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.

Biking, Kids, Pemberton, Racing, Running, Travel, Triathlon, Whistler

Ironman Canada from the sidelines

So, you’re doing Ironman Canada.  Good for you.

You’ve lovingly convinced/dragged/coerced your loved ones/family/friends/crew to join you for the fun.

As a good, caring and unselfish triathlete, you aren’t going to force these fine folks to sit around in your condo or hotel room and watch you lie about with your legs up the wall while you sip your endurance beverage of choice out of carefully labeled water bottles, are you?

No, you are not.

This is a world-class resort with a lot of things to do and explore.  Let’s be good people and send them out the door with a list of things to do while you rest up in those recovery boots, shall we?

The Kids

I’ll be the first to admit that I love spectating at Ironman.  Sure, there are some boring bits, but those are squished between frantic moments of running around the course, cheering, admiring, eating, crying, coaxing, taking pictures and plotting an eventual comeback.  My favourite thing to see, however, is kids cheering on mom and dad.  They make cute posters, wear dorky matching shirts, scream at the top of their little high-pitched lungs. One day, I’ll be that mom with her kids screaming at her to move her ass. But then, they fall asleep.  Everywhere.  In strollers. On a patch of grass.  In a restaurant chair.  It’s awesome but also makes me feel bad for them: don’t they want to be doing something else?

It’s going to be August which means it’s going to be hot (probably) which means – LAKES.  Hit the lakes!  There are at least 3 fun beach parks that will keep those little people in your life occupied for quite some time: Rainbow Park (the start of the swim course, so perhaps not the best choice closer to race day), Lost Lake park (rent a bike and pedal your way out there, it’s the way to go), Alpha Lake Park (again, use the Valley Trail to bike out there).

Speaking of bikes, put those little suckers into bike camp.  DFX camps are awesome and they’ve turned my kids into confident little terrors on 2 wheels.  Arrange (ahead of time!) a bike rental for getting around town.  There are tons of places to rent and most rent Chariot trailers, too: perfect for hauling picnics, gear and tired little people.

The Municipality here offers a lot of day camp options if your offspring aren’t keen on bikes.  Smear on the sunscreen and kiss them goodbye.  They are in good hands.

If you want a night out (which, yeah.  I know.  Not before race day!  But maybe you’re like me and don’t think that having that 1 beer will ruin your race so you’ll go for it), call the fine folks at Babysitting Whistler.  They’re priced like that because they are good.

There are so many activities that you can do with your kids, too.  The Adventure Zone, Zip-Trek, Rafting, Bungee Jumping (if you’re that kind of parent), Yoga, Swimming, Bounce (if it’s raining which it won’t be), the PEAK 2 PEAK, and tons of playgrounds.

The bottom line is this: if your kids claim that they are bored while they are here, someone’s doing something wrong.

Your ironmate

 (Editor’s note: Worst moniker EVER.  If I called my husband my “ironmate”, he’d divorce me on the spot).

Moving on.  I could go the usual route and write something like “treat your lady to a day at the spa bla bla bla” but WAIT.  Not all who do Ironman are MEN.  This is an equal opportunity blog.  Ha.

So yeah, there are spas, of course.  The Scandinave happens to be spectacular.  But adult-folk can do lots of the same things I suggested for the kids.  The mountain biking in this place is amazing.  If you are keen to learn the bike park, go for it.  Listen, I get that it looks insane and totally intimidating and super scary but there really is something for everyone (and if my 4 year old rode it last year, then so can you).

Golf.  I hear there’s good golfing around here.  I personally run out of steam at 7 holes, but if that’s your thing there are at least 6 courses for you to get frustrated at between Squamish and Pemberton.

If you’re a runner, let me be the first to encourage you to bring your trail gear and explore our valley.  The trail running here is second to none and you can thank me later for telling you to go.  In fact, why don’t you race, too?  The 5 Peaks is the day before Ironman and a perfect excuse to get up the mountain.

If your person wants to cheer you on, well that’s just awesome.  The swim start is at Rainbow park and, unless your fan club has a bike, I’d advise against going out to the start.  Rather, have them stay in the village, enjoy a coffee and watch you and 2,499 or so of your friends fight for open water on the big screen in Whistler Olympic Plaza.  That way, they can enjoy some village time while you pedal your heart out up and down our hills for the next 180 km.

(Editor’s note: Oh yes, you know I’ll be writing my own personal review of the bike and run courses.  Maybe the swim and the transitions too, if I’m feeling particularly detail-oriented.  Wait!  Maybe I’ll GoPro the whole thing!  Actually, no I won’t.)

The bike will be tough to spectate – but let’s be honest, isn’t it always?  Apart from coming into and out of the transitions, your personal cheer squad is going to have to find a way to get themselves out of the village without getting stuck in traffic and/or impeding the race.  Unless they can pedal their way out there?  I’d stick to cheering the run course.  Which is going to be awesome!  With shade!  Pull up a lawn chair, crack a cold (non-alcoholic, of course) one and yell till midnight, at which point you can come and join me for some teary-eyed cheering at the finish.

Before and After

If you can, come to Whistler a week before to experience my favourite event of the summer: The Slow Food Cycle.  It’s a week out from race day – surely the 35-ish kilometers you’ll have to pedal aren’t going to hinder your race prep, are they?

Load up the bikes, the kids, the trailer, bring some water and sunscreen, leave the lycra at home (I beg of you), slow down and enjoy being part of something that will surely be the highlight of your visit.  Trust me on this one.

If you’re sticking around after Ironman, or visiting before, get out of Whistler and explore a bit!  Pemberton has some great trails, a perfect lake (or 2) to chill at, Mile One, Blackbird Bakery, and so on and so on (I’ve bragged abotu these places before… I’d send you to Squamish but all I really know about Squamish is where to ride and I’m sure you can figure that out on your own.

There’s so much more I could share, but really it’s up to you to make the most of your time here. Get out here and do it!

And for the love of god, start waving to each other on the bike.  It’s just rude not to.

Family, Kids, Racing, Running, weekend, Whistler

Whistler Half Marathon: a comparison report.

Whistler Half-Marathon 2012.

 Day before:

-Collect my own race package.  Keep feet up, hydrate, eat right.

Night before:

-Pack my own bag, lay out clothes, check that the sitter is coming at 6:30am, go to bed.

Morning of:

-Enjoy a hot shower,  leisurely coffee, a well-planned breakfast, some stretching.  Sneak off before kids wake up.


-Warm up, run in the sun, enjoy, wave, take pictures, laugh, etc.

-Admire pics taken by Robin of me running with my 2 best friends.

Team Red 2012
Team Red 2012


-Eat, sit in the sun, stretch, bask in the glow of our accomplishments.

-Return home to house full of kids being cared for and well fed by Pete and Kev, relax (sort of) for the rest of the day.

Whistler Half-Marathon 2013.

 Day before:

-Collect 7 race packages: mine, the husbands, the 3 kids and the neighbours.

2 adults + 3 kids = thanks for the new grocery bags!
2 adults + 3 kids = thanks for the new grocery bags!

 Night before:

-Pack kids snacks, pack kids bags, pack rain gear, pack bike gear, stay on my feet for as long as possible.  Go for a walk.

 Morning of:

-Roust crew at 6.  Shove waffles down some throats, coax peanut butter sandwiches into others.  Almost forget own breakfast.  Load truck with bags, bikes and blankies.  Slurp coffee.

-Meet neighbours for caravan to Whistler.  There may or may not have been some yelling to “get in the truck already!”

-Meet sitter in parking lot.  Kids explode out of the cars in 5 different directions.  Have fun, babysitter lady.  Realize that rather than teaching her their names, I should have just numbered the kids 1 through 5.  Much simpler.  Next year.


-Send of 10K-ers.  Bye 10Kers!  See you in about 2 hours.

10K Jay.  It rhymes.
10K Jay. It rhymes.

-Almost forget bib.  Where are my socks?  Oops.  No body glide.  Oh well (and also – ow.)  Don ridiculous but oh-so-comfy sleeves.

-Run with Maja, wave to crowds, take pictures, find self irresistibly amusing (see photo), suffer from 15K onwards.  Stupid Nimby legs.

Sleeves + stupid jokes = funny looks.
Sleeves + stupid jokes = funny looks.

-Finish with a smile and head held high.


-Do not sit.  Do not rest.  Try to keep track of kids.  Shovel grilled cheese into my mouth.  Chase kids to start of 1K.

Anja: front line.  All I could think was "please don't get trampled".
Anja: front line. All I could think was “please don’t get trampled”.
Will.  Orange shirt, mid-pack.
Will. Orange shirt, mid-pack.
The future of Canadian running, right there.
The future of Canadian running, right there.

-Sprint across lawn during kids race (note to self: never, ever sprint after a ½ again).

-Squeal like a stuck pig cheering for off-spring.

-Feel nauseous.  Head to skate park.  Negotiations to go home ensue.

-Succumb to my inner tri-nerd, don compression tights, enjoy the best nap with Anja EVER.


What a difference a year makes.

Team Red 2013
Team Red 2013
Day-to-day life, Racing, Running, Triathlon, Whistler

Introducing the Higgins

David and Brandi Higgins have been fixtures on the Whistler Triathlon scene for as long as I’ve known about the club.  Without their help and training, I surely would have drowned in my first Ironman.

Since meeting them on the pool deck in 2003, I’ve come to know them as good friends, racing partners and commiserating parents.

wetsuits pre-race

I’ll always remember one of my first “real” conversations with David, a few days before heading to Penticton for my race.  I didn’t know him well and was actually quite frightened of him (he had that Russian-style of coaching which I’ve now come to embrace: “you suck but whatever – try this.  It might help.  But probably not.  Just go faster”).  We sat down on the edge of the pool and he basically said: “So, you are racing this weekend.  Are you scared?  Ask me anything”.  I thought – and still do think – that was pretty cool and a really nice way to make a newbie feel welcome.

David World Champ Honolulu

Brandi has become a good friend, fellow shoe lover and fun race-seeker.  She’s a wealth of knowledge and has a commanding presence pool-side.  Everyone needs  a friend like Martini Brandi!  She also makes a mean sticky-toffee pudding (which I happen to lurve)… One of Brandi’s pet peeves when racing at the same event as her beloved is that the announcers always tend to point out that they are married and inevitably shift their focus to Dave’s race.  So, to that end, let’s lead with her interview, shall we?

Brandi Finish Ironman

1. What was your first tri – and why that one?

a. UBC…because it was there.

2. What was your most embarrassing race moment?

a. Realizing post-race that the suit I had worn was essentially see through when wet…don’t you just love neon!

3. Who is your biggest training/racing foe?

a. Me, myself, and I.

4. Bucket list race?

a. One that I am actually happy with the results.

b. It’ll never happen bucket list – Kona.

5. Best and worst part of training in Whistler/Vancouver?

a. The hills.

i. Best because once you’ve trained here pretty much no hill should bother you.

ii. Worst because it’s always uphill coming home!

Brandi on bike in Oliver

6. Fave post-race food

a. PRINGLES! And Coke. Always a coke!

7. Race superstition?

a. Don’t know if I have any. When I played basketball I had to keep my legs shaved, because I was sure on the day that I didn’t I would sprain my ankle. The doctor was cute. Do the math.

8. If you could train with one person for a day, who would it be and why?

a. Paula Newby-Fraser cause she was f…ing fast and ate pizza the night before IM.

i. Caveat…do I have to train with her, or can I just ride in a car and talk to her while she trains? ‘Cause we all know I wouldn’t survive 5 minutes riding with her!

9. What’s your weirdest racing or training habit?

a. Taking my espresso machine everywhere I go.

(Editor’s note: Another reason I like travelling to races with Brandi.)

10. Who’s your athletic hero? If you have one…

a. Unfortunately, my athletic heroes have taken a bit of a beating…Marion, Lance. Of course, I still think Lance should keep his titles…if he was juiced so was everyone else and he still beat them, and Lance and the Livestrong foundation did a whole lot more for the general public than any other racer and their (non-existent) foundation did.

11. What’s your favourite Whistler event/trail/race etc.

Event: KOS and the Lil Rippers run. And comfy numb when we were organizing it.

12. Describe your athletic style/career in one sentence.

Completer not competer. Or. I am a diesel truck: I am big, I am slow and I am in it for the long haul…and don’t you dare get in my way (hahaha).

13. Describe that nightmare you have before racing (i.e. I show up without pants)

The course runs through an amusement park on a cruise ship and I keep getting lost and realizing that everyone else is finished.

14. 3 words that describe you as a person

Loud. Caffeinated. Opinionated (aka know-it-all).

15. Dream sponsor?

Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo.
(Editor’s note: SEE??!  Fellow shoe-lover).

 David’s Turn:

1. What was your first tri – and why that one?

UBC, 1991.  I was going to school there and the swim was going to be easy.  Got a little more difficult after that. 

2. What was your most embarrassing race moment?

Any time Nicholas finished in front of me.  Fortunately it didn’t happen often.  Other than that nothing.  I seem to manage to keep my pants on in transition, haven’t fallen off my bike (yet) and not really hurt myself running (in the race). 

(Editor’s note: That would be Paul Nicholas.  You’ll be meeting him soon, if he ever finds 3 minutes to fill out my questionnaire!) 

3. Who is your biggest training/racing foe?

Kevin, Scott and Paul, pushed me real hard and getting me faster.   Went running with them when I started and the three of them killed me.  Oh look there’s a hill let’s go up it.  I needed to keep up with these bozos.  Still can’t keep up to Kevin, but I am working on it.  I don’t have a race foe I can think of – maybe Dave Kirk. 

(Editor’s note: Kevin Titus, Scott Pass, Paul Nicholas.  Whistler local’s one and all.) 

4. Bucket list race?

Wildflower would be fun. Waimea 10km just cause it’s in Hawaii. 

5. Best and worst part of training in Whistler/Vancouver?

Best part is the quality of people, you get some fast yahoos here who really just want to have fun.  Worst part is the snow, lasts far too long. 

Fall Classic 2012 option 2

6. Fave post-race food. 

Burger, big greasy Burger. 

7. Race superstition?

Need to eat a lot before a race.  Pasta for the morning. 

8. If you could train with one person for a day, who would it be and why? 

You know I found all the people I want to train with.  Though if I could make Brandi train with me all day, and she had to like it and not complain (that would be harder than getting anyone famous) – that would be fun too.

 (Editor’s note: Awwww.)

9. What’s your weirdest racing or training habit?

I get a training routine and then I have to stick to it.  Tues/Thurs/Sat Swim, Wed/Fri/Sun Bike, Mon/Wed/Sun Run.  A little OCD. 

10. Who’s your athletic hero? If you have one… 

Changes depending on the day, time and year. For example in 1991 it was Alex Popov

11. What’s your favourite Whistler event/trail/race etc. 

I used to really like the Whistler 10k

12. Describe your athletic style/career in one sentence. 

Gun goes off, I am in the race, no race I am all fun and games. 

13. Describe that nightmare you have before racing (i.e. I show up without pants).

I got nothing here. 

14. 3 words that describe you as a person.

Talkative, competitive, know-it-all. 

15. Dream sponsor?

Hershey’s Chipits, I like making chocolate chip cookies!

(Editor’s note: my children and I are thankful).

Thanks Higgi!  Stay tuned for more…

Family, Whistler

One love.

It’s funny what you remember about certain people in your life.  I’ve known Julian for over 20 years now, and I knew who he was long before we’d actually met.  He was a big shot bike racer and I was a lowly slowpoke.  To this day, I clearly remember the first conversation we ever had: we were at Silver Star resort for a Canada Cup race.  Organizers had made changes to the race for reasons I can’t remember (forest fires, maybe?)  Anyway.  One night there was some sort of dirt jump contest and we sat in folding chairs at the end of the course and chatted for most of the evening about all kinds of different things.  I was so intimidated by the idea of him but he turned out to be such a genuinely nice, open and friendly guy.

Fast-forward to present day…  Juliand and his little family are facing a challenge that no new family should have to endure.  Let’s just say that cancer sucks, affects all of us and really should just be wiped off the face of the earth.

Even if you don’t know Julian and Vanessa, surely you know someone who’s been affected.  So it’s simple.  Donate, do the right thing and let’s help them the best we can:

Do it.

Biking, Racing, Running, Triathlon, Whistler

Up Next: Superwoman

Alright.  I had fun interviewing my first candidate, so here’s another one!

Christine Suter is a well known and very speedy Whistler-based triathlete/ultra-runner.  Perhaps you are currently getting whipped into shape by her hands-on coaching.  Maybe she’s drawn blood when making you feel like dying on the bike (seriously.  She pokes your finger with a needle.  It hurts and you swear.  I know this from experience).

You’ve seen her around, I’m sure: always smiley, quick with a friendly word and wave.  Usually wearing unusually large mitts on her bike.  Recently gained semi-fame as the kayaking dog-rescuer of Pinecrest.

I know her as a friend and coach – that is, when I get my act together and need accountability and butt-kicking.  She’s so good at making me push myself but understanding my need for some kind of balance.

An Ironman athlete several times over, she’s become an invaluable resource to many, many athletes in our community.  So without further ado, here she is!

1. What was your first tri – and why that one?

UBC back in 1987

2. What was your most embarrassing race moment?

Squamish Tri in the swim to bike transition and I got stuck trying to get my lycra top on over my bra top-  you know when it all rolls up and I could not get the top down- being a good swimmer I was one of the first female swimmers out- so there were lots of spectators.

(Edited to add: this happens to me all the time.  In the locker room.  Ahem).

3. Who is your biggest training/racing foe?

Greg Sandkuhl

(Edited to add: I sense I need to ask him these questions)

4. Bucket list race?

Ultraman hawaii

Team Lizzie Sandwich!
And some other dudes 😉

5. Best and worst part of training in Whistler/Vancouver?

Worst- Snow salt on the roads so a late start to outdoor riding and being cold!

Best-  the hills because I have yet to race anything worse than where I live and the ride up to Callaghan.

6. Fave post race food

Since I usually cannot eat anything after a race-  chicken soup.

7. Race superstition?

Don’t really have one.

8. If you could train with one person for a day, who would it be and why?

My husband Paul because he has not been able to do anything for 5 years and I miss being able to go out training with him!

(Edited to add: awwwwww.)

9. What’s your weirdest racing or training habit?

I like to sing one phrase of a song to myself over and over again to keep me motivated or I count my foot strikes while running to the count of 8 and keep on repeating it

10. Who’s your athletic hero? If you have one…

Jon Blais

11. What’s your favourite Whistler event/trail/race etc

Rubble Creek Classic

12. Describe your athletic style/career in one sentence.

Constantly seeing how far I can push myself and my body.

When your country is on your chest, you've totally made it.
When your country is on your chest, you’ve totally made it.

13. Describe that nightmare you have before racing (i.e. I show up without pants)

I sleep through my alarm and miss the start.

14. 3 words that describe you as a person

determined, too serious.

15. Dream sponsor?

Visa! Then they can pay for my flights, my hotels and my gear!!

Ok, so normally, I’d end it here but I needed some pics of Christine so I Googled her and feel it only fair to point out that she’s the only person I know to have ever competed nationally in… synchronized swimming.  No photographic evidence available.

Thanks Suter!

Stay tuned for the next one!

Biking, Racing, Running, Triathlon, Whistler

But enough about me.

You may know her as triathlon age-group slayer Liz Cullen.  2x Ironman finisher.  Or perhaps you remember her from her ski bum days as a long-time Whistler local (let’s face it: she may live in Vancouver but I’m pretty sure her heart’s up here).

Some of you may know her as The Sarcastic Triathlete (if you don’t, it’s a refreshing read: go there).

I know her as a training partner/racing ass-kicker/co-adventure planner and good friend.

She’s currently incubating a human, so we won’t be running any races in matching shirts in the early season, but I have no doubt she’ll be back in action in no time.

She’s the first subject in what I hope to become a regular feature here: interviews with some of my favourite folks.

Herewith, I introduce to you Lizzie.

1.     What was your first tri – and why that one?

UBC Sprint tri in July 2003.  Because my mom was doing it so I thought I’d give it a try on her old bike.  I then did a random smattering of tris until 2006 when I actually started training for them.

2.     What was your most embarassing race moment?

Oliver Half Iron 2008.  I got a flat with 4km to go and decided to just ride it back to transition.  There was one final corner 400m before transition and I washed out and hit the curb with most of the town watching.  When I got up to head to transition my wheel wouldn’t turn so I had to jog in bare feet carrying my bike.

3.     Who is your biggest training/racing foe?

This tiny little cycling powerhouse named Christine, she sometimes goes by SMO.  Oh wait, that’s you.  Biggest foe and best training buddy all in one.  I have the swim, she has the bike and the run is getting close.  When we both start racing again it could get ugly.

**Editor’s note: I can’t wait.

4.     Bucket list race?

Other than Kona. Wildflower.

5.     Best and worst part of training in Whistler/Vancouver?

Best: Kits pool!

Worst: rain.  Lots of rain.


6.     Fave post race food

Salt and vinegar potato chips

7.     Race superstition?

Don’t really have one, but I do have rituals.  I tuck notes of encouragement in my race kit even if they don’t get read and end up a squishy blob.

8.     If you could train with one person for a day, who would it be and why?

How ’bout Heather Wurtele.  Because she seems really fun and nice and I like feeling short sometimes.

9.     What’s your weirdest racing or training habit?

Not sure I have any (others may say differently)  I do like doing handstands in the water before races, might as well get a laugh in.

10.  Who’s your athletic hero?  If you have one…

Other than the obvious of Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong and Kobe Bryant, top of the list: Chrissie Wellington, Natasha Badmann, Lisa Bentley, and so on.

11.  What’s your favourite Whistler event/trail/race etc

Whistler Half Marathon.  Although only in its 3rd year and overcoming course distance growing pains, it’s super neat to run through your own town with tons of supporters.


12.  Describe your athletic style/career in one sentence.

Late blooming, somewhat competitive age group triathlete that combats laziness with lofty goals.

13.  Desribe that nightmare you have before racing (i.e. I show up without pants).

That I miss the race entirely usually because I got the day wrong and show up too late.  I actually did that once to an exam in university so it’s not beyond impossible.

14.  3 words that describe you as a person.

Geez, what is this? A job interview?  I consider myself a perfectionist.  Ha kidding. According to me: humorous, uncomplicated, pregnant (for the next 2.5 months at least).

15.  Dream sponsor?

Ben and Jerry’s. Ok ok, probably Saucony.  You can never have too many bright fun shoes.

Thanks for taking the time, ‘Zard.

So friends: who shall be my next interviewee/victim?

Racing, Running, Whistler

Whistler Half Marathon. Do it.

This run is without a doubt one of the most fun races I’ve ever done.  It’s a challenging but fun course; it’s scenic; the “fans” are numerous and entertaining and the swag bag is great!  And let’s face it, how often have you seen people look this happy after a half-marathon?

girlsphoto 1

Get your butts in gear and sign up!  It’s selling out fast and you won’t want to miss it.  Plus, my regular running partners are going to be otherwise occupied in June, so mama needs some people to match with.

                                      Matching is fun! Take our word for it…

(Excuse the very crappy iPhone reproductions of great photos by Robin O’Neill)

We’ll see you on the start line, right?

CITS, Day-to-day life, Family, Kids, Pemberton, Racing, Running, Whistler

Rubble Creek and random thoughts

Rubble Creek Classic

Last week, Jen and I, accompanied by 30 friends/strangers ran the Rubble Creek Classic .  Chicks in the Sticks go racing!  We’ve been wanting to do this run for years and we finally committed; or rather, I signed Jen and I up whether she liked it or not.  Neither of us have gotten in much quality training of late but the day was spectacular and well worth the effort of getting up early and running 24K.

About 8 km of climbing, a random number of kms of flats around the base of Black Tusk and then 10 painful kms of down, down, down… I felt that run for days.

It was mostly worth it because I had the most spectacular nap that afternoon.


“If you want something done, give it to the busiest person you know”.  Truer words were never spoken – to me, anyway.  I’ve been “retired” for about 3 weeks now and I am struggling to relax and feeling the need to fill my days with tasks and projects.  I’m afraid that if I slow down, I’ll never get going again.


It’s Fall now, pretty much officially.  Shorter days, cold mountain mornings.  I love the leaves, the light, the change.  I don’t love having to layer the kids in clothing.  I’m counting the days till the can dress themselves intelligently to head into the cold outdoors.

Early runs now start in the dark… harder to pry oneself out of bed, that’s for sure.  This morning’s CITS run was the 2nd Annual-Earn-That-Turkey-Dinner-run through the Mosquito Lake trails.  The sunrise made it special, as did the fact that we were done by 8:45am.


There is much to be thankful for this year.  Despite the loss of my mother a few weeks ago, I am thankful for being surrounded by such good friends, ridiculous children, a close-knit family and some pretty nice physical surroundings.  Frankly, there isn’t much I can complain about.

Ed: is it thankful FOR or thankful that I?  See?  Told you I wasn’t a writer.


Anja and I fly to Quebec tomorrow to prepare for Mum’s celebration of life.  She is very excited about prospect of “fwying on da aiyapwane”.  Little does she know that flying is basically like sitting in a car for 5 hours, but with a bathroom.  I can’t bring myself to burst her bubble.  I have, however, drilled the notion of sky martials into their towheads.  Scream and the “sky martian” is allowed to open the door at the back of the plane and “fwow you out!”

Parenting 101.  Fear and mild skepticism.