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DNF and Cornstarch – What I Learned in My First Two Races of 2014

It was a dark, cold night after the Re-frigee-eighter. Our Health + Performance group was standing around our coach to hear what the workout was for the evening. Before we began, he asked who raced that weekend and what their times were.

There was a lull in the conversation and I blurted out “I DIDN’T FINISH!”

After a silence I can only assume was warm sympathy from the group, our coach looked at me and said “You know, you really don’t need to tell people that.”

Oh but I do.


My first race of the season was the Re-fridgee-eighter 8 Miler in the RunWaterloo series. I love this series and I do most of them throughout the year because they are homey, well organized and known for their delicious food!

Here is the thing – I signed up for the 8 Miler with a few strong workouts under my belt but I was still coming back from an injury and my physiotherapist asked me to do 8 KM instead of the 8 Miler. Being the fabulous and stubborn human that I am, I ignored him and ran the 8 miles.

Well, tried.

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At EXACTLY 8 km, the compression tights that I stupidly wore to race in got the better of me. My legs went completely numb and I couldn’t go any further. Now, I have pushed through races before where I was in pain. I have no problem with that and I will never drop out of a race if I am just tired. This was different. I physically couldn’t run.

As runners past me, I turned back and walked to the starting line feeling useless and angry at myself.

What did I learn?
- Listen to professionals. I do NOT know everything about running.
- Listen to your body in races. Something was wrong and I know I shouldn’t keep running. I have too many important races coming for me to blow it on a training race.
– It is awesome to be a part of a running team. It was good to hear about every one else’s past DNF’s at the awards ceremony and get sympathy hugs. Sometimes you just need other people to tell you they have been there too.

- A DNF is not going to kill you. Just almost.
-The RunWaterloo Series is as fun in the winter as it is in the summer and fall. Fact.

Thankfully, the next weekend brought a sunnier experience in Florida where I did a fun run with my family. We did Run or Dye in Tampa and it was their first race. I ran alongside my dad who was hoping for a sub-30 and he ran it in 26 minutes! Not bad for a first race.

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What I learned from Run or Dye:
I will not run it again. Absolutely not. Although it was a fun race, the organization was not there. The lineups were unreal and they only had one registration station. I also saw runners who were lost on the course as it was poorly marked. It is a fabulous concept with terrible execution.

Let’s not end on a bad note! Speaking of races, my schedule for 2014 is CONSTANTLY changing. I am no longer able to run the Promised Land 50 KM in Virginia in April, but I have added the following races to the line up in 2014. June is looking hectic!

June 1 – Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon – With the lovely Angela of Eat-Spin-Run-Repeat. This race is making for a two race weekend!

June 7 – Yankee Springs Double Marathon – 52.4 Miles – Headed up to Michigan to check in with the race director of Yankee Springs Series and my Transrockies team mate member to dream and scheme, and maybe pile a bit of hurt on my muscles.

June 22 – Guelph Lake Sprint Triathlon – First triathlon ever, following a race on Saturday. Another double race weekend and completed with Angela. I am noticing a trend…

Check out the other races in my 2014 schedule here.

Will I see you at any of them?



National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Good morning everyone!

I hope you had a refreshing weekend! I had a busy weekend preparing to go to Florida this week, volunteering for the House of Friendship’s Potato Blitz and running my first race of the season! (Recap will be up here soon).

Although I am looking forward to heading into a week of sunshine and runs free of ice, slush and wind, this week is tinged with a bit of sadness for me. It is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and if you are a long time reader, you will know that my youngest sister has been fighting anorexia for almost a decade.


This is an illness that breaks my heart. There is nothing that makes me feel more helpless, more angry and more passionate about. It is something that I would do anything to stop and that my family and I have done everything in our power to fight against, raise awareness for and come alongside others who are dealing with the same horrible situation.

This year’s NEDAwareness Week theme is I Had No Idea to raise awareness towards the significant impact eating disorders have on individuals, families, and communities across the nation. The more people who learn about these life-threatening illnesses, the more lives we can save.


To help remove the stigma and to give you a BIT of an idea of what it is like, I am interrupting my regular blogging schedule and I have created a video series that I will be releasing throughout the week. I interviewed my sister who has struggled with anorexia for most of her life, my mother who is her primary caretaker, my father who has sacrificed physically, financially, emotionally and almost every other way to help make his daughter well again, my siblings who have watched the disease from the inside. It will also give you an intimate look into our family’s lives over the past decade as we have banded to gather to try and save our sister and daughter.


This is a disease that has broken my heart and I want it to break yours. There are so many things that we can do differently such as removing the stigma of eating disorders, talking about them and seeking help when we know we need to.

Thank you for being so supportive and thank you for joining this journey. If you are struggling with an eating disorder, have questions or need advice on helping someone you think may be suffering, please contact me at I have contact information for experts in the field and if nothing else, I have been there. After almost 10 years, you tend to learn a thing or two!

Check back Wednesday to watch a candid interview with my sister Jolene as she tells her story, shares what it is like to live in the trenches of anorexia and share her thoughts on what the next steps are. 

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Christmas Recap

We made it through Christmas, folks. I hope that you have emerged from your turkey coma and are looking towards celebrating the new year!

This morning, I spent some quality time at the gym before getting started on my day.

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It had been almost 2 weeks since I was at my home gym and it was good to be back; I almost had the place to myself!

Looking back over the past couple days, it has been a very merry Christmas full of family, fun and activity! A few of my favourite moments?

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Last minute gift wrapping on Christmas eve.


Christmas Morning with the Brubachers. :) My sister and her husband.

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A cat who thinks she’s God’s gift to the world.


Cutest onesie


Making lunch in my sister’s kitchen.

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Crew of cousins. I love these people.

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Ugly Christmas sweater twins with my brother in law.


Simon, the spiffy siamese in his mandatory Christmas tux shot.


The very littlest sister, looking adorable.


We all have those creepy relatives…


Making sugar cookies.

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Boxing Day steal.


Fabulous family.

What are some of your most memorable moments for Christmas 2013?


Why Technology Connects Us

I come from a family that is always on the move. us

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Whether it is snowboarding, rock climbing, off roading, hiking, swimming or a myriad of other sports, we are constantly exploring, discovering and surging onward. Being raised to be in motion, we find more and more that we are together less and less. We have begun finding our own trails to blaze and our own cliffs to climb.

When we were children, we would go camping in the furthest reaches of Northern Canada or go cliff jumping in Tobermory without our laptops or smartphones. We would spend nights around a campfire, chatting face to face, without a hint of cell phone service. But as the years progressed and I moved across the world, my sister was married and my youngest sister moved to Utah for a treatment for her eating disorder, technology was not a hindrance but a lifeline.

I remember every Sunday evening a couple years ago, sitting around the dinner table as a family and waiting for the phone to ring and for Jolene’s little voice to ring out to let us know that she was ok and doing the best she could to heal and then staring blankly at the phone after the inevitable click after her 10 minutes were up.

Now that Megan is married, I can send helpful, older sister information on social media:

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I will never forget the night before Jolene was headed to Avalon for her second round of treatment, my sisters and I made a movie on my laptop. We were in absolute hysterics. I guess we couldn’t cry, so we laughed. It is strange to say, but making a movie together was healing for us.

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 11.31.52 PMEvery Monday, Wednesday and Friday, without fail, my father will make a comment about my blog post that day that he read on his tablet, even though the man could not care less about running. I inherited his spirit for adventure and he is proud that I am moving towards something, even though it is with a hydration pack on my back.

As for my mother, she has recently discovered texting and although she has the basics down in principle, the length of message she sends suggests that perhaps she confuses it with email. Nevertheless, it is always a pleasure to receive messages like this:


I guess what I am saying is that technology gets a bad rep far too often and I thought it was time to explore the warm, fuzzy side. My loud, talkative and fiercely loyal family cannot spend every evening around a dinner table or campfire any more, but continuing to be involved in each other’s lives is vital for us. Whether it is subtle digs on social media, manifestos on our cell phones or bonding over movie creation, we kind of love technology.

What are your thoughts – do you find that technology connects or isolates you? 


The Definition of Insanity and other weekend adventures.

I just returned from a fabulous weekend away with my family.

We were all sitting around the table for dinner one evening and Max (my sister’s fiance) remarked how ridiculous it is that we need to drive 3 hours away in order to all be together as a family. We all agreed, but it is about being intentional with our time. That is why vacations are so important – to get away from the regular routine and to intentionally carve out space for your loved ones. I was only gone for 2 days, but I feel so much more refreshed than the average weekend.

We joined my father at The Carriage Ridge Resort where he had been staying all week.


In all honesty, I don’t have many pictures of this weekend because it was the furthest thing from my mind, but our rooms looked something like this:


We spent the majority of Saturday snowboarding.

Max & Megan - We talked lots of wedding plans this weekend!

Max & Megan – We talked lots of wedding plans this weekend!

LOVE these girls.

LOVE these girls.


We didn’t really do all that much, which is the best part! I tackled more of my book. 


If you follow my Books I am Reading Board on Pinterest, you will know that it has been the last book up there since…Novemberish?

It has been a rough book to work through. Recently, I was lamenting it’s difficulty to a friend and she asked me if the reason if the reason I cannot put down hard books in favour of things I ACTUALLY want to read is a residual affect of my athleticism? The fact that I just do things over and over, even though they suck. (Which is mighty close to the definition of insanity, I may add). I think she is right, I feel a moral obligation to a book to finish it once I have cracked it’s spine.

I have to say, my efforts are being rewarded because at about 250 pages in, it is becoming fabulous. It has been one of those books from the beginning that I couldn’t give up on even though I didn’t know why. (Maybe because my English Major heart would be wounded by the fact that I gave up on a book that won the Booker of Booker prizes.)

Regardless, I read my book.

I had a race and a faux water aerobics class that left me and my siblings laughing so hard we were crying.

Outdoor portion of the pool!

Outdoor portion of the pool!

We ate some beautiful meals together.

We watched this movie and talked about it:

We fought a little.

And then we made up.

That is the beauty of family and why I am so proud to call them mine.


What did you do this weekend?

Are you one of those people that when you pick up a book, you HAVE to finish it? Or perhaps a tad more level? :P