Slumping and Snowdusting

This blog post will have minimal writing and mostly pictures because attempting a thorough one month recap would be ridiculous.

Before I dive in… I feel like I’m in a slump right now. Usually I’m quite keen to update my blog and share the latest, but I just haven’t been feeling it lately (this must be how most athlete-bloggers feel all the time). I’m not entirely sure why I’m slumping; I have some ideas, but don’t want to drown you in whimsical speculation or negativity. I just wanted to let you know that my life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and that I’ve been listening to too many inspirational speech remixes.

So lets get on with the happenings since my pre-school (not preschool, I graduated that a while ago) home time.

Hands-down my favourite part of going home is getting back to my old training habits with the Hardwood crew – namely long Sunday roller skis and strength shenanigans. There are still roads near Hardwood Ski&Bike that we haven’t properly checked out – like this one, which had a ginormous hill that was so steep, when we came back up (yes, we survived despite the intersection at the bottom) your skis would slip back if you tried to kick properly.

sketchy hill

Literally could not see over the crest of the hill

I’m in complete agreement when people say I was spoiled with summer training venues in my youth.

hardwood roads

so nice, so smooth, so quiet

Coach Ron has a pretty legit training program for the team. In the past year, he’s really gotten into the groove of coaching, developing and recruiting athletes to the program. They even have some university athletes signing up for the fall/winter racing program. Possibly the most suffer-iffic workout they did while I was home was their POWERhour circuit style plyo/strength session. I had a rest day and did not participate in the whole thing.


Ryan and Dan post POWERhour workout

I did, however, fully participate in the baking and eating of this delicious cherry pie.


cherry pie

But not before it had to cool – which took an inordinately long time. To speed up the process, Dad and I made a nice cooling platform and set up a fan to expedite the process.

cool pie

Ryan is also cool.

We haven’t done quite as much adventuring on the NDC this year, so to make up for it my parents and I planned a nice bike-route up to Penetenguishene (*spelling?). It was mostly rail trail type riding, but still a nice change of pace from my usual training.


Regional map

And then it was back up to Thunder Bay for school – which meant back to school pictures (yay!). We usually take them on the front porch, but went for the swings this year. Ryan kept swinging sideways and trying to bump into me.

back to school swing


hit - ouch.

hit – ouch.

finally a nice picture (look how majestic and windblown our hair is)

finally a nice picture (look how majestic and windblown our hair is)

One of the first happenings when I got back was an Xterra Triathlon which Scott, Bob, and Evan participated in while the rest of us ski walked and spectated.

chilly day at the Sleeping Giant for spectating

chilly day at the Sleeping Giant for spectating

School has been pretty good so far. Ben and I are taking two classes together and have been unbelievably on-the-ball about getting assignments and labs done EARLY. Even so, Ben sometimes needs to take naps during class (and somehow seems to still absorb more lecture information than me…).



Ben naps Ben naps

The Thunder Bay marathon was also in September, and a perfect excuse for my Mom to come visit for the weekend. She did the 42.2k race in around 3:40, which “was a good training run” for her. Seriously, when people ask where I get “it” (the training crazy’s) from…




nicki marathon

IST physician Nicki en route to 2nd place


Mom and her pacing pal


Still smiling at 30k


Leading Marathoners (less than 1k to go!)

And then there was a guy with a Grumpy Cat sign near the finish


“I ran once – it was awful”

Varsity skier Bryana also ran the Marathon – it was her first one!



It was quite cold the morning of the marathon, you can definitely tell winter is on it’s way. The marathon was the day before our re-testing week started and was supposed to be a rest day for me. Unfortunately, 3+ hours outside biking and standing around in the cold didn’t end up being too restful. I still had a decent treadmill test, my heart rates were lower at the same speed than the spring, but I maxed out at the same speed as before.

Other tests for the week included the Minnow Hill skate and double pole time trials, 3k uphill, FMS (functional movement screening), pastry baking, and the Sawdust Run.

date filled pastries

Date filled pastries that Andy and I made, almost ready to go in the oven

Okay so the pastry baking wasn’t actually part of the testing week schedule… Overall my testing results were positive (or negative, depending on how you look at it…). I set a 10s PB on the 3k uphill, which put me ahead of Alannah’s best, and previous female course record, from last year which was pretty sweet. Alannah also ran a PB, as did most of the boys.

The day we did Minnow it was quite cold and slow (around 0C) so everyone had slow-ish times. It was a real bummer because we also had slow, rainy conditions in the spring, so the results were very subjective and difficult to compare to each other and last year.

And now for the STAR of the post – the Sawdust, no the SNOWDUST run!

If you follow the NDC Twitter, you would have seen snowy photos from the race on the weekend. It was just barely snowing when we arrived, but snowed quite heavily just prior to the race, making the already slick, muddy ground even more slippery.


dusting of snow as we arrived


Kevin and Alannah pleased by the precipitation

Despite the somewhat adverse running conditions, I ran almost 40s faster than last year. I didn’t feel particularly good during the race (body was feeling very lethargic), but kept grinding it out and really dug in for the late hills. It was a nice precursor to all the suffering I’ll be doing up Pylons and The Grunt on skis this winter.


Alannah and I mid-race (NDC photo)

The prizes for the Sawdust are cookies with your placing iced onto them. I got two, one for the race and one for the orienteering. Here I am with Alannah, Andy, and Scott.

sawdust medals

There orienteering took place right after the race. It was points-based orienteering, meaning there is a set time (20min) to collect as many controls as possible and penalties for every minute you’re late. More difficult controls are worth more points. I’m somewhat directionally challenged, but still managed to finish 3rd (although I probably ran twice the distance while searching for the controls). It was a lot of fun and I’m pretty sure I went as hard, if not harder, during the orienteering than I did during the race.

And that’s that. This ended up being longer than I anticipated (as per usual). Hopefully I get out of this slump soon. It’s weighing down on me a bit. I’m headed out to Canmore, Alberta for our first on snow camp of the year next week – I bet that will shake things up enough to get me back in the swing of things.

Til next time


Ps. this is my 50th blog post – cheers to a half century of ramblings.

Pss. another video is in the works. I think it’ll just be a short one based on my time home.

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