Q: Thanks so much for being part of our Over the Hurdle blog, Brittany. To get started, can you please tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
A: I am a triplet, pro triathlete, trail runner, engineer and coach. Running has always been a passion and my strength amongst the three sports. I am a type A individual, very sensitive person, a workhorse, and someone who refuses to quite despite two years of setbacks. I have overcome reactivated Epstein Barr virus, anemia, nasal surgery to correct breathing issues, Covid, and depression these last two years. I may not have had amazing results recently, but I believe in myself and the new team I have built around me and that we will overcome and make a comeback. The progress I have made in only a few months with my new coach, Andrew Markoff, has given me the trust and confidence again.
Q: How did you discover your love for running? Does it stem from a love of fitness, competition, or something else?
A: I have always naturally been a runner. At 11 years old I ran a 6 minute mile, and it has always just felt natural to me. I love the feeling of flow state I get when I'm running, the runners' high, the community I have met through multisport, and in general people tend to love what they are good at.
Q: What motivates you to keep running? Are there days you just don’t feel like training but do it anyway? What do you tell yourself that keeps you on track?
A: What motivates me to keep running and to keep doing triathlons is to overcome the setbacks I have faced. It is the tough times that make the successes that much sweeter. I want to destigmatize people being afraid to discuss mental health setbacks in sport and to inspire others that they too can overcome depression and health setbacks and rediscover their love of sport like I have. I remind myself of my why and that it's not all about the results, but about the daily actions and discipline you have in creating good habits, working hard, and failing forward. I hope to inspire younger athletes. Of course there are many days I don't feel like training but I do it anyways, because that's what champions do. Champions keep showing up.
Q: We heard you are training for the Olympics. Can you tell us more? How much training does this require every week and how has Pallas helped train you?
A: I would love to make an Olympic triathlon team but Andrew Markoff (my coach) and I know 2024 is a long shot given my setbacks, the time I've taken off, and the need now to get back on the podium at the continental cup level, gaining more World Cup experience, getting my ranking back into the top 70 in the World and top 3 for Canada, and not only getting back to where I was back in 2021 but surpassing that if I want to be competitive. We are under a very tight timeline and the process hasn't been pretty in coming back to racing at the elite level but I am trusting my team. I train around 20-25 hours per week. Andrew has helped me get stronger in all three sports and in the gym; my lack of muscle and explosive power has been one of my weaknesses. Also, the mental work I've been doing with him is helping me learn to rebuild my confidence after a rough few years, go into training and racing with a different mindset, and also giving me the daily guidance to trust my body and execute my workouts to my fullest ability. His wife, Megan has also been helping me with the nutrition side, which is aiding in my performance and recovery.
Q: During your time as a competitive athlete and runner, what is the biggest hurdle you have had to overcome, and how did you overcome it? Was there ever a time you felt discouraged? If so, what helped you move past it?
A: The biggest hurdle I have had to overcome was getting mono in 2021 and then struggling with severe depression after getting covid this winter, which required me to take extensive time off. We think Covid triggered something chemical, and we have yet to fully figure out what happened, but with the help of my family, medication, and Andrew, I am finally happy, motivated, and in a good place mentally. I have felt more discouraged than ever the last two years as my performance regressed after my health setbacks, and it has been a grind trying to come back. Trusting the process and continuing to show up has helped me.
Q: Do you have any advice for fellow runners that you wish you had known earlier, or perhaps for people who would like to start running but haven’t yet?
A: Find your why in the sport and think about that every day. Also remember that action comes before motivation, not the other way around. People who are successful continue showing up even when they don't want to because they have a strong why.
Q: What do you typically look for in your athletic socks and how have Hurdles socks helped you with your training? What style do you typically wear during your runs – no show, ankle, quarter crew, or crew?
A: I look for a tight fit (no rubbing), compression to help with swelling, above the ankle socks, and padding. I typically wear ankle or quarter crew socks. Hurdle has helped me a lot because my feet tend to get sore and I have high arches so the padding in the forefoot and heel have helped me a lot in not being as sore after runs.