Feature Friday: Triathlon Training And Beyond

Every Friday we chat with one of our blog content network contributors to find out what most inspires them to be fit and find adventure every day.

This week we're chatting with Jackie from WrightFit Health & Wellness.

Jackie is a mom, wife, nurse, trail runner, marathoner, triathlete, future Ironman and a health, nutrition and wellness coach. In other words, she really does it all and she's inspiring and helping others along the way.

Read on to find out how she made her way into to the world of triathlon racing, what's next on her bucket list when it comes to her athletic pursuits and why she thinks you should never use the word "can't."

The Active Times: How did you first become involved in health and wellness?
Jackie: Although the name only came within the past five years, I came to be involved in WrightFit Health & Wellness when I became a registered nurse twenty years ago, and gained knowledge of physical and mental health, and I gained further interest in outdoor and endurance activities.

What spurred you to start your blog?
I began my own blog, as a means to convey information first to my family, friends and peers in the city where I live—we are a very active running and triathlon community, and felt the 'simple' knowledge wasn't always available to athletes newer to both running and/or triathlon, from physical and mental health, to training information and tips.

What is the greatest joy you get from sharing advice about health and wellness?
The greatest joy I gain from my blog is knowing/seeing how many individuals are taking the opportunity to learn about health, wellness and fitness, and hearing their input and appreciation at local workouts/training sessions: to know I am reaching individuals, and they are gaining information and actively using it to better themselves and their abilities! It warms my heart to have athletes that were once 'newbies,' now running and/or riding by my side, and loving the experience!

What is the one piece of kit or equipment you'd never be without?
I would be lost without my road bike, for sure, but even more so, I would say access to a good quality pair of running shoes is key to most individuals. A great pair of runners, fit to your feet specifically, can take you on your first run/walk from the couch, or through a marathon, or across a beautiful camping trip, or a hike with your family!

If money were no object, what piece of kit or equipment would you buy?
As my chosen sport, I would splurge on a triathlon bike, in addition to my (training) road bike—right now I use my road bike for both training and races.

Are you passionate about any activities besides the triathlon?
I am a very outdoor individual. I spent most of my childhood downhill skiing and racing at a local ski area, then having had the opportunity to ski in Germany and Austria as a young teen. Throughout high school, I ran cross-country and played Volleyball on my school teams. While in nursing school, I was a Ski Patrol then moved to mountain biking.

After I had my two children, I began road cycling then migrated quickly to triathlons, completing my first one when my second child was 18 months old: it was a "try-a-tri" distance triathlon. Within 26 months, I had trained for and completed a 70.3 event. I divorced not long after, and re-married, this time to a marathon runner. Having run a few half-marathons, I couldn't ever imagine why anyone would want to run a marathon: my husband coached and supported me through months of training, and in 2013, I ran my first marathon in Ontario, Canada with two of my running 'buddies.' In 2014, I ran my second, in Pittsburgh.

What is at the top of your bucket list when it comes to your athletic pursuits?
After completing the Ironman this summer (see below), another prominent item on my bucket list is to hike the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island.  It is a 75km hike that takes approximately five to eight days to complete.  The terrain is uneven, and one must be prepared for slippery conditions on muddy trails, wooden surfaces, boulders and rocky shorelines.

As well, various parts of the trails require wading through rivers, negotiating steep slopes, climbing ladders and using cable cars. The West Coast Trail is much more than a breathtakingly beautiful hike, it is the remnants of history that also leads you through in the footsteps of the First People in Canada. It is not quite at the 'top' of the bucket list due to scheduling and timing with a big family, but it is very near and dear to my heart, and will remain high on the priority list for the future.

What, if anything, did you most recently knock off your bucket list?
Although I have not yet 'knocked it off' my bucket list, in August 2015, I will be completing my first Ironman 140.6 triathlon: this will include a 3.8km swim, 180km bike, and 42.2km run (marathon). I have been diligently training for this event since they announced the Inaugural race venue (Huntsville, Ontario) in August 2014, and am very excited!

What is your least favorite word, and why? 
One of my least favorite words is can't (another is 'never'). It seems many people use 'can't' as if it is a mantra when it comes to achieving unfamiliar or new goals, whether they are fitness, health or work/life balance related. I don't believe in the word can't, as I feel everyone can, with modifications as/when necessary. I feel sometimes they are using can't, for won't, and that can always be changed for the positive!

Where is your favorite place to be?
Most of all, I love being with my husband and our four children (we are a blended family!) at our cottage—it's quiet, peaceful (ideal for road rides and long runs), surrounded by majestic pines and a beautiful river which our children enjoy, and I can swim distances in. Spending time together at our cottage, within nature, clears my mind, replenishes my soul and puts my heart at peace.

To learn more about Jackie visit wrightfithealth.com