Day-to-day life, Kids, weekend, Whistler

Day 1

It’s pitch dark when I open my eyes. I’m still tired, congested. I’ve had the flu for a few days. I look at my watch, it’s 6:08 on a Sunday morning. Ugh.

I lie there for a minute, thinking I could probably roll over and try to sleep, but I know that won’t happen. My brain is scrolling through the Mom list: do I make lunches first? Who didn’t finish homework? And then I remember… it’s not a school day!

It’s day 1 of the ski season for us. Finally.


I try to pad downstairs quietly, but trip over the cat and the dog smashes into me and I hear Anja quietly ask if she can get up. Sure, I say.

Shortly after that, Rory joins us in wrinkled jammies and Will comes up, squinting in the light but already wearing his long underwear.

The morning is a blur. Breakfast gets half-eaten, fights ensue, socks are lost, reminders get issued. I’m thankful that I packed most of the ski stuff the night before, else you can be sure some critical piece would get left behind.

We bid the cousins goodbye and miraculously, we’re out the door at a reasonable time. Rory’s in the front seat, scrolling through iTunes so we can jam on our way to the mountain. And by jam, I mean listen to One Direction for the 100th time this weekend.

We’re all giddy.

The parking gods smile upon us and everyone is dressed and ready faster than ever. They dart through the cars, and I have to catch up to them after I lock our car and get my own stuff sorted.

We’re on the lift in no time, the kids are virtually vibrating with excitement. Naturally, we snap our first chairlift selfie of the year. My arms are short and my kids are getting bigger.


The first run of the season has to be in powder and moguls, directly beneath the lift. Obviously. Outwardly, I’m laughing and having a great time. Inwardly, I’m cursing the moguls and marvelling and how the kids seem to have secretly skied all summer.

As is always the case when we play outside, there’s virtually no complaining or fighting. I take my gloves off and adjust helmets/goggles/mitts/etc no less than 4 billion times. “But Mooooom, let’s GO!” gets yelled when I ask for another picture. My socks are so itchy, but I can’t stop because no one waits for me, anyway.

We duck the rope at the end of the day #deathbeforedownload, and I get talked into a stop at the candy store on our way home. They get their sweet tooth from me.

The drive home is a little more quiet than in the morning, but still a little giddy. We talk about the powder, “mom did you see when I hit that jump”, plan for next weekend. We share the same joy in taking off ski boots. We go out to dinner in our long underwear. The glass of red at the end of the day almost makes me forget my congestion.

Ski mom beats soccer mom every time.

Kids, Whistler

Time Warp

I moved to Whistler in June of 2000.  On my second day here, I went for my first mountain bike ride.  I thought of myself as a fairly decent rider; after all, I’d been racing for several years and I had a pretty good grasp of what I was doing… on East Coast trails.  Gavin and a few of the shop guys decided to introduce us to the Whistler classic, A River Runs Through It.

Well, damn if I didn’t get totally schooled and had to fight the urge to fling my bike into traffic.  The learning curve was steep.

Fast-forward 14 years, and this morning I rode that very same trail with my boys.  If you’d asked me on that same ride way back when if I’d be riding this with my kids in the future, I’d have laughed in your face and said “Kids?  What kids?” and had another beer.

Riding with my kids is an exercise in patience, coaching, encouragement and sometimes pulling on the reins a little bit.  I don’t come close to getting into a rhythm and my own riding is somewhat disastrous because it’s all stop-go, “Mum, watch me!”, “Mum, take a video of this!”, “Whoa, Mum – you made it!” (sometimes I even manage to surprise them).

I love watching them encourage each other, push each other and cheer for each other.    Miraculously, they don’t fight when we’re out there and their 2 very distinct personalities shine through.

And through a lot of it my heart is pounding in my chest but I keep my nerves under wraps, for their sake.  My hands were still shaking a little bit when I got home.

Pride, it’s a funny thing.

Racing, Triathlon, Whistler

Local’s Profile

Nancy Johnston is one of those sort of dark horse competitors.  She seems so quiet and unassuming, but get to know her a little bit and you’ll find she’s a fierce competitor, with a lot of race finishes under her belt.  Quick with a smile and and modest to a fault, if you’re from Whistler, you’ve surely seen her around town.  Nancy was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer some of my nosy questions.

IMC 2013
IMC 2013

Tell me a little bit about yourself, outside of sport.

Originally from Ontario, I’ve been in Whistler for nearly 23 years. I work with a great, supportive group in the Bylaw Department for the RMOW.

Tell me about your athletic background.  

I have 3 sisters, 2 brothers. We grew up in St Catharines with a pool in our back yard. I learned to swim and loved to race anyone who would jump in. But that was for fun. Growing up my sports were all team sports, ice hockey, basketball and field hockey.

What inspired you to try your hand at triathlon?  When was your first race?

A friend of mine wanted to give triathlon a go so I signed up. It was Kelowna Apple Tri in 1996. I borrowed a bike, it was really hard and I loved it. It was so much fun.

What drew you to Ironman in particular?

After sprints and Olympic distance races friends convinced me I could go longer. Victoria half Iron was my 2006 goal. On my second lap of the run I swore I would never run more than 10k again. Since then I’ve done Oliver half iron multiple times and Muskoka 70.3 IM wasn’t an easy decision I knew it was going to take a lot (time, money) but I lined up after watching IMC 2008 and with the support of family and friends and guidance of my trusted coach Christine Suter, I crossed the finish line.

(Editor’s note: In an very respectable time of 12:08:45)

What has you most excited about taking the start at Ironman Canada 2014?

Not sure it is excitement I am feeling. I don’t know why but I am nervous. Maybe because it is a month early?

Do you have a particular goal for this race?

My goal for the race is to really enjoy the day, smile, thank as many volunteers as I can. With a few lingering injuries I don’t want to focus on a time, I don’t want to be disappointed.

Will you complete any races prior to Ironman?

I’ve only done a few running races. With a few lingering injuries more racing just wasn’t in the cards.

How did you find training through the winter months?  

I love the training so I’m okay with the long winter in the gym, pool or on my bike in the living room. I also got up the hill once or twice a week for a bit of cross training.

How do you fit in life, work and training?  Are you able to find balance or did “something have to give”?

My coach gets me program for the week I schedule everything and it all fits in. Just trying to sort it out on the fly doesn’t work. Balance is key and overtraining is a big risk.

What do you consider your strength on race day?  What about your weakness?

Bylaw Cheer Squad!
Bylaw Cheer Squad!

My biggest strength on race day last year for sure was friends, family, colleagues cheering me over the entire day. The support was overwhelming, it gave me a lift when I needed it and that was a lot, especially on the run.

Which brings us to my weakness, the run. It’s not just running (although my hips and knees are not happy about running these days) it is usually the state of my gut by the time I’m about halfway through the run.

What sporting/athletic accomplishment are you most proud of?

I ran a pb at the UBC fall classic this past November. Getting older and faster, I was stoked.

What do you find most enjoyable about training?  Is there anything that you dread?

I love training with my friends in Whistler, and meeting new people who come here to train and race. I am not a big fan of cold water or starting my ride in the rain, it’s ok once I’m out there and it rains but starting in the rain? Doesn’t happen for me.

What are you most looking forward to once you cross that finish line?

Hugs, Hi 5s, and West Coast Float.

Worth running to the line for!
Worth running to the line for!

Any race-day superstitions?

Nothing New!

Name 3 things you can’t live without while training and racing.

Floating, Physio and Massage

If you could have your dream day – perfect racing – describe it.

Sunny, warm, no wind, lots of people on course and all the dogs on leash. ( I nearly got taken out last year by the Whistler Golf Course) 

(Editor’s note: you know what they say, you can take the girl outta Bylaw for a day…)

If you could pick 3 dream sponsors, who would they be?

West Coast Float, Whistler Village Sports and Vega

If you could pick 3 dream training partners, who would they be and why?

Greg Sandkuhl, Christine Suter and Maridee Fitch. I have had great days swimming, biking and running with all three, motivating and fun.

What’s your favourite way to recover after a hard race or workout?

Primary recovery needs to happen right away, get in cold water, Vega recovery protein, rehydrate. Then the fun begins beer, chips, pizza (gluten free please), feet up. Next day, go Float 650lbs of Epsom salts; does the trick.

Thanks Nancy, I’ll be at the finish line to give you a hug and a high 5!  You’re on your own for floating.

Random, Triathlon, Whistler

Danny Ng: IronDAD

So, Ironman Canada is back in town this year.  Same course, new date.  I, for one, am excited to see it roll through again.  Even more exciting this year is the fact that a whole lot of Sea-to-Sky athletes were inspired to sign up to toe the line in 2014, presumably after witnessing last year’s event and likely getting all misty-eyed right around the midnight cutoff.

I wonder how many of them will regret that bout of inspiration as they are riding through the cold, driving rain in April.

Anyway.  Race day coverage and media in general tends to focus on the pros and the super-fasties (that’s a word.  I just made it up.)  Allow me to introduce you to some of the regular folks who are racing this year.  And by regular, I – of course – mean super-awesome human beings who deserve your cheers, signs and cowbells on race day.

Meet Danny Ng.  I first met Danny when he and his family had just moved to Whistler.  I also remember chiding him for commuting to the pool brand-new Cervelo, which he then locked up next to the beaters on the bike rack.  Pretty sure that was the last of this commuting!

Danny and Christine Suter - local coach to the STARS
Danny and Christine Suter – local coach to the STARS

Tell me a little bit about yourself, you family and your lifestyle. 

I’m joining a new age group category 41 this year.  Dad of three kids (Tyler 12, JoJo 8 and Ava 4 yrs old).  Julie has been the biggest supporter, full time mom with the kids.  Full time job as group sales manager at Four Seasons Resort Whistler, celebrated my 20th anniversary with the company this year, Whistler is my fifth relocation (and is my favorite location) after Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Chicago and  New York.

Tell me about your athletic background.  

Zero…Nada…Couch Potato, I don’t know how to swim, I don’t bike and my furthest run was 3k.

What inspired you to try your hand at triathlon?  When was your first race?

This article back in 2009 pretty much sums it all:

Try-A-Tri launches local’s pursuit of half-Ironman
Whistler – At this time last year, Danny Ng completed his first Whistler Adult Try-A-Tri. Twelve months later, he’s gearing up to tackle a half-Ironman event in Hawaii.
Ng’s tale of triathlon training begins just over two years ago, when the Whistler resident received what he described as a “wake-up call” from his uncle during the holiday season. Ng said his uncle pulled him aside to tell him, “You are looking too healthy,” indicating that he appeared to have gained a lot of weight. In fact, Ng guessed he had gained about 50 pounds over the previous two years.
That “reality check” set Ng on a path to discovering his hidden athletic side. A senior sales manager for the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, Ng said he had never really been involved in sports, other than occasional volunteering or carrying water, he joked.
“It took me over 35 years to be athletic,” Ng said he tells his wife Julie, who he said has supported and engaged with his quest for fitness along with their two sons.
He began the process of tuning himself up by buying a bike and getting out on Whistler’s trails. When friend Jackie Fulton invited him on a bike ride one day, Ng discovered fresh inspiration to get himself into shape.
“I just got smoked — of course, my ego kicks in,” he laughed.
After Ng began biking to and from work, another friend, Ciro Tacinelli, got him into the hotel pool for early-morning sessions, during which Ng essentially learned how to swim. One lap became 10, and then 20 and 30, and in about November 2007, Ng found his way to the Masters swim run by Brandi and Dave Higgins at Meadow Park Sports Centre.
With their drills and instruction in breathing, strokes and style, the Higginses “were the ones that really straightened me out,” Ng said.
After other friends got him out doing some jogging, Ng found his way to the Whistler Triathlon Club, and the Adult Try-A-Tri. In May 2008, he decided to take a stab at the Try-A-Tri, where he finished third overall and first in his age category while he was cheered on by his sons’ shouts of “Go Daddy go!”
Completing that race, with its 300-metre swim, 14-kilometre bike ride and four-kilometre run, made Ng think, “Wow, I could do this.”
With the Try-A-Tri tried, Ng began looking for ways to step up his efforts, taking on sprint and Olympic-distance triathlons such as the Squamish and Vancouver events. Then he thought about setting his sights on an even bigger target: the Ironman 70.3 Hawaii. The May 30 half-Ironman event boasts a 1.9-kilometre swim, a 90-kilometre bike and a half-marathon run of 21.1 kilometres.
Last November, Ng starting working with Christine Suter, the Whistler Triathlon Club president, accomplished triathlete and Ironman racer, and coach and personal trainer through C2Sky Multisport.
“She basically reconstructed everything,” Ng said.

What drew you to Ironman in particular? 

It’s a personal goal and an inspiration to my kids to “dream big, set their goals high, stay focus, work hard, anything is possible”.

Pre-triathlon career
Pre-triathlon career

What has you most excited about taking the start at Ironman Canada 2014?

Crossing the finish line in Whistler completes my journey of where it all began…Whistler Try A Try in 2008 to Ironman Whistler 2014.

Do you have a particular goal for this race? 

My goal begins with “how do I achieve balance in my job, family, training and have fun throughout the journey”.  Let’s face it, with my DNA, the only way to Kona is the lottery slot.  In short, I do my best to train, cross the finish line before midnight.

Will you complete any races prior to Ironman?

Squamish Olympic Distance

How did you find training through the winter months?  

Christine prescribed 2 hours of Skate Skiing every Saturday to make it more exciting.

How do you fit in family life, work and training.  Are you able to find balance or did “something have to give”?

Julie and I take one year “turns” being the in-season athlete. My “on” year I trains 6 times/week and in my “off” year it’s 3 time/week. We get to choose what want to focus on and they go for it full steam. Our children are also quite involved; Tyler, Jojo,  follow along on their bikes while Ava, 3 gets pushed along in the stroller. Tyler is already competing in his own triathlons and Jojo is so excited to join him that he’s been taking swimming lessons to catch up.

Really, there is no “right” way to train while ensuring your family is looked after, every situation is unique. However, you need to be open and honest with your family and yourself about how much time you will realistically have to dedicate to your training and whether you’re ALL willing to commit to a very involved training schedule. How much training your family can accommodate is something that needs to be discussed and even negotiated in some cases. Also, don’t be afraid to change plans mid-stream.

Ironman can be one of the greatest achievements of your life, but if it comes at the cost of a happy family it’s not worth it.

photo 2
The awesome Ng family

What do you consider your strength on race day?  What about your weakness?

I’m very comfortable on the bike but I’m worried about the run.

What sporting/athletic accomplishment are you most proud of?

Ironman New York Finisher in 2012.

What do you find most enjoyable about training?  Is there anything that you dread?

The best part of training is when I’m travelling abroad for work.  I woke up 5am and exploring the streets of San Francisco, Florence Italy, Sydney Australia, London, New York.  I have also reached out to the local TRI clubs in these cities to allow me to join them as their “guest” of the week.  I dread the RAIN!!!!

What are you most looking forward to once you cross that finish line?

A nice steak dinner with my family.

Any race-day superstitions?

Yes.  Be humble, Respect the Water, Road & Trails.

Couldn't love this picture more.
Couldn’t love this picture more.

Name 3 things you can’t live without while training and racing.

1) Prescription Goggles, Prescription Oakley Glasses and Polar watch.

2) I have a first nation coin with a salmon symbol with the back in scripted “perseverance”.

3)Rainbow Loom !! Yes, I got one made by the kids with each of our favorite color.

If you could have your dream day – perfect racing – describe it.

A calm swim, Wind pushing my back to Whistler, No cramps on the run, No stomach issues.

If you could pick 3 dream sponsors, who would they be?

Cervelo, Vega, Asics

If you could pick 3 dream training partners, who would they be and why?

Karen Blaylock – Swim, Greg Sandkuhl – Bike and Jackie Fulton, Run.  They are easy going, fun to be with and no pressure.

What’s your favourite way to recover after a hard race or workout?

Vega Smoothie and the couch.  Kids leave me ALONE !!!

I’ll be out there cheering Danny on on race day, and if I see his kids out there, I’ll be sure to tell them to leave Daddy alone for a few days post-race!

Day-to-day life, Family, Pemberton, Racing, Random, Skiing, Whistler

‘Twas the season and all that.

Sitting at the counter, surrounded by bits and pieces of Christmas and New Year’s detritus.  1 kid at daycare, the other 2 playing outside with a friend in what can only be called an honest to goodness downpour.  Welcome 2014!

So… whatcha been up to these last few weeks?  I wish I could think of something riveting to say but I can sum up the last 6 weeks in bullet points and pictures.  Hurray for the iPhone camera feature!  Otherwise I’m pretty sure my memory would erase 87% of the daily stuff that goes on in these parts.

– Ski school, blessed wonderful ski school has resumed for 2/3 kids.  That means we can now all ski together.  And that also means we don’t fit on one chairlift (cue the “I want to ride with Mama/Dada!” arguments).

-I couldn’t really hack retirement.  Back to work!  Thrilled.

-I’ve tackled some more structured training in light of some looming races (damn you, foolish near-unachievable goals!)  It feels good to shift into a routine.  And hey!  I can almost swim!  And I’ve remembered what it’s like to sweat on the wind trainer.  GTs.

-Contrary to all the lovey-dovey, 2013 was so wonderful #lucky13 posts I’ve read lately, I am not at all sad to see this year end.  It was a frustrating one for me and I’m ready to move into even numbers.

-Speaking of the New Year, I’m not one for resolutions but I suppose I resolve to eat better (hahaha – I say that every year) and to spend at least one weekend every month totally unplugged.  I think even I can manage that.

In kid news, this 2 week/3 weekend Christmas break with very little snow is kind of kicking my ass.  They might be loath to admit it, but I think even the boys are ready to head back to school.

A few of the latest Anja quotes:

“Mama, when you were on your trip, I was looking at the ground and then I splattered my face on the ground.”

Me: “Can you be quiet?” Her: “No.  My heart doesn’t like that so I listen to it.”

“Mama, elephants do not wear bathing suits.”

And lastly, a round up in pictures, in no particular order.


Pemberton, Triathlon, Whistler

Ironman Canada – the aftermath.


Doesn’t the word aftermath have a terrible ring to it? I’m going to have to think of something nicer to say. Afterglow?

Ironman Canada came to whistler – Veni, Vidi, Vici. But in this case, it wasn’t a hostile takeover by any means – I truly believe the towns, both Whistler and Pemberton, got won over by this event, in the best way possible.

Were there first year ‘birthing’ pains? Sure there were. Are there things that need to be fixed to make it better/safer/more convenient/easier to navigate? Absolutely. Were there grumblers and mumblers who, no matter how hard you tried, you’d never make happy? Yes. But I think that will be the case because, as I’m learning to accept, you really can’t make everyone happy.


There’s no doubt I’m biased here. I’ve raced Ironman, so I felt pretty confident going into this weekend that folks who come ’round after watching it. I was working for the organization so I had a front row seat to the goings-on, but I was also able to use my “local’s knowledge” (condescending as that sounds) to help organizers with weird tasks, answer athlete’s quirky questions and help volunteers as best I could.

I was easy to spot: “Go ask the girl in the sling”.

Some highlights:

  • Hearing Suzanne sing the National Anthem on Friday night and thinking, “Holy shit. This is really happening.”
  • Walking to the swim start and realizing that we had greatly under-estimated how many people would come down to watch in person. And it was so, so worth it. Fog, sunrise, nervous energy and a cannon-shot to kick off the day
  • Taking 30m out of my day, ignoring my phone and sitting on the trail with Gabi to cheer on friends and strangers alike. This may have been my favourite part of the day.
  • Seeing John finish was great – but seeing how proud of him his mother was was pretty special. It reminded me of how proud my mum had been of me after my first Ironman and the teary phone call we had.
  • The late night or early morning tired giggles with colleagues. Those are the best.
  • Watching the 2 drunk guys on a bench outside of the coffee shop make fun of triathletes and their compression socks. C’mon – that’s pretty funny.
I don't know who this is, but I kind wanted to heckle him.
I don’t know who this is, but I kind wanted to heckle him.
  • Working with a tremendous crew of hard-working, generous and genuinely nice people; you’re all welcome back anytime (except for the guy who stood there and watched me struggle to load boxes on a dolly with one arm, and didn’t lift a finger. You can stay home next year.)
Pretty happy that Will took advantage of Expo freebies.
Pretty happy that Will took advantage of Expo freebies.

On Tuesday night, I attended the Pemberton info session and was blown away by the fact that I’d say 90% of the comments were positive and those that were not were constructive, not petty or vindictive. It was really refreshing.

I’m already looking forward to next year.

And no, I didn’t sign up.

On a more personal note, on my final day with Ironman I got a called that left me shaken and more than a little heartbroken; Macy had died unexpectedly that morning.

I’m so glad that this has been the summer of Macy. She went where she pleased, slept on all the furniture and got more than her fair share of treats. Her final breakfast included prawns…

I’ll miss you, you silly girl.

13 years young
13 years young
Pemberton, Triathlon, Whistler

Don’t hold your tongue

As anyone living in the Sea-to-Sky corridor knows, Ironman Canada is here this week.  So far, things have been going smoothly and the general feeling from the athletes is that of excitement and nervous anticipation.

From what I can tell, that feeling is mostly shared by Whistler residents and Pemberton appears to be the linchpin in the success of the race.

That said, if you live in Pemberton and have an opinion, you have a perfect opportunity to share it: The Ironman Community Feedback session.  When we want to grumble about something, we tend to do it with our friends, our neighbours, our hairdresser…

So if you have something to say, say it!  This is your chance.  Better yet, come equipped with constructive feedback, proposed solutions, ideas and information you feel is worth sharing.

Changes can’t happen if the right people don’t know about them.

On a lighter note:

Workation, Day 5.


Day-to-day life, Racing, Triathlon, Whistler


My workation began yesterday.  What’s that, you say?  Why it’s simple.  It’s where you take a week off from your “real” job and immerse yourself into another job.  In this case, that other job would be Ironman Canada.  Because the reality is… if you can’t race ’em, join ’em!

Sidebar: I cannot believe that it’s been 8 years since my last Ironman.  Yeesh.

I won’t lie and pretend that seeing all these athletes on our roads and trails all summer hasn’t made me totally envious, because it has.  Triathlon FOMO in full effect!  But this gig is kind of assuaging me and I think it will likely keep me busy enough that you won’t find me in the registration lineup come Monday morning.  I think.

So should you find yourself in the Expo with some time to kill, do come find me and throw me a high five.  I’ll be easy to spot: I’m the  short one in the sling telling people where to put stuff.


Racing, Running, weekend, Whistler

You win some, you lose some…

And then there’s Comfortably Numb 2013: The Death March.

Earlier in the week, I signed up to run Comfy Numb as a last minute replacement to the Test of Metal.  I hadn’t run this race in probably 6 years, so I was looking forward to re-visiting it and besting my not-so-fast times from previous years.

Never one to shy away from looking ridiculous.
Never one to shy away from looking ridiculous.

I’d had some good runs leading up to it, and was feeling happy and relaxed about doing it.  I had no goals per se, just go out and enjoy.

Fun fun
Fun fun

Race morning I woke up a little tired but nothing out of the ordinary.  Ate some breakfast, grabbed a coffee, watched some cartoons and was on my way.

3, 2, 1 Go!  And we’re off.  The race starts straight uphill, but I like to climb so no worries there.  I settled into a nice little train of people for about the first 6K.  Once we crossed the bridge (or as I like to think of it, the point of no return) I started to feel little off.    No big deal, I thought, this happens all the time.  I drank a bit, ate something and slowed a bit.

Then the doubts started creeping in.  I mentally looked back on what I’d consumed the day before, wondering if that was the cause of my discomfort.  I couldn’t get into a rhythm and for the first time in about 8 years, I really, really wanted to quit.

This was my mental image of myself between kilometers 6-10.
This was my mental image of myself between kilometers 6-10.

BUT.  That’s the thing about Comfortably Numb.  It’s a 25k point-to-point trail and at this part of the trail, I figured it would take me as long to turn around as it would to keep going (oh hello, terrible race math.  Thanks for nothing.)

Luckily for me and unluckily for her, Marie-Anne had sprained her ankle at I caught up to her at about 11k (I know this because that’s about when I turned off Strava because seriously?  I didn’t want to know anymore).  And that was pretty much the last run step I took as things went rapidly downhill from there for me.


Thankfully, Marie-Anne stayed by my side as my stomach turned itself inside out in a variety of disgusting ways for the next 14K of misery.  We chatted, commiserated, and looked forward to seeing that finish arch… 5 hours after we started.  Never in a million years would I have ever guessed the two of us would tie for DFL at a race.

Got myself to the clinic, and 3 litres of IV fluids + heavy doses of Gravol + 12 hours of sleep means I finally feel human again.  My eyes are swollen but the upside is I don’t have any blisters and my legs don’t hurt.  There’s always an upside, right?

My ever-lasting gratitude to:

My in-laws for taking control of the situation at home and thus allowing me to care for myself.

Marie-Anne for staying with me.  If not, chances are I’d still be out there, sleeping under a tree with my race number as a blankie.

Jenny + Liz for encouraging me via text and checking up on me.

Best text conversation ever.
Best text conversation ever.

Bob for waiting for us.

Chris Colpitts and crew for not taking down the finish arch till we stumbled under it.

The staff at the Emerg in Pemberton for taking care of me and not making fun of me.  Why is it that when I’m sick it’s always super-hot-doctor guy on duty?

Racing, Triathlon, Whistler

This girl’s take on Ironman Canada’s swim and run

I’ve put my opinion on the Ironman Canada bike course out there for all the world to see, so I’ll just continue doling out the unsolicited advice on the swim and run courses.

The Swim

Alta Lake is the biggest swimmable lake in Whistler.  You’re welcome to take a crack at Green Lake: let me know how that goes, if you survive.  Currently, Alta’s being measured at about 15C (59F) but it warms up to a less ice-cream headache-inducing temperature once we get a few weeks of sustained sunshine.  I’m a total warm water lover and do just fine in a sleeveless wetsuit in August.

rainbow park 2There’s no danger of this being non-wetsuit swim, for all you nervous nellies out there.  This is a two-looper.  Is it going to be tight?  You bet.  Can you do anything about it?  Nope.  Sharpen your elbows and practice your splashy, open-water sighting skills.  You’re going to need it.

That being said, this lake is pretty beautiful to swim in.  There aren’t many weeds (*shudder*) and when the sun pokes up over the mountains, it’s both blinding and pretty!  You may want to choose your goggles accordingly.

(Sidebar: I am a crappy swimmer and I don’t care who knows it.  Sure, on the pool deck I look the part with my pretty suit and fast-looking goggles, but my cover gets blown the minute I hit the water.  The best tip I ever got about OWS is “just keep moving forward”.  Sounds simple, right?  Well, when you’re in the middle of a full-blown panic attack, it’s not so simple.  Float on your back, breast-stroke, doggy paddle…just do what you gotta do – but don’t ever turn around.  Every watch a salmon swimming upstream?  That’s when the grizzlies get them.)


If you’re coming to train prior to the race, by all means swim in Alta Lake, but do it with eyes wide-open.  We tri people share the lake in early mornings with those speedy backwards-going sculls and there have been a few near misses (and one collision that I know of).  Bright caps and lots of spotting recommended.  Better yet, join the Whistler Tri Club on Saturday mornings at 7:45am and make it a sea of bobbing caps (or at least, 8-9 bobbing caps).

Can you guess which triathlete this is on her wedding day last December? Rainbow park in the snow…

Come mid-July, our lakes tend to get swimmer’s itch.  Grease yourselves up, people.  It helps. 







The run

Ah, the run.  You’re just a mere 42km (26.2 mi) from the sweet, sweet finish line.  If you’re like me, you’ll be happy to hand off your bike to anyone who’ll take it and get away from it.

I think the run on this course is going to be fantastic for several reasons:

  1. Shade: There are shady parts around Lost Lake and along the valley trail and those will feel like teeny tiny oasis’ when you’re out there.  Plus,  most of the shade will be around Lost Lake which is on pea gravel.  No trail shoes required, but it’s going to be a nice break from pavement.
  2. The nudie dock at Lost Lake!  You’re welcome to detour, if that’s your thing.
  3. Real Estate gawking along the Valley Trail by Nick North.
  4. The inevitable tourist you’ll encounter who will have booked his/her holiday without knowing what the hell is going on and will stand there is wonder/disbelief as you cruise by and high-five him/her.
  5. The fact that you get to run through Whistler twice – think of the adulation!
Valley Trail by Nick North; humongous homes to your left.
Valley Trail by Nick North; humongous homes to your left.

Is this run going to be tough?  Probably.  It’s what I’d call “rolling”.  There aren’t any heartbreaking types of hill but – similar to the bike – there are very few spots where you can just zone out and be flat for a while.  The section before the turn around at Green Lake might offer this, but this will also be an exposed section in the sun (hopefully) and (potentially) the wind.  This section is also where real estate will be at a premium: it’s a narrow trail and there will be a lot of traffic.




But just think… as you make that last turn around, you’re on the home stretch.  All that hard work and dedication will have paid off and soon enough the sound of the announcer will be calling you home.  I’ll be there, cheering you on whether you finish in 9 hours or 16:58.

And if you’re coming in with seconds to spare, you can bet I’ll be cheering the loudest for you.