One Year Ago.

One year ago today, I got this notice:

evac notice

And then this happened:

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the bench from above is under there somewhere



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The lobby of my building

Actually taken on the Monday, the first day we could access any part of the parkade. This is going down to the first parkade floor.

The entrance to my parkade (days after)

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Then this happened, not just in my neighborhood, but all across town:

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The best people.


And let’s not forget….

#floodbrows - you have to entertain yourself somehow when the city shuts down


It’s surreal and almost hard to believe that this all happened a year ago. Living in one of the hardest hit areas, it was one of the most stressful and difficult times of my life. But from that I have seen the beauty and true colors of my friends and family. It gave me faith that no matter what hard times fall my way, I have them as my safety net. Too all of them, I love you. I’m forever grateful to have you in my life.

And the city of Calgary, and all of its residents who banded together to help those who lost everything, thanks for restoring my faith in humanity. I hope everyone is lucky enough to experience the goodness people have to offer. It’s fucking beautiful.

Be good to each other. Not just in times of need, but always.



There are lots of reasons why we lose momentum. Sometimes it’s an injury, changes to routine, you’re not seeing enough progress, you’re seeing progress and think you can afford to take some (lots?) of time off, burn out, distractions, etc. Whatever the reason, it can be difficult to get back in the saddle and keep on going.

For myself, being in recovery mode can get me lazy since I’m not specifically training for anything, but I need to keep up be strong to hit the ground running when I’m able to. For others (wink and wave! hehe), you have to jump on the training-for-a-race train and hang on. Whatever your situation, I thought I would share what Ipersonally do to help motivate myself through a race training cycle (complete with loads of inspirational quotes from Pinterest, but of course).

Get pumped. Watch the promotional video for the race. These videos are designed to get you pumped for the race, so it will be a good starting point for the items below. Also watching videos of people you admire doing great things will get you stoked to do the same.

How can you not be motivated by the Flyer? (source)

Also read this article by The Oatmeal. It’s hilarious, realistic and strangely motivating.

Set goals. Write the reasons why you are running the particular race. It could be a time, a new distance, fun with friends, etc. But write down the feelings you expect to experience.

Visualize. Remember the feelings you wrote down, close your eyes and imagine running, crossing the finish line, etc. Do this again while running. During hard workouts, like tempo or long runs, imagine you are in a tough part of the race, then imagine the finish line and how you will feel crossing it. Relating the two will help you when you are in that pain zone, as your mind will go to the reasons you listed.

that finish line elation

Triggers. Come up with some key phrases that kick your butt into gear and repeat them to yourself when you find you’re having trouble getting out the door or struggling during a run. Some of my personal favorites (don’t laugh) are:
– Dig deep
– Break on through to the other side
– Want the results? Do the work
You better work, bitch
– Relax. Inhale. Exhale.
– It’s not supposed to be easy
– Don’t give up
– You got this
Think about past experiences that make you feel accomplished or happy. It doesn’t even have to be running related, any positive thought will help.

Rewards. Another tip to trick yourself into staying consistent is to think about what you like to buy or do and use them as motivators. This takes some willpower and focus, but so does anything worthwhile in life.

For example, there was a time where I wanted to buy all the new clothes and risked going overboard with the spending, so I told myself that I would buy one clothing item a week if and only if I met all my workouts. If clothes ain’t yo thang, but maybe going out for dinner/drinks is, and let that be a reward. The only catch is that you and ONLY YOU are responsible for ensuring you don’t get your reward without completing your goals. It’s a practice in willpower but that’s not a bad thing! Practice makes perfect and it will get easier.

Celebrate.Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. Bad days come from any number of factors, but your best days are indicative of your abilities, you cannot fake those. This is why I advocate keeping a training log. Looking back to previous weeks/months/years you will see a gradual improvement, and if you keep on keepin-on then think of where you can go!

Adapting. If you find that your certain motivational triggers are becoming ineffective and stale, take a step back (not longer than a few days to a week) and repeat the above steps again. Don’t be afraid to try different angles as your brain will try to trick you into becoming lazy and complacent. It will get easier, however, to push through these tough times and re-motivate yourself.

7. Keep your eyes on the prize. Giving up or putting in minimal effort is easy, but warrants few rewards. Make the most of your training and see what you can do when you dedicate yourself to something, chances are you will surprise yourself. Sure, it’s going to be hard, but as I said earlier, it’s not supposed to be easy. It’s when we challenge ourselves we grow stronger, build confidence, and refine us to become the best we can be.

Be determined to find a way.



After a week of pouting about my race and injury, I’m glad to say I’ve come to terms with where I am right now. Pity party over, I’ve run out of peanut butter pretzels, and I’m ready to get a PR in recovery and general fitness improvement. I’m optimistic, patient, and excited to experience some other physical pursuits that don’t involve pounding pavement with my legs.

I don't have any workout pictures, so I'll flood this post with random other things that happened this past week. Starting with a puppy visit last Friday at work.

I don’t have any workout pictures, so I’ll flood this post with random other things that happened this past week. Starting with a puppy visit last Friday at work.

I’m logging more km in the pool, typically swimming 1000-1500m each time. I usually break up the distance with intervals with the pull buoy and flutter board. Here are a couple workout examples:

1000m Swim Workout
100m freestyle (aka front crawl)
50m pull buoy (arms only)
50m flutter board (legs only)
100m freestyle
50m pull bouy
50m flutter board
100m freestyle
All that x2

1500m Swim Workout
300m freestyle
100m pull buoy
100m flutter board
100m pull buoy
300m freestyle
100m flutter board
100m pull buoy
100m flutter board
300m freestyle

Using the pull buoy helps build some upper body strength and learn proper body position. Start with placing it between your thighs, and work your way down your legs as you progress. I found that mixing it up with the board and pull buoy gives my body a break, as I’m still finding it a challenge to do loads of consecutive laps of freestyle. I hope that maybe by the end of the summer I can complete 1500m of front crawl without a break (taking under 45 min total).

My babely friends.

My babely friends.

I’ve been hitting up spin classes. I’m not always in the mood to listen to crappy techno at 6am in the morning, so I don’t always go. But I don’t worry about it too much. It’s a good way to keep up VO2 and anaerobic capacity somewhat up and I do it when I can.

Mother's Day! Out in Lake Louise.

Mother’s Day! Out at Lake Louise.

Another big ‘recovery goal’ of mine is to work hard on my strength. I’m not able to comfortably work on any type of impacting plyometrics so I thought I’d jump on the heavy lifting bandwagon for a while. It has been known for eons that high-weigh-low-reps is a surefire way to make muscle gains, and finally it is no longer taboo for women to desire strength and have muscles. It’s been more than rumored to even help endurance sports. So why the hell not.

I recently shadowed my friend Jen, a lady of strong legs/butt and heavy squats, and got her to show me the way around a squat rack. I’ve trained on one before (back in my skiing days), but it’s been a while and I was feeling a little shy. Here’s a quick run-down of what we did:

Warm-up squats with the bar
Back squats
Overhead squats (with a lighter barbell because I’m a n00b)
Lunges on the smith machine
Calf raises on the leg press
Hamstring curls

~3-5 sets of ~5-10 reps, usually increasing weights with each set

I had a blast. It was fun to have someone show me something new, and to work out with a buddy. My legs didn’t even feel that bad the next day (two days after however…). I’m looking forward to seeing some progress in my lifting abilities.

Lake Louise herself

Lake Louise herself

Which brings me to my next topic. One thing I loved about running is the progress I would see. I liked seeing my pace drop and race times improve (who doesn’t, really?), and it gave me a reason to push myself past my comfort zone. That was something I was upset about and miss from being injured. Thinking about keeping fit through my rehab, I chose activities that I could aim for tangible, quantifiable improvements with. Weights, I will see the numbers increasing. Swimming, I will (hopefully) see my times dropping, and feeling more comfortable swimming consecutive laps.

I’m happy to have a new focus to bring me out of my rut, thus feeding an upward spiral of positivity that will in turn only help my recovery and mental approach when I do get back running. I’ve had to keep my mind focused on my long term goals (we’re talking very long term) and see this as a bump in the road that allowed me to develop as an athlete as a whole.

Keep your eyes on the prize.

Lazy cat and boyfriend's morning hair

Lazy cat and boyfriend’s morning hair

2014 BMO Vancouver Marathon Recap

Well, what to say about this race? It was… hard. Physically, emotionally, mentally. I’m glad I ran it, Vancouver is still my favorite race so far, but this one kind of kicked my ass.

Dan and I drove from Calgary to Vancouver on Friday. Aside from trying to navigate around semi trucks in the pouring rain for the first five hours (in which I got to drive the whole time), it was a relatively uneventful 11 hour drive (unlike last year). That night we stayed with my friend Sarah, ate some tacos and I proceeded to consume a fair number of liquid carbs while catching up with friends at an 88 Mile Trip show (our friend Dave is the lead singer).

Saturday I picked up my race stuff, wandered the expo, and felt a little sad that my mom wasn’t there with me and instead had to get an MRI of her ankle that night. Her name was still up on the Saucony ‘Find Your Strong’ board and she made me promise I would run extra hard for her.

hi mom

I checked into the vrbo we were staying at for the remainder of our trip then visited an awesome little running store nearby called Distance Running. This is the only place in Canada that sells Oiselle, so obviously I bought a few things.

A couple friends and Dan’s sister came over for dinner, pie, and a hot tub. I had borrowed a Polar RC3 GPS (since mine needs repairs) and I fiddled around with it for a while. I tried to set up training pages to mimic how I set up my Garmin for races with distance, average lap (mile) page, and average overall pace. I couldn’t seem to figure it out, and reluctantly decided to just scroll through it’s default training pages to see my current and overall average pace. I did the usual pre-race prep aka pietime (aside from taking a picture of my pie… maybe that’s where I went wrong?) and hit the sack. I had a crappy sleep and woke up a million times.

Sunday morning I woke up on the later side (6am for a 7am start) since I planned to eat a ProBar and hit the road. We stayed ~1 mile from the start, so I thought I would run there for a warm up. Since I knew it was raining outside, I donned one of Dan’s old hats and cut some holes in a garbage bag to wear to the start. When I stepped outside, I realized that it was raining a bit harder than I expected, so I woke up Dan so he could drive me to the start. As if I’m “warming up”. Staying dry as long as possible became the new priority.

At the start I quickly checked my bag, went pee, and found my corral right in time. I tossed the garbage back and embraced the rain. Before I knew it we were off.

I was generally relaxed and optimistic at this point. For the first few km I was exactly where I wanted to be, just a bit slower than goal pace. I realized quickly that although I had set up the watch to lap at every mile, it wouldn’t show the time it took me to run that mile, unlike my Garmins. But I could deal with it.


Running down Cambie (start to km 3.5) I basically zoned out and ran through the rain and wind, all a nice gradual downhill. When we crossed the Cambie Bridge and ran into Chinatown. I began to feel a bit of tightness in my abdomen. Of course, stomach cramps. There you are, old friend. I slowed down heading into the out-and-back, watching my average pace dip from 8:13/m to 8:42/m. Thankfully the dull pain subsided and I picked it back up again.


that’s me on the left with the minty arm warmers

There was a small hill around Quebec St (~6km), so I didn’t see my pace change much. I switched from average pace view to current pace, and it seemed to fluctuate between 8:00/m and 10:00/m. Keeping track of that was annoying so I switched back to average pace and it stayed at 8:42/m. For the REST OF THE RACE.

I was determined to make the pace on the watch move so I kept pushing. It would not budge up nor down. I gave up and kept intermittently calculating my finish time based on the stopwatch and km markers.

The rain let up a bit for the run through Stanley Park. I kept pushing as hard as I could and forgot about the watch.

The last 3k I tried to focus on intermittently picking up the pace, attempting to utilize some fast twitch muscles as my tired, slow twitch-ers were pretty exhausted.

With 1km left I dug deep and focused on seeing Dan and getting warm again. Soon enough, the finish line was in sight and I gave it all I got. I kept looking side to side to see if I could see my man.

shiftyeye mcgee

shiftyeye mcgee

Then I inevitably crossed the finish line with a chip time of 1:55:42. Gender place: 1094/6113, category place: 270/1105.

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Past the finish I sobbed a bit. I was relieved yet disappointed yet proud yet unhappy. Such a mix of emotions. I had really hoped for even just a little baby PR to make me feel like despite the injury, I managed to improve. I ran hard, and gave it my all, but that wasn’t enough.

I needed a hug. So I kept looking for any sign of Dan. I made my way to the gear drop tables and checked my phone. Dan had gotten stuck in traffic, and was just able to park, so he missed my finish. My heart broke. I was wet and sad and alone. I felt so defeated. It wasn’t supposed to go like this. It was supposed to be the day I ran my best full marathon and qualified for Boston, with Dan and our Vancouver friends and my mom cheering for me at the finish, after my mom had run her best half marathon. Not a wet, injured half marathon non-PR, walking towards no one in the finishing chute.

Don’t get me wrong, things could have gone way worse. I’m glad I was still able to run and not run a personal worst. I still had an ok time. But not great. Everyone kept telling me I should still be happy but I couldn’t be. I confessed this to Dan later, and he agreed that I should be allowed to feel sad about it. I had my pity party and I’m now moving on.

I finished the day with food, beer, and hot tubbing with some friends.


I think watching movies where the unlikely underdog takes the win can give you a false expectation when it comes to your own personal athletic pursuits. I knew I was under-trained going into this. The two weeks prior to the race, I didn’t even really try to taper. I essentially gave up. I didn’t even feel much like swimming or biking, and to be honest, I didn’t have much time to do either. Frustration got the better of me. But, at the same time, I wished and hoped that I could somehow pull off a PR and feel magically better about running again. Clearly that did not happen, and I don’t feel better about running. In fact, we’re on a break right now. Not permanently, no, HELL NO. But I need some time away to regroup and let my body heal.

I only have three other races that I’ve registered for this year: two 10ks and one half (which I am not racing). I am not sure if I will register for any more. Maybe I’ll feel better in a few days/weeks/months, but we’ll see. I’m over being injured and I need this time to regain my strength, however long it is.

Till then, you can find me swimming, lifting weights, eating peanut butter pretzels and watching cat videos, plotting my epic return. I’ll leave you with one to lift the mood of this overly pouty recap (lolz).




I’ve been nominated for  Liebster Award by Leana! What fun. A Liebster is a pass-it-on questionnaire for bloggers, where you are asked 10 questions about yourself then nominate 10 people to answer 10 questions that you come up with.

Here are my answers to Leana’s questions:

1. What is one piece of gear that you own (not shoe or technology related) that you wear all the time?

Hmm, probably socks? I will never ever run without socks. I hate the feeling of sweaty feet sliding around in shoes. Also my feet blister quite easily so I can only imagine the grossness that would occur if I didn’t have some sort of decent (and fairly thin) moisture wicking socks. My favorite socks are ProCompression. They’re relatively thin (my feet get really hot) yet compression, thus reducing swelling and blisters in my feet.

boppin along in my ProCompressions

boppin along in my ProCompressions

2. Do you wear different shoes for different workouts, or do you wear the same shoes all the time?

Different shoes. Long runs typically get the shoes I would wear in a marathon (Adidas Adios) or something with a bit more protection.

I love you

I love you

For speedwork I used to wear my Saucony A5, but I haven’t done any of that for a while and they’re worn out. I might get the A6 to replace them when I feel up to returning to speed work.

For strength workouts I wear either the New Balance Minimus or Mizuno Wave Universe, but preferably the Universe. There’s not much to them, so when I do my exercises I can feel the muscles in my feet and ankles working quite a bit.

3. What is your favorite post workout snack?


Ok I’ll be more specific. Usually I like a smoothie if I’m not too hungry or I need something quick. It could be some chocolate VegaOne powder with coconut water/milk, something made from whatever I have in my fridge (possibly ingredients include almond milk, coconut milk, hemp seeds, chia seeds, kale or spinach, berries, banana, gelatin powder…), or a Jugo Juice smoothie.

My 'alien grey' post run smoothie (more delicious that it looks). Banana, coconut milk, spinach, blueberries, gelatin, almond butter.

My ‘alien grey’ post run smoothie (more delicious that it looks). Banana, coconut milk, spinach, blueberries, gelatin, almond butter.

After long runs or a really hard workout, I’ll usually crave meatballs.

4. Do you listen to music when you run? Why or why not?

Yes, I usually will.  I like that music makes me feel like I’m in a movie of sorts, and that I have a soundtrack going on. It helps me get in a confident mindset. I’ll also listen to audiobooks if I’m doing something where I don’t have to push myself hard, but could use some entertainment (easy runs, long runs, pool runs).

5. Do you prefer to run in a loop or run an out and back?

I’m not too picky and both have their pros and cons. Loops can be fun since the scenery is different the whole say, but out and back takes less planning. If I’m running in a new area I’ll do an out and back so I don’t get lost and/or confused. If I don’t know how long I’ll run for, I’ll do laps of the 5k loop near my house.

6. Why do you blog?

Since I previously didn’t know too many other runners, I found reading other people’s running blogs helpful in learning more about running. I would learn how they trained, why they made certain decisions and how they’ve progressed. I find this really encouraging because when you’re just figuring things out for yourself, it’s kind of scary.

I started my blog to add my experiences to the mix, so that maybe some day they will help someone else along in their own running journey.

7. What is your number one goal for this year?

To stop being injured.

I would still love to BQ, but so far that’s not going too well so I was forced to reevaluate. If I end up making it, great. If not, there’s always other years. But I will not get there if I don’t heal up.

8. Tell me about your favorite race medal.

I have two. My first favorite is my 3rd place Age Group medal from the 2013 Drumheller Half Marathon. I had never officially placed in running before (or since), and it wasn’t that small of a field so I’m quite proud of it.


My second is the Austin Half Marathon medal because it’s huge and has Willy Nelson on it, which I think is rad.


9. What motivates you to get outside and train on cold/snowy/rainy days?

The satisfaction I get out of slaying a run against all odds. It makes me feel bad ass, like I can conquer anything.


this is what happens when you run in -30C (oof)

this is what happens when you run in -30C (oof)

10. What is your most memorable run?

It’s a tossup between my first marathon (Portland, 2011) and the 2013 Vancouver Marathon.

Running my first full was an incredible experience. It was new ground for me, going way beyond what I ever thought was possible for me to achieve. It changed my life.

The moment I crossed the finish line, and was hooked on the full forever.

The moment I crossed the finish line, and was hooked on the full forever.

Then last years Vancouver Marathon was as close to a perfect race as I’ve experienced. The weather was great, fueling went perfectly, my playlist was on point, mentally I was in a great place the whole run, and I PR’d by about 20 minutes. I couldn’t have asked for much more! My lovely boyfriend biked the course and met me in several places, and his family cheered me on at the finish. My heart fills with joy thinking about that day.




So that’s it! That was fun. Thanks Leana!

So I nominate:

Striding Mom

Sprouts n Squats

Solana Leigh

Running with Rhyno

Yuri in a Hurry


Swift Fox

And my questions for you are….

1) Would you rather carry water/electrolytes during a race or use what’s on course? Why?

2) What kind of shoes do you wear? Have you followed any shoe fads (ie minimalism, maximalism, toe shoes)?

3) Do you run with a GPS watch? What kind?

4) Who would be your dream running partner?

5) Does your significant other run (if you have one)? If you don’t have one, would that be a necessary requirement?

6) What is your most embarrassing running mishap?

7) If you could go anywhere in the world for a run (doesn’t have to be a race), where would you go? Post a picture.

8) What do you think about when you run?

9) Do you have any weird habits or superstitions when it comes to running/racing?

10) If you’re starting to slump in a race or run, what do you tell yourself to get you to push through?

Thanks guys! And if anyone else wants to answer these, leave your responses in the comments below!







What is one piece of gear you own (not shoe or technology related) that you wear all the time? – See more at:
  • What is one piece of gear you own (not shoe or technology related) that you wear all the time?
  • Do you wear different shoes for different workouts, or do you wear the same shoes all the time?
  • What is your favourite post workout snack?
  • Do you listen to music when you run?  Why or why not?
  • Do you prefer to run in a loop or run an out and back?
  • Why do you blog?
  • What is your number one goal for this year?
  • Tell me about your favourite race medal.
  • What motivates you to get outside and train on cold/snowy/rainy days?
  • What is your most memorable run?

– See more at:

  • What is one piece of gear you own (not shoe or technology related) that you wear all the time?
  • Do you wear different shoes for different workouts, or do you wear the same shoes all the time?
  • What is your favourite post workout snack?
  • Do you listen to music when you run?  Why or why not?
  • Do you prefer to run in a loop or run an out and back?
  • Why do you blog?
  • What is your number one goal for this year?
  • Tell me about your favourite race medal.
  • What motivates you to get outside and train on cold/snowy/rainy days?
  • What is your most memorable run?

– See more at:

Change of Plans

Last week I got an email from the BMO Vancouver Marathon regarding what the medals and t shirts will look like. Not that I don’t care, but I’m getting them either way so it’s not a big deal. One thing on that email however grabbed my attention.


What? I can switch races? The first emotion that rushed in what excitement. I followed the link, checked it out and sure enough, I can switch into the half or 8k races for a $10 fee. After getting my ass kicked by the previous weekends 30km run, the thought of running a half marathon was much more appealing, and I even felt a sense of relief. I had a much better chance of finishing the race, and maybe even have a good one.

After consulting runner friends and some social media outlets, I went for it. So now, in just over a week, I will be running the Vancouver Half Marathon.

Since then, my shins have flared up a bit again and now I’m getting all nervous about running a half. Sigh. So as of now, I’ll try my best, enjoy my weekend in Vancouver, be a good cheerleader at the finish for my friends, some running their first full marathons, and look forward to burgers and beer afterwards.

I’ve been going through a mix of feelings about it, from relief and confidence, to concern that I won’t be ready to even run that, back to confidence so hopefully that stays with me for the next week. Either way, here goes something (else)!


The Long Run

I cannot WAIT until I no longer feel the need to talk about my shins/calves/lower legs, and I’m sure anyone who reads this or hangs out with me IRL feels about the same. I’m sorry. But when you have something this annoying and shitty it kind of takes over your thoughts/life.

Anyways. After running Icebreaker the shin pain and tight calves returned. I iced periodically all day long while at work and took another break from running. Actually, I was pretty lazy overall in the cardio department. Oh well.

This past weekend I threw caution to the wind and ran. Outside. On my legs. For 30.5 whole kilometers (19 miles for the imperially-inclined). This was my last “long run” before the race and I wanted to see if I could do it. So while visiting family in Saskatoon, I plodded along a nice single track dirt path (to minimize impact) along the river.

2014-04-13 09.07.59

My pace went from 9:00/m to 14:00/m since last 10km was fairly walking-heavy. But as my friend Tyler reminded me, that is still forward propulsion and therefore still counts. And it hurt. Not my shins (thankfully) but my butt. My butt had enough. I had forgotten what long run pain feels like.

For the remainder of the day I laid on the couch and watched my 5 year old cousin perform his interpretation of a Chinese Lion Dance. It was just as amusing as it sounds.

But I did it.

They always say that you don’t have to win the workouts, just the race. And this long run, no matter how slow it was, will help me get to my goal of finishing the marathon. I’ve got three weeks now to keep up with my running conditioning yet tapering at the same time, and of course making sure I am as healthy and pain-free as possible. This simplistic, “just finish” approach reminds me of running my very first marathon, so hopefully I’m as happy as I was the first time when I cross that finish line, regardless of how long it takes me.

An interesting side effect of this long run has been my desire to run. As hard as it was, I came back wanting more. Previously I was teetering on burnout due to frustration, but now I am looking forward to summertime races and a fall marathon. I’ve promised myself to not sign up for anything until after this race, but I think you could bet on me running the Regina Marathon on Sept 7, claiming my running redemption (hopefully).

Maybe I was a little inspired by this guy