Foodie Friday & Fall Reset Update

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It’s day 12 of the 21 Day Fall Reset Clean Eating Challenge and time to check in!

I’m very proud of myself for saying no to so many tasty and tempting treats around the office this week. I work for a company that has it’s own bakery soI’m sure you can imagine the distractions looming around me.

This week I wasn’t as organized as last due to the fact that the weekend was very busy. Still I managed to make salads and chicken for lunches, peach cobbler and a new dinner dish every night. If anything I’m eating more during the day than normal, the difference is in the quality of food I’m eating. The only times I’ve truly been craving wheat or sugar is when I’ve left too much time between meals. On Monday night I met a friend after work for a run then had to pick up groceries. The grocery store was horrible, everything looked so delicious and I just wanted to eat everything! I held it together and didn’t leave the store with anything not on my grocery list.

Overall I’m feeling great! My stomach is as happy as can be, however I have noticed a difference in my workouts. I’m running slower than normal and the effort feels much harder. I’m trying to eat more fruit and foods with iron this week. I’m also eating more grains this week which should help!

Progress not perfection

Weekends are the worst as food and social activities tend to come hand-in-hand.  I have to confess that I had a couple small cheats from last weekend; I had a small piece of chocolate cake at a friends wedding and had a champaign toast on Sunday (celebrating a very important moment). Every morning I get an email from Laura (the Fall Reset expert) and yesterday’s said “progress is not perfection”. I think this is an excellent point and probably the number one reason why “diets” don’t work. I have made so many wonderful choices over the past 12 days that these 2 little cheats seem minor in the grand scheme. I was actually thinking yesterday that I’d like to remain eating this way after the 21 day challenge is over, with the exception of being less strict 24/7.

Now for this weeks recipe. I’ve experimented with lots of dishes this week but this one has to be my favourite! I’ve been wanting something bread-like and found a recipe for Macadamia + Coconut Muffins on I Quit Sugar’s website. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free and sugar-free – perfect. I made a few minor adjustments based on user comments and they turned out amazingly.

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Macadamia + Coconut Muffins
with homemade coconut butter 

Makes 12 muffins 

Muffin Ingredients:

 

2 cups almond meal
2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt (very small pinch)
¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
½ cup macadamia nuts
½ cup melted coconut oil
3 tbsp cup coconut cream
1 whole egg
3 egg whites (I use egg whites in the box but you could use whole eggs)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup

Coconut Butter Ingredients:

3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract

Muffin Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350° and line muffin tins.
2. Combine almond meal, baking powder, salt and shredded coconut into a medium size bowl and stir.
3. In a separate bowl whisk together the coconut oil, coconut cream, eggs, vanilla and maple syrup.

Coconut muffins
4. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until incorporated. Do not over mix.
5. Spoon mixture into muffin tins, top with macadamia nuts and place in the oven for 12-15min.

baking coconut muffins

Coconut Butter Directions:

1. Place shredded coconut and vanilla into a food processor.
2. Turn on to a low setting and process for 10-15 min, pausing to scrap down the sides every couple minutes. The butter should be smooth. You can store in a mason jar in the cupboard.

Healthy coconut macadamia nut muffins

 

Recipe adapted from I Quit Sugar 

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Foodie Friday: Clean Eating Peach Cobbler

Foodie Friday

I’m on day 5 of my Fall Reset Challenge  and am doing better than I ever expected! As I’ve said before I’ve done traditional cleanses before where you limit calories and restrict pretty much all food which makes temptation so much stringer. I honestly haven’t had many moments where I really need to talk myself out of anything, however I have a wedding  and birthday to attending over the weekend and the desire to have cake is going to be very strong! Wish me luck.

I even kept a dinner date with Ange on Wednesday because she agreed to make adjustments to our menu. Originally I was going to make her my “famous” pizza from scratch but would involve many ingredients I’m not currently eating. Instead we got creative and made a cauliflower crusted pizza with pesto, tomatoes, mushrooms, goat cheese chunks, with a drizzle of balsamic! So yum. It smelled so good that we couldn’t even think about taking a photo before devouring it. The crust turned out much better than I expected but I still prefer the real dough kind. Ange and I also attempted to copycat the unbelievable Polenta Yam Fries we ate at Heirloom Restaurant in Vancouver but it was an epic fail!

Today was the only day I didn’t have a lunch pre-made as I was meeting a friend outside of the office. Luckily there’s this new company, Lettuce Beets, that makes the most amazingly healthy salads around! I found her on the second floor of Holt Renfrew and ordered my favourite salad – Lettuce Thrive!

Lettuce Beets

The boyfriend and I were in the Okanagan for an extended long weekend and I came back with 20lb of fresh peaches…. how could I resist? I really wanted something dessert-ish this week so I found a healthy peach cobbler recipe by Amy’s Healthy Baking and made a few adjustments to “clean” it up even more. I was going to call it “Clean Peach Cobbler” but that just didn’t make a lot of sense.

Okanagan Peaches

Clean Eating Peach Cobbler

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 extra large peaches, pealed and diced
2 tbsp almond flour
1 ½ tsp almond or vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
¾ cups old-fashioned oats
¼ cups gluten free flour blend
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease baking pan with coconut oil.
2. Toss diced peaches, almond flour, almond extract, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon until thoroughly combined in a medium size bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the oats, flour, and remaining cinnamon together. Add in the maple syrup and coconut oil and incorporate.
4. Spread the peach mixture into the prepared pan then sprinkle the oat crumbs on top. Bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, or until the peach juice is bubbling.
*For best results, let the crumble rest for 2 hours to allow the juices to thicken.
Clean Eating Peach Cobbler
Oh and thank you to everyone that entered the AMRAP contest. Congratulations to Victoria, Ann and Jen! I’ve emailed the winner further instructions.
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Fall Reset: 21 Day Clean Eating Challenge

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One of the biggest challenges I experience after every training season is maintaining/cutting back my calories. I would say that I eat fairly well and during training I’m usually burning more than enough calories to justify a couple treats here and there daily. That being said, it becomes habit so when I’m not training I keep eating the way I do when I’m training. I can feel a difference! My body is thankful for the rest but I’m ready to change things up a bit and there’s always room for improvement. I’ve done a few cleanses over the years but always end up cranky by the end of them and never continue with any of the habits. Most cleanses restrict calories, carbs and (in my opinion) foods that are actually healthy. As an active person, restricting carbs just doesn’t work!

I heard about Laura’s 21 Day Clean Eating Challenge and was immediately excited to join. Laura is a holistic health coach and runner which heightens my trust in working with her. She’s so organized, encouraging and quick to answer any questions. She even put together a Facebook group so we can all encourage one another. I’m confident that I can do this challenge without being carb deprived and unable to exercise.

The Challenge

The goal of this 21 day challenge is to switch to a whole foods diet to help release stored toxins, bloat and inflammatory symptoms through a simple diet cleanse emphasizing real food so that YOU can have a clearer mind, unlock fat stores and kick start weight loss (if needed), have more energy and feel refreshed.

Foods I’ll be avoiding 

  • Sugar (except a little maple syrup and honey)
  • Wheat and white flour products
  • Cow’s Milk (I already do this as I have a dairy sensitivity)
  • Processed food

What I will be eating

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Nuts and seeds, nut butters
  • Coconut & almond milk
  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Whole Grains (oats, rice, quinoa, etc.)
  • Chicken, seafood, lean beef
  • 8 glasses of water/tea (per day)

What are my foreseeable challenges 

  1. Eating enough! I don’t actually snack at work but I’ll be trying to eat at least 1 snack between meals
  2. Time Meal planning, grocery shopping (thank god for SPUD) and hours of prepping means I need to be on the ball and organized
  3. Real dinners I’m so used to just making something quick and easy like breakfast for dinner, or tuna salad on toast (ummm I love tuna melts)
  4. Social gatherings! We have a couple dinners lined up and I’m nervous about keeping my focus and saying no to cake

What I’m looking forward to

  1. Changes! I’m so excited to see how my body reacts
  2. Cooking I love cooking but I don’t do enough. I’m looking forward to testing out new recipes and being creative with ingredients
  3. Healthy habits I hope to take away some new eating habits and really feel like I’ve reset my cravings

Week 1 Prep 

I devoted my entire Sunday to getting ready for the challenge. Did I mention the boyfriend has also decided to jump on board which means more portions to prep but way more support at home! Prep work takes care of breakfast, lunch and some snacks.

1 hour – to food plan for the week, look up recipes and create a grocery list
2 hours – grocery shop
4 hours – cooking!!!

I made:

  • Salad in a jar, roasted chickpeas, herbed tahini dressing
  • Almond butter
  • Hummus
  • Granola
  • Chicken
  • Overnight oats

Homemade almond butter

Salad in a jar

Overnight oats

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Foodie Friday: Mason Jar Berry Parfait

Foodie Friday

While in Vancouver for Sea Wheeze Krystal and I took an afternoon to explored the market and shops in Granville Island. A few days before I saw really cool post on Instagram from Erin Ireland (Vancouver Food Reporter) of a new shop called Delish General Store. This little gem is a mason jar haven! I had the opportunity to meet Erin, who is a fellow SPUD Ambassador, and she insisted I visit the shop if possible.

My sister and I purchased some products from The Mason Bar Company a few months ago and I’m in love with the way it transforms a mason jar into the perfect smoothie cup, iced tea tumbler, infused water jug, etc! Needless to say, I was very excited to find Delish and I wasn’t disappointed when I walked in. They have a great big, design-it-yourself, mason bar wall!

Delish General Store

I was thrilled to see that they carry Mason Bar Company lids, a variety of jars, spouts and straws. What I was most excited about was the BNTO container that transforms mason jars into glass containers! You simply put your wet ingredients into the container, place in the jar and screw on the lid. It’s brilliant!

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I have every intention of using my BNTO for salad next week but have really been loving it for breakfast. The blueberries I received in my last SPUD order were unbelievably delicious. Paired with strawberries, granola and almond milk make for the perfect grab and go breakfast that I can enjoy at my desk. I found this great home-made granola recipe from Elizabeth Rider and have to share it.

 BerryParfait

Mason Jar Berry Parfait 

Granola serves 4-6 |Parfait serves 1 

Granola Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw whole rolled oats
  • ½ cup raw nuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup raw seeds (I like sunflower, pumpkin and flax)
  • ½ cup unsweetened dried fruit, chopped (optional but I like apricots)
  • 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup or raw honey (I combine both, half-half)
  • 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1 large pinch fine Himalayan salt

Mason Jar Parfait Ingredients:

  • 1 cup berries, cubed or sliced (I like blueberries, strawberries and bananas)
  • ¼ cup of granola (I like Highwood Crossing if you don’t have time to bake)
  • 1 tbsp. hemp seeds
  • ½ almond milk

Granola Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 300º F.
2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and use your clean hands to mix well and toss to coat.  Be sure to mix the coconut oil through the other ingredients so there aren’t any chunks.
3. Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until very lightly toasted.
4. Cool before serving or storing. This granola can be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.

Mason JarParfait Directions:

1. Cut up fruit and place in bottom of the jar.
2. Layer granola and hemp hearts next
3. Pour almond over ingredients and enjoy!

Mason Jar Berry Parfait

 

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AMRAP Bar Review & Giveaway

With triathlon season over, getting used to “normal” has been anything but easy. During training I get so used to eating what I want and when I want it. News flash, less workouts mean less treats! September is my month for focusing on eating well and on Monday I’ll be starting a “Clean Eating Challange” (more on this next week).

As part of the Sweat Pink Ambassador program I was given the opportunity to try out and review three new bars from AMRAP Nutrition. As soon as I read ” dairy-free” I was sold on trying these! I received three flavours: Almond Honey, Cashew Vanilla and Fig & Cacao. These bars were sent to me for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are strictly my own.

I’m a big fan of eating products that have the least amount of crap as possible. As a dairy-sensitive individual I’m a very big fan of dairy-free!

AMRAP bars are:

  • 100% Paleo
  • GMO-free
  • gluten-free
  • dairy-free
  • preservative-free
  • clear of artificial sweeteners

You’d think with a list like this these bars would taste horrible… not the case these bars are tasty! AMRAP bars were designed for cross-fitters and people living a paleo diet (I’ve noticed that both usually come hand-in-hand). The paleo lifestyle doesn’t call to me but I can relate to the healthy, clean eating side of things and can therefore see the benefits of endurance athletes (such as myself) consuming these yummy bars and here’s why:

  1. They are delicious! Seriously, usually high-protein bars are chalky in flavour, overlay sweet or just downright yucky. AMRAP bars are loaded with flavour. My favourite bar out of the three was the Almond & Honey which has the perfect balance of sweet and salty.
  2. They are high in Fibre and Protein It’s not often that you get the best of both worlds. I find that you usually sacrifice one for the other.
  3. They are made with clean ingredients There are less than 10 ingredients per bar and I can pronounce each one of them. Actually I can find almost all the ingredients used in my cupboard!
  4. They are convenient I know anything shaped as a rectangle and neatly packaged is generally convenient but the AMRAP bar has actually saved me from hangriness. I’ve kept one in my purse for the last week in order to test it’s effects with hanger strikes… and it worked wonderfully.
  5. They are great for recovery I’m horrible at eating after I run because my tummy is usually a little off. I had an AMRAP bar right after Seawheeze and my stomach was as happy as could be. They contain the optimal amount of protein to carb ratio for muscle recovery.

The only thing that I don’t like about these bars is you can’t order them in Canada, yet. The company has reassured me that they are expecting to open a warehouse in Canada within the next couple of months! That being said, my Canuck friends can still enjoy these great bars for FREE if you enter and win my giveaway (see below).

Almond Honey Cashew Vanilla

Based on nutrition content, ingredients and taste I will surly order more and keep in the house… or purse.

Giveaway!

AMRAP has been so kind to offer a little giveaway to my readers! Not one, or two but three lucky winners will receive a AMRAP 8 Pack of their choice (Almond Honey, Cashew Vanilla or Fig & Cacao) Please enter through the Rafflecopter link below by September 11th 11:59pm! I’ll announce the winners on my Foodie Friday post on the 12th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway <<<<< ENTER TO WIN!

 

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Foodie Friday: Kale Caesar Salad

Foodie Friday

Kale has to be one of my favourite greens. It exceptionally easy to grown in Calgary’s climate and short growing season. I always make sure kale is on the list when I place my bi-monthly SPUD order as I eat a lot of it! The quality of SPUD’s kale has been beyond amazing. The leaves are as big as my face!

Kale from SPUD Calgary

I tend to mostly use kale in my morning green smoothies but also bake it for chips and make salads with it. I’ve used this oil based caesar salad dressing for year but just recently decided to try it with kale in place of spring mix/iceberg combo. The result – amazing!

Kale Caesar Salad

Kale Caesar Salad

Serves 2 

Dressing Ingredients:

3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
10 drops tabasco
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp dry mustard
1 clove of garlic
pinch of pepper
3 squirts of anchovy paste (optional)
1 egg yolk (optional)

Salad Ingredients:

5 stalks of kale
2 slices of turkey bacon
4 tbsp shaved parmesan (real stuff not the powdery stuff)
3 mushrooms chopped
1 whole egg

Dressing Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients into a glass container and whisk with a fork

Salad Instructions:

1. Pull bite size pieces of kale leaf away from the stalk and put into a medium size bowl.
2. Drizzle about 1 tsp of olive oil into the bowl and massage leaves. This allows the kale to become a bit softer and takes away some of the bitterness. Let sit for at least 5 minutes.

Massage kale with olive oil
3. Grill turkey bacon slices until crispy, remove from pan and chop.
4. Bring a small pot of water to boil. Poach egg until soft.
5. Place shredded parmesan onto a baking sheet (covered with parchment paper) and place in the oven at 350 for about 2 min . Let it bubble and remove. It should be crispy when cooled.

Shredded parmesan
6. Add dressing to the kale and toss. Add mushrooms, turkey bacon and crispy parmesan. Top with egg and enjoy!

Kale Caesar Salad

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Thinking Out Loud: finding a happy pace

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This is my first time linking up with Running With Spoons and Thinking Out Loud. The idea is to break out of writers block and free flow write. Brilliant!

Since coming down from my half-iron high I’ve been stuck in a bit of a rut. I haven’t been the most positive person to be around the last couple weeks, actually to clarify I’ve  been quite the “B”! Poor people around me.

On Sunday morning’s (outside of tri training) I meet up with a running club for a long run. I love running with this group and have created great friendships but this past weekend I just didn’t want to run with anyone. This may seem weird considering the last few weeks of tri training I was complaining about being lonely with such tailored training. So I chose to sleep in, let my boyfriend go meet the group and I went for my own run.

I left all my running gadgets behind, with the exception of my ipod, and just ran! I had no set distance, pace or tempo pick-ups to cross of my list. So as I was running I was thinking, a lot, about this freeing feeling I was experiencing. I miss training! but this run reminded me of  all the reasons I fell in love with running. This run, was humbling. This run, forced me to reconnect with the things I truly enjoy when not training:

  1. Pacing – sometimes it’s nice to not worry about keeping up, or slowing down to hit a pace. Just run!
  2. Heart Rate – my heart is ticking…. I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing so who cares what bpm it’s at
  3. Route – there is no route! I can make a right turn here, a left turn there. I can get lost and have an adventure. I can explore a new trail even if it’s not as long as I expected
  4. Distance – I don’t have to stress about hitting 11.5km exactly before I turn around
  5. Sit – if the light is just right, the path is quiet and I spot an oak bench that overlooks the city skyline…. I can take a seat, breath and be thankful

The problem behind my “B-ness” lies in the fact that I’ve been so caught up with training(in a good way) that I don’t know what to do with myself without it (omg I sound like an addict)! My purpose has been driven by the will to cross a finish line. Now I need to focus on letting my body and mind recover and just enjoy a happy pace.

This weekend I’m going to Vancouver for a girls weekend with my childhood friend. She’s running her first half marathon and I’m so excited to run with her as her personal cheerleader! SeaWheeze here we come.

 

Foodie Friday: Apricot Flaxseed Pancakes

Foodie Friday

It’s the last week of apricot season and I received a beautiful bag of fresh BC Apricots in my SPUD delivery. I had never given apricots much thought until my dad introduced me to apricot pancakes a few years back. Now I look forward to apricot season when I can get the fresh, local ones to enjoy many different ways!

Apricots are in season in North America from May – August. They are a good source of fibre, vitamin C and A!

 

Apricot Flaxseed Pancakes

Makes 8-10 pancakes

Pancakes:

1 cup flour (whole wheat, gluten free or all purpose)
¼ cup ground flaxseed
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 large egg
1 ½ cups almond milk
2 apricots skinned and diced

 

Toppings:

Almond butter
Maple syrup

 

Instructions:

1. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium size bowl

2. In a separate bowl whisk milk and egg together. Add wet mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk together just until incorporated. Add diced apricots into the mixture and stir just enough to incorporate into batter.

3.  Brush large nonstick skillet with vegetable oil and heat over medium. When pan is hot add desired amount of batter to pan. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes and the edges started to lift from the pan (about 2 min). Flip pancakes and cook until the bottom is golden brown. Repeat until batter is gone.

4. Top pancakes with a spoonful of almond butter and drizzle with maple syrup!

Apricot Flaxseed Pancakes

 

And remember, if you’d like to try SPUD and their amazingly fresh produce use my promotion code for $20 of free groceries (promo code LINDSAYG). Seriously having produced delivered to my house is the best thing since sliced bread!

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A Very Inspired Blogger Award

I’m going to be very transparent, I’ve been given nomination in the past for other “blogger awards” and they’ve always fallen off my radar because they just don’t inspire me. That being said the wonderful Pretty Little Grub nominated me for this one and how could I ignore it? She writes a great blog about traveling, running and food  – my favourite things! So here we go.

blogger-award

The Rules

(This is probably another reason why I’ve never responded to a blogger awards, I dislike rules)

  • Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other blogs you enjoy, then comment on their posts to let them know that you have nominated them

 

7 #SuperGreat Interesting Facts About Me

1. I have a strong dislike for bagels. As in I won’t eat them.

2. My profession is in communications but I’m a horrible speller. I remember failing plenty of weekly spelling tests in elementary school, I particularly struggled with the word “beautiful”. Thank goodness for spellcheck!

3. I have a ridiculously long range of toe motion (double jointed). I can spread my toes at least an inch apart from one another. I didn’t think this was abnormal until my boyfriend pointed it out.

4. I’m horrible when it comes to laundry. I let it pile up to the point where when I finally drag it downstairs it sounds like I’m moving a dead body. I’ve been know for turning white things into colourful things.

5. Message in a Bottle is my ‘go-to for a little cry’ movie – because every now and then I want to sit on the couch, wrapped up in a blanket with a glass of red wine and shed a few tears.

6. I’m fairly good with tools. I built my own log bed frame and recently changed out our garburator (aka garbage disposal). Both of my dads (step-dad and biological) are very handy and taught me how to use tool early.

7. I hate being cold. I’ll run in -30 degree weather with little hottie feet warmers stuck to my butt cheeks.  My mini-heater at work is on every day (including summer).

 

Nominations 

Now for my nominations. 15 is a lot! So following the rule breaker (Pretty Little Grub) I’m going to nominate a few bloggers that have been inspiring me through summer triathlon season!

1. Do Things Always 

Sue just finished her first Ultra Marathon (51K) in Vegas, in the middle of the night! Her witty humour and drive makes for the perfect running blog.

2. Terry Runs

I met Terry through the Calgary Marathon Ambassador program. She’s a speedy little mommy and writes a great blog following her running journey. I love reading about the programs she’s using for training. She’s training for a 3:45 marathon, which I’ve gone after a few times so I feel like I’m living through her right now. I think she’s going to crush the 3:45!

3. Runner Leanna 

Leanna has been an inspiration to me through triathlon training. She’s from Calgary and has been training her butt off for Ironman Boulder. She seems like such a strong individual and I really love following her training and races. She’s one of those people you just really want to be friends with.

4. All You Need is Love 

Leigh is another local blogger I met through the Calgary Marathon. She writes about life in general and posts some kick-ass crossfit workouts. I was lucky enough to bike with her during training this summer. She’s such a bright ball of positivity!

5. Lean Green Island Girl

I’ve only started following Gabi for a couple months but love, love, love getting an email with her new posts. She’s training for her first Ironman and recently competed her first 70.3. Every time I read her Ironwomen Wednesday posts I want to sign up for one! She’s been very honest about her training and I feel like I can relate to so many of her personality traits.

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Race Recap: Ironman Calgary 70.3

Winning_quote

I’m half of an Ironwoman

It’s taken me 11 days to come down from the iron-high and, if I wasn’t already, I’m definitely iron-struck!  The journey to this half-iron has been beyond amazing and I truly feel like I’ve gone from dreaming of being a triathlete, to living the dream. That my friends is winning!

Ironman Calgary 70.3

16 weeks ago I looked at a calendar and had a panic attack once I realized I had signed up for a half-iron and had no idea what I was doing. By that afternoon I had hired a coach and was on my way to completing a goal that seemed like nothing more than a dream. When I got home that night I remember my boyfriend saying “oh, you’re serious about this”. Duh! I take pride in knowing that one of my most defined personality traits is ambition and I’m usually pretty determined to accomplish something once I’ve paid a registration fee set my mind to it.

Calgary’s 70.3 takes place at the end of July when it’s finally summer in the city and the water temperature isn’t ass-icle cold (with the exception of Ghost Lake). This race sold out early into registration this year and I’m not surprised. The course is beautiful and the organization is near flawless.

A 70.3 consists of:

Swim – 1.9km
Bike – 90km
Run – 21.1km (half marathon)

Race Day Morning

I had a great sleep and woke up with little anxiety. I got my things together and hopped into the car. The boyfriend ran through and check-list, essentially drilling to see if I forgot something. I was getting slightly annoyed reassuring him I had thought of everything! The nerves started to build throughout the silent 6am ride. Slowly but surely I was having to shift my thoughts and focus on the task ahead. “Trust your training!”

Swim

Time: 38:07

The swim was held at the beautiful new community of Aubourn Bay. I really like that the community allowed athletes into the lake for a practice swim at their leisure during the week of the event. I went for my practise swim with a co-worker on the Thursday and we practically had the entire lake to ourselves. The beach is large and clean, the water was the perfect temperature (20 degrees) and clear as can be!

The boyfriend dropped me off and went to find parking. I entered T1 and started setting up my space. I quickly realized I had forgotten something… my bike shoes (palm to face)! NO! I was standing by my bike shocked, looking from my Birkenstocks to my bike pedals. Nope, Birkenstocks would not work!

I left my cell phone at home and had no idea where my boyfriend was (he was trying to find coffee). I desperately needed him to hightail it back home to get my shoes or this race was going to end before it started. There was a couple standing just outside of the gate (there to support their daughter) and I asked to borrow their cell phone. The lady pointed out that I seemed surprisingly calm considering the situation, I replied with “I’m freaking out on the inside”. My boyfriend thankfully answered the call and without hesitation went back for my shoes. We planned to meet by the strippers before I had to enter T1. I put the shoe dilemma into the ‘fuckit bucket’ and carried on.

I made my way down to the lake just in time to see the elite wave start. I found someone to help stuff zip me into my wetsuit and made my way into the water for a few strokes. I strolled to the start line with the rest of the newbies and waited our turn. I was so uncontrollably nervous; I was shaking like a leaf! A heard a lot of athletes around me voicing their nerves which made me feel slightly better. A couple guys actually commented about how they didn’t want to go first, so I walked past them and gave a thumbs up! I’m so happy I chose to go out with the newbies. Everyone was just happy to be there!

70.3_swim

Photo by Ken Anderson

I found a happy pace almost immediately, spotted my first buoy and settled in. My mind was fairly calm and I only had to pull out the singing technique once or twice to quiet my thoughts. I was confident around the bouys which allowed me to stay in rhythm. There were a few points where the sun was directly in my eyes and I couldn’t tell where the next buoy was. I could see people on either side of me so I decided the best strategy was to stay between them. As soon as I rounded the corner  facing the opposite direction I was fine.

Home stretch, I was on line for the finish. I remember the water being really shallow for a good stretch leading up to the beach. I saw people standing up and fighting the water so I stayed down and swam in as far as I could.

I stripped, waved to Tina who was volunteering and grabbed my shoes from the boyfriend.

The swim went SO smoothly and I was shocked by my time! I thought I was going to be 40-45min but ended up with 38:07!

T1 Time: 4:16

Bike 

Time: 3:12:22  

The bike is quite scenic with quite a few rolling hills in the first half. It heads out on hwy 22x to Bragg Creek, over to hwy 8 and back into Calgary.

I think I was most worried about the bike going into the race. During training I’d gone further than the swim distance and I’m very familiar with the running distance but I’ve never biked 90k! The longest ride I had during training was 76km.

During the first 30km of the bike all I could think about was finding a place to pee! When I hit the 30km aid station I jumped off my bike and headed for the bushes. A lovely volunteer held my bike for me! From 30k-60k the ride rolled through some very scenic areas. When I hit Bragg Creek I settled into a steady pace and took advantage of the flat stretch to recover. I turned onto hwy 8 at the traffic circle and was able to visualize the final stage; I strategically rode this section the week before to have it fresh in mind. It wasn’t until the last 15km that I started getting antsy to get off the bike. My neck was getting really sore from the angle but my legs felt good. I managed to put the pain into the ‘fuckit bucket’ and forget about.

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Photo by Ken Anderson

As I made my way onto Glenmore Trail a few riders were starting to get vocal. I passed on lady who shouted “I’m so done with this!”, I laughed and said “we’re almost there!”.

Again, I was surprised my time was faster than expected which made for a nice surprise going into T2.

T2 Time: 3:32

Run

The run portion of this race starts in North Glenmore Park and dips into Weasel Head which wraps around the reservoir. It’s one of my favourite spots to run in the city!

I was happy to get off my bike and start the run. My legs were heavy (as expected) and I was trying to slow my legs. As the first section of the run is also the last section of the race, it was great to see all the speedy guys and gals finishing their last kms. An older gentleman to my left was hacking and passing gas like crazy. I had to get away from this guy so I sped up slightly to create a ‘fresh air gap’. Right before heading into Weasel Head I saw my boyfriend and he ran beside me taking photos and sharing some encouraging words.

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When running races I usually listen to music so this was a completely different experience. I’m not going to lie, I had many moments of boredom. I knew my co-worker would be in front of me to I focused on trying to spot him, we eventually crossed paths and shared a high-five! I love that everyone’s age is written on their calf because it makes for added motivation. If you’re  in my age group I want to pass you. If you’re older than me, good for you! I still want to beat you.

By the back half my stomach was getting irritated and the heat was taking it’s toll. The path has lots of trees but the sun was directly overhead and HOT! I grabbed a cup of ice from the aid station and dumped it in my bra. Took a cool sponge from a volunteer and squeezed it over my head!

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Of course the one time I’m walking! Photo by Ken Anderson

I completely underestimated the run! This was supposed to be my strength but it proved to be the biggest challenge of the day! I walked up Weasel Head hill (horrible hill) to conserve energy and keep my heart rate under control. My friends Ashely and Mac, my Dad and of course boyfriend were waiting at the top of the hill to cheer me on! That was the last kick of motivation I needed to finish. I kept a slow jog and was onto the final stretch. I had a tiny bit of kick in me for the final 200m and finished with a smile!

My goal was a conservative (for me) 2:00 half marathon but I ended with 2:12:25. The run kicked my ass, however (not trying to make excuses) I really do think I could have hit my goal if it wasn’t so bloody hot.

Finish

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I finished in 6:10:50! A whole 20 minutes faster than I was expecting. A medal was immediately placed around my neck, I found my cheering squad and celebrated with some hugs!

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The finishers medal and t-shirts are awesome! The medal doubles as a belt buckle – perfect for Stampede. Probably my favourite swag!

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Surprisingly my body felt pretty good, tired, but good. Actually I would say completing a marathon hurts more than a 70.3 but I’m sure it’s dependant on the person and the training. My neck was really stiff from the bike but I had a massage the next day which did wonders!

Overall a great experience and I think it’s fair to say that I’m hooked. I love, love, love the training for triathlon and will be back for more!

Gratitude 

A huge thank you and hug goes out to Coach Richelle for getting me to the finish line! I’m so happy she was part of my journey and look forward to working with her again… if she’ll have me :)

Thank you to the amazing volunteers and race organizers. Seriously the most motivating and positive volunteers I’ve ever encountered in a race. Race organizers, thank you for putting your hearts into this course and event. It was such a great first time experience.

Thank you to my friends and family for supporting me. Training left little to no time for a social life so thank you for understanding.

The biggest thank you goes to my wonderful boyfriend for supporting me through the entire journey. He encouraged me to get to pool when I didn’t want to, he offered advise, took me for my first lake swim, joined me for training rides and most importantly believed in me!

I’m so lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life.

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