@SpartanCanada: Northern Alberta Sprint at Tawatinaw Valley Ski Hill

“Become one of the rare people who don’t know how to quit.”

It’s almost ironic that I could only think of this popular quote by Robin Sharma while getting ready for this race while people told me I was crazy for participating. The ironic part is that he too has roots in Cape Breton, therefore I felt like he was talking right to me, eh!

At any rate, all last week I was not feeling great. I was sick pretty much every day (I forgot what that was like… it’s been a while!) So needless to say, I didn’t do much of anything leading up to the Spartan Race. The family made the trek out to Westlock (four hours from Calgary) so I would only have a quick 20 minute drive to the race in the morning on Saturday. When I woke up Saturday morning I felt like absolute rubbish, there was actually a moment I thought I was too sick to run. With Spartan Races they ask you to arrive approPregnant Spartan Race Runner Albertax 90 minutes before your race just because it can be an absolute zoo to find parking and also the lines can get pretty long to pick up your race kit, so the 90 minutes + a 20 minute drive meant I needed to get my shit together pretty quickly. However, being a morning person I was up at around 4:30 a.m. so I decided to start my pre-race routine anyway to see if I could get myself mobile (it would be a game time decision.) By 6:15 I was feeling better and decided that I would be alright to give it a go (after all, it was a 5k obstacle course – last September I had done the Super…)

It was a beautiful morning – for anyone not living in Alberta right now, we’re experiencing a bit of a heatwave (alright, it some parts of the province were supposed to get as hot as 40 degrees!) When I got to the site it was around 18 degrees and by race time it was just over 20. It’s difficult to explain the energy at these races in comparison to regular races but it’s pretty incredible. What I like the most is how friendly and encouraging people are – they’re a very supportive crew (and we’re all strangers!)

I wore my newest “I’m not slow, I’m pregnant” tank top and had lots of comments from people wondering if I was being serious to people high-fiving me, and still others calling me nuts. I’m not going to lie, it’s nice not having any pressure and being able to blame being slow on pregnant (when I damn-well know I’d be slow even if I wasn’t!)

When we got called to the start for the second heat of the day, people were all ready full of adrenaline – there were lots of guys bouncing around – I saw a few doing push ups and pull ups ahead of time wondering what-in-the-hell they were thinking wasting their energy… I mean… it’s one thing to get a proper warm-up in and another to burn out ahead of time. At any rate, as any runner could hope for, we started right on time. We made it 50m and hit the first bit of mud and slop. Then the first obstacle was a mud pit…some people went around it (which I think is technically cheating) but I dove right in – we were going to get muddy anyway! For the next 5km we were tested mentally and physically.

What I love about Spartan is that it’s not just about whether you can run (because a lot of it is actually walking up hill) but it’s about your mental willpower and whether or not you will push yourself to keep going. In fact, at about the half-way point I found myself pep-talking a young woman (who, strictly based on appearances looked extremely fit.) She was exhausted and wanted to quit. But that’s what makes iPregnant Spartan Runner Finisher Albertat so neat – every shape and size is out on the course and everyone is good to support one-another. I ran with two women for a bit and we had a lot of laughs. We were joking about the fact that I had to go through all this and I couldn’t even have a real beer afterward… anything to keep your mind off of your burning muscles and nagging mind! Of all the obstacles, the most challenging for me are always the walls. This year, I didn’t even bother attempt them because last year I fell and my doctor told me she was O.K. with me doing the course so-long as I didn’t put myself in those sorts of situations. Therefore, I took the burpees. In total, I think I took burpees on nine obstacles, so I did a lot of burpees and squats! (I want to thank the volunteers who were incredibly supporting and looked out for me on the course… you guys are the best!) There were a lot of hills, it actually made MacKenzie Mountain look like a joke. I kept reminding myself “You ran a mountain, you ran a mountain, keep going, you ran a mountain.” But when I got to the top of the umpteenth hill and looked down I thought, there’s no way MacKenzie was that damn steep! It felt great.

When we got to the end and I saw the barbed wire I was so relieved, I knew I was out-of-steam and I could hear my mom saying: “Don’t overdo it.” (Which was in an em

This morning, I woke up with tight quads but otherwise feeling great. However, I realized that the Canada Race I signed up for is actually an obstacle course (I thought it was a straight road race) so I headed to the gym first thing and started stretching out. Then I spent about two hours in our cooled down hot tub so I could stretch some more. So that’s it faPregnant Spartan Runner Stretching at the Gym Albertail she sent just before I left for the race in the morning.)  Again, I just dove right in there. Slopped, crawled, pulled, kicked and inched my way through the thick, smelly mud. When I jumped through the fire, I thought I would cry. But I didn’t. I had absolutely no idea what time I had actually finished in, where I placed or anything else I was just so happy that I didn’t quit and I got my finisher medal. The rest of the day was spent eating celebratory food which included Miss Vickie’s salt and vinegar chips, pizza, pasta and orange julius (excellent combo) plus a dip in the pool.or my Spartan season – I was really hoping to get my Trifecta this year but I guess I will have to wait.

For anyone else out there, how did your Spartan Race go? I want to hear the muddy details, leave them in the comments 🙂

So here it is: I’m in my 21st week of pregnancy, I finished the Spartan Sprint (5+km and 21 obstacles) in 1:45:00 AND I found out today that I finished 1073 out of 4000 participants – this made me really happy!


Happy Trails!


Running whilst pregnant comes with little surprises.

“Running slow isn’t a character flaw, quitting is.” 

This week was a good one, in terms of getting some runs in.

Pregnant_running_calgary_Alberta_canadaI did an easy run and some hill training. The hill training was tough. It was a very steep grade and I was feeling tired (up early to cram it in before work!) I did 5 repeats on the hill which took me to about 3km of hills (pretty low considering I was doing about 18km of just hill repeats at one point in time!) But I’m trying not to compare these runs to the good old days (hah!) I’m just enjoying the time I can get out because I know that before too long it will be miserable.

Today I did a 9running slow isn't a character flaw quitting is.5km run (which was great.) The weather was perfect, the trail wasn’t too busy and I had a fresh Social Media Examiner recording to listen to. However, I wasn’t very far in to my run when I realized that I needed to pee. Real bad. You all know that horrible feeling when you really have to pee, but you know you’ve got to wait? It is complete, frigging agony. (Side note: I can only compare it to the university days when you drank your beer too fast at the pub, but the line up was so long that you knew that there was no way you could hold it so you used the mens washroom instead.)

I had no such options.

And naturally, it was the only thing I could think about.

The only light at the end of the dark tunnel was the fact that I knew there were bathrooms at about the 4km mark, so I focused on just making it there and knew it’d be fine. Which would have been exactly how things would’ve gone had I not arrived there (hopeful) and guess what? THEY WERE CLOSED!

Annoyed, I kept going and at about 4.5km I came across an outhouse. It wasn’t pretty but I got to relieve myself and it was glorious. I ran a wee bit further and then turned around. I met lots of other runners and cyclists. That is one thing that is becoming somewhat annoying about running the trail in Fish Creek Park – the cyclists. I bet at least one hundred or so passed me and probably only a handful used their bell to warn me. It’s hard to explain, but you know when someone comes up behind you and startles you and you jump a bit? I did that about 95 times. I probably peed a little. Just kidding. I didn’t (because I just used the bathroom) but seriously annoying.

At any rate, when I got to the 7km mark, I had that oh-so-familiar-feeling again. I knew that there were no bathrooms until I got back to the main lot so I basically pep talked myself the entire way. How ridiculous does that sound? I had to pep talk myself just to keep going to get to a bathroom… most people pep talk themselves to keep running… not me. I need the extra boost so I don’t pee my pants.

At the end of it, I guess this run was a bit of a learning experience. I think I need to invest in the support belt because my bladder is angry with me. Anyone out there try one? I just don’t know if I can bare many more longish runs feeling like I have to pee for most of it.

But in other news, I’ve signed up for a few races to keep me busy:

  • Spartan Race – June 27 (20 wks) COMPLETE! (Finished 1073/4000+)
  • Heroes for Heroes – July 1  (20 wks) COMPLETE! (Finished 39/109)
  • Multiple Miles for Myeloma – July 25 (23 weeks, 6 days) COMPLETE! (Finished 80/272)
  • Night Race – August 8 (26 wks, 6 days)
  • Run through the Meadows – August 16 (28 wks)
  • Springbank Park Race  – Sept 12 (32 wks)
  • Ambulance Chaser – Oct 2 (35 wks)

I realize that these will not be pretty, but the goal is to stay active and at least finish.

For my running friends out there: if you’ve run while pregnant, feel free to send me your tips and recommendations — I barely remember my first pregnancy let alone how to stay active! 🙂

Happy Trails!


p.s.: It is a miracle I even got out today at all. Is anyone else binge watching OITNB? Holy good.