The new year brings excitement in setting your health and fitness goals. We start off on our wellness journey with vigor and determination. After about a month or two many of us start sliding down the slippery slop, on our way back to the rut, and soon lose all motivation, excitement, and the downward spiral continues. Is this happening to you? If yes, then ask yourself this – is it time to learn something new?
Have you ever considered racing? Taking up a new sport or rekindling an old sport you once enjoyed? How about learning a new skill? How about trying something that brings you alive, something that makes you want to move, and something that you desire to learn so deeply that you are willing to make sacrifices in order to succeed? It’s easier to give something up when you know that you will be pleasantly rewarded. Here’s my story…
2007 was my year to step out of my comfort zone and this is the year where my new mindset changed my life…for the better…and forever! Soon after joining the Bridgewater Triathlon Club in May (more on that later) I entered my first entered race on May 12th, the Riverport Osprey 5k Run/Walk, in my hometown community, beautiful Riverport, Nova Scotia. I was so nervous I thought I was going to throw up. Even though I had been running all my life, I was considered a casual runner, had no concept of formal training, and only ran up to 10 km once with a friend in training for the military. Most of my runs were generally between 3 – 5 km and not very fast. Anyway, it was high time that I did something in my life that challenged me and changed me. When looking back to the place I was in at that point of my life, I really needed this more than anything. So off I ran. It took me 30:07 grueling minutes to run my first race (results). I almost fell over coming across the finish line, face red as a beet with a white rim around my lips, and thought it was the hardest thing I ever did (besides giving birth) but regardless of the physical pain I just experienced, this was nothing compared to the incredible high that soon took over. The feeling of accomplishment, the sense of pride, the adrenaline rush, and saying “I freakin did it!” made me forget quickly about how tough this was for me to complete, mentally and physically. From then on, I was hooked. Racing has become my fun, my social, and it definitely keeps me motivated and on my toes. Ever since this day…I’m always on a mission…setting new goals…and trying something new.
Now, back to where I said I signed up with the Bridgewater Triathlon Club. This experience lit a fire up inside me like never before in my life. As a teenager and young adult, I always dreamed of doing a triathlon and I remember watching the famous 1997 clip of the two ladies, Welch and Ingraham, crawling across the finish line like Julie Moss did in 1982. You may think I’m nuts after watching those two videos but I said “I want to do that someday.” Joining the Bridgewater Triathlon Club and learning how to train and compete was one of the best things I did for my life, not only for my physical healthy but for my mental health. I can honestly say that’s where I have reaped the biggest benefits. When you’re mind is healthy, so becomes your body. It is easier to become fit and healthy when you no longer find it a chore.
So here I was, now training with a triathlon club on a weekly basis at it’s regular Fancy Lake practices in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. On August 5, 2007 I completed my first Sprint triathlon (750 m swim + 20 km bike + 5 km run) at the Cover-All Bridgetown Triathlon (currently known as Britespan Bridgetown Triathlon) in Bridgetown, Nova Scotia. I had only three months of training, no wetsuit, used an entry level mountain bike that I purchased at Al’s Lunenburg Bike Barn in Lunenburg, and wore regular cotton clothing (which I do not recommend). I finished in 1:44:39, not fast and last in my age group (results), but extremely proud, and totally pumped up over the whole experience. I could now say out loud “I am officially a triathlete!” What an incredible feeling!
I competed in several races that year and was on a high from my accomplishments, indulging as much as possible in the the incredible feeling of doing something new. Each race I entered covered new territory and presented new challenges. I took away something positive and something to improve upon from each one. My motto was “I don’t race to place.” and it was true. I didn’t give two cents about my speed or even looked at my competition. I was having a blast and knew that I was further ahead than before I started. I was so wrapped up in the fact that I had training goals, learning about how to develop new skills to improve my swim, bike and run, meeting new people, traveling around my province, and watched my body get stronger as a side affect of it all. I was changing and it was a positive thing.
Since 2007 I haven’t stopped. I continue onward with my journey and since then, I have completed so many events that I have lost count. I have run races from the 5 km to the full marathon of 42.2 km. I have completed many triathons and not just in the Sprint distance but also explored races in the Olympic (1.5k swim + 40k bike + 10k run), long course (1.9k swim + 93k bike + 20k run) and almost full ironman distance (3.8k swim + 180k bike + 42.2k run). Last year I attempted the full ironman-distance triathlon at EPIC Dartmouth on July 1, 2012 in efforts to raise $5000 for PRO Kids (Positive Recreational Opportunities for the youth of Lunenburg County. Check out my facebook EPIC PRO Kids fundraiser page here and my charity video here) The distance had to be completed in 15 hours which is two hours shorter than the typical 17 hour Ironman. Unfortunately I did not realize this until two weeks before the race and going into it, I was dealing with some complications with my feet which seriously impacted the speed of my run, but that’s another story. Anyway, when the clock hit 14 hours I was still on the run course with 10 km to go. I was pulled off course as I would not have been out of Shuby Park before dark and that would have created a safety and security issue due to no lighting in the park. Better to be safe than sorry, right? I was okay with that…it just means I had to sign up for 2013 and this time be faster. So I did sign up, I will be faster, and I will complete it in full this year…cause that’s how I roll!
Anyway…the point is when I say I’m hooked on something, I mean I really am hooked. I make this journey I’m on one about learning and expanding, having the time of my life. I still run and do triathlons but I have also explored other races: off-road duathlons, trail running, skating, dory rowing, and cycling. In 2011, I joined the Canadian Dory Racing Association took up dory rowing with the Lunenburg Dory Rowing Club. In June, my partner and I raced in Lunenburg for the pre-liminaries and late in August at the International Dory Races also hosted in Lunenburg.
In 2012 I expanded more into cycling after EPIC was completed. I had all those miles of training in the saddle and had the huge support from the man of my dreams (I met during my EPIC training) who is also a cyclist and used to race at an elite level. We share the same passions, how perfect is that! In August I competed in my first road cycling race at the Cape Breton Classic Stage Race, which consisted of an individual time trial, a criterium, and road race. In September I completed my first official mountain bike race at More Gore Mountain Bike Race and in November I competed in both of the Lunenburg Bike Barn’s Cyclocross races at the MARC in Bridgewater.
2013 brings me a new skill already – I learned to snowboard Ski Ben Eoin. Check this out:
My boyfriend has 18 years experience and instructor level 1 course. He loves to board. He said to me “you are always teaching others something new, I want to introduce something new to you.” How sweet! So here I am, learning a new skill and loving life even more…as well as my boyfriend (best bf evarrrrrr!)
As stated, I will be doing EPIC Dartmouth again, and raising money for PRO Kids while doing it, but I also plan to explore mountain biking a great deal this year. There are plans in my near future to explore mountain bike stage races and this is the one that my boyfriend and I are considering to be the first – the TransRockies Challenge, a seven day stage race starting from the “Lengendary Fernie, BC to Classic Canmore, AB? I just keep getting bigger don’t I? Learning it, living it, and loving it!
I have a wall full of race numbers and medals and mind full of memories and experiences but my my journey has provided me with more than that – I have confidence, self-esteem, mental strength, proud feelings, positive thoughts, lots of laughter, big smiles and a twinkle in my eye. These are the things that matter the most. I decided that instead of slipping on the slope and sliding down the spiral, I was going to climb over mountains instead. I choose to do this, I made the decision one day and I followed through. That is how it started…with a choice I made in my head.
One of my most proudest moments was in November 2012 when I was presented with the Adrian Campbell Sportsmanship Award from Triathlon Nova Scotia. The award has a deep meaning for me. Here I am today…sharing my passions and lessons with you and hoping that my new GO! Health and Fitness Lifestyle Coaching business, my blogs, my facebook posts, my communication with you online, through email and face-to-face can help to inspire you too. I know first hand what it’s like to be a victim but I also know first hand how to become a survivor. Yes it’s scary to try something new and step outside that comfort zone but it starts with one step, and then another…and then another. Overtime those small steps eventually lead you to a fantastic place. When you look back you say “WTF! WOWSERS!” It’s mind-blowing! My life has become incredible…and I made it that way. I’m no longer depressed and my health is to my 100% satisfaction. I love my lifestyle! I love who I have become!
So that’s my story – always keeping it exciting by learning something new. By changing up my goals from year to year, and sometimes season to season, it gives me new vigor and excitement. I embrace change, and change in itself is a challenge as I have to learn to adapt. For me, I have reaped benefits of becoming a more rounded athlete, training muscles in various ways, studying new movements, and learning a new skill set. I am growing younger while I age. How awesome is that?! And while I have grown to like the competitive side (keeps me on my toes), that is still not why I race. I still have the motto “I don’t race to place!” For me it’s to learn a new skill, explore what my body is capable of doing, push the limits, and develop a strong character. The pay off is huge for me right now as this all transfers over into my fitness business. The things I learn in training are enormous and all have become an asset to when I’m coaching others. I know our bodies are different, no two people are the same, but that’s where my creative juice come into play. I use my experiences, my resources, my education, and my skills to make great things happen for you too!
The passion towards being an athlete has led me to become a Certified Adult Community Triathlon Coach through NCCP and Triathlon Canada. I have been coaching running clinics for over four years and coaching beginner triathletes for two years, going into my third this coming season (we start up in May). I also coach beginner to intermediate cycling. I plan to expand my coaching certificates, specifically more into the area of cycling and sports nutrition. Riding a bike rocks!
I love to teach people something new – make what they think is impossible become possible! Are you thinking right now? Do you find yourself eager to learn something new? Do you think I can help you? Here are some choices I can offer you right now:
How about a triathlon (swim, bike, run)? Duathlon (run, bike, run)? Join the “My First Triathlon” program with the Bridgewater Triathlon Club? I will be your coach for the 2013 season. Click here for more information.
Would you like to learn to run 5k or run 5k faster? This Spring you can join one of my Boost programs located in Riverport, Bridgewater or Lunenburg. Click here and scroll to April to see the new schedule.
Do you ride a bike but would like to learn to ride faster, harder, and develop your bike handling skills and technique? Join my NEW Cycle-Fit program starting in April. Check out the GO! calendar for more details.
Are you an endurance athlete looking for a bigger challenge? I highly recommend EPIC Dartmouth. They treat you extremely well and it’s the only ultra triathlon race in the world that allows you to switch race categories WHILE RACING. Now that’s pretty awesome, not to mention it’s in our beautiful province of Nova Scotia. Check out this EPIC race video and visit them on facebook too.
And what about that dory rowing. Pretty spectacular way to get fit while enjoying a historical event connecting you to the water, community and local heritage. It’s very spiritual, even when you are digging deep to row the heavy dory using 9′ oars across those waves on a windy day. Visit the website to find out more and don’t forget to visit them on facebook.
Learn how to lift weights with my new Chizeld class, also starting in April (see poster below).
And if the above doesn’t get your juices flowing, I offer personal training and coaching services, so contact me and I will teach you how to learn it, live it and love it.