Tales of triathlon, travel, and trails

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A week in Rio de Janiero. In photos.

It’s been a crazy 3 weeks since I returned from Brazil. It was one of those trips where I needed a vacation from my vacation, you know what I mean?!

To recap, I was in Rio for New Years’ Eve with two of my best friends from dental school. We wanted to experience the NYE fireworks on Copacabana, up close and personal. And it was awesome. The Brazilians really know how to do fireworks! Of course the stunning back drop of Copacabana beach and Sugar Loaf mountain really helps the atmosphere.

While NYE was amazing, the week didn’t go without it’s share of frustrating events, which is just unfortunate because these issues were mostly related to tourism (don’t ever stay at the JW Marriott on Copacabana, Portuguese is a b*tch of a language to learn and the cab drivers/waiters can’t/don’t want to understand you in English or Portuguese, and bring cash – we only found 1 ATM the entire week that would accept our debit cards, and then it malfunctioned). These issues were troubling because Rio is hosting the World Cup this summer and the Olympics in 2016. From my perspective, there is A LOT of lot of work to be done before Rio can successfully welcome the world for those two events, so think carefully if you’re considering it.

Anyway, without further ado, a week in Rio, in photos.

Copa. Copacabana. With Sugar Loaf mountain way in the background.


A stick of prawns. Horrifying for this vegetarian. (I don’t eat anything with a face or anything from the ocean)


Drink shacks along Copacabana. You could get the ubiquitous caipirinha, of which many were drunk, but also straight up fresh coconut water, right from the source! Awesome treat after some hot runs!


At the end of Copacabana looking back towards Sugar Loaf.


Havianas heaven! (They’re made in Brazil)


Being tortured with meat and seafood at the Churrascaria Palace. Nightmare! Brazil is NOT vegetarian friendly. I could NOT imagine having to eat vegan in Brazil, it would be VERY difficult.


This is how you buy bikinis in Rio. I was feeling heavy pressure to get a Brazilian bikini (fio dental – dental floss!) but I’m happy to report my bum stayed covered the whole week 🙂


The New Years’ Eve double rainbow!


For NYE in Rio the tradition is to dress in all white for good luck. Then you can accessorize with colours depending on what your wish is for the new year: red for passion/romance, yellow/gold for prosperity, green for health. We were told to wear pink underwear for love, so….


On Copacabana beach for the countdown! Glass of champagne (of course). Flowers to throw in the ocean for good luck and as an offering to mama ocean. And then after the fireworks you jump over 7 waves and make 7 wishes (I’ve forgotten what I wished for already!)


The fireworks were set off in sync from 11 barges out in the bay. It was an amazing show!



The view of Copacabana from Sugar Loaf.


Another view from Sugar Loaf.


Running in 38c! More like “running”. It was hot!


Sunset at Ipanema. LOVED Ipanema and Leblon. Highly recommend!


Ipanema. Just makes you want to sing The Girl from Ipanema, doesn’t it?


Rocinho favela. The tour dropped us off at the top and we walked all the way through the favela to the bottom. Quite an experience to see how some people have to live.


Rocinho favela. From extreme poverty to multimillion dollar condos on the beach, just by crossing a highway.


In exchange for the all meat ordeal at the churrascaria, we got to eat one dinner at a Brazilian vegetarian restaurant in Leblon. Loved it!


Christ the Redeemer/Cristo Redentor. Obviously. Impressive.


The view towards Sugar Loaf, from Christ.


Escadaria Selaron. Steps in the Lapa district of Rio, completely covered in mosaic tiles, sent to the artist, Selaron, from all over the world. A really cool spot!


Escadaria Selaron.


View from Ipanema of some islands off the coast.


At a samba club in Lapa. I still have no idea how to samba!



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What happened after IM Tahoe and plans for 2014

Has it really been like 3 months since my last post? I’ll have to do better in 2014! I think I will now that I’ve discovered the wordpress app…

After IM Tahoe, I was just tired. Physically and mentally. My recovery took longer than I was expecting it to. It took about 2 months until I was feeling pretty normal and like I could run comfortably at a decent pace. Running is my favourite discipline so all I wanted to do was run. I kept trying to run but my body kept telling me no. But it’s also hard for me to get quality runs done in the fall because I love to take pictures of all the beautiful fall colours.



I quickly decided after Tahoe I wasn’t going to swim until January. In the last 6 weeks or so before Tahoe I developed a strange reaction to chlorine such that if I even just smelled the chlorine on my bathing suit I would feel sick and nauseous (like dry heaving). And that was even worse in the water. I couldn’t finish sets and would have to get out of the water and stand up on the deck to try to get a fresh breath. Just walking into the gym and smelling the chlorine makes me cringe and makes my stomach upset. So now that it’s January it’s time to get back in the water but honestly, I’m still nervous about the smell.

And I’ve only done 1 outdoor ride and 1 trainer ride since Tahoe. Poor bikes!


I had all this physical fatigue going on but the worst part was the mental fatigue. Tahoe really took a toll on me mentally. My first 2 Ironmans I crossed the finish line asking “when was the next race?! When can I start training again?” I couldn’t wait to get back out there. But at the Tahoe finish line my first thought was that I’m done with Ironman, that I am better at shorter distances, that I should stick to oly and 70.3, that I’m just not built to do Ironman. That was a really hard thought for me to have because I LOVE Ironman, I love the mental challenge of 140.6 and I LOVE to race. But those negative thoughts stuck with me for a long time and really wreaked havoc with my emotions.

Once the haze cleared I determined that: 1) I was most disappointed in my run. I’m a good runner but it doesn’t show in Ironman. 2) I love to run the most. So maybe this will be the start of my foray into ultras (I’ve done one 50k and I loved it). 3) But I’m not done with Ironman because I want a race where I actually RUN the marathon and where I keep my sh*t together and don’t fall apart. Once I came to these conclusions, I got my mojo back and was ready to go again! Yay!

In October I was supposed to run the Grand Canyon R2R2R which had been planned since May (but probably a good thing it fell through considering how I was feeling after Tahoe). But thanks to the US government shutdown, the Grand Canyon was closed and we couldn’t run. However I still had my flight booked to Phoenix so I instead spent the weekend running in Sedona and Phoenix and it was awesome.





In November I was in Victoria for a meeting and took advantage of the favourable weather to sneak in a few runs in the triathlon capital of Canada.


Because meanwhile in Calgary, running looked like this:


I ran one 10km race in the snow and ice in Calgary, which somehow was my second fastest 10km.


Then 2 weeks later in LA I ran a PR at the Santa Monica Venice Christmas run (43:06). Next time I’m going for sub-43 and I’ll actually train for it!


Which brings me to plans for 2014. So far my races are:
1. LA Marathon – to BQ (3:35, although for 2014 Boston the qualifying time was 3:33:22), training for 3:30. Last year at LAM I ran 3:36:01 which was a 70min PR, so those 6 minutes should be easy to drop, right?
2. Escape from Alcatraz – just a bucket list race, but I’m super pumped for it!
3. Boulder 70.3 – scoping out the scene for IM!
4. IM Boulder – I just want a good run!
Then hopefully some trail races and a 50k in the fall. And back to the Grand Canyon for R2R2R 🙂

Looking forward to 2014!