mom takes the reigns

For the next few months, I’m putting The Hippie Triathlete in someone else’s hands. There are a few perfectly sensible reasons for this.

Let’s look at the most boring one first. Since moving north of triathlon paradise, my training has become more like a temperamental tap than a steady flow. Part of that had been due a nutty travel schedule which took me away from home four times in the span of the shortest month of the year: Tampa, Whistler for a few days, Frankfurt, and tomorrow, back to Tampa.

The month in pics:

Newly obsessed with Whistler.

Frankfurt snapshot (feat. some of my favorite work peeps.)

Serious “marketing summit” -ing going on here.

Somewhere in there I ran a half marathon, thanks to Steph, who talked me into actually doing it the day before. “A PB isn’t always a time. Sometimes it’s just what you have on the day.” I embraced the slow. These two embraced the fast.

My Training Peaks calendar—a lack of consistent training does not mean thou shalt stop tracking, right?—is manic: a five-hour training week here (because downhill skiing and drinking beer with colleagues, hello?) and then, when I’m home, a desperate attempt to make up for the long days sitting on my ass in a conference room. My body is clearly confused at this: On today’s chilly, rainy trail run with a friend, my legs quickly informed me they were not happy with the sudden jump in volume. (During the warm-up, we said our only goal was to run fast enough to keep warm!)

Thanks to training inconsistency, a lack of concrete race plans, career moves really happening (don’t we all) and personal life stuff (another don’t we all), blogging is taking a back seat. Blogs are a bit like relationships. They need a lot of affection and just as much hard work—otherwise people stop caring about them.

And I found the perfect person to give it the TLC it needs. This lady:

Hudson Mohawk River Marathon

She came to my first marathon in 2008, in upstate New York.

She’s the woman who modeled fitness to me by jumping around on a plastic Reebok step in our small-town Manitoba basement. She’s the one who cooked healthy meals, but was never too militant to have my favorite coffee cake or a fresh loaf of bread (with gluten, of course) in fresh supply. She’s the one who is always in my corner. She’s the one I’ve watched grown and change along—because we are never finished or fixed. And, she’s the one who registered for a race in 2016 before I did! The half-Ironman in Victoria, no less. )That takes courage, people. “You should probably do a shorter race first.” Nah, we say.)

My mom wanted to chase a big, scary goal this year to celebrate turning 60 in November. When she floated the idea by me, I was surprised. I thought that swimming to her meant head-up breaststroke in a backyard pool, and riding was spin classes. But now it makes total sense. My mom is an exercise junkie through and through. A die-hard gym rat who logs an impressive amount of time at spin and power classes during the long months of sub-zero temps in Winnipeg, but who also loves immersing herself in the outdoors on long walks. Her dedication and passion to being the best she can be, physically, has inspired me to do the same. (And yes, she talked me into doing it, too. Busy life be damned!)

Cheesy posing during one of her visits to So Cal.

Cheesy posing during one of her visits to So Cal.

Introducing someone to an activity or pastime you love is one of the best feelings ever. When that person happens to be your mother, and that activity happens to be something that’s really more a lifestyle and passion…well, it’s pretty much the jackpot.

Lately, I’ve had the completely unexpected experience of talking to my mom about Masters swimming (“I kept up!” “The coach said I could totally finish the race distance before the cut-off time.” “I found my people”), weekly training volume, recovery eating, and brick workouts. It’s endlessly satisfying to watch her discover triathlon. To hear her marvel at the fact that she’s “not even sore!” and feel that paradoxical, boundless energy that comes from putting in the work. To offer advice on buying a bike, and feel sheepish that I don’t know as much about calories per hour or as I should. “I have so many questions,” she says. “Gosh, I’ll be embarrassed if I don’t have the answers,” I think to myself. She’s showing me how the things I take for granted—a bike that fits perfectly, closets of training and racing clothes, bike bottles and a pantry of Nuun—are all wish list items for someone else.

I hope you all enjoy following her journey as much as I will.

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