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Milton, Ontario, Canada

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014: The round-up

Well, its safe to say that 2014 did not go as planned.

At all.

The big plan was to qualify to run the 2015 edition of the Boston Marathon. I got a big, fat fail on that one.

However, there were highlights for sure! Let's take a look, shall we?


I started week six of marathon training and enjoyed a long run of 20.14 with the #burlingtonskirtbrigade and then some. One thing that I really relished in this year was the continuation of the friendships I've developed from DailyMile and Blogging. 

Group selfie!
We also left on our second Disney Cruise aboard the Fantasy. This time, we'd be joined my my BFF from highschool and her family. 

Waiting to board 
Disney owns a private island in the Bahamas (obvs) and while at port there, they hold a 5k race. A free race on a private island in the Bahamas? Yes please!

Skirt to represent, yo!
We are hoping to get to another Disney cruise in late 2015 or early 2016, but it will really depend on other travel plans for the first half of 2016 (BOSTON, PLEASE!!!)

I ended the month setting a 5 second PB at Robbie Burns in the freezing -24c temps. I didn't really try to PB this race and it wasn't until the very end that I realized that if I pushed, I'd have it and so I did. Sadly, Robbie Burns is not in the cards for 2015, but I have a feeling I'll be back in the next few years to really lay out what I can do on that course.

My custom race shirt makes its first appearance. 


Well, February brought a huge, huge month. 267k run in total. But it also brought the return of stupid-crazy Polar Vortex weather and stupid-stupid Plantar Fasciitis. But hey, Canada won a crapload of medals at the Olympics including the coveted hockey gold for both the men and women. I watched a lot of the Olympics in the early mornings while running on the treadmill at the gym. I ran a lot of treadmill miles this month.

There was one day that I got to run in the sun, but the run sucked. Thank you, PV and PF.

Well, March brought the return of my two favorite winter races. The Chilly Half Marathon and the Around the Bay road race. 

Chilly was not going to be a PB effort for me, rather it would be a test to see if I could maintain BQ pace over a half marathon. Ideally, I would have gone out and run 5:06/km consistently, but my Evil PF was saying, "NO!" In the end, I decided that I'd run with Emma in an attempt to get her a PB of sub 1:51:24. With tough conditions (snow, slush, -20c), we pulled out a nice 5 second PB for her that day.

If I'm pacing you, you're always finishing first
So next up, after a few more weeks of peak training, PF treatment and not really hitting tempo paces was Around the Bay. I had decided to race it for the first time ever. The route had changed this year and it added in rollers in the first 10k which were difficult to say the least. And I was over dressed (as always!). However, somehow I pulled out a 10 minute 51 second PB. So, that was good. HA.

I"ll be back, ATB!

Last month to give'r. Except, man. I was not feeling it. Ongoing PF and a 23 week plan just drained everything out of me. I put on a brave face and tried my best to conjure up a positive attitude, but in all honesty, it was all a big, fat lie. I was NOT feeling it at all. There were highlights, of course.

I was able to hit my fundraising goal for Wishes for Olivia and Make-A-Wish Canada. In total, I raised $3,705 for the fabulous cause. Now, don't worry if you missed contributing last year, you can surely contribute  again this year! (Get it in now for a final 2014 tax benefit!)

And Alasdair ran his first race at the 1k Good Friday Kids race. I also ran the 5k in perfect marathon pace (and my second of 3 runs for the day). Obviously we HAD to wear the custom race shirts.

Booking it


Marathon Day. Preceded by First Communion Day. I'm going to suggest right now, that there should be no hosting of a major life event the day before a major goal race. None. Even if it involves good food and company and dressing up. Nothing I could have done about the dates though. Instead, I enjoyed and the family looked good.

Marathon day brought stupid winds, breakdowns and no PBs or BQs. Instead, it involved character building, wind, great friends, a cute skirt and wind. To be honest, I'm not sure I would have finished if it hadn't have been for Peter. 

After the marathon, I took a week off. My PF flared big time. HUGE. I was a mess. However, more treatment, time on my mum-bike and a easy return to running and I was ready to conquer my first trail race - the 25k at Sulphur Springs.

Emma, me, Sam and Bridgett. Stock photo, right?

In June, I started the month by returning to pacing. I ran the amazing Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon, leading the 2:05 group and coming in at 2:04:54. I loved this race. LOVED. I've been in contact with the race director who read my blog post and will be back to pace in 2015 for SURE. LOVE!!!

OMG, I lurve this race!
Then the very next weekend (my third in a row for racing), I ran the Bread & Honey 5k. This is another traditional race for me and originally I had thought I'd attempt a PB and podium finish. However my stomach acted up so I paced my friend Kerry through her first post-baby race. 

Applauding Kerry's finish from behind.
Finally, I set the fall plan in place. The plan was supposed to set me up for my first ever Gran Fondo (80k) and a PB attempt at the Oakville Half Marathon in September. On yer (mum) bike!


Holy crap did I ever fall in love with cycling. Despite the fact that my mum-bike was the shittiest in our peloton while I was on group rides, it didn't matter. I got faster, I got better, it didn't hurt my Evil-Stupid-Stupid-PF and man, there are planned stops for coffee and donuts. Cycling is a total win. WIN!

Kimberley, me, Emma, Sam
Sam, me, Irina, Emma

Photo Credit: Irina (mad cycling selfie skillz)
Running was running. 3 times a week. No speedwork. Evil-Stupid-Stupid-PF and all that Jazz. But the CYCLING!!!!


I think by now, I knew that there would be no Fall PBs to be had. Evil-Stupid-Stupid-PF wouldn't really go away and I was focusing on the bike and pace work to get ready to pace the 3hr gang at A Midsummer Night's Run. I had a fantastic time at that race and finished in 2:59:24! A huge redemption from 2013 where I was over time and I still managed the #runnerd photo at the end (obvs)


Things hit the fan in September. My husband has surgery on September 5th to remove a rather large Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans from behind his knee. On the 7th, I took part in the Epic Tour as planned and it went well. It was hilly. Lots of hills. Holy crap, I thought Halton was flat. Its not. FYI. I'll be back for 110k in 2015 with a road bike.

Right after that, the focus switched to running. I had Oakville, Niagara Falls Half (pacer) and potentially Hamilton half to run along with the 25k at the Run for the Toad. My foot was feeling good! YA!

On September 17th, my husband drove himself to the hospital with a heavy chest and the taste of blood in his mouth when he coughed. He was still on Oxy and got shit for driving, but kudos for paying attention to his body. In the morning, he was still waiting to get confirmation of what was wrong, so he told me to go to work. Around 1030, I got a text that he had a blood clot in his lung. Guess what guys? That shit can be fatal. 

Alls well that ends well anyway. Because he listened to the "not right" feeling he was having, Ken got to the hospital in time and a few nights there allowed them to treat the worst of it. He's been on blood thinners ever since, but he takes his last ones in January. He's already planning his first drink. 

The highlight of September was being in Windsor with my son for his first rep hockey tournament. It meant I had to miss Oakville and had my first DNS, but you've just gotta roll with life sometimes.

They won the whole damn thing

Things settled down. Ken started to recover (at this point though, his life involved getting his leg dressing changed daily). We settled into school, work, hockey. Rinse and repeat. Don't hurry to grow up folks, its pretty much the same damn thing every day. 

Evil-Stupid-Stupid-PF continued to stay away and I got in 163k with two quality and fun races: Run for the Toad 25k and the Niagara Falls International Half Marathon, where I was the 1:55 pacer. Both races were treats to run:

Getting ready to toss my long sleeved top, its that warm (TOAD)
This is what happens when you fall on the trail
Niagara could not have gone any better

I still continued to LOVE the bike and in fact, planed my first metric century ride with Emma and Sam for the Friday before Thanksgiving. What a beauty that was. 


I started this month with the very last race of the year. The Hamilton Half Marathon. The plan was to pace Emma to a sub 1:50 and end the 2014 season in glory. 

It didn't quite work out that way as I just didn't have the fitness to keep the pace after 12k and had to wish Emma well on her own. Instead, Sam and I finished together for the first time ever in an epic battle of best tights of the year (obvs, mine are)

Enhanced only by my sweat stains
In November, I decided to get a Coach for the 2015 season and put my hand out again to support Wishes for Olivia (donate by clicking the link). 

The month ended with Evil-Stupid-Stupid-PF deciding to show up again and I took the reality seriously. Back to PT, back to massage, more rolling, more heat pads, more stretching. Despite this, paces continued to drop. I can now run a 5:30/km pace easy for at least 12k.

Emma and I also snuck in one last outdoor ride on the 8th, going for a short but lovely 36k around Milton and Burlington.


I averaged 60-65 hours per week at work in this month, including one epic 17 hour day. I ran, I saw PT twice a week. I let my Evil-Stupid-Stupid-PF heal (heel? HAHA!). I caught a lung infection and took a 10 day hiatus from all activity. I got fat (whoops). Two weeks ago, I started running with more regularity and things have been okay.

I've found a new morning run partner in fellow hockey parent, Lindsay.

In the middle of all of that, we've had hockey



Family time
My sister, mum and me
And an 8th birthday

I will finish the year with 1,150k on the bike in 53h41m39s and about 2,130k running in about 205h58m27s (I still have to get 10.57k in to hit that total). 

I raised $3,705 for Make-A-Wish Canada. 

I made new friends and was able to extend other friendships. 

We end the year with everyone healthy and happy. There is nothing more to ask for. 

Onward to 2015!


  1. What a year!!!! I LOVE that you're LOVING the bike!!!! Just wait till you get a road bike. Geez. You'll never want to get off it! Can't wait to see what you'll do in 2015! Thank YOU for putting your trust in me!!! :)

  2. You've had quite the year that's for sure! Shows that there's more to running then PB's that's for sure! Hopefully 2015 is a great year for you, well deserved!

  3. Great roundup Nicole! I'm so happy to have been able to be apart of some of it. Here's to an amazing and healthy 2015!

  4. I have to say, that's a pretty damn good looking year when it's all summed up! Loved running and cycling with you in 2014, and 2015 is going to be even better.

    Now get a road bike!

  5. You made my year better for being part of it. To all good things in 2015 and beyond! Love your enthusiasm and outlook on life.

  6. You had an AMAZING year full of fundraising, running, cycling, pacing and just adventuring! I'd love to come run the Toad with you sometime, that looks like so much fun.

    I'm glad that your husband is alright and that he knew something wasn't right!

    I'm looking forward to what 2015 has in store for you!

  7. Wow, wow, WOW what a year!

    It almost like sounds like 2014 was the year of PF :(

    I'm glad Ken caught that blood clot. That's scary stuff.

    But, lots of great smiles in photos throughout too! All the best in 2015!!


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