Dear, Baby. I think we need some ground rules.

•March 12, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Dear, Baby.  I see you’ve already figured out how to cash in on that “unconditional love of a parent” thing right now.  But it’s getting a little out of hand.  In light of that, maybe we should set a few ground rules.

Rule #1: After a weekend away, do not take out your Mr. Cranky Pants attitude on me or my most recent meal.  I get it.  We go away for the weekend, we don’t really eat as well as we should, and sometimes we overexert ourselves in an hour-and-a-half-long handstand workout or spending 15-hour days in an arena.  We are both tired.  This is not grounds for you to kick my ridiculously-delicious cactus cut potatoes back out into the world.  Not cool, Baby.

Rule #2: When I finish exercising, you finish exercising.  I can feel you in there.  I know you like CrossFit and Zumba, and clearly you used to enjoy burpees far more than I do.  Surprisingly, you seem to be dead to the world after we’ve gone for a run (after reading up on this, turns out the rhythmic movement of running may be rocking you to sleepy time).  But when other workouts are done, the extra hour of internal gymnastics is completely unnecessary.


There’s either 5 toes or 6…either way, good for balance.

Same thing goes for the 10 p.m. self-taught swimming lessons and the 3 a.m. karate class…and, no, I do not want to learn the dance of your people at 5 in the morning.  During one of your most recent scandalous videos (aka ultrasound), I saw a leg and you have at least one foot with 5 toes.  I’d say you’re in pretty good shape so far.

Rule #3: Treat others the way you wish to be treated…let them sleep.  One day when you’re a teenager, I’m sure you’ll want to sleep in.  And when that day happens, I’m going to come and kick you really hard.  Just so you know what it feels like.  Just kidding.  But it’d be really great if you’d let me get a solid night of shut-eye before you emerge into the world, all hell breaks loose, and you want to eat a billion times a night.

I’m sure there will be more “rules” later, but we’ll start with those 3.  Now…let’s go for a run.


What I envision my tiny human doing.  Probably not, but it’s fun to think it.

Cartoon image from:


Dear, Baby. Welcome to the Open.

•February 24, 2018 • Leave a Comment

It has taken me a couple of months – and a lot of research – to really decide on my workout path while I’m incubating a human.  And I’m sure it will be adjusted as time goes by, my body changes, and I become more and more useless!

Lately I’ve been looking up modifications for everything…toes-to-bar, knees-to-elbow, back extensions, burpees, push-ups.  It’s quite the learning curve.  And I won’t lie, it makes me feel wimpy.  Yes, Baby, you make me feel wimpy.  In the end, I know it’s for a good cause and it is meant with health in mind, but it still makes me feel like I’m taking a HUGE step back physically.

Enter the CrossFit Open.  (For those of you unfamiliar with the Open, it is a series of workouts that acts as the initial qualifying round for the CrossFit Games.)

I have never officially entered into the Open.  In fact, I have never actually completed a complete set of Open workouts haha.  And while I won’t be entering this year, I fully intend to do the workouts – with modifications to movements, of course –  just for fun.

Two big things have happened in the last couple of months that have forced me to swallow my pride a little (okay, a LOT!), change my workout focus, and learn a lot about modifying exercises.  Gone are the days when I feel well enough to spend 2+ hours in the gym doing a combination of lifting and cardio.  I need a quick and dirty 20-minute workout sandwiched between a warm-up and some release work.  Not only do I lack the attention span for anything more than that, but I just don’t have the physical capabilities at the moment.

At our most recent ultrasound, I found out that I have a complete placenta previa, which basically means my placenta is not-so-conveniently blocking Baby’s exit route.  Seems like an okay thing considering Baby shouldn’t be coming out anytime soon, but worst case scenario means C-section (read: postpartum recovery for working out just became longer and more challenging).  It has the potential to right itself over the next month or so, and I’ll have extra ultrasounds to monitor it, but my doc gave me a “hard no” to high-impact activities until then.  In true Kang (Tremblay?) fashion, I replied, “So burpees are still okay?”  He didn’t find it as funny as I did.


What I envision Baby feels like when I do any form of crunching movement.  I have a habit of sitting and leaning forward onto my legs which elicits a boot in the belly from what I imagine is an angry fetus.  Pregnancy is weird.

Add to this my absolute fear of developing diastasis recti.  Apparently, it’s highly likely that I will get some degree of it, although I’m hoping to decrease the negative effects (like postpartum incontinence and an ineffective core) by taking preventative measures.  That being said, I’ve really had to battle between “But I still feel physically able to complete toes-to-bar!” and [what I imagine to be] the squeaky fetal voice saying, “Uh…it’s a little squishy in here” with every sit-up.  The other day, I thought I saw a bit of coning developing (a sign that linea alba just can’t take the pressure) and it scared me into submission.  I heard that sigh of relief, Baby.  I’m sure you’re just glad I won’t be compressing your fluid-filled home in 18.1.

Speaking of 18.1 (the first workout of this year’s Open), it’s happening tonight!  A glorious 20-minute AMRAP of 8 toes-to-bar (or in my case, side planks), 10 DB hang clean and jerks, 12-calorie row.  Promptly followed by Baby gymnastics for half an hour.  Here goes!

Dear, Baby. You have the best daddy ever. The end.

•February 14, 2018 • Leave a Comment

After some careful thought and consideration over exactly how my life is changing and thus how GirlSweat (this blog you’re reading) may reflect those changes, I have decided to write about the good, bad, and ugly in a series of “Dear, Baby” letters.  Until this thing pops out anyway.  Most will be fitness-driven, but some – like today – will just be sappy.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Dear, Baby.  You will likely grow up realizing that daddy is Mr. Fun-Times and mommy is the slave-driving, routine-driven psycho that you’re actually going to end up like.  But you don’t even know the half of it…your daddy is an insanely good man and I will tell you why.

For all those women that told me that pregnancy was the greatest time of their lives, they either lied or were really freaking lucky.  This has been hard (although I’m sure not as hard as others have experienced) and it has basically turned my life upside-down…and yes, I realize that crazy hasn’t even started yet!

In our household, M. and I have always shared the duties based on our work schedules, training regimes, eating habits, and, well, the fact that we have no kids (unless you count the needy fur babies).  It has always been a lot of give-and-take and it has always balanced out.

Fast forward to baby-growing time.  I’m useless.  I will readily admit that.  I’m not actually sure how I used to get up at 4:00 a.m. – granted it was easier in Chetwynd because that’s when M. would come in from a night shift – hit the gym for an hour of cardio, walk the dog, go to work from 7:30 till 3:00, hit the gym for another hour or so of weights, and then head home to cook, clean, mark math assignments or tests, and start again.

Right now, I crawl out of bed at 7…on a good day.  About every third day, I start the morning off puking like a champ.  Yes, still.  Then there is a shower, breakfast that looks a lot less like a protein pancake and a lot more like honey nut cheerios, and the resistant 4-block trek to the school which I drive because I’m too lazy to walk home after work.  At 3ish, I get home, puke (yes, again), and weigh my options: nap or workout.  More often than not, the nap wins out.  Or I bargain with myself:  If you work out for 30 min, then you can have a nap.  Earn your nap!  I guess it’s better than what it used to be (“Earn your cheeseburger.”  “Earn your wine.”…*sigh* wine…)  Then sometimes I head to the rink…or I go teach bootcamp.

Most days I haven’t seen M. since the morning, but let’s get one thing straight, I’m not complaining.  I have it pretty freaking good.  In the last few months, M. has done pretty much all of the cooking. He takes care of the dogs so I get to sleep in an extra 10 minutes.  He turns off my car when it has been idling in the driveway for 4 hours because I forgot to turn it off.  Yes, this actually happened.

giphy-facebook_sAnd the icing on the cake?  He has organized a spring break trip to sun (I hope), sand (a little), and zoo animals!  We are headed to San Diego for a last baby-free vacation.  He was trying to surprise me, but was worried that he would plan a vacation that involved sightseeing or other activities, and I would be too exhausted from baby-growing to do everything.  So, he asked what I wanted.  Yes, this is the man that I snagged.  And, Baby, THIS is what you can grow up to be.  Ladies, eat your hearts out.

Dear, Baby. Strap on your crash helmet. We’re working out.

•January 16, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Making a baby is hard.

Let me rephrase that.

Making a baby is fun.  Growing a baby is hard.

I’m tired.

Tired of not knowing what to eat…or worse yet, knowing that all I want is Chinese food or French fries and the idea of chicken and broccoli makes me dry wretch.

Tired of worshipping the porcelain god multiple times a day for weeks on end.  (For the record, this is beginning to ebb.  I usually get about 2 days of reprieve followed by 1-2 days when the fetus’ “F U, mom” schedule kicks in.)

And tired of not being able to exercise for 25 minutes without feeling like I’m dying a slow and painful death.

Since about week 7 (I’m at 18 now), I have only been working out sporadically.  The second I’ve felt the slightest bit better, I’ve frantically tied up my shoes and got my ass onto the treadmill, outside for a quick 5K (“quick” haha), or into the squat rack for 30 minutes or so of push-ups and dying and pull-ups and dying and squats and, well, dying.  I’ve also managed to get out for a Zumba class – something I have missed desperately for years since I left Kamloops – that lasted an entire hour and felt like I was running a marathon.

For someone who is used to working out twice a day, this “do-it-when-you-can-and-for-however-long-you-can” programming has certainly taken time to get used to, but I have learned a lot about being kind and patient with myself.  My rest periods during workouts is longer.  I lift about 25% left with certain exercises (much of this is due to the fact that I haven’t lifted consistently in the last 2 months, but I actually do find it somewhat more difficult).  I don’t run nearly as hard or fast.  I often tell people to celebrate the small achievements, which has been hard advice to follow myself.  Short workouts, runs, and “marathon” Zumba classes (actually only an hour!) have become my small successes.

This has been rather disheartening at times, but one thing that keeps me going – and laughing on the inside – despite whatever disappointment or frustration is provided by my ridiculous husband.  Of course.

Very early on in the pregnancy, I was dancing around the kitchen and M. told me that he envisioned our Mr. Peanut-looking spawn with crash helmet on bouncing off the walls of my uterus, yelling, “Ow!  Ow!”  Now every time I run, jump, burpee, or dance, all I can picture is our fetus flailing around.



At 12 weeks, helmet on and ready for the next workout.

Tackling the Beast

•October 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I’m going to take a minute to give myself the ol’ butt slap and “Good game”.

To celebrate my 33rd birthday two weeks ago, I “raced” my first Spartan Beast (solo) and my second Spartan Sprint (with our wicked team!) to complete my 2017 Trifecta.  And now that I no longer have to use my hands to sit down on the toilet and pull myself back up again, I feel like I can reflect on my experience in a non-biased manner.

Race Courses

The Beast and Sprint courses with obstacles.  Note the 48-km race distance on the left side image.  That was for the crazy people doing the Ultra (2 laps of the Beast).  Ick!

Let’s talk about this Beast.

Remember when I said that I was going to “actually train” for the next race.  Oops.

We went on a two-week “vacation” in Montreal, Fredericton, and the Muskoka region of Ontario to attend a couple of weddings and relive our youth.  I ran…twice.  That counts as training, right?

My Beast was 6 hours and 42 minutes of totally-exhausting terrain, including 24km (my watch showed 26 when all was said and done); scaling 3 peaks (like actual ski hills), one of which was so steep that we were climbing up it like a ladder; and completing 30+ obstacles, climbing walls and ropes, carrying buckets of rocks and sand, flipping tires, and the like.  I was hoping for under 6 hours, but that clearly wasn’t going to happen, and I realized that I was doing pretty good when – at hour 5 – I was chatting with some other racers who were already on hour 8.  For many of us, it was definitely a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race-activity.  I was running to finish…in one piece.

While this race was physically challenging, more than that, it challenged me mentally.  And I definitely had to fight that sneaky voice that telling me to give up. There were many moments of doubt that I would make it (without seizing so badly that I couldn’t finish) and times when I wanted to give up saying – in the words of my friend’s 3-year-old (who, for the record, clearly did not learn this from his parents) – “Damn, son, f*ck it!”

The nice thing about these races, however, is that even if you are racing solo, you are never truly alone.  Before you set out, they actually emphasize that fellow racers take care of each other.  We commiserated and joked with each other to help make the not-so-enjoyable parts a little easier to handle.  If someone was sitting off to the side of the trail, we checked in with them to make sure they were okay.  It is like a little community of racers, some looking to better their time, most looking just for an incredible experience, all looking to challenge themselves and reach new limits.

The next day, our team “Pigs & Chalk” ran the Sprint together.  This was to be my “recovery run”.  I did not recover.  Instead, my stiff, sore, tired body barely made it through the 8k of torture (much of which was a repeat from the previous day).  We had a tough team of Spartans who proved themselves by doing their own 30 burpees with each failed obstacle (I did 60…it was gross).  It was long and hard, but we ended up victoriously jumping the fire together.  No men left behind.


Still smiling, even after 2+ hours of running, hiking, obstacles, and too many burpees.


Look who learned how to J-hook herself up a rope!

As with most of my ridiculous endeavours, I learn a lot about myself and what I am capable of doing:

  • I can climb my own damn rope.  And I did.  TWICE.  Eat that Spartan Super.
  • I still can’t throw a spear or get through the platinum rig.  I’m coming for you next time, damn obstacles.
  • I may or may not do this ever again (read: you better believe I’ll do this again, but maybe not at Sun Peaks haha).
  • I may find some other crazy race to try (read: I’m already looking).

Now that it’s over, I’m going back to a little more old-school lifting mixed in with some CF, gymnastics to improve my fitness routines, figure skating to feed my creative heart, and – because at 33, I’m already noticing a huge change from even just 3 years ago – mobility.  Time to get back to basics.

Beefcake out.



120 burpees later

•July 25, 2017 • Leave a Comment

This weekend, I completed the first of three Spartan races on my way to personal glory…and by that I mean achieving what is known as the Trifecta (running 3 Spartan distances – Sprint, Super, Beast – in the same calendar year).  For anyone that is unfamiliar with Spartan races, it’s basically a bunch of running with ridiculous obstacles in between.  Every time you fail an obstacle, you have to do 30 burpees.  Yeah.  Gross.

The Race Map

A shot of the obstacle map.  Notice the capital bold letters “YOU MUST DO 30 BURPEES!!”  In my case, I had to do that 4x.

I often have to do things like this by myself.  My friends are working up to it (shout out to the Pigs ‘n’ Chalk crew running the Sun Peaks Sprint in September!!!), and M. doesn’t have the luxury of summers off.  But this race felt a little different from my other solo runs.  When I arrived at the race site, Heritage Ranch in Red Deer, I immediately felt intimidated by the crowds and the potential athletic ability of the mass of people decked out in hundreds of dollars of Reebok CrossFit gear.  Uh…I registered for the Open, right?

Only a matter of minutes into the race, I was reminded that there is nothing to fear because (1) the run is about pushing your own boundaries and (2) there is something to be said for the community that is offered in this style of race.  This community-in-the-midst-of-pursuing-individual-achievement concept is why I was so drawn to and continue to love CrossFit.

For the first third of the race, I ended up keeping pace with a pair of guys – one of whom was running his 22nd Spartan race – and a woman, who I later decided was not much of a Spartan because she failed the same obstacles that I did, but would do like 10 burpees and move on [insert resounding BOOO here].  We chatted, encouraged each other, and kept an eye out for logs and tree roots that somehow manage to reach out and grab you when you least suspect it, causing you to fall face first into a thorny bush.  At some point (i.e., when I failed obstacles that they didn’t), I got left in their dust, but there were so many people at different places in their own run, it was never difficult to find more encouragement and Spartan-community spirit.

A few highlights from the run:

  • I killed the Z walls, an obstacle I failed at Sun Peaks.  Picture 3 planks of plywood standing vertical in a Z-pattern with little chunks of 2×4 that act as your hand and foot holds and are staggered just far enough apart that you have to channel your inner Spiderman to get across.  Ringing the bell at the end of the Z wall was personally satisfying.  I clapped for myself.  No joke.
  • I failed three obstacles IN A ROW.  It sucked.  Especially because they were all obstacles that relied on upper body strength…with 30 burpees in between…it was like torture.  On the bright side, I only failed one more obstacle later on for a race total of 120 burpees.  I’m okay with that, although at the time, there were definitely some choice curse words.

    Platinum Rig

    One of the obstacles I failed.  I made it about halfway across, but with the winning combination of the rope and my pathetic grip strength, I fell into the hay.  30 BURPEES!

  • Every wall – with the exception of the opening 4-foot wall and the go-through wall – was a minimum of 6 feet tall.  Great for small people [insert eye roll here].  Basically, I would hook my fingers on the top edge of the wall and do a complete pull-up to get over.  Made me feel like a beast.
  • There were 4 obstacles during which I had to get into water.  Anyone that knows me, knows in my firm belief that water is for drinking and bathing.  I will go to Mexico for an entire week and only set foot in the ocean on the last day so that I can say that I went in the water in the event someone asks.  One of these water obstacles was a “river” crossing.  It wasn’t wide, but it certainly was deep enough that I actually had to swim across.  As I approached, I chuckled to myself, remembering when M. wanted me to swim across the river at the bottom of Kinuseo Falls to this little island where he intended to propose (I had no idea).  Already thoroughly soaked from bushwhacking through a wet, poorly-groomed hiking trail, my response was something akin to, “Maybe you should date someone who likes cold water!”  Needless to say, he proposed that day anyway (just not on an island), we’re married now, and I swam across a river this weekend because, well, I’m a freaking Spartan.  Sorry, M.

Tired & Muddy

Muddy, but satisfied.

With one race done, I’m feeling a little more comfortable, but I’m definitely going to have to, well, actually train for the next one (21 km of torture on Sun Peaks hill followed with a Sprint the next morning).

Cheers to another participation medal and another race done!

Sorry, Bruce, tramps like me were clearly not born to run

•July 19, 2017 • 1 Comment

So it’s been a gross amount of time since I last wrote.  Let me fill you in a little…

Last September a friend of ours visited from Chetwynd to run the Mount Robson marathon, a 50-km return trip up the Berg Lake trail.  After a considerable amount of peer pressure (on his part), I told him that I would complete the run the following September.


Berg Lake and the Mount Robson Marathon:  “You can’t just do the half-marathon because the turn-around point makes you miss all the pretty parts.”  Totally jacked this from photo from Wikipedia so hopefully they don’t get mad. 

Anyone who knows me, knows that if I say I’m going to do something, I’m going to make it happen one way or another.  But let’s face it.  Sometimes even our best laid plans don’t work out.

The run this year is scheduled for September 9th, a weekend during which M. and I will be in New Brunswick for a wedding.  My plan became to do the “unofficial Mount Robson 50k,” running solo the weekend before.  This meant running with a pack of water, possibly food, band-aids, basically my personal triage station.  It also meant training began in April and mileage started building quickly, adding 2-3 miles each week (I vomit in my mouth just thinking about it).  My resistance training was nearly non-existent, throwing in a couple of core workouts and – on the rare occasion I wasn’t exhausted from running – a random upper body workout.  My hard-earned glutes slowly melted away…sadness ensued.


Enter wedding.

Most brides would be happy to lose weight before their wedding.


So this happened.  Photo cred to my sister’s boyfriend.  I also masterfully photoshopped out the DJ.

Not so much.  My dress – already ordered in a size smaller than my measurements – was beginning to feel a little loose and my belt was 4 inches too big.  Oops.

On top of that, apparently planning and putting on a wedding all by yourself is stressful and exhausting.  (In M.’s defense, he chose our first dance song “almost by himself” and he writes a good set of vows.)  And don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of our party.  But that’s when it all kind of fell apart.

I missed my long run leading up to the wedding, and then decided that sleeping – almost straight – for 4-5 days was a necessary component of surviving the post-wedding-stress collapse that occurred, missing a second long run in a row. This may not mean much to you, but when the goal is running 50 km and – like me – you’re not really a good runner, it’s important to continually build mileage and train the body to just keep going for extended periods of time.


So, I pushed the Reset button and decided to downsize the next long run (only 25 km) to ease my way into it.

I failed.

Between my allergies and taking almost 3 weeks off completely, I made it through about 5 km before conceding in tears.  Yes, there were tears.

M. convinced me to just regroup and try again the next week, but after looking at my summer schedule – including 4 weekends away to judge skating and run Spartan races – I realized that training properly was just not feasible. And therein died the dream of the unofficial Mount Robson marathon.

Maybe next year it will happen.  But for now, I’m happy to return to lifting – like a boss – and focusing on the next goal: my Spartan Trifecta.  First Spartan Super this weekend…we’ll see if I survive!

Spartan 2016

Last year’s Sprint finisher medal.  This year, I hope to receive THREE awards for PARTICIPATION, and I’m so excited!