Thursday, December 1, 2016

Recipe for 2017 Happiness and Success

I've been at this marathon thing long enough, 13 in 14 years to be exact, to pay particular attention to what my body says in the off-season. After the Olympics I took 5 days off then transitioned into Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon training with both care and risk.  I wanted to properly recover yet quickly ramp up the workload because I felt I had nothing to lose. I was elated that it worked when successfully capturing the National Marathon title, particularly because it was against a very strong field. It was definitely the icing on the cake.  
Recovery from my second 2016 marathon, which was only 9 weeks after my first, was smooth. As per my usual post-marathon routine, I fully indulged in the sweets I lived without for months. I enjoyed simple walks with the dog and recreational bike rides on the trails. I physically felt fine but emotionally and mentally started to feel that with every day, I needed that much more time to fully recover. I then looked back at my list of 2016 races from January to October, and somewhat surprised myself to discover it was a pretty big year: five half marathons (in Houston, Vancouver, Burlington, Montreal and Calgary), one 30 km (in Hamilton), one 10 km (in Toronto), and two marathons (in Rio and Toronto).  No wonder I felt I needed more time! After two weeks without running, I started some easy jogging then filled the rest of my day with all the extras I had put on hold for basically a year. And since then, it has kept me quite busy in a variety of ways: I completed several interviews in person and by phone, skype/facetime or email, had various speaking engagements, worked with the kids to fill their Operation Christmas child shoe boxes and purge hundreds of items from the basement and their bedrooms, had overdue coffee dates with friends, completed my annual College of Dietitians of Ontario renewal, trained for and completed my first shift as official swim meet timer, helped with team fundraisers, played in an evening of laser tag, AND fully suited up for the first time in many years to play some ice hockey! So many of these events required significant energy that I just wasn't able to give when in the thick of marathon training. I'm particularly glad to have the purging job complete. That takes more time and energy than any running workout!
At this point in late November, I've finished my fourth week of easy running and have quite enjoyed this beautiful fall, running freely with no plan, no watch, and simply the beauty of the outdoors with crunchy leaves beneath my feet. My 2016 recovery has nicely become my base building for a 2017 spring marathon. I'm expecting 2017 to look a bit different, not only because I will turn the big 4-0 in early January but because I will be with a new coach. It was a very difficult decision to make but after much thought I decided to not continue with Rick. After 5 very eventful and successful years with him it was really tough but necessary for my career. I felt I needed change, something different. I realize 2013 may be my fastest year and 2016 my most successful but I couldn't stay for comfort and familiarity. I did not want to look back and ask myself, "Why didn't you just try something new when you could have?".  Thankfully, I am at a very good point in my career right now. I could get injured or decide to be finished today, leaving incredibly pleased with my success. Or I could give it a few more attempts to see what else could happen. Rick was understanding and supportive. We will always have a positive relationship with mutual respect as we continue to share our passion for running and love for our Brantford community. 
In terms of coaching, it made perfect sense to ask Dave Scott-Thomas if he and his team would consider taking me. For many reasons, I always felt this is where I would go, should the need arise. And I somewhat already felt part of the team because I was included as an "adopted" Gryphon in the list of Speed River/University of Guelph Olympians. Recently I made a trip to Guelph to meet with Dave to discuss our next steps. While walking around the athletic buildings, we made a stop in to see my former teammate and roommate, Rachel Flanagan who is now head coach of the women's hockey team. We reminisced a bit, which included us determining that Dave's first year as head coach was my second year at U of G. I had actually done a few runs with the x country team when in my first year while also attending hockey tryouts with a full course load but it was too much at the time when my mom was losing her battle to cancer. So there I stood, twenty years later, back in Guelph somewhat picking up where I left off.  
December will continue to be a base-building month with likely the addition of a bit of quality. I am quite excited about 2017. Perhaps the best is yet to come! 

Coffee with Sue. I've looked up to her for a long time. She would commit to the gym with young children  (4) and I can I! And I did. Thank you Sue, for your support, friendship, stretching and breathing sessions, and inspiration. So happy for the success with your personal training business.

Thank you cards and thank you to my sister for the design.

Making some homemade granola with my sous chef. Ingredients included nearly anything I could grab. 
I mixed various types of Stoked Oats, chia, flax, hemp, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, pecans, and chocolate chips together in a massive bowl.  
Then I whisked together some olive oil, honey, molasses and peanut butter. 
I stirred the liquid into the mixture, spread everything onto the huge baking sheet, and baked at 350 F. 
Made a huge batch. Froze the extras.

Still smelling the roses. Thanks for the recognition, City of Brantford.

Always an honour to represent Brantford.

Interview with Rose Meeder. Click here. 

#TeamDuChene #hockey #offseason #Guelph #home

Run with my longtime friends, J&C.

Always enjoy speaking to others, telling my story.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

2016. My Year. Our Year.

2016 Olympian and National Champion. My year.
Photo:  Victah Sailer@PhotoRunVictah1111@aol.com631-291-3409 www.photorun.NET 

October 17, 2016
A few days after racing the 2016 Olympic Games Marathon in Rio, I knew it was too early to call it a season. I was healthy, feeling relatively fresh and strong, and decided to race the IAAF Gold Label Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM), which would also host the Canadian Championship. My main goal would be to win a national title again.  
I told my coach that I wanted to take more risk with my training. Rio was all about being careful with training while completely devoting to preventative maintenance, rest, sleep, and nutrition. It was easy and straight-forward to continue with the latter, once I returned from Rio, because I simply plugged back into the same healthy habits and routine I had in place prior to the Olympics. But we took more of a chance with training, ramping up the mileage and intensity of workouts fairly aggressively. I felt I had nothing to lose and was willing to take the risk; I might get injured or ill but how would I ever know if I did not try? I successfully completed my highest-ever week of 180 km but was only able to log 174 km the following week after simultaneously succumbing to both the cold and G.I. illnesses floating around. I nursed myself back to good health and continued focusing on marathon-pace specific workouts while commencing a slight taper. It was at this time that my left achilles started to give me some grief. Fortunately with great care from my physiotherapist, Paul, and remaining on trail and treadmill soft surfaces, I was able to get through it so that it wasn’t a factor on race day.
In trying to determine pacing needs for the race, it was difficult to give race director, Alan Brookes, a solid number. I knew I was peaking late with my fitness but my 9 week build was so different than any of my other ones. The strongest-ever Canadian women’s field at a national championship was going to include five other women who could likely go under 2:35: Rachel Hannah, Dayna Pidhoresky, Tarah Korir, Leslie Sexton and Erin Burrett. Lanni Marchant would be switching spots with me, doing the broadcast this year, with plans to race New York city a few weeks later. Like any marathon, pace was going to be strongly determined by race day conditions. For the 2 days leading up to race day, the weather was showing a combination of cloud, sun, lightning, wind, and rain. I’ve raced long enough to not obsess about the weather yet also not underestimate the effect it can have on performance, regardless of your fitness level.  Media commitments and expo activities kept me busy on Friday but Saturday was free and clear, allowing me to rest and relax comfortably in the hotel. The forecast within the last 12 hours before start time was then consistently showing humidity in the mid 80’s. That was a red flag for me. I once raced STWM with high humidity and it was ugly. Very ugly. 
On race morning, I figured fast times were not going to happen so it would be my experience, and heat and humidity training for Rio, that were going to give me the confidence to race well. Dayna and I decided that we would start around the same pace but if one felt stronger, we’d split with our pacers. It was after about the first one or two kilometers at 3:30/km that I knew I needed to slow it down, just slightly. Humidity is a silent killer and I was not going to risk blowing up by starting too hard. Additionally, with no sun and some rain patches, the ground was somewhat slippery. Dayna moved ahead and was in the lead for the majority of the race, just enough ahead of me that I could keep my eye on her. Meanwhile, Rachel was just enough behind that she could keep her eye on me! Being sandwiched was ideal; we all wanted that Canadian title and I had one to catch to get it and one to keep away from taking it. It was my race to win or lose. Around the time I caught up to Dayna at around 32 km, Rachel caught up to me. I continued to press on, staying focused and patient, knowing I wanted that national title more than anything. The Canadian record and (ridiculous) World Championship finish times were out of reach by this point. So it was about grinding it out. Over the last 10 km I was able to gradually widen the gap and successfully cross the finish line with celebratory arms in the air as Canadian champion. It was a rather emotional finish for me as I thought about my husband and kids’ devotion to my training over the last several months. It is difficult for a mom to put herself first but Team DuChene allowed me to do that, and we succeeded. With the Canadian flag over my shoulders, I shed a few tears and held dearly to the memory of hugging my family immediately upon my finish in Rio. I did it. We did it. We made 2016 my year as Olympian and Canadian Champion. And I have so many to thank.
It has been a bit over 24 hours since completing the marathon. I have smiled and teared up over many congratulatory messages, and enjoyed a few sweets, several cups of coffee, and some precious quiet time in a still house with the kids at school and me not out training. I have several speaking engagements ahead that I look forward to, along with savouring the outcome of this incredible year. As for what’s next, obviously a well-deserved break. A spring marathon will likely be the plan (when I’m 40!) but for now, it’s another cup of coffee and square of chocolate.
To each and every one of you, I thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, I truly thank you.

Beautiful view before a long tempo with Mitch.

Training for Rio and STWM included a lot of green smoothies and egg white omelettes. 

Alan Brookes getting things started at the 2016 STWM press conference. Thanks for another incredible race weekend, Alan. 

Helping out where and when I can. I enjoyed supporting the Grain Farmers of Ontario. Yes, I certainly do  #TrainWithGrains !

So grateful for family and friends. Thanks for being there.
(Jonathan and kids busy with hockey and swimming so couldn't attend)

Time to smell the roses again. Thanks so much for the flowers, Britanie. Love our friendship!

Back to the ice again. Love skating with this girl. #minime

Oh yes, a very sweet occasion. Love Stacey's pecan squares!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Reliving Rio

August 29, 2016. It has been two weeks since running the marathon at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. While away, I frequently posted pictures of the race, my Olympic experience, and family vacation as it was much easier, and far less time consuming, than sitting at my computer to write. 
I must admit that I have had some writer’s block. It seems like months since I ran the race that may well likely be the pinnacle of my running career. I’ve hardly known where to start in order to articulate everything. But when people ask me to share my “favourite thing”, without a doubt I think about this picture as it captures so much about my experience and emotions.

This moment was the moment.

Upon arrival to the village on August 9 after our 10 hr flight, I quickly and easily settled into my normal pre-marathon routine of rest, sleep, easy running (with one workout at the track), and proper eating/hydration. I knew I would have plenty of time to take it all in - the Olympic experience and Rio vacationing - after my event. I wasn’t there just to compete - I wanted to have a great race. Fortunately, Natasha Wodak, my roommate who ran a blazing 31:53 to place 22nd in the 10,000 m had a similar agenda as she was competing only 2 days before me. 
Because the marathon start was a 1+ hr drive from the village, Lanni and I stayed in a hotel with our support team the night before. Prior to leaving we met to discuss logistics and give Trent our bottles/gels, which would be handed to us during the race. To play it safe, I ate my last meal at the village before departing. I had one last tune-up treatment session with Ron at the hotel then settled in nicely for the night, setting out my gear and watching the games on tv. The bed was softer and bouncier than the firm village beds (which I loved) and the air conditioner was a bit rattly but I slept well, like every other night in the village. In the morning I ate my simple bread and jam pre-race meal and started sipping Eload then met Lanni for coffee downstairs around 5:30 am. We got into our race kits, packed up then drove with the crew to the race site. We rested our legs, made several washroom trips, jogged a short warm up, and made our way to the call room to check in, get our chip and new race bib for the front. It was busy and you could feel the nerves in the air but other than that, relatively uneventful as far I was concerned. I was calm, feeling good and ready to go. Heading out to the start line was a bit chaotic. It was loud and crowded and they were calling names of the top seeded athletes but few were responding. It was humid, as expected, and the bright sun was beating down. Eventually we made our way to the start and before we knew it, the gun went off. I had successfully spotted my family, high in the nosebleed section and gave them a wave, assuming they likely wouldn’t see it amongst the 157 women who started the race. And there I was, competing in the 2016 Olympic Marathon. Given the warm conditions that I prepared for, and my level of fitness, I figured I shouldn’t go any faster than 3:35 min/km. The first few km were around 3:30 so I slowed myself down to a more appropriate pace. This was going to be my race; I was going to run my pace, start conservatively, and only be concerned about bettering my placement. And that I did. I successfully got into a steady rhythm, sometimes running with a small group, while other times running alone or with only 1 or 2 other women. I consumed my Eload and 7 gels at the 8 stations, positioned every 5 km, and poured an entire bottle of water on my head at every opportunity to help keep as cool as possible. Wearing a visor was perfect for this. The route was flat and consisted of approximately 4 km to the 3 x 10 km loops followed by 8 km to the finish. The support along the route was energizing and encouraging, and about the only struggle I had was a side cramp, which didn’t even last that long. At the half way point I decided I needed to push a bit more and start picking people off. At one point I was about 70th but eventually made my way down to 35th (I was ranked 50th and 133 finished the race). Once I got to the Sambodromo it was all about celebrating my personal victory. I gave myself a little fist pump and the crowd went wild! So I embraced the moment and took it for all its worth. Waving my hands, raising my arms in the air and giving additional fist pumps created the loudest and most exciting roar, more thrilling than I ever could have imagined. I crossed the line with a huge smile on my face, thankful for my performance, then looked to the sea of red to my right. I couldn’t believe it. My family was right there, and I was able to run directly to them! Embracing with tears of joy and cheers of happiness, I lived my dream. On many occasions I’ve visualized running into the arms of my loved ones after a successful race. I was doing just that, and it was the Olympics! Later that day when we were at the Canada House, someone came over to me to show me the picture that was getting a fair amount of views. That is when I really got emotional. The tears started to flow as looked at that picture, knowing that not only did I experience a moment of a lifetime but someone captured it. In addition to my Christian faith, getting married, and giving birth, I realized this was a significant event that I would treasure immensely for the rest of my entire life. 
After the race I spent the day with my family then returned to the village for a mandatory security meeting. I then met up with my family again. We really enjoyed our time together, watching table tennis, going to the beach and Christ the Redeemer, spending a night at the track (where Derek Drouin won gold in high jump), having morning coffee on the veranda with mountains in view, and savouring meals together, some cooked in while others enjoyed out. The house was beautiful and spacious and a mere 5 minute walk from a playground, various shops, and the beautiful beach. The night before my family's flight, we said our goodbyes and I took an uber back to the village. I did some easy running and swimming, relaxed by the pool with a book, enjoyed some sweets, cheered on our Canadian athletes in the race walk, marathon and at the track, enjoyed a dinner with Natasha and her parents at Copacabana, and celebrated at the Closing Ceremony. It was an incredible 15 days.
I am so grateful that I had both a successful race and Olympic experience. It was everything I hoped for and imagined, and then some. The love and support I received before and after has been so heart-warming and I definitely felt the strength of peoples’ prayers for health and safety for myself and my family.  Thank you to each and everyone of you, particularly my husband, Jonathan. My heart is full. It is well with my soul.  

August 8. #TeamDuChene before I departed. They would fly a few days later.
We made it! Twenty years since Canada had a woman compete in the Olympic marathon. Here we are, Lanni and I, about to settle in at our hotel, the night before race day. Race start was about 1 hour from the Olympic Village.
And we're off. 157 started and 133 finished. 

A little wave to thank the folks cheering for the maple leaf.

The marathon route consisted of about 4 km to a 3 x 10 km loop followed by 8 km to the finish. 

The crowd went wild when I started celebrating on the straight away toward the finish. So I worked it! The roar was absolutely incredible. 

Many from home sent me screen shots, saying how emotional they were when watching me finish.   

Thrilled. Joyous. Elated.

Love this picture. Rio Olympic rings and celebratory fist in the air.

Looking across and seeing my family and coach. I immediately ran toward them and we embraced with tears of happiness and cheers of joy.

Could not stop smiling. 

Officially an Olympian.
Lanni doubled (having also completed the 10,000 m) and I showed it can be done with age and as a parent.

Canadian Marathoners (L to R) at the Closing Ceremony: Eric Gillis (3 x Olympian), Lanni Marchant, Reid Coolsaet (2 x Olympian), and Krista DuChene.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

This Is It!

Well, this is it.
The last time I wrote a post, I had 6 weeks to go. Now, I have one. One week until I race in the Women's Marathon at the Rio Olympic Games at 9:30 am (8:30 EST on cbc) on August 14, 2016.
In mid-July I was gearing up to train for three of my highest mileage weeks ever while taking full advantage of the hot and humid Ontario summer we were experiencing. It was at this time that this whole Olympic thing started to feel real. This was it. I filled and consumed countless bottles of Eload, was in my pyjamas before most people would even start dinner, agonized in the sauna, and doubled up on my treatments to ensure I was doing everything possible to be at my best.

[A huge shout out goes to Aluminate as we were getting some work done on the house (siding, windows, etc) during this time. When I returned from a run, we compared our work in the heat, and determined which corner of the house would be best for my nap while they continued. I enjoyed their calm classical music, appreciated their cleanliness, and most importantly loved the final product.]

Coach Rick and I were hoping I could mimic my training from 2013 when I had my best year. And I think we were fairly successful in doing that. I may not quite be as fast as we focused more on acclimating for the heat and humidity while appropriately adjusting paces. My tempos are key fitness indicators and even though they have been slightly slower, the overall pace for the entire run has been faster. More of them were outside within a 25-35 km run than inside on the treadmill within 25-30 km. My average weekly mileage for my three peak weeks was 172 km compared to 165 km, and most of my runs occurred between 10:30am-12:30pm, which allowed me to start with more humidity and end with more heat.  I feel like I am stronger and more equipped to handle a race in tough conditions, which is more about placement than time. My weight is 118 lb and RHR at 36, which also gives me confidence that I am ready.

On Monday, August 8 I will fly with several athletes from Athletics Canada since August 9 is the first day we can enter the athletes'  village. August 12 is the first day of competition. I am really looking forward to having the race of my life, and taking in the entire Olympic experience. Wow, what a journey! Again, I thank each and everyone of you for everything you have done to make this possible. Let's do this.

Second last tempo within a long run. Thanks, Rachel and Mitch!

Rio! Rio! Rio!

Oldest, and proud of it!

Proud to be CANADIAN!

Enjoying my last run with the gang. 

Team Krista shirts. Thanks again, J&K.

Coach Rick, the two boys and I headed to Guelph to get my Canada gear and receive treatment from physiotherapist, Brenda Scott-Thomas. Loved my time there as a Gryphon (ice hockey).

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Thank You!

For years I have thought about how to express my gratitude for the amazing support I've received in my running career.  It is terribly difficult to do so in one email, tweet or post so I can only hope that each and everyone of you know how thankful I am. Truly thankful. 
Thank you for: your kindness and believing in me, giving me your time and energy, supporting me financially or otherwise, praying for or thinking of me during the lows, celebrating with me in the highs, allowing me to inspire you, sending notes of encouragement and love, allowing me to speak or be silent, caring for my children, speaking so kindly of my husband and his generosity, cheering for me at races, providing professional expertise, and being a true friend or caring family member. I am blessed, loved, proud, honoured. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
It is well with my soul!
Thank you, 

Saucony footwear and apparel.

Eload Sport Nutrition.
Essential Physiotherapy and Wellness

Therapeutic Massage Counsel

David Zulak Registered Massage Therapist 
Smith Optics
Stoked Oats

Dale Draaistra (2nd from left), one of two people to first say, "I think you should try to make the Olympic Team some day".

Paris Runner's Den
Coach Rick Mannen.

Josie Mannen, Coach Rick's Assistant

Lana Furry - one of two people to first say, "I think you should try to make the Olympic Team some day".

Brant Community Church



Maureen and Jeanetta - cared for all three children since birth. 

Clayton and James - running and friendship.

Monkey Butter


City of Brantford.

Alan Brookes and the Canada Running Series. 

Kiwanis Field.

Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre.

Dale, Mitch, James and Clayton (and their supportive families).
Montreal General Hospital and Brantford General Hospital
Kenyan Kids Foundation.
My absolute #1, Jonathan.
Micah DuChene - leadership and responsibility with or without anyone around. 

Seth DuChene - caring, supporting and willing to make coffee! 

Leah DuChene - obedient and helpful even when it's tiring. 

Maple Grove 
Celine Tuttle - childcare.
Sue Spence - stretching, breathing, and friendship.


Heather Tuttle - childcare and always ready, willing and able to help #TeamDuChene.

Mr. Tony - good family friend and loving dog sitter.  

Ben Kaplan and iRun Magazine

My one and only big sister, Janna.
Grammy and Grampa.
100 Huntley St. - opportunity to share my story.

Special and generous friends who know me well. 

Essential Physio.

Surprises from friends and family. Thanks, Jennifer and Kenneth!

Some answers and links to common questions:
1. What is Rule 40 (click here) ? 
2. Women's Marathon is August 14 at 8:30 am (EST). 
5. Athletics Canada will not be at the August 5 Opening Ceremony. Look for at the Closing Ceremony, August 21!
7. Brant Community Church also hosting an event:
"Note change of Sunday service on August 14th.... The Yugo team is hosting a light breakfast as we cheer on Krista DuChene at the olympics.
The Live Stream will be set up in the Community Room starting at 8:30 am. The service will follow the event.Free will offering will be taken for Yugo Missions."