Community Staying Motivated During COVID-19: A mother-daughter duo on goals

    Staying Motivated During COVID-19: A mother-daughter duo on goals


    “Caring for the spirit is deep and passionate care about the self and will enhance mental health and well being overall,” says Cynthia Breadner, a frequent iRun contributor. Here, she recalls her journey—with her daughter—from birth through COVID-19 and their path toward positivity.

    Mother aka Cynthia:

    April 15, 1986 I was at an aerobics class and was on the floor mat doing some sit ups. A participant said, “Way to go! You are expecting!” I rolled on to my side, got up and smiled. She further asked, “When are you due?” “Today!!” I answered and her jaw dropped. There I was this slim, trim woman with the tiniest baby bump ever! 

    I had maintained my fitness level through-out the pregnancy and it worked for me. I also went skiing and ATV riding! As I travelled down the path on my 3-Wheeler, the front wheel got away from me and baby and I went for a somersault over the handlebars. Dad, who was up ahead on his own machine, just looked back and saw me laying on the ground, belly up! He came running. I could not get up for laughing. That was the environment Danielle was born into on April 26, 1986. 

    Daughter aka Danielle:

    I have no recollection of the antics my mother had me do while still in the womb, but I suppose it worked as I recall growing up knowing I wanted to be outdoors. I developed a passion for outdoor expeditions throughout my teenage years, including an epic failure of a backpacking trip at the age of sixteen which resulted in a rescue and an overnight respite at my grandmother’s house, until my mother could come and get me the following day. 

    Now, I spend most of my days seeking out as many outdoor adventures as possible for my own two young boys, ages 4 and 8 months, to ensure they grow up with their own sense of adventure and desire to seek the all that the outdoors has to offer. 


    In 2015, Danielle took an interest in triathlons. As Cynthia was watching from the stands, Danielle dug in at only her second triathlon and found herself on the podium for the first time. In 2016, Danielle competed at the TriMuskokan, and on a record-breaking day for heat, she completed her race while unknowingly six weeks pregnant! That was her last race until after Owen was born in March of 2017. In setting her sights on re-building her training base, she signed Mom up for her first try-a-tri. 

    Our first race together, a local MEC race on the Barrie waterfront, was where we cut our teeth and DanCyn’ Adventures, a mother/daughter duo was born! 2017 was an amazing year for both of us to realize our dreams! Between us we have completed 23 races, including a half-marathon together in October 2017. Late in 2019 baby #2 was on its way and Danielle watched from the finish line as her Mother podiumed for the first time! How exciting!

    Then 2020 hit. All races were cancelled and we waited. Motivations were harder to find when there were no races to focus on. During 2020, Danielle was moving through her pregnancy with the baby due the end of June. Decisions had to be made about delivery, with COVID, there were challenges all around. The decision was made for a home birth and we welcomed Isaac in about two hours from start to finish. 

    Danielle supported her Mother as she decided for her 61st birthday to raise funds for hospice. Cynthia committed to covering 200 running kms in August 2020, and began looking for sponsors. Her pinnacle would be a 61km duathlon as a birthday present to herself. DanCyn’ Adventures set up a home base while Cynthia ran 8 kms – cycled 45 kms – then closed the du with a 7 km run. Cynthia raised $1600 for hospice and it was a boost to her 200 km goal for August 2020. 

    How do we continue to keep ourselves motivated during a time with no racing in sight? Through setting out to keep DanCyn’ alive with winter hiking and indoor cycling, along came Lent! We are faith people and practice the beauty of Lent. It is a time when inner reflection is the focus and a time when letting go of something keeps one real. Danielle and Cynthia are both reflective of this time and so this year Danielle decided to push herself and kick off the 2021 cycling year. Setting a goal of 1000 kms, she has 40 days to complete her goal!

    Commitment in herself and faith in her commitment. Not to be out done, this meant Cynthia needed to figure out something to challenge alongside to keep the faith and to increase the partnership that has a base of encouraging each other! So, Cynthia set a goal of 200+ kms, which is consistently and faithfully hiking (running) 5+ kms every day because she does not own a bike trainer! We are now well into the challenge and both on track for completion April 4, 2021: Easter Sunday.

    The best part of this partnership is the love we feel for each other sharing our fitness. As a mother/daughter duo we strive to show, no matter the age, when women commit to each other they grow together and are there to cheer each other on! Now with two small boys, sons and grandsons, to teach about self-care and the love of our natural world, hiking has taken on new meaning with the COVID shift. This challenge will set us up to be ready for family tripping, backpacking, camping, and a Bruce Trail thru-hike with hope of it being in the not-too-distant future. 

    DanCyn’ Adventures is just getting started and as we succeed together, we hope to inspire other mother-daughter teams to get out there and find their own adventures. To follow Danielle and Cynthia’s adventures find them on YouTube and Instagram! #DanCynAdventures