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Inspired By The Everyday “Woman”


Over the next couple months you will see my blog taken over by some of the most inspiring woman I have had the privilege of knowing.  These woman have inspired my life in many different ways and daily challenge me to step out of my safe zones.  My hope for this series is you will be challenged to face your fears, set new goals and take action the dreams that have gone dormant.

“I think one’s feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results.” 

Florence Nightingale

This months blogger:

Brandy Hagel



Why we love her:

Brandy, was the first person I asked to be apart of this series. Brandy has continually inspired me through out training seasons to keep the goal in my sites, to never give up and that I’m not the only hangry one;)  Through out this month Brandy will be sharing her training and nutrition tips with us as she prepares for her next full marathon.  Thank you Brandy, for being a part of this series! I can’t wait to see you cross that finish line and prepare for Boston.




Why do you run?

To explain why I started running is a bit of a loaded question. (laughs) I started running when I was in high school. Not really for any reason, per se. My school didn’t have a track and field team or a long distance running club, I just ran to feel good and to look good.

When I was 18 I moved to Kelowna for the first time, which was the same year I signed up for my first half marathon. I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I remember running the Terry Fox Run 10k prior to the Campus to Campus half marathon in March and feeling like I could definitely do the 21.1km distance. I even remember walking to the start line almost convincing myself I should turn back and run it another year. But that’s the thing I love most about running: It pushes you past the limits you set for yourself and into a whole new realm of possibility. So, I ran it. I remember looking at the 18km marker thinking, “my legs are going to fall off, I am in so much pain”. But I managed to make it across the finish line with a time of 1:46:14. Not bad for a first race.

My second race wasn’t until 5 years later, in 2012 in St. Albert, Alberta. As most runners know, obtaining a PB (personal best) is a goal for every runner. Ironically, my time for my second half marathon was 1:46:14. Sound familiar? It was the exact same time as my first half marathon, down to the second. I’ve always thought I should buy myself a lottery ticket using those numbers. Soon after I signed up for this half marathon I also signed up for an additional half marathon, which I placed 2nd in my age category for, and my first full marathon in Edmonton, Alberta, all in the same year. I gave myself 8 months of training to finish the full marathon, and I accomplished the biggest goal I had ever set for myself with a time of 4 hours and 11 minutes.


I knew then, that I was a runner. I ran another two half marathons in Kelowna (Wine Country and BMO) of the year 2013, placing 2nd again in my age group for the Wine Country Half. I scored a PB for the BMO half, finishing with a time of 1:37. I began changing my training to fulfill a bigger and better dream of mine… running the Boston Marathon. The Boston Marathon is a qualifying race, AKA you need to finish with a fast enough time to even be able to register for it.  For my age group, I need a finishing time of 3:35. (3hrs 35 minutes). Boston is the gold standard of races. It’s the race everyone wants to be a part of. It has been my long standing goal this year to qualify for it.

I began training for the Vancouver BMO full marathon on January 6th, 2015. It was the most extensive, difficult and quite possibly challenging training plans I have ever done. But through losing toenails, injuries, and logging over 1000km of road throughout the 5 months, I missed qualifying for Boston by 27 seconds on May 3rd, 2015. It was without a doubt the most bittersweet moment of my life. I knew I was so close, and I knew that I couldn’t have possibly done anymore to shave off those measly seconds. But knowing there was another qualifying full marathon in Kelowna on October 11th, 2015 made me hungrier for my qualifying time. Which is the race I am currently training for. I know the route so well; I run it through my mind every night. I’ve physically ran it, I know exactly the turns of the road and I know there aren’t any hidden hills that could slow me down. But most importantly, my family and friends will be there to be a part of the most important day of my life. A day I have worked so hard for.

An even harder question to answer is why I love running. A friend of mine recently asked me this question and it took some thought. Not because I don’t have an answer, but because I don’t have enough words to explain the passion I have for it.   All I know is that it keeps me dedicated and accountable for my own self. I feel more myself than at any other time while I’m running. It sounds cliché, but it makes me feel alive. When my legs are tired, and my lungs are tired, and my mind is giving up, my heart pushes me through every single time and it truly is a surreal feeling. An almost out-of-body sensation. Running has become such a big part of me that if it were to be taken away, I wouldn’t know who I was.


For this upcoming race, I’ve been using the Running Room Training Plan. I’ve used it for every one of my races and I can’t imagine using anything else.

Currently, my schedule looks like this:


Sunday: Long run (25-34km)


Monday: Rest


Tuesday: 8-11km tempo ( fast run for a sustained period of time- about a 4:25 pace)


Wednesdays: 10 hills at 600m and 12 km run OR speed work at the Apple Bowl

track which includes: 4 km warm up, 100m/200m/400m repeats X3 at 80-100% max threshold, 2 km cool down


Thursdays: 13km fartlek ( varying speeds throughout the run) I typically do this on the track . 100m @ 80% max threshold, 100m at @ 60% for 12 consecutive laps/ finish reminded of run switching up pace throughout


Fridays: 10km steady


Saturdays: 8km steady

As you can see, there isn’t a lot of room for cross training. I typically fit in cross training (core work, upper body strength, power jumping) on Wednesdays/ Fridays. It’s encouraged to do cross training on days that are easier. I also foam roll and stretch every day. Even if it’s 5 minutes while my coffee brews in the morning.

I have learned with my current training, that it is much more mental than any other race I have trained for. I have had so many ups and downs, days I don’t want to get out of bed at 4:30am to get my run in, and moments where my mind tells me to give up long before my body does. But the most important thing is that I still never give up. I visualize seeing my qualifying time as I cross the finish line every day. I put my mind in a place of success and positivity. I have the greatest support system at work and in my personal life, which helps a lot. My family puts up with my “hangry” moments, and reminds me of why I’m doing what I’m doing… and I have friends who are training for race themselves, even the Ironman. They get it. They get when training gets hard and you mentally have to push through everyday. We help each other out and for that, I am grateful.


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