Monthly Archives: April 2015

RACE Report: Boston Marathon 2015

Four years ago, I never thought I would be writing this race report today. At that time, the thought of running a 10k under an hour seemed like an impossible feat, let alone running a marathon (42.2k).

Qualifying for Boston seemed like a distant dream because I’m required to run a sub 3:35 marathon (averaging less than 50 min per 10k).

Say what?! A marathon?? Under 3:35??

In all honesty, I didn’t think that running more than one block was possible for me without experiencing some sort of foot, knee, or hip pain.

At the time when Boston was just a dream, I couldn’t afford services like physiotherapy, massage and chiropractor, which made it even more impossible for me to even think of doing a marathon, let alone qualify for Boston.

With no other options, I took matters into my own hands. So, I studied… I researched and took personal training courses that would help me reach my goals.

I knew that if I can go from one block to running the Boston Marathon, then that means I can overcome just about any barrier to fitness (and so can everyone else).

Maybe there are no barriers to fitness? I didn’t know at the time. Maybe the only barriers to fitness are those that we create ourselves.

The only two things I knew were: I really wanted to run Boston and I knew how to design a safe and effective program in order to be able to do so. So, that’s exactly what I did.

In October of 2012, I finished my first marathon in a time of 3:27:48, which is more than 5 minutes faster than what was required for Boston. At that point, I knew that my training program works and that all I had to do was perfect it for the future.

Oh, and the sub-1 hour 10k? I was able to beat it earlier that year, in April of 2012, running the TC10k in 43:xx.

I went on to run 4 more marathons, qualifying for Boston each time. My fastest marathon is 3:18.

Finally, I was able to go to Boston this year and had an unforgettable experience, especially because my mom joined me for the trip. We left Victoria Friday night and arrived in Boston on Saturday morning.

There was enough time to do everything I needed to do to prepare for the big race on Monday.


Above: My friends from Breathe Athletic set me up with an awesome outfit for the race. Super comfortable. Love it!

I must say, I have never seen so many people at a race expo. It was HUGE!

The number pickup was very well-organized. I thought that I would have to wait in line for over an hour to get my number. Instead, the whole process only took about 10 minutes.

Security was tight.

On Saturday and Sunday, the weather in Boston was pretty good. I heard rumors that it would be cold, windy and rainy on race day but didn’t want to believe it.


Above: My favorite pre-race meal 🙂

I was looking forward to finishing the race and then spending the day walking around the city and shopping with my mom.

The morning of the race, I woke up ready to go. I made some new friends on the shuttle from the hotel, which made the trip to the athlete’s village very enjoyable.

Then, we arrived at the athlete’s village and had to wait about 2 hours before we could go to the start. The weather was definitely colder than the last two days.

The more we waited in the athlete’s village, the colder it got. Then, suddenly, there were a few little drops of rain.

Finally, it was my turn to go to the start line along with thousands of others in Wave 2. We walked quite a while before getting to the start line.

There were so many people! When the race started, I was part of a huge crowd of runners. There was not a lot of room to pass people (not that we worry about it at the start). I ended up being in the centre of the road. You can’t run the tangents in a big race like that.

It was windy and raining a little bit. Since I was in a big crowd, I couldn’t feel much of the wind in the first 5k.

I just maintained a comfortable pace for the first 5k. Went through the 5k checkpoint in 23:11. It definitely was mostly downhill.

At the 10k checkpoint, my time was 45:20. That’s when I realized that, 4 years ago, I only dreamed of the day when I can run 10k in 45 minutes. Four years ago, running a 10k in 45 minutes seemed impossible, as I even struggled to do that distance in an hour.

To be able to run a 10k in 45 minutes as part of a marathon and be excited about the next 32k was nothing short of a miracle when I look back on my struggles as a beginner runner.


Above: Crossing the 15k checkpoint. Clearly, I’m still having tons of fun and have the energy to wave at the photographers 🙂

I thought about all the things and all the challenges that have led me to where I was that day. Running the Boston Marathon. Then, the next thing I knew, I was at the 15k checkpoint in 1:07:47.

I continued thinking about all sorts of different stuff and then suddenly I found myself at the 20k checkpoint…1:30:26. Then I remembered, the first time I attempted to run 10k with my Garmin after I felt recovered from my injury, I did it in 1:30.

To be able to double the distance and run 20k in that same amount of time was also another one of my miracles that I’m proud of.

I’m so glad I didn’t give up a little over 4 years ago when I took 1:30 to run 10k.

Then, I was at halfway in 1:35:23. I was still feeling comfortable. I remembered how my first half marathon was 2:12 and I didn’t think it was possible for me to break 2 hours in a half marathon.

But, there I was, halfway through the Boston Marathon in 1:35 (about a month after I ran my fastest ever half marathon in 1:28). There were great crowds at the halfway point.

Right then, I felt that the wind was starting to pick up quite a bit and the rain got worse. By the time I got to 25k, I was really getting worried about the weather. My body was still feeling good but I admit that I was getting colder.

I got to the 30k checkpoint in 2:17:25 and then I noticed that we were entering Newtown, which, of course, can only mean one thing: Heartbreak Hill is coming.

The race definitely thinned out by then. Some people increased their pace significantly while a lot of people really slowed down. The drop in temperature was what I noticed most.

I was trying to take my gel before coming up Heartbreak Hill, but unfortunately my hands were too cold to open the package. So I put it in my sports bra and thought I would try it later.

By the time I got to the 35k checkpoint, I was definitely feeling more tired. I was really glad that I had less than 10k left to go, but somehow it still felt like the finish line was a long way away.

I started to slow down significantly at the 40k mark. It’s one of those times where you either speed up and finish the last 2k really fast or you barely drag your legs. It was that moment where my 4:40 kms turned into 7 min kms.

A combination of the cold, wind and rain made the last 2k extremely difficult. That last turn onto Boyston street was one of the highlights of the race. There were even more people cheering!

The closer we got to the finish line, the more people were cheering. I was seriously considering walking the last km, but seeing and hearing all the spectators kept me going.


I was so excited to cross the finish line, even though I was cold and soaked. My time was 3:23, which is my 2nd best time of all time.


Above: This story has a happy ending…

From not being able to run one block, to crossing the finish line of the world’s most famous marathon, the Boston Marathon. Yes, everything is possible.


Above: this beauty is now a part of my collection 🙂

Despite the bad weather, I still had fun and I will always treasure the experience that I had running my first Boston. The next time I come to Boston, I plan to have a faster time because I now know the course and what to expect.

If you have any questions about qualifying for Boston, don’t hesitate to contact me 🙂

SUCCESS Story: Charmaine Niebergall’s Mental & Physical Transformation

Charmaine and I met in December of 2014 and shortly after that, she started training with me. She was looking for a trainer who would become a positive influence in her life.

When I met her, she said that she had the opportunity to see how I treat other clients  and believed that we would be a good fit together as trainer and client.

She noticed I had a special promotion going, called Get Fit & Win $1000 and was one of the first 6 people who joined.

The more I worked with her, the more I realized we were becoming friends as well.

I always treat people the way I like to be treated so I feel honored that Charmaine made the decision to join my “fit family”. 🙂

After 3 months of training with me, Charmaine says that what she has achieved is far more valuable than just quickly losing 20 lbs and bench pressing 250 lbs.


Above: That moment when Charmaine posted this amazing comment after seeing me on Shaw TV chatting about fitness and running.

Here is what Charmaine had to say about her experience with me as a trainer. I had tears in my eyes when I originally read this:

“Yana helped me to gain great strength, both physically and mentally. Yana pushed me past points I thought I could not go.

She encouraged me to keep going with positive, fun and even whimsical encouragements.


Above: Charmaine’s before & after, taken in the same location, at the same place with the same camera phone.

She respected when I was not having a day that I could push hard, but also intuitively challenged me on days when she just knew that I could. She made me laugh, she made me teary eyed, she made me excited, pumped and supported.

What are a few of the things Yana has helped me to accomplish physically?
I can do 30 pushups, where I couldn’t do a single one before.
I can do 101 sets of stairs, carrying 20lbs worth of weights, where I could only do 12 before.
I can do over 100 squats, where I could do 50 before.
I can go for hikes, where I couldn’t before.

I can balance on a bosu ball, do countless abdominal exercises, and do as many bicep curls as she can. I couldn’t do any of these things before.

What are a few of the things Yana has helped me accomplish mentally?

I can go to the gym and NOT compare myself to others working out, where I couldn’t before.
I can look forward to the gym and exercise in general, where I didn’t before.
I am physically self-confident and feel good naked, where I didn’t before.

Yana has motivated me to continue long-term with regular exercise by making it fun, supportive, realistic, challenging, inspiring, and social, all at once.

I see the gym differently. I see exercise differently. I see myself differently. The money I spent on having Yana as a personal trainer has proven to be absolutely priceless.

I sought out Yana as a trainer because I kept seeing her with clients, of all shapes and sizes and she always had this big smile on her face.

She seemed kind, encouraging, intuitive, genuine and knowledgeable, which she has proven to be, time and time again.


Above: Charmaine’s before & after, taken in the same location, at the same place with the same camera phone.

If you want a trainer who will get you results because she pushes you during your sessions, gives you support and encouragement to do your very best on your own workouts, follows up, follows through, listens, truly cares, and knows how to laugh all while doing it, then Yana Hempler is the trainer for you.

I know she’s the trainer for me.”

In the end, Charmaine ended up taking a close 2nd in the Get Fit & Win $1000 Challenge.

But, most importantly, I’m inspired by the fact that she is continuing with her newly-found healthy lifestyle. She has been able to completely rewire her brain about exercise and she enjoyed the process.

Currently, she steers a dragon boat for the MS Warriors once a week.

She also said that steering the dragon boat is way easier now that she has been training with me. I’m thrilled that she has seen huge improvements from her past two seasons.

I’m very, very, very proud of Charmaine for what she has achieved so far.

Charmaine loves and trusts the process. She is a pleasure and a privilege to work with.

RACE Report: Merville 15k April 12 2015

The Merville 15k is the 7th race of the Vancouver Island Race Series. To be honest, I was a bit hesitant racing 15k a week before the Boston Marathon, but my addiction to racing is evident.

I would race every week if I could.

With the Merville 15k on April 12 and the Boston Marathon on April 20th, I had a much different plan for the 15k than what I had thought of originally. Had the Merville 15k been a week earlier, this story would have been much different.

Some people even suggested that I don’t race the 15k at all, but I really wanted to see my friends who would be racing it. Also, I enjoy the drive and I thought it was good to get out.

My plan for the race was this: run the first 5k at marathon pace, run the next 5k at half marathon pace and the last 5k at 10k pace. Then, cooldown for 2k.

So, I did exactly that. The hardest part of this whole experience was starting a 15k race at marathon pace. I’m usually starting a bit too fast, so this was an exercise in discipline.

Running the first 5k at marathon pace felt pretty awesome because it wasn’t that hard. What was hard, however, was seeing people blast past me through the first 5k. It was hard for me to control myself and not follow them.


Then, I dropped my pace to half marathon pace for the next 5k. It also felt pretty good. At that point, I knew that it was going to be one of those races where I didn’t feel fully spent when I crossed the finish line.

The first 10k of this race reminded me why I love running so much because I was out there, enjoying myself, knowing that I was going to have a once in a lifetime experience in Boston, running the marathon a week later.

Finally, came the last 5k. Once again, I dropped my pace. This time, I was aiming to run the rest of the way at 10k pace. At this point, it also didn’t really matter how many other people were passing me. I was doing my own workout.

When I went around the last corner before the finish line, I had quite a bit of energy left. However, I had to stick to my plan.

With only 100m left to go, I started my sprint to the finish line. It was the only time that I wanted to go fast this entire race.

As I crossed the finish line, I realized that I wasn’t spent.

My time was 1:03:26, which is about a minute slower than last year. It was also a slower average pace than my half marathon a few weeks earlier.


Above: Holding my 3rd place age group medal. Another one for my collection 🙂

I was 3rd in my age group and 4th/150 women.

However, I’m not at all disappointed that I was a minute slower.

How could I possibly be disappointed when I knew that about a week later I would be running the Boston Marathon?

I also knew that I am capable of running Merville 15k in about 1:01:xx.

When given the choice between running fast at Merville or running well in Boston, this year, I had to choose Boston. Boston is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.


NEWS: Inaugural Get Fit & Win $1000 Challenge Wrap Up and Results

CONGRATULATIONS to my client Amanda for being the March 2015 WINNER of the Get Fit & Win $1,000 challenge.

She has overcome a lot to get to where she is and I am very happy to be a part of her journey!

She made a big physical and mental transformation and I’m very proud of the strength and endurance that she has developed.


When I originally posted the above photo of me and Amanda receiving her $1000 Cheque on Facebook, it received dozens of encouraging comments from all the people who support her and who are inspired by her transformation.

I was overwhelmed with joy as I read each and every single one of them.

Some of these encouraging comments came from other people who were also in the challenge, who did not win the grand prize. I am thrilled to be developing a community of people who support each other.

She is now able to do all the things that she didn’t think she could and I’m thrilled to see her developing more and more confidence as she has been conquering her fitness goals!

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to host the Get Fit & Win $1000 challenge and I truly enjoyed my time working with all the challengers.

When I first started it, some people were skeptical and some even asked me if it was an MLM thing or some other kind of gimmick. I don’t do that.

My business has no place for gimmicks and all the results that the challengers have achieved were achieved as a result of their own hard work. 

My goal was to inform, educate and show them that fitness is fun, exciting and rewarding.

The truth is, it was my idea and I came up with it to get people to stick to fitness and keep on pursuing their goals. My clients work hard and they get the results.

I spent a lot of time in order to determine the winner and I have learned so much over the last few months. I cannot wait to learn more!

Originally, 10 people believed in me enough to start and complete the challenge. They all have completely rewired their brain about fitness and they should all be proud of themselves for sticking to the program long enough to see results.

After several weeks into the challenge, 4 people made semi-finals because they have shown the greatest amount of improvement over time. These 4 people were Amanda, Attila, Charmaine and Tawnya.

Towards the end, Amanda and Charmaine were the top two and it was extremely challenging to determine the winner. In fact, it took me several hours.

A few of the challengers have agreed to share their success stories in detail, so you can look for them in upcoming posts and in the testimonials section of my website.

Below are just a couple of comments that I’ve received from the Top 2.


The 3rd place finisher also left an amazing comment. 🙂


Also, big THANK YOU to the following sponsors of the challenge: Noodlebox Shelbourne, Dragon Impact, Brickyard Pizza and IMS FotoGrafix.

If you are a business owner looking to improve your visibility, then contact me at yhempler(at)gmail(dot)com for a sponsorship package and additional information.

Yes, I will be doing another one of these. Sign up for my newsletter and be the first to know when the next one will be starting. Not only that, but you will also receive free fitness tips.

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