A Resolution, one third of the way through

In the months preceding my first year of university, my then-boyfriend once gave me a tip.
“Just make sure you don’t talk too much about exercise and you’ll make friends just fine,” he said. I was somewhat taken aback. What was he trying to say??

Apparently I enjoy talking about exercise-related topics, and apparently there are few who care to listen. However today marks two months into my training for a half Ironman, and if you’d all humour me, I’d briefly like to talk about it. Then I promise to zip lip (unless provoked).

As some of you may know, my parents and I have registered for the half-Ironman in Providence, Rhode Island on July 8 (just shy of my 23rd birthday). I’m not big into New Year’s resolutions, but it happened around that time and I guess the shoe fits.

Being a healthy 22-yr-old, I naturally and ignorantly take my body for granted. If I want to climb a mountain, my body takes me to the summit. If I want to go on a bike trip with no previous training, my body begrudgingly complies. It’s a subservient machine designed to do my bidding no questions asked. But there is significant disparity between what I ask it to do and what I pay it in return.

I give little thought to balanced sleeping, even less to balanced eating. Seeing as how “balance” is an essential pillar of yoga, you can understand why I never got into it. As a chronic fidgeter  – I know, we’re the worst – I automatically reject anything telling me not to move. What do you mean I have to focus all my attention on that little dot on the floor?

You call this an eagle?

It’s never long before my mind wanders to my to-do list, what I’m going to eat for lunch, an article idea, a boy, or how few animals actually resemble the poses that bear their name (I’m looking at you, eagle and camel.) But since I’m terrified of getting injured before this whole half-ironman foolishness, and yoga supposedly helps reduce the chances of that, I’ve decided to give it a second go. A long-winded tangent, mostly just to ask if there are any yogi friends out there willing to take me under their wing?

What camels do YOU know

I mentioned fear. This is in fact the main thing forcing me to stay on schedule. While my body has carried me through a good many endeavors sans training, I know I won’t be able to do a half-Ironman in under 8.5 hours unless I practice. Rigorously. Balancing my diet probably wouldn’t hurt either.

By the way in case some of you are unfamiliar, a half Ironman is 1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21.1km run. I’m hoping to break 7hrs. (Before you go thinking that’s impressive, I’d urge you to check last year’s winning time for the 18-24 girls. A Ms. Katie Quinn clocked in at 4 hours and 52 minutes.)

Anyway, I promised brevity, so I`ll wrap it up. Last Monday I started the new training schedule that will lead me all the way to that summer Sunday in Providence. A lot can happen in four months, but for now I’m feeling good and sticking with my schedule (with the exception of a week-long hiatus in BC to cover the AAAS conference.)

If you’d like to keep up to date with mine and my parents’ progress, let me know. Otherwise I will heed my ex’s advice and keep the fitness chatter to a minimum :).

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Portraiture practice

This is why friends are great. Because they’ll humour you and sit patiently on dirty wood benches while you tinker with shadow manipulation, fill-flash, trying this angle and that angle.

Basically, I asked my friend Lauren if she’d be so kind as to be my dummy model (this is in no way a comment on her intelligence, which is substantial) so I could practice doing portraits and whatnot.

Here’s a sample of what came of it. All pictures taken in Lauren’s parents’ backyard in Perth.

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Summer round-up

For the first September in 19 years, I find myself not in a classroom. My internship is done, and after puttering around the east coast for a bit, I’ve just returned to Ottawa and am setting up temporary roost. But though the blackboard is gone, I daresay the learning has just begun. – -..Yeah, I’m gagging at that last sentence too.

With my all-access media pass at the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences this summer. It made me feel shiny.

Now that I’ve emerged from the Saint John fog, equal parts sopping, sleep-deprived and invigorated, I can take the time to reflect on the experience. Here’s the bulleted breakdown:

  • Total articles written – 110
  • Total front pagers – 28
  • Total stories picked up by national newswire Postmedia – 3
  • Total days worked as photog – 6

After the daily rush of finding, researching and writing stories, I’m not sure how I’m going to feel in the coming days. Likely rather slothful. However, unemployment is not without its perks; my past roommate Brittany and I recently booked a four day trip to NYC, taking advantage of Porter’s 50%-off-flights sale.

I plan on freelancing in Ottawa for a bit, while I figure out what’s next on the horizon. It’s not that I’m not fond of Ottawa – I am – but like so many other 22 year olds freshly delivered from the womb of institutionalized education, I’m also eager to see what else is out there.
PS: I really really wish I had taken a picture of my desk before I cleaned it up on my last day. But to give you an idea, the following is basically its identical twin (plus a jillion post-its).
PPS: As an afterthought, if anyone wants to read some of my articles from the summer, you can find some of them here at sabrinadoyle.com
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Fun with the Fam

So this past weekend my darling family came to visit me in Saint John. Well, actually they came to pick me up in Saint John and then we swiftly evacuated for less dreary, cloud-covered locales. (just joking SJ, you’re alright).

It was lovely to see them all again, and a nice break. We also went to a few extended family reunions in tiny Havelock, and I took the opportunity to stuff myself with enough food to last me till September.

Here’s a few pictures from our escapades.

Dad and Max examine rock seaweed at Hopewell Rocks during low tide

Max reaches from a crevice in the rocks at Hopewell

Portrait of Max

Colin, shot from moving car as he stuck his head up through the sun roof (we were on back-roads, don't worry)

the whole lot of us. From left: max, colin, mama, papa, ME!

Note to los parentes: email me for more pictures… too lazy to upload all of them 🙂

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Ten Tips for the Beginning Bike-tripper

When you’re zooming downhill, with wind whipping tears from the corner of your eyes and every muscle tense as a violin string, bike-tripping might seem like the ultimate way to travel. Not only does it get you from A to B on your own schedule, but you can’t beat the cost to speed ratio. And while some level of physicality is required, you definitely don’t need to be a Lance Armstrong incarnate. For the beginner looking to head out, here are a few tips.

1. Bring a repair kit

Invariably, you will get a flat within the first two hours and your merry band of bike-fixer-upper friends will be nowhere in sight. Bring a small repair kit and know how to use it. Or at the very least know how to change a tire (always carry a spare tube). You may want to consider bringing a small, *light* bike repair book. Or, I’m not a smartphone user but there’s probably an app for that.

2. Budget your time

Unless you have the luxury of multiple months set aside for travel, you’ll have to budget your time somewhat. Plan for about an hour’s drive to equal a day of biking.

3. Camp smart

If you’re travelling on a particularly tight shoestring and hoping to pitch tent in people’s backyard, be smart about it. Look at the yard. Children’s toys, corny lawn ornaments that say ‘two old crows live here,’ and minivans are good signs. Junkyards and shady dilapidated buildings usually aren’t. But don’t generalize. Knock and start by asking for directions, and as you talk with them scope them out. Ask yourself: do I feel comfortable and safe with these people? If you don’t, move on.

4. Don’t say you’re alone

If you’re travelling alone, never tell someone that. You’re meeting a friend in the next town. Your parents expect a nightly call. The government’s tracking your every move (ok maybe don’t use that one). If you’re a girl, having a travel partner should always be Plan A, but don’t necessarily be shackled by the lack-there-of. Again, ask yourself what you’re comfortable with.

5. Be courteous

Bring ready-made thank you cards – about one for each day of your trip – to give to people who help you out. You’ll be amazed how often you’re glad to have them.

6. Don’t bring too much food

Food is heavy. Don’t weigh yourself down with too much it. Unless you’re going somewhere where you doubt you’ll see a grocery store all day (though as a beginner you probably shouldn’t make this an issue), don’t set out with more than two days’ worth of food. That said, always have a few emergency packets of oatmeal, which are small, light and filling.

7. Be prepared for emergencies

Leave an itinerary of your general routes and plans with someone back home. Bring a cellphone, but also a list of numbers on a separate piece of paper in case the battery dies.

8. Give yourself a treat

Afford yourself some small luxuries. Mine is to bring a tiny airplane pillow instead of using a bunched-up sweater. For me, losing the extra space is worth it at the end of a hard day. Also, wear bike gloves. These aren’t a luxury; they really do make a difference when your hands are being smashed against handlebars for hours. Seriously.

9. Stay positive

When the days get long and the open road seems more endless than exciting, don’t get discouraged. Have a sense of humour. Belt out a country song and laugh at yourself for being the silly twat who actually wanted to do this.

10. Bring a small roll of duct tape

Because you never know.

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New Site!

Alright, so I’ve decided to break down and make a sister site to this one. Simply Sab will continue to be what it always has been (an experiment?), and the new site will be my professional online portfolio. Think of it as the polished, mature, probably-takes-herself-too-seriously sibling of Simply Sab.

Anyway, I’ve been working on it for a bit, so if anyone’s got any recommendations or whatever, please email me, or comment on this post (I’ve disabled comments on the new site).


(I snagged the domain name!)

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A good day in the life of a reporter

So I can now say that I have been published across the country! Or well, at least on both coasts. Alright fine if Canada were a bookshelf my clippings would amount to two bookends on either side and a measly paperback somewhere in the middle.

But still. I pitched a story about some coastal communities dealing with erosion from climate change-affected seas, and it was not only on the T-J’s A1, but it also got picked up by Postmedia News and ran in the Vancouver Sun! Kinda neat.

The last two days I’ve been one of the reporters covering the Oland case. Basically, one of NB’s top business barons (his family owns Moosehead) was found murdered in Saint John. Nothing like this ever happens in New Brunswick, I’m told. Everyone’s buzzing about it. The T-J is running pages of coverage. I’m not doing any major stories or anything, but I’m just another quote-collector they’ve got running around doing stuff since the story broke on Friday.

Today I was at the funeral, collecting memories from attendees for streeters (newspaper lingo for short quotes paired with a picture from your average joe).

Oo, and in other exciting news, I just found out today that I’ll be filling in as the weekend photographer! I guess they’ve found themselves short and the photo editor had seen a few of my pics and suggested me:). Tres excited. Anyway, s’all for now.

I feel like this blog is on an emotional rollercoaster, considering the paradox between my last post and this one.

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