Saturday, January 19, 2013

2012 Recap (3/3): A year in pictures

Last but not least, a year in pictures, some of them never published before. Isn't this exciting?? (everyone clap now :-)). I realize that I don't talk about my life outside running, biking, swimming and other fitness related activities here, but as I said in the first post when I re-opened this blog for everyone to read, I have been around the blogosphere for a long, long time... 10 years more precisely, and I've ridden this rollercoaster a few times before. It doesn't make me feel any younger, but what else is new?

Since I've started working out, it seems that the clock no longer ticks so loud. I have found peace and happiness and I am having a blast, every single day that I let those endorphins run free. These pictures are proof that there is a way out.

Happy New Year 2012!
New haircut, a bit of hair color, feeling damn good. Wearing burgundy. Resolutions: keep up the pace, stay healthy and happy (spoiler alert, they are pretty much the same this year). Kept this image as an avatar for a while.

Icy baths trigger my Raynaud's. D'uh!
At the same time, I learn to live with Raynaud's, I eat a lot of broccoli and spinach, I still count my calories. I go to the physio therapist, my neck and back bother me, I pulled something in my shoulder. Not a big deal, but I hate the nagging, burning ache. It goes away eventually (acupuncture helped).


I love running tights, oh the freedom!
I buy my first pair of running tights. I still love my cat hat which I bought in Montreal. It makes me feel strong and agile. I fall in love with purple. I buy two more pairs of Adidas shoes from Ebay because they are soooo comfy ($35/each, a bargain!).

Then we get snow!! It's a miracle, so I go snowboarding with my older son after a 5yr interruption and I don't break any bones or get a concussion, another miracle!

I look much better than I board
My pet fish Chloe is getting big. Look how gorgeous she is.
Chloe in her element

I keep on running, there is a race coming up. I really start to enjoy winning free coffee.
I start swimming regularly, discover a few pools around Brampton, big and small. I try Total Immersion, but find my groove with Swim Smooth. I watch a LOT of swimming videos on You Tube, I make a few of myself as well. I really look like a turd in the pool.

I finish the month conquering Heartbreak Hill at Around the Bay relay race with hubbs.
On the way to the top

I go rollerblading for fun. I still can't believe how great that day was, we need to go back! Once a year is definitely not enough.

Roller skating old skool
I run my first marathon, totally out of the blue - because I was in Paris by friggin' chance and I had nothing else better to do :-)

At my mom's home in Paris
I also visit London for the first time and do my "active recovery" by walking along the Thames and going up and down countless stairs.

Riri call home

The travels continue, I go to Los Angeles for work and visit my favorite spot, Santa Monica pier. Too bad it was pretty cold, because I could have jumped in the ocean.
Santa Monica Pier
Usually during those travels, I try to walk everywhere and run as often as I can. I didn't run that time though, I was tapering for the Mississauga Marathon. Coming back home though, I felt like running again and I remember those skies when we dropped my sons to sport camps and we went out for a run. I love me some dramatic skies.
A week later, I run the Mississaga Marathon - y'all know by now how that went. Below is a pic from when people could still be seen around.
Running Mississauga - it's a beautiful day!
My pet fish Chloe dies unexpectedly, and we welcome Calypso. She is tiny but feisty!
Calypso is in the house!
I also welcome Neo, my Cervelo One tri bike and I have my first (and only) professional bike fit done. Neo is also tiny, 650c wheels, 50" high, but it fits my 5'3" frame perfectly. We've been happy together so far.

Riri meet Neo, Neo meet Riri

June was rainy and hot. I met my friend Troy's dog Max. Puppy butt.

Did I just say puppy butt?
Dork face after a run in the rain. 
Does this wet tshirt make me look hot?
I receive my first ever wetsuit, an XTerra Vortex and it fits like a glove. I definitely feel hot in this. Long live rubber.

Full body flotation device
My husband buys me THE triathlon watch, the mighty Garmin 910XT. And I go nuts.

Oh, and did I mention that I start biking a lot?

Breaking the Velominati's Rules.

I feel the happiest that I've been in my life. This triathlon training did the trick! I needed to capture the moment, so I took a pic, which became my new avatar.
I can't believe this feeling
I keep on swimming and I fall in love with Professor's Lake where I do 2-3 loops every Thursday with the Brampton FMCT Tri Club.
Crystal clean Professor's Lake
I still love my bike and I buy an aero drink bottle so I stop falling on my face while trying to reach for the other bottles while I ride. Look, ma, no hands! I also ride in the rain and I feel confident that I can do this!
I'm legit, bitches.
I even conquer Horseshoe Hill multiple times for fun. Ok, not really for fun, but because coach Dave said so.
Horseshoe Hill, complete with sunshine and deer flies.
Eventually, it all leads to this. I become a triathlete. Hell yeah!!
I'm still standing
And then I relax in Algonquin. We hike a lot, we swim, bike, run a little. 
Coffee, compression socks and sandals.
We geocache wherever we go because it makes it even more fun.
We even jump from bridges into the water with our clothes on because we'd be fools not to.

I buy myself a new swimsuit because all the previous ones turned into parachutes. Not sure what else we do aside from the usual. It seems like a blur. It must have involved some running though, since I prepare for the Toronto Scotiabank Marathon.
Blue whale
I vaguely remember rollercoasters too.

Spinning round and round high above ground

I meet Chrissie Wellington and I get inspired to keep on triathloning.
Chrissie and I, all smiles
Then I do the immersive experience, volunteering as a "catcher" at Ironman Muskoka 70.3. I have a blast, I get to meet the "stars" such as Rachel Joyce and Tom Lowe and witness some very dramatic situations. This is definitely harder than it looks!
I promise myself to go down this chute the following year.

So I bike some more...

and I run some more...

And mornings are hard... do I really need to go out at 5:30 am??

Who turned on the light?!
Thankfully there are protein bars to keep me going because it's way too early to prepare breakfast.

Guess my favorite
And the long runs become really long, like the 32k one I did in France (again!) on the Coulee Verte du Sud Parisien...

... plus a "recovery walk" the same day to visit a castle and smell the flowers (and munch on apples) with my friend Frederique.

Castles are everywhere


Continued my European visit with another trip to London for work and came back with an ingrown nail thanks to running too much on heels between trains and meetings. It hurt. A LOT.

I was supposed to run here, dammit!
To add to my stupidity, I also buy my first pair of minimalist shoes, the New Balance Minimus WR00 and I overdo it, that is I run 1h40 the first time I wear them because they feel so good, like running barefoot. Oh well, I keep on learning from my mistakes. A week before the Toronto Marathon, oops.

Anyway, I take on a good dose of painkillers and line up for the marathon anyway, with hubbs nonetheless.
Show time!
My third, his first, and we both cross the finish line with a smile on our face. Mission accomplished, we can now put a seal on this season, but not before...


We sign up for Ironman Muskoka 70.3 and celebrate with Muskoka beer, wheee!

And coach starts giving me treadmill and indoor bike workouts, which really hurt.
Intervals, intervals, intervals.
I do a last outdoor ride that almost makes my teeth fall out.

Frozen smile

But then in December, I start spinning again and I have a blast. 
Spin, baby, spin!
And find new trails around the office, which keep me sane... most of the time.
Let the sunshine in
As well as a new gym, which I start frequenting on my lunch breaks.

When the weather permits, I put my Ninja on, my purple sweater and my tights and I go out and run again... The loop is looped. Another year awaits, the warrior in me is ready to fight.

This is my life, this is who I am now. An athlete, a mom, wife, cubicle slave and business traveler. I could not be here without the support of my family, my friends and the online blogging community, as well as Facebook, Runkeeper, Twitter and Fitocracy. Many thanks to all my friends, near and far, I feel that together we can move mountains. 

I am really happy to have found this passion for running and triathlons, which turned into a lifestyle that keeps on shaping me inside and out every day. I am also deeply humbled by all your efforts and seeing you giving your all in races and personal challenges. You are my inspiration and I hope to be able to inspire you in return.

In Memoriam : Ron Gehring

Ron was one of my reasons to get out of bed every day. He was a great friend, always kind and supportive of my efforts and even if we never met, it felt like I'd known him forever. He was an avid cyclist and trail runner and he was looking forward to A Bigger New Year. We motivated each other to finish our first marathons last year and we even had a friendly competition between us to do an Ironman first.
Ron was in a bike accident on Wednesday and he suffered extensive brain injuries. He left this world last night at 6pm. RIP Ron and heartfelt condolences to his family, wife Debra and son Ashton. I will keep on racing you, Ron!


  1. I enjoyed this so much, Irina. Such an amazing year you had. Because you made it so. Totally inspiring.

    Condolences for the loss of your friend.

  2. What a wonderful post! You look fab my dear and will have another amazing year! I can't wait to follow along and hopefully meet you as well!

    I'm sorry for the loss of your friend.

  3. Oh no, I followed all of Ron's workouts on Runkeeper. I never knew him, but am terribly sad to hear about this. Just shows how careful we all need to be while cycling.

    2013 will be a better year. You're going to be an Ironman this year Riri!

    1. Not yet for the Ironman, Dave, not yet ;-) I'll only be a half one this year. Next year will be the full.

  4. Thank you everyone for your comments. I appreciate each and every one of them. Ron won't be forgotten.

  5. What a cool year! First marathon in France -- that's major stuff. I'm also so sorry to hear about your friend Ron. You should definitely dedicate your first ironman to him. My first half marathon, I dedicated to my friend's toddler who passed away the year before, and it was a really spiritual experience keeping him on my mind throughout the race. Definitely an inspiration to live each day to the fullest.