Day in the Life

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Hey guys, happy weekend! One of the most common questions I get from people, whether they’re total strangers or my own parents, is “how do you fit it all in?” Some people are skeptical that it’s possible to be an endurance athlete while you have a full time job, and others are just downright surprised. I’ve seen a few of these “day in the life” posts floating around the internet, so I thought I’d give one a try and show you what a typical Thursday looks like around these parts.

6.45 am My cell phone alarm goes off. I take 30 seconds to find my phone in the sea of pillows (yeah I fell asleep with it in my bed last night, oops) and hit snooze.

6.54 am 9 minutes later, the alarm goes off again and I get up and turn it off. I showered last night after a late pool workout, so I skip a shower this morning.

7.15 am Once I’m dressed and ready for work (happily wearing scrubs today since it’s an OR day), I take my usual vitamins (multivitamin, Calcium/Vitamin D, magnesium) and sit down at my kitchen table to have breakfast (pumpkin oatmeal with a scoop of almond butter and lots of berries) and catch up on blogs/the news/my email/whatever else I need to read before the day starts. I put a simple lunch together, with lots of snacks.

IMG_3062the necessities – notebooks, laptop, coffee

8.00 am I leave for work, stopping to pick up a coffee on the way.

8.30 am I get to work, check the OR list for the day, meet the first patient, and get into the rest of my operating outfit (scrub cap, shoes, ID badge off, etc).

9.15 am We start the first case.

Now I’m scrubbed in and not wearing a watch, but at various times I retract/help suture/generally assist with surgeries. At some point, my preceptor gets tired of asking me hard questions about anatomy and makes me a coffee while we chat about triathlon (he’s a cyclist).By this point in my training, I’m familiar with the idea that surgeons don’t stop for silly things like lunch or pee breaks, so I grab a few bites of snacks between cases.

IMG_2978having a great time on plastics even if I am always hungry :)

5.00 pm Finish work and drive somewhat quickly (but also carefully :) to Laurier while scarfing down an apple. Boogie to get into the pool on time to start the Koala’s workout (still 5 mins late).

IMG_3043post-swim, pre-run

6.00 pm Swim done. Chat with the rest of the team for a few minutes before heading to the treadmills for speedwork.

7.00 pm Run workout done. Normally I would stick around to stretch with my coach, but I have dinner plans so I need to get out the door.

7.15 pm I stop at my sister’s place to check on her because she’s been feeling sick with a cold, and at the LCBO to get a gift for my preceptor since tomorrow will be my last day on plastic surgery.

8.00 pm I arrive back at my place and go straight from the front door into the shower. While drying off, I sort out laundry from the workout and my day, tidy my shoes and decide on an outfit to wear to dinner.

IMG_2493threw this on because I wore it a while ago and liked it! also I couldn’t think of anything else :)

8.25 pm I’m done getting ready and running a tiny bit late, so I pick up the zucchini-banana muffins I made last night and get back in the car to make it to dinner at my friend’s house for 8.30.

9.30 pm After dinner we decide it’s early enough to have a glass of wine (it’s almost the weekend, after all) and watch some TV.

11.00 pm I’m fading fast, so we say goodnight and I come back home

11.15 pm I’m in my pj’s, and I sit on my bed with my computer triaging emails, reading up on cases for tomorrow, write a card to go with the bottle of wine I bought, and finish this blog post.

12.30 am Done with the important things so it’s lights out! I think I’m asleep before my head hits the pillow.


Training Week 8: Resuming Normal Life

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this is basically me all winter – i have a giant collection of giant scarves!

It’s Tuesday again! Somehow I’m 2 months into the season and only barely starting to feel like I’m finding some fitness.


step one: walk in the door. step 2: put on sweats. step 3: blog from my bed

I ended up having a really great first week back from Costa Rica. I got to see tons of friends, get back into practices and even went out a few times! Here’s how the workouts shaped up:

Wednesday Early in the week I was feeling really rested from my vacation, so I got right to it. First I did a 45 minute workout on the spin bike (similar to my usual: WU, 12 min hard-3 min easy x3, CD), followed by a run on the treadmill (3.1 mi, getting slightly faster with each mile as I found my legs). Later in the evening I went for a lane swim with a friend and did some longer sets (mostly 400’s at 65% effort with a few fast 75’s thrown in).

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lacing my my millionth pair of fasttwiches for a koalas speed workout

Thursday Koala’s swim (I know this wasn’t a long one but I can’t remember the exact workout). I think by the time we finished chatting and actually got to swimming, we only did about 1650 until the time was up. After swimming, we did a super short but high intensity speed workout on the treadmills: 1 mile WU, then a few repeats of 30 seconds at max pace with 1 min rest. For me, that looks like level ~10 and 6, with 4% and 0% incline. Then we did another 1.5 mi CD. I was definitely sweaty after this, but I didn’t feel like I worked, which I usually do after a run.

Friday A long day at work on Friday plus plans with friends later meant I only had time for a short, easy run… I don’t even know how far I went but it was maybeee 20 mins. I chose not to worry about this and save my legs.

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I have this thing where I love bright colours in grocery stores

Saturday On Saturday I was supposed to bike but I was feeling a little off and decided to do nothing to get ready for Sunday. I did, however, check out a great new grocery store in Waterloo called “Goodness Me”. It’s huge and they have the healthiest stuff. I was in triathlete/foodie heaven. The best part was, I got to meet Jessica there – I’d been reading her blog for a while and we finally had a chance to meet up. The girl is awesome!

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Koalas koach Rob (in the red hat) making the pass with 100 m to the finish


me (in pink & blue) telling myself to settle as i reach the front of this small pack around mile 2

Sunday The Refrigee-8er 8 mi race! You can read all about it in my race recap, but I had an ok day with good results – placed first in my AG and 8th girl overall, but felt nauseous before, during and after the race.

Monday One of my first normal days :). 30 min on the spin bike (easy) to flush my legs from yesterday, then a 30 min treadmill run (3.8 mi) and a short strength workout.

Tuesday Koala’s practice planned for later today: swim ~1800 m and run ~4 mi

Totals: Running 23.5 mi / cycling 1:15 / Swimming 3450 m – Not back to normal volumes yet but getting there for sure!

Remember you can follow along on Strava and Instagram too :) How was your week of training? Anyone racing in the cold?

Refridgee-8er 2015 Race Recap

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 shameless finish line selfie

Brrr! I’m back inside from the Refridgee-8er 8 mile race. I had a pretty good day today!

When I woke up I was a bit nervous about the race. One reason is that I had a really busy week, getting caught up on life and seeing friends after a whole lot of travelling. Another reason, as I’ve also mentioned before, is that I’m still not 100% sure about my nutrition before and on race day. But mostly, I was worried for this:


weather report from this morning

When I woke up, my weather app was showing me -13 deg C… with a low of -23. Remember when I was in Costa Rica enjoying 32 degree days? Less than a week ago? I don’t feel like my body has fully adjusted back to winter, and I don’t think it ever really likes winter, so I knew I’d be uncomfortable.

I figured there wasn’t much I could do except dress for the weather, so I started layering up.

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just your friendly neighbourhood triathlete wearing base layers at 7 am

It was much too cold for my usual SOAS favourites, so I ended up wearing a tank top and tee (above, though you can’t see the tank underneath), and a long sleeve running shirt. On top of that I added my favourite lululemon down vest (similar one in the link… the one I have is less reflective and a bit more fitted). I added a hat, gaiter, and gloves, plus my standard winter running tights. At the last minute I also decided to wear socks (which I never do while running! #triathleteproblems).

Anyways, I always eat the same thing before a race: a tall coffee from starbucks (pike place roast, black) and a raisin bran muffin. This morning, I woke up pretty hungry at 6 am, and the race didn’t start till 10, so I ate a 1/2 mug of cereal and snoozed for a bit.

When I got to the start line, I just didn’t feel well. I had warmed up with a jog (~1.5 miles) and threw in some strides at the end, but I still had pre-race butterflies and was just generally feeling nauseous. Even though I only finished half my coffee more than an hour before, I still felt like my stomach was full of liquid and I felt that swooshy feeling whenever I moved – like being a human washing machine.

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pacing today

Race start time waits for no one, human washing machine or not, and at 10 am the gun went off. A few strides in I finally remembered to hit my Garmin, and spent the first 1/4 mile jockeying around and settling into a comfortable pace and position. As I pulled towards the front I heard my coach calling at me to not go out hard, and I was off. He ran the race as well, but we knew we would have different paces so we didn’t try to stick together. I was looking to hold 8:00 min/mi, and around the 1/2 mile I glanced down and saw 7:35. Time to reign it in a little.

I pulled back and settled next to another local runner who I don’t know very well but who I see at the Waterloo Running Series races. He was running the 8km. We chatted for a bit, but I can’t remember what about! lol – that’s my race brain for you. We came up to the 1 mile mark, and a volunteer called out “8:10”. I knew right away I had to get going, so I said bye and good luck and pulled ahead again.

For the next 3ish miles I just felt crappy. I was chasing a girl wearing a purple jacket, and another guy who looked like he was in his 40’s. That jacket reminded me so much of a grape for some reason, and I just kept thinking “go get that grape”. I didn’t take any water, mostly because of my stomach. It was snowing, my glasses were fogging, and I was finding alternately bad and ok footing.

I passed the girl around mile 5 and set my sights on the guy. The 8mi and 8km courses were along the same route, but the 8mi had an extra loop (with a hill!!) added in. As I was coming up that hill for the second time, I asked the volunteer if there were many girls ahead. He looked at me and said “oh yeah, tons”. I was so confused! I thought I hadn’t seen many other women, and the pack was pretty thin at that point, but I figured I’d give it some gas and see what I found ahead. Of course, the volunteer hadn’t understood what I meant, and there were not many girls ahead of me (running my race, at least!) at all.

Around mile 7 I passed the guy I’d been chasing and just told myself to get to the finish line. I’d been hanging on through miles 5-7, but I was getting cold and still couldn’t get my stomach to settle. I used a few running mantras to help take my mind off it, but as soon as I refocused on my body I’d feel a wave of nausea and my heart rate would spike like crazy. One of the things I like to repeat during a race is “chop wood carry water”. It’s a zen proverb that reminds you to focus on the task at hand, and break life into the simplest pieces.

I turned the corner into the last ~0.2 miles and started to open up my stride. I knew I couldn’t surge too early, but I also knew that I was ready to get inside. I crossed the finish line in 1:03:41, which I was happy with. My coach had put 1:00:00 in training peaks as a goal, but I knew that with the conditions and all the travel I would be lucky to go in 1:04:00.

Turns out, that was good enough for first in my age group! This was probably my last time racing in the F 20-24 category, since I’m going to “age up” in April, when I turn 25. I don’t have any races planned until then, so unless something comes up in March, that’s it! I was also the 8th female overall, which I was pretty happy about! #top10

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splits for today from strava

I was productive all day after the race – I got groceries, cleaned, did laundry, finished food prep for the week and studied a bit, but I realized at about 9 pm that I was totally exhausted. Pretty much the whole day my stomach never got back to normal, and I did get two bottles of G2 into me. Hydration? Fatigue? Nerves? Who knows.

My biggest take-homes from this race were to focus on the moment and to be confident in my abilities. I’m a good runner. I don’t need to be afraid to go fast. I spend so much time and energy worrying about the pain that when I’m actually racing, I get surprised that it’s totally fine – I definitely could have run faster today, and I need to not let my mind keep me from doing that. We’re only a little over 4 months from Sweden!


Nutrition Update – What I Ate Wednesday

Hi! I’m back from interviews, back from Costa Rica, and finally settling into my regular life after 4+ weeks of bouncing around like crazy. Since I had initially planned to make nutrition the focus of February, I figured I’d do a WIW post (even though today is Saturday – this is from this week).

Breakfast: Cappuccino and a banana + vitamins (Calcium/Vit D and a multivitamin). Note that I would normally eat more than this for breakfast, but I had a pretty late dinner last night and wasn’t feeling hungry. I’ve been trying to eat as intuitively as possible and remember that just because it’s time for a meal, it doesn’t mean I have to eat.

Mid-morning snack: I ate a big bunch of grapes throughout the morning and tried to remember to drink some water, since I was feeling dehydrated from cold air + lots of flights + getting back into workouts.


This pic of my lunch isn’t super pretty but it was delish!

Lunch: A yummy vitality bowl from Pure JBK in Kitchener. I got it with salad greens instead of grains: Oven roasted chicken, spicy cauliflower, goat cheese, pickled celery, julienned carrots, Romaine, apple, radish, fresh jalapenos. Spicy but yummy! I also ate a bunch of my friend’s big cookieFullSizeRender (2)

At school trying to get all that water in!

I noticed that I was feeling pretty full after this. I think the combination of grapes and banana this morning might have been too much fibre? Usually I like to have a better balance of simple carbohydrates early.

Workout: Since I’m jumping back into full training this week, I have a brick workout to do today. 45 min bike + 5km run.

Dinner: Normally I would have a post-workout snack, but since it was so close to dinner I just lumped them together today. I ran out yesterday to get a bunch of groceries but didn’t get a chance to do any meal planning, so things are going to be a little random around here. I ate a bowl of yogurt+berries+granola and a salad with spinach+tuna+tomatoes+cucumber. I was still a bit hungry after that, so I added a piece of toast with PB and a few squares of dark chocolate


rocking my best post-swim sleep-deprived look

Workout: A good friend of mine wanted to give lane swimming a try, so I took her to the pool and squeezed in a workout while she swam.

Bedtime snack: I’ve been trying to avoid the bedtime snacking, but after another 1.5 hr workout I figured I needed something. I went with another piece of toast (this time with some cheese), and a biscotti and a mug of green tea.

Overall a pretty good day! Had to sneak some chocolate in somehow :)


Training Week 7: From Swim, Bike, Run, to Sand, Surf, Sun


heading out to watch the sunset from the waves

So, 10 days ago I decided to sneak off to the beach after running around Canada for a few weeks, and a really busy past year of medical school. I went to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica to surfbut also to reconnect with myself a bit and have some time and space to think.

Since Teresa is really isolated, it took me a while to get there and back. I still managed to enjoy 5 and a half days of downtime, which really did help me feel a lot better. Long story short, I was feeling a bit burnt out and even though booking this trip was crazy spontaneous, I’m so glad I went. Now it’s on to general surgery for the last 6 weeks of clinical training in medical school, and then the licensing exam!


definitely in beach mode!

Normally I would be posting training updates on a Tuesday, but the weather in Santa Teresa was crazy. Think 33 degrees Celsius by 8.30 am. That combined with no real roads (ATV is the main form of transport) meant that I had to change up my expectations for workouts. Luckily, surfing is like swimming with random pushups and squats mixed in, and I do feel like I got a lot of exercise. I also managed a 5 mile run on the beach one evening (and paid the price with dehydration and nausea later) and did a lot of walking.

Probably the easiest “training” I did in Costa Rica was nutrition related. There was so much amazing fresh fruit and fish everywhere that it’s pretty much all I ate for the past 8 days. Melons, mangoes, avocado, tomatoes… I could go on forever but it was fantastic. I also tried aloe juice for the first time, which was super refreshing, great for hydration and not too sweet!

So, not much of a training recap today, but I’m officially back in Canada for the foreseeable future and feeling oh-so-ready to get back to routine. Regular training and a full trip recap to come – stay tuned!

Swim: No idea how many meters – every day, at least twice a day, with a surfboard and without

Bike: None. Oops :)

Run: One 5 mi run on the beach. At least 5 km of walking each day.

Strength: omg popping up on a surfboard. Enough said :)

Don’t forget! You can also follow along with my triathlon and travel on Strava and Instagram too!

Happy Sunday and Advice From a Tree

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Hellovfrom the beautiful Pacific coast of Costa Rica. I’ve spent the last several days surfing, practicing yoga, drinking great coffee and reconnecting with nature and myself. A teacher read this to me in a yoga class the other day, and I think I’ll leave it with you while I soak up the last bit of salty sunshine before beginning my trip home.

Advice From a Tree

Dear Friend,
Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter
Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light
Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view!

January in Numbers

I can’t believe we’re already two weeks into February! This year is seriously flying by. I wanted to do a quick breakdown of each month as I move through training cycles, so this is January. Better late than never, right?



Yoga sessions: 0. Whoops. Ended up not being home enough to get to the studio.

Books read: 0 :(. Unless you count re-reading Racing Weight for my nutrition research?

Time with family: I think one weekend? Kind of fuzzy because I was travelling so much, and my parents were also away for a week.

Favourite day: Hard to say! Brunch with friends maybe?IMG_2374

Medicine (Crazy?:)//

Days worked: 10

Rotations done: 1 (ICU)

Exams written: 0! :)

IMG_2520Triathlon (Fast-ish)//

Swim workouts/kms: 4 workouts, 6800 m

Bike workouts/kms: 5 workouts, not sure how many kms because I was getting my trainer/spin bike setup figured out for most of January.

Run workouts/kms: 23 workouts, 178.7 km

Strength workouts: 4

Total hours: 23:31

Indoor workouts/outdoor workouts:  6 outdoor, 27 indoor

Best/favourite workout: Double run day!

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Travels + Other goals (Life!)//

Places visited: Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Kingston

Plane rides: Tooooo many. 8 I think?

Favourite location: Probably have to give this one to Vancouver! Although I’m tempted to say home, in my own bed, close to my friends and training mates!

Days I actually drank 1.5 L water: Probably about 5. Kinda sad. Coffee should count!