Most Memorable Moments of 2014

Here are my most memorable moments of 2014, as captured in pictures.  When I pulled all the photos, I realized how fortunate I am: so many moments, friends, and adventures.  Jason and I truly are rich!

Making the Betty Designs team!

Traveling to Alberta to celebrate a good friend's
birthday and new life!

Running in the snow in the Alberta Rocky Mountains.

Swim lesson in Kona from the amazing Karlyn Pipes.

Riding the Kona Ironman course.

More riding in Kona.

Picking up little baby Tiki.

Racing and more racing.
Road trips!

Fun 100-miler in the Idaho flatlands.

Epic tubing adventure down the Boise river.

Vineman Aquabike - so fun pushing really hard on the bike!

Wine touring with my friend Candace
(her first time wine tasting!)

Adventure on the Oregon dunes.

Napping with the pup.

Buying an RV and redoing it to become
the ultimate bike/race-mobile.

Spending a couple of days in Vancouver in Sept.
with our International Student Program - so much fun!

Jason pretty much dominating all his events!

Surprise trip to Kona for Ironman weekend!

Jason spectating in Kona for the first time -
of course he's raced it 7 times!

Getting back on my mtn bike.
Watching the pup grow.

Hard, windy 100-miler in the desert.

"Recovery evening" in Vegas after the 100-miler.

New cyclocross bike!

Good times with my BFFs.

2015 - you have a lot to live up to!  Cheers, all, to the new year and may it be the best ever!

Xmas Morning Hike

Every year we're at home for christmas, Jason and I do the same hike the morning of Dec. 25.  This year was Tiki's first time joining us, and she had a great time.  It was a sunny morning; here are some pictures from our time by the river:
So green this time of year here!

Tiki was running around non-stop; Jason declared her an "impossible subject" to get a picture of.

Getting her away from the dead salmon!
Almost too big to carry at 10 months old.

I have lots of pictures like this over the years with Humu...

We live in the land of the big trees.  This is
just an average one.

Stuff I Love: my Tracer360 vest

Winter on the island means running in the dark.  A lot.  Before work or after, whenever I choose to run, it's dark.  I live in a semi-rural area, which means some streets have streetlights, and others don't.  So I've long looked for decent reflective clothing to be safe, and this year have found the absolutely perfect solution: the Noxgear Tracer360.

I've had those wimpy flashing lights on an armband before, but they're pretty pathetic.  I have reflective vests, reflective jackets, reflective tights, etc etc... but you never really know what weather you'll be running in here - tonight it was 3 degrees C (37 degrees F) - as in friggin' cold - but last week it was a balmy 16 C (61 F) - not exactly tights and jacket weather.  Plus, reflective clothing depends on lights shining on you, and I've scared the crap out of people walking down the road as they didn't see me coming in the dark.

Enter the Tracer360.  It's a "vest" made of fiber optics with LED lights.  It is crazy bright, and you can set it to flashing though a multitude of colours, or set it on to the solid colour of your choice.  It's super light and I don't even feel it on.  You can wear it over a tank top or a jacket - all weather versatile.  I've worn it in the pouring rain (hello PNW winter) and it works just fine.

I feel super safe running in the dark wearing it, and have had heaps of positive comments from people who have seen me and Jason wearing them.  It really is the greatest thing for running at night that I've ever found.

Jason modelling the Tracer360 -
doesn't look like much when it's off.
Jason running with it set on solid green.

Set on flashing.

Because it's so awesome, I emailed the people at Noxgear and told them how much I loved it... and they offered me a discount code for anyone reading this!  To get your very own for 15% off, go to and use the code: YROFALISON - how cool is that! (good until Feb. 28)  Happy running!

PS - they're coming out with a dog version, can't wait to get that for Tiki!

Full disclosure: they didn't pay me or provide me with product or anything for this review.  I somehow stumbled onto it online, bought the vest and loved it.  I contacted them about a discount code for anyone in the future... I paid full price!

Triathlon Holiday Gift Guide

Now for the world's laziest blog post... I wrote this one last year and am "re-gifting" it.  Perhaps it will become a new holiday tradition of mine.  I did update the pictures from this year, so that's something!

It seems like every blog is posting a holiday gift guide this time of year.  I thought I’d get into the spirit as well, but with my own take on it.  First of all, full disclosure: yep, I do love gear and all kinds of “stuff’;  but several years ago I decided that the most valuable things to give are time and memories.  I no longer exchange gifts with Jason, family members, etc., but we choose special things to do with each other instead.  Here are some suggestions for “gifts” for the active people in your lives.

The swimmer
A super-fun, yet challenging, swim workout.  My most memorable swim was of course swimming 100x100m with Jason in Hawaii.   Another was last xmas when we swam the “12 Days of Christmas” swim: 78x75m (5850m).  We’ll be doing that one again this year together, but starting at 12 instead of 1.  You see, the workout goes just like the song, where you do 1x75, then 2x75 , then 3X75… so on.  It didn’t take long to get the first 6 “days” out of the way (1575m), but the last 6 (4050m) took forever.  This time will start with 12x75, then 11x75, then 10… same mileage obviously but mentally more fun to be counting down rather than up.

Jason at the start of Victoria Triathlon
(photo by Pelle Gustavs)

The cyclist
How about a ride on a cool, out-of-the-way route that you don’t normally ride?  Get your cycling buddies together for some flowy singletrack, or a sweet road ride on backroads where you don’t have to worry about traffic and can ride in a group and chat.  Or create a fun mock-cyclocross course through some local parks and share the laughs with your best riding pals.

Riding with friends in Red Rock Canyon

The runner
Meet early one morning for a long run, then head out to the best brunch place afterwards.  Mimosas and carb-overloading feels soooo good after up to two hours of pounding the pavement or trails.  Or maybe a shorter run, but try to find one of those Participarks to play on the fitness circuit while running!  Participarks may be a strictly Canadian thing – they were built in parks around the country in the early 80’s to encourage Canadians to get more active.  It’s basically a fitness circuit with 12-ish exercise stations, placed throughout a 2-3km loop through a park or trail.  Fun!

Jason & I after a run on his surprise Hawaii trip

The water lover
Even though it’s wetsuit season here in the PNW, get out the SUPs and go for a paddle.  Find a calm morning, or brave the afternoon winds and have some fun in the chop!

The hiker
Scout around the rumour mill for some off-the-beaten track places and go exploring.  The other day my friend Candace and I (and her dog Shadow) poked around an abandoned property to find a fabled waterfall – involved some scrambling, climbing over fallen trees, tall grass, jumping creeks, eating dirt… and was fantastically fun.

The multi-sport athlete
Do some chores or something to free up some of their time, which they could use to have a nap.  'Nuff said.

The special someone
Book a trip to a training mecca (Kona, Tucson, wherever…), and up the mileage in this off-season by training like crazy and creating your own triathlon training camp.  All it takes is the desire to swimbikerun every day in a warm, sunny spot, a comfy couch to recover on, and some good food to fuel up with.  And of course, time with the peeps most important to you to create those special memories.

Kona training holiday last March