The Holidays are HERE!!!!

A mighty lean if I ever saw one!

It’s that time of year again! Christmas is only 6 days away, everyone is probably already full to the brim from holiday parties, and there are still a few left on the schedule. I’ve already had a bunch of Christmas dinners and parties with various family members, friends, and coworkers, but I’m most looking forward to the Christmas eve dinner and Christmas dinner, as they will be sure to deliver that last loading of holiday treats! We’ve also FINALLY gotten our tree up AND decorated (it’s pretty tough to get the whole family together to decorate when every one operates on a different schedule.) All I know is that we bought a 9 foot tree, but after a few glasses of mulled wine, some frustration with and awkwardly grown tree, and getting that frustration out via our sawsall electric saw, we now have a 6 foot tree. But at least it doesn’t look like the leaning tower of Pisa.

Creating mulled wine. DELISH!

That being said, we’re ready for the big man to make is appearance on the day, and it will be a relief. Being a busy procrastinator, I’ve not quite finished my Christmas shopping, so the mad rush is on to get it all done. Sometimes it seems like the whole city waited until now as well, total chaos in any mall I visit. There should be some kind of Mall Race, complete with tightly wound shoppers as obstacles, and a prize for the person who can navigate through the mall and collect a list of gifts the fastest! Not sure what kind of prize it would be, but perhaps some kind of online shopping gift card. It’ll make you push hard so you don’t have to do it again!

Team Ossenbrink Christmas Pub Night

Recently, Super-Coach Bjoern Ossenbrink and I were chatting about the races that I’ll be competing in for 2012, a VERY exciting talk to say the least. Not everything is finalized yet, but geez am I EXCITED about the races that we have lined up so far, and even more excited by the prospect of a few races we haven’t decided on yet. We’ll be figuring it out soon, but suffice to say, 2012 is going to be a BIG year on the race scene. After some time off after the Miami 70.3, the build has officially begun for 2012, and it’s time to get serious again. I’m feeling mentally refreshed, and after a few too many holiday parties, and a LOT of time lifting weights in the gym, there’s a few pounds that need to be shed before the racing eventually begins again (the first fun of the year is slated for the Steveston Ice Breaker 8k road race on January 29th, in Richmond, BC.)

I hope everyone is out and enjoying the holidays and festivities lately, as well as taking some time to relax and kick back with family and friends. Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates, and have a happy New Years!!! Be safe out there, enjoy some turkey and a slice of pie for me.

The shrinking Christmas tree


Some fast and furious fun, the local race scene…..

One of the things I look forward to in the fall/winter/early spring is all the non-triathlon races going on locally. They’re always a good time, and usually I use these races to test my fitness, get a hard race-simulation, work on nutrition/tactics/race strategy, or in the case of the recent few races, just to plain have some FUN! This fall has been no exception, as I’ve had my share of fun at a few races in the past month. All have been for fun, with no preparation really, just kind of diving in head first, so-to-speak. The UBC Masters swim meet was a blast, biting off a heck of a lot more than I could chew, entering 5 events total (the 50fly, 100free, 200free, 400free, and 800free events.) It was a tough day, as I was coming off a night shift at work, and was tired. By the time I went in to compete in my 4th event, I was ready to pull the pin. BUT, I had entered all the events, and was going to do them whether or not I almost drowned. Suffice to say, NO PB’s were had that day, but I sure had a lot of fun! It was so much fun to hang out with friends I hadn’t seen in a while, and that’s one of the best parts of these events.

Fall Classic, pacing another runner

A couple weeks ago, I jumped in to the New Balance Fall Classic Half Marathon, in UBC. No prep leading in to the race, I just wanted to see what I could do in a half, as I hadn’t run one in over 18 months!! I started the race with no preconceived notions as to how I would perform. I find that NOT having any huge expectations for races like this helps me stay relaxed, and generally care-free at the starting line. I went and just ran my race, sticking with another runner until the 18km mark, where I found a surge in my legs that helped me pull away for a 3rd place overall. It was funny, when I was running I was just thinking about my form, staying relaxed, and didn’t have any real strategy for a hard kick at the end. But as the race drew on, friends out on course were cheering me on, saying stuff like “The podium is yours,” and other words of encouragement. I was running for 3rd/4th with this other guy, at the 18k mark, something inside just told me I HAD to go for it. I tested with a surge, the other guy didn’t respond, so I just went ballistic and poured it on heavy. I made a good gap by the end of the race, and was really happy to cross the finish line in under 1:15. Bjoern was at the finish line, along with a group of other friends, and I was elated to have felt as good as I did during the race. I thought the 2011 racing season was now finally completed!!

Breakaway for the finish!!


Apparently, since I felt so good in the race, I was to enter the 2011 Canadian Cross Country National Championships in 6 days, something I’ve never even done before! I was excited, as XC is essentially the running version of cyclocross, and I’m always jealous of the cross riders I see covered in mud (cause it looks like SO much fun, playing in the mud!!) Getting a pair of New Balance XC race spikes, I spent an hour with Bjoern on the course before the race, figuring out what I was getting myself in to. Race day came, and I was pretty flat! Coming off yet another night shift, I headed to the race site and got ready to race. The weather was awesome (and by awesome, I mean windy, raining sideways, cold, and the WORST mud I’ve ever even comprehended running in!) It looked like it was going to be a complete gong-show out there, but I was ready for action!

Photo courtesy of Mark Bates, at
the New Balance 1700 XC Spikes

A few friends were around the course, cheering us all on, and Jeremy Hopwood was in the race as well. I wasn’t really feeling good during the race, but going in to the last lap (5x2km loops,) I yet again found a solid surge to pull ahead of a group of guys, and managed to fend all but one of them off until the finish. I’ve never run in anything like that before. It was fast, furious, and REALLY worked stabilizers. It was nuts. As Hopwood said, “when the sand feels like the easy parts, you KNOW the course is in rough shape!” Very true, there was deep, uneven mud all OVER the course. But, like I said, I went there to have fun, and I did. I also achieved my goals for the race:


A. Don’t get lapped;
B. Don’t come last!

Mission accomplished:)

Ps. thanks to Mark Bates at for use of one of his photos from the XC Nationals, you can find the rest of his event photos here.

Now I’m starting to get back in to the training routine, getting ready to begin the base building process all over again. I don’t spend a ton of time during the race season doing a lot of strength training, so I’ve been hitting the gym pretty hard lately to try and pack some meat on these bones for the winter! It’s that time of year, to mix it up a bit. Baking season is upon me again, and I’ve been baking up a storm the last week. You can’t go to a Christmas party empty handed, and I have a LOT of those coming up, so I need to refine my recipes. Not that my family doesn’t mind, they are my self-appointed product testers. Must be a tough job.

Baking Season!!!

I hope everyone is having a great start to their winter, getting ready to enjoy the upcoming holidays! Happy training out there people, and don’t forget to be smart, sensible, and safe on the roads!

By for now,