The Pacing Life


I sit here writing my 2016 recap with a full heart. 2016 was a special year. For many reasons. Some that I will share and others that do not require recognition on my blog. From running to my personal and business life, we covered a lot of ground this year. I will try to keep this concise {but can't promise anything}. I do. September 24, 2016, will forever be the best day ever. Our wedding took place in Ottawa on a perfect fall day. We had so many family and friends (including many in our bridal party) travel great lengths to celebrate our special day with us. From the morning 5K run with one of my bridesmaids, to getting ready with my crew (who made me feel so beautiful), to the ceremony at our Church, the photos with the talented Amanda Urbanski, the flowers (and much more) from Blue Thistle Florist, to the reception, dinner and dance party with our nearest + dearest family and friends at Mill Street, everything was perfect. This day is a big part of why 2016 was so special. ♡

Trip of a lifetime. We left for our honeymoon the day after our wedding. We flew to Rome from Ottawa and spent four days exploring the city. We then boarded a ship in Civitavecchia, that sailed from southern Italy, to Greece, to Turkey and back. We saw and experienced so much on that trip. Our day in Kuşadası, Turkey was one of my favourite days of the year.

In Ephesus, Turkey

Athens, Greece, with the Acropolis in the background

Two more marathons. I ran my 13th and 14th marathons this year: the Ottawa Marathon (recap) in May; and the Hamilton Marathon (recap) in November. I learned and grew a whole lot while training for these races. Despite an achilles issue in the summer (a huge thank you to my teammate and physiotherapist, Joey, for helping me through that injury), I shaved 13 minutes off my marathon time in 2016 + I'm that much closer to Boston.

The difference between 2015 and 2016 for my running really boils down to one thing: confidence. Thanks to my running coaches (Ken + OAC Racing Team and Lindsey), I have matured as a runner and know what I can expect from myself. I no longer define my training and race plans with what ifs. I look back on the 3,157 kilometres that I ran in 2016 and know that I showed up in running this year. I now run easy runs faster than what my tempo runs used to be. And to think that used to be "impossible"...

As part of joining the OAC Racing Team in the spring, the 2016 Ottawa Marathon's Team Awesome, and connecting through social media with runners from all over the globe (some turned "real life" friends!), I am so grateful for the running community and am reminded daily as to why this sport means so much to me.

With Mom + Dad after qualifying for Chicago at the Hamilton Road2Hope Marathon

More distance covered with friends

Workouts down by the river with the OAC Racing Team

Emilie's Run with the OAC Racing Team

More treadmill kilometres

Coaching business. I am a firm believer that if you have a burning desire to do something, you should do just that. A year or so ago I started thinking about starting my own coaching business. This year I have taken steps to realize that goal, including getting my coaching certification through the North American Academy for Sport Fitness Professionals. I am looking forward to formally launching my business in Spring 2017, and am literally bursting with excitement for the possibilities. You can bet your bottom dollar there will be lots of action on this front in 2017. Stay tuned. In the meantime, I would love to connect with you on Facebook! Like The Pacing Life's page here.

Run Ottawa Board of Directors. As an active member of the Ottawa running community, including my involvement with Run Ottawa in 2015 and 2016, I decided to seek nomination to the Run Ottawa Board of Directors. As of November, I am very pleased to be serving as a two-year Board member and look forward to being a part the continued success and growth of the Run Ottawa events and run club.

Run Ottawa Board of Directors


Salty Running. I joined the Salty Running team! Salty Running covers all things running and is focused on female runners who have big dreams. Our readers are people who are serious about their running and I am honoured to work with the talented group of ladies behind the site. As the first Canadian contributor on the site, I naturally chose Maple as my online persona. You can see my introduction here and my first article on Lanni Marchant.

Collect memories, not things. 2016 was also full of many mementos from time spent with friends, including trips to DC and Montreal. As I get older, I am more and more grateful for my people. The lazy mornings, the late nights, the LOLs - I couldn't do life without you.

Fun nights with good friends

In D.C., with two of my favourite people

In Montreal at the Atwater Market in spring

The best sister in the world {and my Maid of Honour}

Wishing you all the best in 2017! ♡

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine

Anniversary Giveaway!!

To celebrate one year of The Pacing Life, I wanted to do something to say THANK YOU. Whether our paths crossed on this blog, Instagram, Twitter, I'm inspired daily by your stories and so appreciative to have you following me along on mine. So with that, I am giving away two race entries to the 2017 Ottawa Race Weekend!! That's right, whether it's the 5K or the Marathon, two winners will be entered to participate in the event of your choice! See the Rafflecoptor below for ways to enter.

You all know that Race Weekend is my favourite weekend of the year! In 2016, close to 47,000 people participated in six events over the weekend, including the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon. To celebrate Canada's 150th Anniversary, you can expect that this year's event will be special. If there is any year to run Canada's biggest running weekend, 2017 is it!

Rules: Enter by tagging a friend @thepacinglife's instagram OR entering via the Rafflecoptor options below! 2 winners will receive race entries to the 2017 Ottawa Race Weekend distance of your choice. Giveaway ends Monday August 29th, 2016, at midnight EST. Winner will be notified via Instagram or email. Winner has 14 days to claim prize before a backup winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


What race distance would you run at the 2017 Ottawa Race Weekend?

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on TwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine

Do things.

I've been thinking about this post for a while. I write many posts in my head. Some stay there, some get started, and some (only some) lead to me pressing publish. I'm writing to tell you a bit about my plans with running and my DREAM BIG DREAM of becoming a running coach. I've decided to blog about this journey in the event it helps someone one day in realizing their own dream or in becoming a certified coach. This is a story of acting on dreams, taking a leap of faith, and crossing out the possibilities of future what ifs. Let's back up a moment. Two weeks ago I announced on Twitter I was enrolling in a coaching certification course. Becoming a coach has been my goal for sometime now. The love I have for running and seeing others accomplish their goals drives me immensely in this journey. After having benefited tremendously from having a coach of my own, it feels very right for me to be on this path.

I've given a lot of thought to this decision. I recognize there are many courses out there, and I also realize you certainly don't need a certification to be a coach. But, me being me, wants to get certified. After researching extensively all the running coaching certifications out there (there are more than you think), I've decided to get certified through the North American Academy for Sport Fitness Professionals (NAASFP). The intensive course will leave me with the Marathon Coach (MC) credentials. The NAASFP course appealed to me as it was more than just your run of the mill weekend course. It is a course that combines theory and practice and will provide me with the necessary foundation in becoming a worthy coach for runners of all backgrounds.

There are four phases to the Marathon Coach certification. As outlined on the NAASFP website:

STEP ONE: Written Exam The exam is a comprehensive 100-question, 3-hour challenge of the principles found in the course material.  Candidates register for a scheduled exam date and time.  The exam is posted on-line for the scheduled three hours.  Candidates may reference course material during the exam, but a thorough knowledge of the material is necessary to complete all questions within the time limitation. Immediately upon completion the exam answers must be submitted electronically to NAASFP. A score of 80% or better is required for a pass.

STEP TWO: Case Study  The Case Study provides the candidate with an opportunity to demonstrate an ability to apply the knowledge necessary to successfully coach prior to working with a live client.  The candidate is given some basic necessary information on the prospective client including goals.  Based on this information the candidate will design a training program to help the client to achieve his or her goal.  A score of 80% or better is required for a pass.

STEP THREE: First Aid and CPR Certification  Maintaining First Aid and CPR certification is a requirement of certification with NAASFP and critical for working safely with clients.  In order to proceed with the Practical component the candidate must have completed this step and submitted a copy of the certificate to NAASFP.

STEP FOUR: Practical  The Practical is the opportunity to work with an actual client while the guidance of a Master Trainer is available electronically.  The candidate finds the client and signs them up, gaining permission to have the client’s information released to NAASFP for monitoring.  The candidate will design a full and monitor a program that must be a minimum of 18 weeks and appropriate for the client’s goal, factoring in their current fitness level.

Step One is currently scheduled for August 14th. After completing my masters degree in 2009, I never thought I would be saying that I'm heading back to the world of text books and studying. That said, I could not be happier (in fact, I am SO far over the moon). I look forward to keeping you updated on this journey and will one day be honoured if you considered working with me to reach your own running goals. For now, I will leave you with this excerpt from a book I read a little while ago.

"...because chasing the dream in your head looks surprisingly like work. Don't just stand there. You are good at something for a reason. The timing is never right. Forget that. It rarely falls into your lap. You are probably not guaranteed success. But off you go because we were not created to stand still, even though that is safe and familiar and you are guaranteed never to fall or stumble or grow weary. We were made to run." - Jen Hatmaker, For the Love

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on TwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine

Top 30 playlist favourites

With many of you well into your training for spring races, I thought it was a good time to offer some suggestions for your playlist. I don't know about you, but I can't imagine my long runs and hard speed workouts without music! My favourite tunes coming on can really help me focus on the kilometre I'm in.  You'll see that I have a real mix of genres :) So without further ado....

The Pacing Life's Marathon Playlist 

  1. TV on the Radio - Wolf Like Me 
  2. The XX - Fiction (Synapson Remix)
  3. Cold War Kids - First 
  4. Junkie XL - Fight the Dauntless (Divergent)
  5. Citizen Cope - Let the Drummer Kick It
  6. Florida Georgia Line - Anything Goes 
  7. Justin Bieber - Love Yourself 
  8. Rihanna - American Oxygen 
  9. Chvrches - Leave a Trace (Four Tet Remix)
  10. Steve Angello - Children of the Wild ft. Mako
  11. Kavinsky - Roadgame 
  12. Quantic - Time is the Enemy
  13. M83 - Oblivion
  14. M83 - Intro ft. Zola 
  15. The White Panda - Midnight Life (Kanye & M83)
  16. M83 - Holes in the Sky ft. HAIM
  17. Thomas Newman - Los Muertos (Spectre)
  18. Hans Zimmer - What Are You Going To Do (Man of Steel)
  19. Brand X - Beyond Limits
  20. Brand X - Weaponize
  21. The Unit - Fired Up (Feels Good)
  22. Two Steps from Hell - Victory
  23. Trapt - Headstrong
  24. Taylor Swift - Out of the Woods
  25. Pryda - Allein (Eric Prydz)
  26. Porter Robinson - Divinity
  27. London Music Works - Requiem for a Tower
  28. Placebo - Running Up That Hill
  29. Daft Punk - One More Time / Aerodynamic 
  30. Deadmau5 - All I Have

What's your favourite running songs?

Do you listen to soundtrack music? I'd love to hear your favourites! 

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on TwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine.

I was not a runner

I was never a runner. I started ballet at a very young age, and eventually moved away from home to go to ballet school. I loved ballet growing up. It was who I was. As a result, I was never into sports and wouldn't have considered myself an athlete. IMG_3441

As the years went on, I eventually decided to pursue ballet schools in the United States. In the summer before grade 10, I began studying in Pittsburgh. However, instead of fuelling my passion, I ended up growing a part from ballet. While I was good enough to continue (I had been accepted and given a scholarship to attend full-time), I knew that in the long-term, ballet wasn't for me.


I moved back home and began life beyond dance. I really struggled to define myself outside of ballet. After doing something so seriously for so many years, it's hard find your next thing. I battled with weight gain and feelings of overwhelming blah. I tried many things, but nothing ever ignited the same passion in me that ballet once did.

By the time I got to university, my Mom convinced me to try running. It was her thing and she knew what running could do for me. I hated running at first. I felt totally outside of my comfort zone. I remember registering for a run clinic at the local running store (we were training for our first half marathon at the time - the Walt Disney World Half Marathon). The idea of running more than 5 kilometres seemed impossible. My training in my early running years was lacklustre, to say the least. I barely ran more than 16km before that first half marathon. However, I crossed the finish line (in 2:45).


With time, and constant encouragement (and enticing race registrations, including the New York City Marathon) from my Mom, a powerful thing was ignited. I started to see myself as runner.

I look back on my journey now and smile. Running has given me more than I could ever imagine. Now, after completing 12 marathons (and nearly two hours off my first marathon time), I can say that your life is entirely up to you. If you had told me back in university that I would now be training for a 3:45 marathon, I would have laughed. Lots of thing seemed impossible at that time.

Running has changed my life for the better. Running makes me strong mentally and physically. It's given me abundant joy, grit, and determination that has carried over into ALL areas of my life. I AM A RUNNER.

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on Twitter and Instagram. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine.


fear ˈfir/noun
an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

There are many things in running and life that seem too big to overcome. Whether that's a long run, a fast pace, starting your own business, learning a new language, or going for a new job. All of these things put us outside our comfort zone. Fear often greets us in our journey and tells us we'll never get to our destination.

While I'm pretty good at keeping the doubt demons at bay, there are times I find myself casting shadows on my plans. To the point that I wonder, why am I doing X anyways? It's very easy to start questioning your ability to achieve a big goal.


I was listening to a podcast on my run the other day and the topic of doubt was being discussed. My takeaway was simple: the doubt, the fear and any other friction faced in achieving your goals are simply barking dogs. Now hear me out....

You tell yourself your goal time is impossible? Barking dog. Someone tells you that "too much running is bad for you"? Barking dog. You think, there's already so many X-type of businesses; what would make mine different? Barking dog. Someone tells you you're not ready for that job? Barking dog. ALL of that doubt, ALL of that fear, ALL of that "it's impossible": these are all barking dogs.

The thing about dogs, is that they bark when you walk by and they are tied upon a leash. They KNOW you are going somewhere that they are not. They bark because they want to come with you (or for you to stay behind). DO NOT DWELL ON BARKING DOGS. Keep walking.

I'll leave you with one of my all time favourite quotes. I discovered this quote many years ago. It never get's old.

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” -Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

What barking dogs are in your life?

I'd love to hear from you! You can find me on Twitter and Instagram. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine.