Mtre Nadia Lehoux

Mtre Nadia Lehoux or mens sana in corpore sano – a healthy mind in a healthy body
By Luana Ann Church, lawyer
(Article issued on July 19, 2016)

Mtre Nadia Lehoux is a vibrant, energetic woman. Everyone who meets her, in either a personal or professional capacity, cannot withstand the charm of this tiny dynamo of boundless energy, wherever she goes! Our colleague developed this energy at a very early age. At three years old, when many of us were avidly playing, Mtre Lehoux was being initiated into the world of sports at her hometown figure skating club. Quickly she was infused with the discipline that comes from playing sports and had to juggle a schedule filled with practising her routines, studying and her family.

During her primary school years, she found herself weekly on the ice as early as 5 a.m. or after school to practise her figure skating. Even if she was always at the “amateur” level, sports were nevertheless always an important part of this athlete’s life, sculpting her personality and supplying her with important tools in her day-to-day life, including healthy discipline, even in a professional setting.

A different career path

Hanging up her skates at the age of 11, Nadia then set her sights on downhill skiing and gymnastics, inspired by the exploits by her namesake, Nadia Comaneci. Even though Nadia’s career as a gymnast was short-lived, her passion for sports never died. In fact, Mtre Lehoux next focused completely on basketball until she started her pre-university studies, a choice that might not seem unusual to many, but which proved to be an ambitious venture for Mtre Lehoux, considering that she stood 5’1’’ high. “Far from being a disadvantage, my small stature helped to make me more agile on the court and enhanced my speed.

Mtre Lehoux’s active sports life took a drastic turn when she was a civil law student at the University of Ottawa. In Ottawa, she took up running, a logical and natural choice for her because only very little equipment was required, she could do it whenever she was free, the cost of the sport was negligible (on her tight budget) and she enjoyed unparalleled access to it because any road was potentially a running track. Running was also a recreation and tourism attraction for Nadia because in practising the sport, she ran along and became familiar with the streets (and especially the venerable hills!) of Halifax, when she was studying common law at Dalhousie University in the early 2000s. She continued running in Sherbrooke while studying for the Bar and then, at the beginning of her career as a lawyer in the metropolis.

An iron will

After practising law for a few years, Mtre Lehoux, then in her early 30’s, experienced every athlete’s nightmare: recurring health concerns in a rare form of Cushing’s syndrome, for nearly four years. After consulting countless specialists, no medication could alleviate her pain as this affliction made the continued practice of any sport difficult, if not impossible. Even though she had never taken the Hippocratic Oath, Mtre Lehoux unhesitatingly started to play sports intensively as an alternative to medication and, more particularly, by self-prescribing enrolment in the Ottawa Half-Marathon, nurturing the desire to rebuild her health. Working out six days a week, interspersed with excursions during which she ran a minimum of 10 km a day, Mtre Lehoux not only finished the Ottawa Half-Marathon, but also eliminated any physical signs and symptoms of her illness. Through such intensive running, it became obvious to Mtre Lehoux that she had a predisposition to running, which when combined with her newly found health, motivated her to pursue her training tenaciously, as was her style, for nearly three years.

In 2014, Mtre Lehoux made the leap to triathlons, first by training for and participating in both sprint and Olympic-distance triathlons, with a sequential 1.5-km swim, 40-km bike and 10-km run. In 2015, she registered for the Half-Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant, to rise to the challenge of a 1.9-km swim, 90-km bike and 21.1-km run.

Such a sporting event requires strict discipline, determination and focus during approximately a six-month training period, consisting of eight to 15 hours a week — under the blazing summer sun or in the brutal cold of winter — including at least three runs (two interval training runs and a long run), two to three swims (in an indoor pool in winter and in open water at the start of spring), two spin sessions, a longer Tacx (stationary trainer bike) session and, to top it off, as soon as the snow melts, outdoor excursions that can be up to 130 km of cycling with hills.

In addition to these sports, there are training camps on weekends at Mont-Tremblant, a week’s “vacation” at a triathlon camp in Cuba, as well as stringent brick workouts to be ready to go on D day. It is clear that such training is in itself a full-time job, not to mention the full-time job she already has as Senior Legal Counsel at Quebecor Media. “Combining a training schedule with a professional timetable is obviously a challenge in itself. I often need to split up my workouts in the morning, at noon and in the evening, but I feel privileged in having an employer for which playing sports forms part of its corporate values and in being able to take advantage of a gym with even spin sessions, secure storage for my bike, and shower facilities, which definitely helps! Not to mention corporate participation in numerous biking events such as the Défi Pierre Lavoie and the Grandfondo Garneau-Quebecor, which allow me to contribute to worthy causes while racking up kilometres of biking.”

Projects in the pipeline

Mtre Lehoux has a full slate of sporting projects. She just returned from the most recent Half-Ironman Mont Tremblant, has already signed up for the 2017 edition and is counting the days until her next Half-Ironman Timberman in New Hampshire at the end of August. Next step: the Toronto Marathon in the fall of 2016, in hopes of winning a spot in the Boston Marathon, and who knows, in a few years, Ironman Kona… Unless she discovers a passion for another sport because for Mtre Lehoux, all roads lead to sports!