It’s the most wonderful time of the year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
There’ll be much mistletoeing
And hearts will be glowing
When loved ones are near
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
– Edward Pola & George Wyle

Hope you have a fabulous holiday season!

Wishing you lots of love, wonderful memories with family and friends, and time to reflect on the year that passed.


Cheers to a happy, healthy 2015!

What are your holiday plans?

Running {and workouts} through pregnancy – second trimester

I realize I should kind of write these as time goes by instead of trying to remember after that fact (I’m just past 28 weeks/seven months). I did write some crib notes throughout the trimester, and I tracked all my workouts, so at least I can remember some of it properly!

The second trimester is from week 14-27. Man, does the beginning of that seem like a long time ago!


I’ll keep the same outline as I did for the first trimester update. I’ll talk about running first and then the other exercise I kept up.

Of note, my longest run was 1:10 with most around 45 minutes. I haven’t used my Garmin since February, and that was just for holidays runs. Essentially I haven’t used it since Ironman Canada in summer 2013!

So needless to say I didn’t know my pace for a long time, which I think is the best way to run: by feel. On my treadmill runs as of late, I’ve definitely slowed but by less than expected.

What felt good?
In all honesty, not a lot felt good about running after week 19! I ran twice a week until week 17 and then dropped down to once a week, with some weeks of no running.

In week 17 I ran a 12km/7.5 mile trail race. I took it easy and barely breathed heavy. In retrospect, I’m sure I could’ve run a lot harder. But I wanted to play it safe with both the tripping factor and pushing it. I think my biggest success was that I didn’t stop to pee during the race :) Although I didn’t run hard, I was still pretty fatigued the next day.


The race fell on our anniversary, and I hope we can make it an annual event!

The other thing that fits the ‘feeling good’ category is my Gabrialla support belt. I got it in week 21 and noticed a huge difference in comfort of my belly. It completely supported it and just felt right. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is running while pregnant. (Of note, I got a sized up and it fits really well.)

What was different?
There isn’t really anything new to add to this column. I still pee a lot more than normal, am a lot thirstier during and after, and need to eat before a morning run. (My record high is six pees on a six mile treadmill run!)

What didn’t feel good?
Week 19 was where running started to fall apart for me. I would get really bad hip flexor/groin pain at the end of a long run. It would last for the remainder of the day. Kelly and I went for a long trail run during week 19 and I had to walk the last km, and then I couldn’t walk for the rest of the day without serious limping.

Two weeks later I successfully ran but afterwards had bad back pain, and the next day my groin/pelvic area was extremely sore.

This is kind of how it’s been going ever since. I should really stop running but the stubborn part of me doesn’t want to yet.

During week 22 I knew I couldn’t run after a couple minutes and then the next week felt good. During week 24 I had to stop after 10 minutes because of serious back cramps (something totally new to me).

Week 25 was another upswing. I ran two days in a row, which I haven’t done in a really long time! They were both on the trails, so I went nice and slow. Surprisingly, I felt a lot better on the uphill than the down!

Since then running has been touch and go. I’ve limited my max run distance to 5 miles/8 km and that seems to be a sweet spot. Nothing hurts while running, and afterwards, at that distance, my groin/pelvic area doesn’t hurt.

I *may* try running once a week until it acts up again. At that point, I think I should force myself to stop.

I don’t want to continue running to stay in shape or to bounce back into running faster afterwards. I just honestly love it and don’t want to go so long without it (the remainder of pregnancy and then however long afterwards). But, if it’ll do me more harm than good I need to stop.

Everything else
I biked a lot this trimester, all on my trainer. I don’t remember exactly when, but we propped a foam roller on my handlebars when it started to get uncomfortable to lean over.


Awesome solution, and essentially free since we already had it!

I ride a steady pace, and I still do some interval workouts too. It feels good to breathe a little! My longest bike ride has been 45 minutes this trimester. And that’s more than enough!

Other than that, I’m keeping up my strength training, incorporating some strength/cardio circuits into my routine each week, and doing Tracey Andersen prenatal DVDs every couple of weeks.

I got in a few awesome hikes, mostly at the beginning of the trimester. One weekend we hiked over 20 miles but that was absolutely all I did that weekend!

Floe Lake

On the last true hike we went on, I really tired on the way down and despite wearing my support belt, my stomach was very heavy.

I continued with yoga once a week, and in the last few weeks I practiced 2-3 times a week.

I’ve also been lucky enough to cross-country ski a few times!


Twice was on holidays and then I went once here at home. Unfortunately I started to feel the same pain as when I run, so I cut my last ski short.

Overall I’ve been keeping up my weekly workout sessions (five or six days a week) but they are much shorter and with a lot less intensity.

I can tell you that in the third trimester this will definitely decrease as time goes on. I’m starting to feel more fatigued (not sleeping well…at all). And I’m really starting to notice the extra weight. I don’t really know what I weighed when I got pregnant, but I would estimate I’ve gained 20 pounds already. That feels like quite a difference with everything except biking and yoga!

 If you worked out/ran through pregnancy, feel free to chime in with tips, suggestions, how you felt, etc! 

If you have any questions, let me know!

How was your year of running?

This is the third year I’m linking up with Miss Zippy to look back at my year of running (see my 2013 and 2012 reviews). Head over to her website to check out a bunch of other people’s reviews!


Best race experience?
I participated in four races this year and only three running races: a 10km race on my 30th birthday, a surprise 10 miler in Del Mar, California when we were on holidays, a SUP race this summer, and a trail race on our sixth anniversary.


Del Mar, CA

I loved them all for different reasons, but since this is about my year of running I guess I’d have to say the race on my birthday. It was a small, local race, Kelly ran it with me (instead of ahead of me!), my parents walked the 5k, and my sister and her family unexpectedly came out to cheer!

Passing my parents!

Best run?
Any trail run from this summer was phenomenal.

But, I think my best run was a 10 miler I did in Laguna Beach, CA where I ran along the beaches of Crystal Cove State Park and came across this little cutie. IMG-20140222-00394I remember not wanting to turn back, but I didn’t want to worry Kelly by going for too much longer than I said!

Best new piece of gear?
Remember when I said I am indecisive? I think that comes out in this post! I have two answers for this one.

I bought my Gabrialla Maternity Support Belt at 21 weeks pregnant. It has seemed to really help with the heaviness of my belly as time goes on.

The second item is Japanese Mint Oil. My prenatal acupuncturist recommended it for my aching hips that keep me up at night. According to their site, it helps promote circulation, relieves tight muscles, and is useful in injury rehab among many other benefits. I’ll continue to use it post-pregnancy, too!

Best piece of running advice you received?
I really, really would love to run throughout pregnancy but I think I’m going to have to stop soon.

When I told my girlfriend this she reminded me that it’s such a small blip of time in my running life. I’ve been running for 18 years and hope to do it forever. In the grand scheme of things, taking a few months off  is far from the worst that could happen!

Most inspirational runner?
I have quite a list, but the most inspirational this year have been moms. I love seeing what women are capable of after their world has been completely changed, when they juggle a lot of balls, and still manage to run and stay fit.

A couple professional athletes that top that list are triathlete Beth Gerdes (returned to racing, an Ironman no less, four months after giving birth to her baby girl) and runner Stephanie Rothstein Bruce (who is so honest about her body and comeback, #journeywithsteph).

Beth's second Ironman stats…less than seven months after having a baby!

Beth’s second Ironman stats…less than seven months after having a baby!

Otherwise, I read a lot of running blogs written by moms who inspire me in almost every post they write. In no particular order, here are a few of my faves:

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Humbling, relaxed, and freeing.

Tell me about your year of running and link up with Miss Zippy! 

Rest and relaxation before the holidays

A couple weeks ago we took time off work and headed to the mountains for 10 wonderful days.

I wanted to relax and sleep as much as possible while getting in some good workouts, and Kelly wanted to have fun in the mountains!

We both got our wishes. We woke up on our first morning to tons of snow so busted out the cross-country skis for the first time this season.


Kelly leashed Harold to his belt and we had a blast skiing for an hour and a half, and laughing at Harold running like a puppy through the snow!


Sadly, all the snow melted by that night.

The bright side was that the trails were clear so I got in nice runs on the trails the next two days (also the first time I’ve ran two days in a row in months)!


Meanwhile, Kelly went deeper into the mountains and got to enjoy non-pregnancy approved activities like downhill skiing and ice-climbing.


It ended up snowing again, so we got out to xc ski one more time. It was a bluebird sky, temperatures were mild, and it felt so good to exercise in the fresh, mountain air.


The R&R was just what I needed before the busy holiday season!

reading material

reading material

What’s your favourite winter activity?

I must admit I was envious the days Kelly went downhill skiing, but ice climbing scares me :) Cross country skiing definitely tops my list.

I mustache you some questions…

I’m a little slow to the game with this…story of my life lately! Thanks to Leslie @ Triathlete Treats and Kristin @ Sweat Courage for tagging me.


I love reading questionnaires on other blogs, so I thought I’d play along!

Four names other people call me other than my real name.

  1. Abs or Ab – lots of people call me this from friends to coworkers to my niece
  2. Abby – my real name is Abigail, but I think only my Dad calls me that
  3. Flabby Abby – my old track friends
  4. Bertha – oddly it’s Kelly’s pet name for me

Four jobs I’ve had.

  1. Babysitter
  2. Lifeguard/camp counsellor
  3. Lifeguard and swimming instructor
  4. Communications Advisor – my grownup job

Four movies I’ve watched more than once.

  1. Adventures in Babysitting – I think I know every line
  2. Beauty and the Beast
  3. Blood Diamond
  4. Crazy Stupid Love

Four books I recommend.

  1. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume – best beach read
  2. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein – best book about dogs and friendship
  3. Anatomy for Runners by Jay Dicharry – best book for injury prevention if you’re a runner or athlete
  4. A Trip to Lazibonia – it’s a kids book and my favourite at my Grandma’s house. I couldn’t find it anywhere, so she gave me her copy!

Four places I’ve lived.

This list is super boring, as I’ve only truly lived in one place!

  1. Edmonton, Alberta
  2. Does backpacking Australia for three months count?
  3. I did ‘live’ in Pennsylvania for six weeks one summer while working at a camp
view of downtown Edmonton at sunrise from the trails

view of downtown Edmonton at sunrise from the trails

Four places I’ve been.

  1. Hawaii
  2. Australia
  3. Thailand
  4. New York City


4 Mile Beach, Port Douglas, Australia

4 Mile Beach, Port Douglas, Australia

Ko Phi Phi, Thailand

Ko Phi Phi, Thailand

Rickshaw ride, NYC

Rickshaw ride, NYC

Four places I’d rather be right now.

  1. Hiking in the mountains
  2. Reading under an umbrella on a beach, preferably with a cold drink in hand (I’d take almost any tropical beach) / playing in the ocean
  3. On a run in a new, big city
  4. Exploring Brazil

Four of my favorite foods.

  1. Perogies
  2. Raspberries fresh from the garden
  3. Pizza
  4. Scallops

Four things I don’t eat.

Almost any popular ‘blogger’ food…

  1. Sweet potatoes
  2. Kombucha
  3. Watermelon
  4. Avocado

Four TV shows I watch.

I only watch tv on Netflix, and I’m currently only watching two shows.

  1. Homeland
  2. Lost – 10 years late to the game but just finished season one!

This summer I did watch Nashville (I admittedly became obsessed)  and How I Met Your Mother.

Four things I’m looking forward to this year.

Baby on the brain!

  1. Meeting our baby – due in early March
  2. Seeing Kelly as a Dad
  3. Maternity leave – no work for a year!
  4. Cross-country skiing – new cross-training


Four things I always say.

  1. I don’t know…what do you think? (I could win as the most indecisive person you’ve ever met.)
  2. Why don’t you decide? (see above)
  3. I wish I were running
  4. You’re a good boy – to Harold

Feel free to play along and answer some in the comments or on your blog!

My favourite running trail – summer 2014

This summer we spent our mountain time in Radium, a small village beside Kootenay National Park in British Columbia about 100km southwest of Banff.

I ran a variety of trails but tended to go back to the same one time and time again.


I ran it again a couple weekends ago, most likely the last time I’ll run it this year. (I don’t want to run trails once it snows due to the slipping factor!)

on a walk there the next day

on a walk there the next day

It’s my favourite for a few reasons:

  • It’s a huge climb at the beginning, flat at the top, then all downhill at the end! This summer, on average, it took me 15 minutes of climbing to get up there. (The last time I ran the trail it took me 16, but I was convinced it was closer to 25!)IMG_1458
  • Once you’re up on top it’s fairly flat the entire way, which is nice after all that climbing. And although it’s singletrack, the trail is pretty clear of roots and rocks, which was especially important this summer so I wouldn’t fall!
  • A downhill finish always feels good!IMG_1455
  • It feels safe from wild animals that frequent other trails since it’s so open and because of the foliage up there (no berry bushes, etc). However, on the last run Kelly and I came across large bones with blood still on them.
  • You can add on as much distance as you want on a variety of connecting trails. Kelly took me on an extended version the other week, and we ended up in the most peaceful area. There’s actually a little park in the middle of the trail called the Park of Peace!
  • The views are unbelievable. On one side, since you’re right on the edge, you have views of the distant mountains. Look the other way and it’s an enormous meadow with very tall mountains as the backdrop.


I ran alone 98% of the time this summer and was cautious to do too much or stray too far. Next summer I think I’ll be more adventurous and run more wooded trails with hills throughout.


Do you prefer a long hill or multiple shorter ones?