Derek Greene. We made this crazy dream of mine happen together. From our late night swims and bike rides, to our open water swims to you taking care of the boys when the workouts were longer than I could do before they woke up. Your love and support throughout was not unnoticed. Team Greene for the win once again.

As for me now that I have had a few days to recover I am happy to say I am uninjured. All my ailments and injuries are not flared up. My insanely sore quads only lasted till late Tuesday and I just have a couple angry toes left. I am very proud of this. I took care of my rickety body through all of the training and it worked! I am also very proud of my training. It wasn’t easy with our two precious kids(3 year old and 14 month old), working part time, breast feeding through a good portion of the training, working around injuries and everything else that is life. I am proud of all of it. I am damn proud to be an IRONMAN but it really is all the other stuff that completes the pride.


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Why Ironman and my journey so far…

 

I have received a few messages lately asking me why I am doing an Ironman. So I thought with a little over 5 weeks until the big day I would take a few minutes and share my Ironman story so far with you. I started writing this months ago and am finally getting to finishing it now.

 

Way back in 2007 I went to Australia to ride racehorses for the winter. There was many things in those three months that impacted my life and one of them was Ironman.

 

I had heard of triathlons before but I really didn’t know what they were. I picked up a newspaper 🗞 and saw that there was going to be an Ironman race in Bussleton a town about 20 minutes south of where I was working in Western Australia. So on the weekend I headed down to see what it was all about. I got there as people were were going through transition, some racing through it and some having a seat taking a break. As I meandered over to the finish line I saw runners of all types, slow, fast and everything in between but one thing they all shared was a look of determination.

 

At the finish line I saw some bleachers and I took a seat to watch what was happening. The music was booming and the announcer was incredible with his energy. As the athletes crossed the finish line the look of exhaustion was outshawn by the extreme accomplishment they had just achieved. It was in those moments that I knew I had to do it!

 

I didn’t care that I hadn’t swam lengths in years, actually it had been since swimming lessons as a pre teen. I didn’t care that I didn’t have a bike and definitely didn’t have the money for one. I didn’t care that although I loved running I was a turtle not a hare.

 

All I knew was I was going to be an Ironman someday and set a 5 year goal to figure out all the above obstacles.

 

When I got home from Australia I worked my butt off to save up to buy my first bike. My brother has a colleague that owns a bike shop in Sherwood Park and I bought my first bike for $800! Now anyone that knows triathlon knows that this entry level bike was nothing fancy but I knew it was the operator that was going to get to the finish line not the bike.

 

I rode that bike everywhere. At one point I sold my vehicle and it was my only mode of transportation. I moved back to Australia in the fall of 2008 and had a commuter bike there and started lane swimming, ocean swimming and increasing my running mileage. Swimming was going okay until I was swimming along the beach at the farm I was working at and as I turned my head sideways to take a breath I saw the face of a stingray! I jumped out of the water so fast! Not because I was necessarily scared of the stingray but because it startled me to a new level! To this day I still have anxiety about swimming in the open water. Earlier this year I even created a GIF of myself freaking out because a stick hit my shoulder in the lake!

 

As my running increased I developed Patella tendonitis and I didn’t know what to do. By this time I was a student and track work rider and definitely couldn’t afford the physiotherapy I needed. I persevered  and stopped running for a number of months. I wasn’t even able to land on both feet when dismounting a horse, it was so painful. A change in footwear and some education and I was off running again.

 

This is where the dream all started now let’s fast forward a few years through the next number of years.

 

What I didn’t mention above was that I have had right foot pain since I was in my teens. It would wake me from sleeping, I would limp after sitting and it was just an everyday pain that I was forced to be used too. As the years wore on it got worse and worse and I was starting to find that running more than 10 kms a week just wasn’t worth it because the pain would become worse. Ironman was looking unlikely and I kind of started to forget about the dream.

 

And then…

 

A client of mine sent me a text message one night in early 2013 asking if I thought she could do a mini sprint and asked if I wanted to do it with her. It was 250 m in the pool, a 12 or 15 km ride and a 2.5 km run. I said sure why not! That spring I got a few clients to join us and we all went and did this ladies only triathlon. It was a great day and it started a new addiction for 2 of us.

 

That summer my new partner in crime went on to do 3 more sprints, an Olympic and trained for the Calgary 70.3. We both had a lot of stuff going on in our lives the weekend of the race and had planned to train and last minute enter or not enter. About 10 days before the race we decided not to do it because our heads weren’t in it. I was getting married the next weekend and my training buddy had a few big events happening at work so we decided to do it ‘next year’.

 

The next year came and by then we were both pregnant. I did a couple early season sprints while trying to pretend I didn’t want to vomit throughout from baby making me sick and then hung up my bike for the year.

 

When I gave birth to my oldest son later that year I broke my tailbone and it was obvious after a couple months that I wouldn’t be riding my bike anytime soon. During that pregnancy I was given the opportunity to meet with a surgeon about my foot. I had met many in the past and not a single one was confidently willing to operate. When I met with this surgeon he was confident he could make my foot better but I was of course pregnant and the recovery was going to be 6 weeks in a non weight bearing cast and another 4 weeks in a walking boot so the commitment was an obstacle.

 

Once baby was born my tailbone was a mess and I knew I wouldn’t be doing any triathlons in the near future so hubby and I decided it would be a good time for our family to have the surgery on my foot. All this equates to no triathlons in 2015. By 2016 we were back to trying to grow our family and our second little guy was born in 2017 so again no triathlons!

 

As soon as baby was born I just knew 2018 was going to my year to finally complete an Ironman. I set out to work with my Pelvic Floor Physio to get me back to riding my now upgraded bike. 5 minutes at a time at 8 weeks postpartum(November) I rode every other day and eventually worked my way up to know 90 minutes at a time by April. I am still having some trouble finding a bike seat to work with my postpartum pelvis and tail bone but I have managed to do some epic rides and some really long hours on the trainer.

 

I had done all my rehabilitation like a pro post surgery and did a little bit of running in early 2015 and a few kilometers here and there in pregnancy but that was about it. In January of this year I started running 20 second intervals and I could only do 10 of them! My first run outdoors was in late January and it almost killed me to run 2.5 kms! My have had more than a few old injuries rear their ugly heads in the past 10 months but I have worked with my physio to keep me going and build my mileage.

 

Open water swimming is slowly getting better and unfortunately because of our early arrival of winter I haven’t done as much as I would like but my swimming is getting better overall in the pool.

 

I know I will have more to share in the coming weeks but hopefully this gives you a better understanding of why I got this crazy idea and where I am at now over 10 years after setting this goal and just over 3  weeks away from accomplishing this massive goal!

 

To be continued…

 


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Long distance Tri camp recap

Last weekend I went out of my comfort zone. For those of you that have been following along for a while or know me personally you know that I don’t really like strangers or making small talk with people I don’t know. Every once in awhile I do something to practice these skills but overall I avoid it.

A few months ago head coach of Team TriLife Triathlon Training Angie Anderson sent me an email about her long distance Triathlon Training camp in beautiful Canmore, Alberta. I knew instantly it would be good for me to grow my knowledge and increase my fitness. I talked to Derek and then sorted out the logistics for the boys and signed up without hesitation.

It wasn’t until I was driving to Canmore on Thursday morning that I started to get down right scared. I was going to spend the weekend with a large group of people I had never met, doing 3 sports I had only just got back into this year and I am still really slow at best! WHAT ON EARTH WAS I DOING!

I got to the Quarry Lake parking lot, instantly saw the group I was meeting and decided to get out of the truck and introduce myself immediately before I changed my mind. I was introduced to everyone and actually met a long time social media friend Leana. Everyone was pleasant but I still wanted to bolt. A special shout out goes to Brent here because I can only assume he saw how scared I was and went out of his way to make me feel included. During the initial group picture I was fighting back tears but we headed off for a run and as sweat always does it calmed me down. I haven’t been running much since the Half Iron distance race I did in early June due to injury so I took it easy and even that was hard work. Diane from Arizona jogged along beside me and filled me in on the ins and outs of Ironman AZ. I believe Diane is a Women for Tri Ambassador and she did just that all weekend!

From here we got our wetsuits on and had a skills session in the lake. Knowing I was likely the slowest swimmer I decided I was okay with that before we even started. Afterall less than 2 months ago I was afraid to go more than 30 strokes in the open water without freaking out because of any reason possible. Seriously my open water swimming freakouts were so dramatic I made a GIF of myself. Ask me to show you sometime 

Onto the bike we went. I have felt like a rookie on my bike all year and today was no different. I rode alongside a few people making pleasant conversation before Danny came to very helpfully tell me all the things I was doing wrong. I felt like an idiot because at one time I was a solid cyclist but I was grateful for the help. The most memorable part of this ride was when I didn’t make a corner and ended up bumping along beside the pavement…luckily I kept my bike upright and had a good laugh at myself. This is what happened when I went flying off my motorcycle a few years back so the that fact that I was laughing at myself and not curled up in a ball crying was impressive all on its own!

Coach had organized a Nutrition Lecture for us all so we could utilize the information the next day. After this I headed back to Calgary for the night. I was at ease because I knew I had met a solid group of people and I was now excited for the rest of the weekend.

Day 2

Friday Morning bright and early (5:15 am) I left home for Canmore where we set out for our long ride. My goal was to ride for 7 hours. I ended the day with just over 6 hours of ride time, 143 kms, 800 meters of elevation gain and I was happy. I rode with a number of people all day but I want to send a special thanks to Leana who only planned on riding 90 k that day and decided to lengthen her distance so I had company for a second loop of the Lake Minnewanka road. Thank you!
After we got back to our vehicles it was time to set out for a 30 minute Brick run. I made it just over 20 minutes and my body was done!

The boys were just leaving Calgary so I went to the hotel, showered and then enjoyed some peaceful stretching before the chaos that is the boys arrived. During this time I reflected on my ride and was grateful that my tailbone didn’t hurt at all(broke it delivery baby #1), was a little less defeated because as much as my whooha still hurt (remember I delivered a baby 10 months ago) I had been on my bike 2 days in a row and it wasn’t the end of the world. I WILL become an excellent cyclist again!

Day 3

We met at the Good earth on Main Street in Canmore for an easy shake out run. Running in any form for me is hard right now but off I went. I quickly hooked up to run with Michelle Reid Dobler and had a great chat about all things triathlon. It is amazing when you are pushing 40 lifetime triathlons the amount of knowledge you have! Once we got back to the coffee shop I started to get extremely scared again. I was expected to sit and talk to this big group of people in a non exercise manner…not exactly in my comfort zone. Add in the fear I had of the 3 km swim race I had to do in just a couple hours. I was freaking out and was even reduced to tears. The best advice I received in this situation was DFL(Dead fucking last) was better than DNF(Did not finish) which was better than DNS(Did not start). Thank you for that advice Michelle, I know I will come back to it anytime I am worried about a race or in the middle of one that isn’t going my way!

Off to Quarry Lake we went for the Grizzly 3 k swim race. Holy smokes am I scared. Scared to be last place by a mile, scared to swim 3 k, scared to swim in the open water, scared to get my wetsuit over my swollen quads from Fridays ride, scared my goggles will fog, scared that I had to get out and do a beach run in front of a crowd after every 500 m, scared that my new group of friends is going to have to wait for my slow ass to finish. Just 100 % scared!

And the swim started. I hung out in the back to start because I don’t like to be in anyone’s way and getting swam over sucks. By about 100 m in I was ready to pull the plug. My muscles were tired and my brain kept telling me I couldn’t do it. I made 104 deals with myself that I Could quit after the first lap and then the second lap and so it went for the entire race. At one point I decided I could get out at the back of the lake and maybe no one would notice my walk of shame.

At the end of every lap I decided I could do one more. My new friend Michelle was there to cheer me on at every beach run and the wonderful Richelle from Tri It Multisport was also there encouraging me on. From the beach to the first buoy I took 60 seconds to catch my breath and contain the tears that seemed to develop at the end of every beach run. I could do this but in the moment I didn’t know I could and used everything possible to just keep moving forward.

Finally I crossed the finish line. I gave a few high fives on my way to run away. I walked past everyone and had I not had bare feet and wearing a wetsuit I would of kept walking. Instead I ended up behind a sign and sobbed. I couldn’t catch my breath, contain my emotions or even explain them. I still can’t explain the emotions. I had just spent 90 minutes facing fears and pushing through them. I had spent 90 minutes reflecting on all the reason I shouldn’t be able to do this. I had spent 90 minutes thinking about all the excuses I had to not finish. My body has been through so much over the last 4 years and I at one point or another decided they were all legit reasons to quit and in reality they were. No one that knows my story would of judged me for not finishing the full 3 k.

All I can say is I F*^@king finished and those strangers that I have only known for 48 hours were there to cheer me on every stroke of the way.

After this we went to Cascade Ponds and went for a nice ride through the Banff Golf course and then Rochelle and I finished our ride with a loop around Lake Minnewanka. Day 3 on my bike and I survived! Some of the group went up Mount Norquay, I chose the other route because I was truly afraid of coming down the poor pavement I remembered from the winter. Apparently it isn’t too bad so I will have to give it a go this summer.

I met up with my boys and a few friends for dinner before heading to meet the TriLife crew for a Q and A. Anthony came with me because he missed his momma and of course #hisroyalcutness was a hit. Angie was a wealth of knowledge and I gained a few nuggets to focus on.

Day 4

We are almost done! Time for a long run on tired legs, after all isn’t that what long distance triathlon is about?!

I had a goal to run for 90 minutes. Knowing my longest run since pulling up lame in Oliver was 45 minutes I knew this was a lofty goal but I was going for it. I was running pain free along the river in Canmore for a full hour before the pain set in. I stopped to stretch and unfortunately the pain was still there so I spent a few minutes paying attention to my stride and the pain points so I could report back to physio with some working knowledge. At the end of the day it is a glute and foot issue showing up in my achilles. Glute issue is coming from the lower back which acted up in late pregnancy and foot issue is the major foot surgery I had in July 2015 that some of you may remember. From here I walked back to the food truck where Diane was hanging out giving aid to any of us runners that needed it.

One workout to go. A pool swim. Now I have only ever taken one swim lesson that was an actual workout in my life! The language on the board was jibberish but Angie was great and explained it all and sent me home with a few impactful things to work on. The best part of this swim that almost had me in happy tears was that for the first time since Anthony was born I could feel my core especially my TA’s working athletically! I have done a ton of focused rehabilitation on my core but it has been coming up short in workouts. Finally I felt like I was postpartum successful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That is a wrap. Camp is over and I survived a weekend of a ton of exercise with strangers that are now friends.

If you have red this far I hope you can appreciate how hard and scary this was. I also hope that you can see that hard and scary things are worth it. There is something to be said for doing things regularly that scare you.

Life really does begin at the end of your comfort zone.

Elaine


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The Scale

Fuck the scale

 

As many of you know I am going through my own weightloss journey again these days and I am constantly being reminded first hand what all my wonderful clients have gone through. The emotions, the actions, the wins, the momentary defeat, the process and most importantly the consistent hard work.

 

All week I have been feeling great. I have been feeling strong in my workouts, organized in my food choices, and more confident in my clothes. These positive things lead me to jump on the scale this morning. Do you want to know what happened?

 

The scale can go F@c& itself! I took the batteries out and threw it under the bathroom cabinet for the foreseeable future.

 

I will carry on with my journey feeling strong, feeling energized and feeling better in my clothes. Eventually the number on the scale will go down but I won’t know exactly what day that happens because I refuse to let the scale make me feel like a failure on a regular basis just for the odd useless win.

 

I see it all the time with clients. Inches come off in the double digits before the scale starts moving consistently. Heck this literally just happened to a client last week! I know that if I stay the course with consistency the same will happen for me as well!

 

I would like you all to know for yourself what the scale does or doesn’t do for you. If it helps you and makes you feel happy use it. If it makes you feel like your worth is in those numbers looking up at you, then stop getting on it. You are worth more than numbers on a scale!

 

What is your relationship with the scale? I would love to know.

 

I know for myself the scale is a good indicator of consistency when I am in maintenance mode. So until I am back there at my usual weight the scale can hang out without batteries most of the time.

Elaine


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Perspective Check

8 months ago today at 3:10 am my water broke and not long after contractions started. By the time we organized childcare for our toddler (thanks Cathy) and got to the hospital I was already 8 cms and the contractions were fierce but I was still joking and happy in between those contractions.

 

Something I love about myself is I can make almost anything light hearted. Not because matters aren’t serious but because life is too short to not crack a smile as often as you can and lighten the mood in a room.

 

Within a few rather painful hours #hisroyalcutness was born and by late afternoon we were home to introduce our boys to each other.

 

Life changed for us that day more than we could have ever imagined. We didn’t find love to share with this new addition, our hearts just grew a lot bigger that day to have love for him and everyone else in our little family.

 

The sleepless nights are frequent. Not because we need to sleep train but because between the two of them there is always something going on. The days are precious and full of smiles. The evenings are full of impatience and stress followed by good night hugs and the most precious cuddles.

 

Hubby and I often collapse into each other or mindlessly stare at our phones from exhaustion. We both have personal, fitness and professional goals and as hard as we work towards them we feel like we are often riding into a soul sucking headwind at every attempt at forward movement.

 

What is getting us through? Knowing this is a phase of life. The days are long and the years are short. Our goals and achievements don’t have to happen immediately… As long as there are always steps forward when we can.

 

This morning as I stressed about where I need to be in 25 days for my 70.3 triathlon I had to check myself and get some perspective. Not only did I give birth 8 months ago I also spent the previous 39 weeks growing a baby inside of this body! Before that I spent 15 months fighting postpartum hypothyroidism and I could work backwards with the list of a steady stream of ailments, injuries, surgeries, pregnancy + complications, delivery + complications, being a mom of a preemie and recovery from all of the above all the way back to the fall of 2013.

 

So my perspective is this. I am fucking awesome for where I am today! I never gave up. Things are not perfect but I have worked damn hard for them to be better than they were yesterday… I have done this every fucking day and will continue to do so.

 

Thanks for the reflection on your 8 month birthday little man, your momma needed it.

 

2018 is my year to #doepicshit and I am doing just that!


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Symbolic motivation

Some of you may think this is a picture of Anthony and I but it is not. It is Charlie and I when he was just shy of a year old.

 

Side note: Anthony fits in this outfit now at 5 months old!

 

This photo represents a lot to me and because of that it is the backdrop on my cell phone.

 

When times are tough, motivation is low or I am having a case of feeling sorry for myself this photo reminds me that it will all work out, it hasn’t always been this way and my little men are worth every gained pound, sleepless night, discouraging workout, worrying thought and everything else that could be deemed as negative on this bumpy road of motherhood.

 

In this photo I am wearing my favorite hoodie that I have had for years. The thread bare looks of it proves that it is the favorite. This was my favorite thing to wear when I had a chill or was training clients because it kept me warm while clients enjoy fans and AC to keep them comfortable in their workouts.

 

I haven’t worn this sweater since I ended up with Postpartum Hypothyroidism and gained all the weight back I had worked so hard to lose not long after this photo was taken and then right as the Thyroid got sorted out I was fortunate enough to get pregnant again and gain more weight.

 

So why is a sweater that doesn’t even come close to fitting me right now belong in a photo that I look at when times are tough?

 

To me it represents two things one is that that hard work does pay off, that I can get back to my body composition goals because I have done it. It represents that the fit body I identify myself with is still there and that the body I am in now is just a phase. Strangely on the body composition side of things it also represents that I don’t need to judge myself by the size of my clothes because things change and as long as hard work is present, IT IS WHAT IT IS.

 

My precious Charlie was also very sick in this photo. I had just rushed him to the Children’s Hospital as he struggled for air because he had Croup. Health Link told me I didn’t need to take him in but I just knew it was serious and when they rush you from Triage to a room and a doctor is in the room in minutes you know you made the right decision listening to your mommy instincts. Anyone who has heard their little one struggle for air as they bark like a seal likely has their heart in their throats just remembering it as they read this.

 

The doctors and nurses had just worked their magic administering medication and my precious little man collapsed on me exhausted and relieved because he could finally breathe with ease.

 

So again why does this photo represent something positive?

 

To me it represents that I will do anything for my precious little men. It represents that everything I have been through to conceive, carry, deliver, feed and tend to them has been worth it. No size small sweater is worth not having them. I will get to my new best version of myself soon enough and it is okay that there are bumps along the way especially when it comes to the constant cold/flu season that is an Alberta winter!

 

To truly have results in our health, fitness and wellness we need to accept who we are in this very moment first. Only then can we move forward and create positive permanent change towards our goals. It took me a long time to understand this and there are moments that like anyone I struggle to remember this but I like being a work in progress.

 

There is a lot of information and ideas floating around about loving your body at any size and I absolutely agree with this movement. What I don’t agree with is using body love as an excuse to mistreat your body. We all need to move, eat nutritious food and take care of our minds. When these three things are happening pick your goal and go after it even if it is maintenance at whatever size your body is. – More on this subject in another post.

 

Take Away

 

If you are to take one thing away from reading this story please take 2.

 

  1. Find something that symbolizes the desire for positive change/movement forward in your life.
  2. Love yourself where you are at first and then proceed to your goals.

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The three toddler food groups

The three toddler food groups and how they relate to adult eating.

As far as our little #dictator is concerned there are three food groups.

  1. Real food
  2. Treats
  3. Snacks

Now he declares he doesn’t like real food at every opportunity, he is always game for a treat and snacks he has a love/dislike relationship with on the daily.

When he goes to the table and sees a plate of real food he has a mini melt down and tells us he doesn’t like real food. After that he climbs into his chair and munches away on the pieces he is willing to eat followed by us letting him know he doesn’t have to eat whatever he doesn’t like but we would appreciate if he tries it. Sometime a bribe of a treat is thrown in there because hey let’s face it parenting is hard and we are not perfect.

We always try and put a vegetable on his plate that he is likely to eat, a protein and a fat that he might eat, something he likely has no interest in and a carb that we know he will devour. By doing this we know he isn’t starving but we also know he is being exposed to new foods in a positive manner.

We try and have treats for him in two different situations. The first situation is if he is allowed free reign around treats he has his fill and then he walks away (this makes me so happy every time he does it!). If we limit the treats, then he wants to eat them ALL. The second is he is highly motivated by treats so they are often used as bribes (like I said parenting is hard and we are not perfect).

Most snacks whether they are pre-packaged or homemade he likes them for a little bit of time but quickly gets bored and refuses to eat things he generally loves.

Now that you have read about food life with a toddler you are probably wondering how this relates to us big kids…

We have three food groups as well in the adult world:

  1. Foods, we should eat – All that adult food that we know has nutrients that isn’t our favorite aka real food to the toddler
  2. Foods, we enjoy – Nutrient dense foods that we thoroughly enjoy but if we don’t switch them up we get bored aka snacks to the toddler
  3. Foods, that are unhealthy – Foods that are deemed off limits in a lot of fad diets but in reality, we should enjoy in moderation for sustainable healthy living aka treats to the toddler

For the toddler a plate might look like this:

  1. Beets – he will eat, chicken and cheese – he may or may not eat or even try
  2. Applesauce – He will eat if he hasn’t had it to many days in a row, bread – almost guaranteed he will eat
  3. Treat – Sometimes served on his plate as part of his meal, sometimes as a bribe to at least take a taste of something new that we know he will likely like if he would just try it!

For myself that might look something like this over the course of an evening:

  1. Chicken, cheese or beef – I will eat those for sure. A vegetable or two that I may or may not care for but because I am an adult I will eat 😉 A carb – Some I like some I don’t, but I aim for variety.
  2. A snack that is likely a homemade protein treat that is delicious like a treat but if I have it to often I get bored and I won’t want it and won’t eat it or feel satisfied.

You see to get long term results we need to learn to be persistent with our food choices being varied, tasteful, enjoyable and filled with a little adulting. Sure, broccoli isn’t my first choice but I choose to enjoy it enough to get the health benefits and I enjoy enough truly enjoyable treats to make the broccoli not seem like a chore.

Do this make sense?

Here is a recap:

Take a lesson from a toddler and enjoy all things in moderation. Don’t eat the whole bag of cookies all by themselves.

 

Enjoy a cookie with foods you know have a ton of nutrition!

 

Have a great Monday!


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Making time and sticking to it

Do you always feel like it? Not Likely. Will you always feel better for doing it anyways? Likely

 

If you are like me at all then there are many days where there is just too much going on. Getting a workout in for yourself seems like the lowest priority with all the other tasks that need to be done to keep life, kids, work, relationships and everything else afloat.

 

Yet you hear all the time to fill your own cup first, so you can help others better. Just like in an airplane you have to put your own oxygen mask on first, so you are still breathing to help others.

 

So how do you figure this tangled mess out to do it right?

 

Well let’s first establish that what ‘looks’ right for you will be vastly different than others. Please don’t compare your right to your peers.

 

Next the thing to do is sit down with your schedule and schedule everything in. Kids extracurriculars, work, eating, shopping, prepping, showering, commuting, spouse activities… absolutely everything.

 

Got that? Good. Now schedule in your workouts where they realistically fit! Even if it is 15 minutes before your shower.

 

Hey, wait Elaine aren’t we talking about whether we feel like working out or not? Why are you talking about schedules?

 

Yes, we are. In order to truly make a choice to do or not do a workout we need to establish first if it is realistic to our schedule.

 

Okay now let’s look at 2 different situations.

 

Situation 1: You have scheduled in a workout for 6 am. The dog wakes you up barking 5 times in the night or you are restless because of work stress or you have a kid that is up all night because of the boogey man and you sleep through your alarm (actually sleep through it, not making a choice to shut it off).

 

So now you are left with having to find a different time to get that workout in. You know you can do it after your evening engagements, but you will likely be tired and won’t feel like it. Now is the time to make your choice. Health is your number one goal, so you decide you are going to do it then.

 

Now 9 pm rolls around. Every ounce of your body says F*^K this I am going to bed!

 

Before you crawl into bed and scroll through your phone for 45 minutes I want you to ask yourself 2 questions.

 

  1. Am I too tired or am I being lazy?
  2. Will I feel better physically and mentally after I get some exercise in?

 

Now that you have likely established a workout is worth it, time to spend that 45 minutes a little bit sweaty instead of filling your mind with useless screen time scrolling through your phone!

 

Situation 2:

 

You scheduled your workout for after the kids go to bed in the evening. Kid one and three use every stalling technique possible before actually going to sleep. Your partner has a late meeting and isn’t able to help. You have an early meeting that you want to prep for. You ‘feel’ like cuddling into the couch to watch some mindless TV. Your back is sore from a long day. You can basically see the importance of everything but a workout. Again, I want you to ask yourself 2 questions.

 

  1. Am I too tired or am I being lazy?
  2. Will I feel physically and mentally better if you workout? AKA Will I want to strangle my kids less after a head clearing workout? Will I better be able to make notes for my morning meeting after a mind clearing workout? Will useless screen time on the couch actually make me feel good mentally or physically? Will my sore tired back feel better after some constructive movement?

 

Okay time to make the choices that are right for you and your goals. Are you going to

 

  1. Put your own oxygen mask on first so you can ‘feel on top of your world’ and therefore help others better?
  2. Are you settling for status quo because you need to?
  3. Are you going to be lazy and settle for the status quo?

 

By having your workouts scheduled in it helps it the times of exhaustion and indecision because at some point you knew you could fit a workout into the day.

 

Be compassionate to yourself but also call yourself out when your excuses are bullshit.


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Hippie vs Western

Osteotherapy and Physiotherapy

Acupuncture and Massage

Chiropractor treatments and IMS treatments

Medical doctor and Naturopathic doctor

Prescription meds and herbal supplements

Midwife and OB-GYN

I DO THEM ALL!

Say what?! How can you believe in the hippie granola stuff and the evil western medicine?!

It often shocks people when they find out I swing both ways with this stuff.

My Osteotherapist helps with my overall wellness when it comes to injuries and imbalance – One of my physiotherapist helps fix specific injuries while my other physiotherapist works on the whole body and treats very similar to the Osteotherapist. All have different backgrounds, all have studied from different schools and all treatments have different levels of recognition in Canada. All have my best interests at heart.

Believe it or not my acupuncturist and massage therapist are the same person! Therefore, western medicine believes she is half a fake and not half a fake? Makes no sense to me since her acupuncture education took almost as long as it takes to be an MD and her massage training took very little time in comparison. Again, it doesn’t matter what I am being treated for she has my best interests at heart.

Chiropractic treatments are frowned upon by many medical doctors and IMS (intramuscular stimulation) is okayed by them. Chiropractors have a considerable education and you can get IMS certified in a weekend now if you have some background in body works of any kind. Makes no sense to me why one is considered unsafe and the other isn’t according to medical professionals!

I see my medical doctor in cases of emergencies, for screening type tests like blood work, check ups, paps and if I need a referral to a specialist. Our medical system in Alberta is fantastic for these things. What our medical system is severely lacking is helping an individual live to their optimum health! Therefore, I also see a naturopath. An ND wants you to live your best, healthiest, most energetic life and bridges the gap between our great emergency care system and our failed system when it comes to everyday wellbeing and optimal health.

I take a prescription medication everyday to keep my Thyroid functioning properly according to the “medical” healthy range but I also take supplements to keep it functioning at an optimal level. The prescription meds keep my thyroid working and are necessary but it doesn’t make me feel better, so I take supplements that bridge that gap. I would hate to be lying in bed exhausted all the time even though my numbers are medically perfect from the prescription meds. Unfortunately, this is reality for people who don’t seek out alternative options.

For my first pregnancy I had a general medical doctor, followed by moving onto a maternity clinic like most pregnancies in Alberta. The care at the maternity clinic was sub par and I like to refer to it as puppy mill care (long waits, 5 minutes or less with the doc, no compassion, no questions answered). Fortunately, at 28 weeks I was accepted into Midwifery care and I was treated like a woman having a baby as an individual (no waits, long enough appointments to ask questions and have them answered with compassion, family welcome at appointments). At less than 34 weeks I become very ill and the midwives sent me immediately to be treated by an OB – GYN team at the hospital. While I was very ill my medical care was fantastic and I couldn’t ask for a better health care system. Fast forward to my health no longer being emergent and I was placed back in puppy mill care for the rest of my recovery (insert excessive wait times, overworked nurses, not being heard by doctors and no care about my quality of life just that I was alive). Luckily, I was also back in midwifery care to help me find that quality of life and navigate new motherhood as I regained my health.

You see no system or treatments are perfect or all inclusive but when everyone works together you can have a perfect system for yourself. These professionals have some form of quality training, have my best interests at heart and refer to a different professional if they can not meet my needs. A different treatment may not be their ideal treatment but if it works for me then it works for them!

Some will say the placebo effect is why somethings work and even if that is the case I am okay with that because my optimal health is what matters to me and if I feel something is helping create optimal health, placebo or not, all the power to me!

Black and white is not an option for my health and I hope it isn’t an option for you either!


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Goal

If you follow this crazy journey of life I am on you may remember me mentioning a few times that I have BIG goals for 2018. One of them and the biggest of them all is a goal I had before kids but never got to it and then again a goal I had planned for sure in 2017 but then it took a fair bit longer to conceive Mister Anthony than we had planned so it became a 2018 goal.

On Monday I was at my computer at 10 am(mid training a very understanding client) to hopefully get a spot in a race which was step one in completing my big goal!

Well step one is complete. I have a spot in Ironman Arizona and therefore a spot for my BHAG of completing an Ironman!

Now the next gazillion steps… Training over the next 51 weeks for such a test of endurance.

If you have ever wanted to be inspired by a working mom on her journey to be not only super fit(i am extremely deconditioned at the moment in comparison to my normal self) and her normal weight again this is the time! You will also be following her journey to be an Ironwoman over the next 301 days! Along the way you will see my juggling 🤹‍♂️ of training, family and work. My variety of treatments and professionals that keep me moving forward relatively ailment and injury free. My nutrition along the way. And of course my extremely adorable kids and ever supportive husband.

I GOT THIS!