Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wedding + Iron Knee 25km race report

I just wanted to start this blog off today by saying that the wedding I went to was absolutly wonderful. The bride looked stunning! I had never met her family but over the weekend I realized they were extremly kind and caring people. Both families are very religious so we all had a good time poking fun at the "events" that were going to occur after the ceremony and reception (when everyone went home)! Peter was unable to make it because he came down with something feirce and spent the entire day hugging the toilet. He wasnt able to eat a single thing all day but he still got up this morning to run Iron Knee 25km!

I had "more than a couple" glass's of wine after the ceremony and at the reception, as well as lots of really great food and hand made cupcakes for desert. I was kind of writing off Iron Knee 25km which was happening the next morning. I came 2nd last year and I really didn't think I would have it in me (after all the previous nights festivities) to really go giv'r. But, combine a competetive runner and a lot of sugar from late night cupcakes, you get one hell of an energizer bunny. It was crazy. I woke up soooo tired at 6am. I went back to sleep until 7am, which left an hour to get dressed, do a car drop in deep cove, and book it over to Grouse Mountain for an 8am start. I was debating breakfast and decided on 3 fig newtons. Not much, but I didn't think my tummy could handle much more. We got to Grouse at 7:40 leaving enough time for a couple bathroom breaks and a 5 minute warm-up.

The start of this race has always been a weakness of mine because it begins uphill. My heart rate is usally in the 180's before we even get into the single track trail. I was running with Pat and Kathy, 2 very good runner's, and we kept a great pace going up the hill. I really wanted to run all of it because in years past I have always taken a few walk breaks. A wise coach once told me "any race under 3 hours should be done all out, nothing left in the tank". So, with that in mind, I ran more of this race than I ever have in the past. Not only did I run it, I felt so good. My legs were just pumped with energy. Once I reached the crest of the undulating hills on Grouse, I began running the funnest technical downhill, and I was just flying past people. In the back of my head I was wondering if this pace was going to come back and bite me in the ass. It was in this section that I passed the 2nd, 3rd, and
4th place females and I gave it everything I had to hold 2nd place.

I cruised through Lynn Headwaters, using the flats as a little bit of a break, still going hard, but was thankful for the chance to turn my legs over versus going uphill/downhill. It was starting to heat up and the wine was starting to talk back to me. My face felt like it was going to blow up and all I wanted to do was poor a jug of water on my head. I started the long descent down to twin bridges and it seemed a little more shaded here and I was able to cool off a bit. As soon as I got to powerline however, I began to cook, the trail was completly exposed. I had a couple of guys running up this 2km hill along side me. We walked where we couldnt run but I tried to run as much as I could, and I did more than I ever had before. Right before the top of the climb I saw Heather Macdonald. I wa so happy to see a familair face cheering me on and the first thing I could think of to say to her was, "I love you Heather". She returned the complement and I surged up the final switch back and began my final descent into Deep Cove. There has never been a year in this race where I haven't been passed going up Powerline. This year hoeveer, not a single guy passed me. I new that if I could hold off anyone going up the hill that no one was going to pass me going down.

As I came into the last 2.5km into Deep Cove I just kept telling myself not to let up, but rather, let forward (I dont know if that makes sense, but that is what I said to myself haha). This guy was right on my tail and there was no way he was getting by. I usually walk the little climbs in the deep cove section but today I was going to put all my power into it and run everything. I did what I said I would do and I even passed a guy in the last minute of the race. As I came into Panorama Park, the clock said 1:53:45...which meant a sprint finish was going to have to happen because getting under 1:54 meant a PB. I sprinted as hard as humanly possible and was impressed by the amount of kick I still had left in my legs. I came in just under- 1:53:55. I later found out the clock was off by a couple minutes so my real time was 1:52:24. My PB on this course was 1:54 so I was very happy with how the day finished up. It's funny how you can neglect your body by putting larger than normal amounts of alcohol into it and yummy treats and go out there and feel amazing. Then other times (most of the time), I can fuel perfectly, eat so healthy and cautiously the night before a race, and just feel tired and fatigued.

Peter finished up in a time of 2:09, which isn't his best time nor his worst. So considering he felt terrible and lost 6lbs yesterday to the toilet, that's not to shabby!

I am feeling really good right now and I hope I can continue to feel great snd bring this energy to Knee Knacker 50km in July! Thanks to Keith Nicoll, the North Shore Athletics Staff, and all the wonderful voluneteers who cheered on and kept me well hydrated.

See you in the trails!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

4 weddings and a...Bear?

The week has been great! Weather was outstanding, good entertainment was had, and I had a first encounter with...(you'll have to read ahead)...

It's crazy to me how the body responds to A)rest and (B)massage. I felt 100% on Tuesday, like wicked, sweet, awesome, the whole works. Then I ran super easy on the sea wall the next morning and I felt sooo tired, slow and run down. My heart rate was high for the pace I was going and it just felt so weird to me. How can you feel so incredibly good one day and crappy the next? That evening I tried to go for run # 2. Mainly because the weather was wonderful outside and I wanted to put some more time in that day. This run however, was even crappier than the first! I ran about 53 minutes but I could hardly run any of the hills because my legs had nothing left in them. When I was contemplating the 2nd run, I was already feeling a bit tired but when the sun is shining, it's hard to say no. I need to learn that it's good to sit in the sun a book...go for a walk...ride a bike...etc.

The next day I decided to take off and have a much needed massage. For some reason, it's the one thing that cures me. It puts the spring back in my stride and fills my legs with energy. I had a nice relaxing day and I thoroughly enjoyed the down time reading my new book, Nancy Clark' Nutrition for Endurance Athletes. Ladies, I hope you are all getting enough Calcium!

The next morning (Friday)I worked early. I went to meet my client @ 6am at the gym I independently train out of. I have only been training out of there for a month now and it will be another month or so before I get my own key. I had this fear that one of these days I was going to show up at the facility and no one was going to be there to let me in. Well, it finally happened! My client and I were waiting until 6:10 doing an outside warm-up, and no one showed. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it forced me to challenge myself. What the hell I was going to do with not one single piece of equipment? All you have is the equipment of life! It's amazing what you can do with a single bench. You can pretty much do an entire whole body workout and a butt kicking one at that.

Directly after that I went to the trails to sneak a quick run in before I went to my 9am shift at Tommy's. I only had about an hour to get to the trail, run, and get home. I felt 100% better this day today than I did on Wednesday. It was nuts, I had all my energy back and I decided to just let my body do what it was going to do. I wasn't taking it easy, and I wasn't going really hard, I was somewhere perfectly in between. I love running!

That afternoon Peter and I went to our favorite new climbing spot. We were meeting 2 friends at the Crag. We had just walked past the Lynn Headwaters parking lot and were walking toward the bridge when we saw these 4 people waving incessantly. They looked like they were waving excitedly at a friend but after 20 seconds or so of this wild waving I realized that they were trying to tell us (in their best mime) that there was a giant bear over to our left trying to get into a bear proof garbage bin. HOLY SHIT!!!!! The thing was HUGEEEEE. I have never seen a live bear in the wild before! I am not too sure how, but I haven't and was pretty happy about that. There was a couple behind us with 2 dogs and they told me to stick with them. We stood there for a bit and Peter decided he was going to walk back behind the porta potties on the right (out of bear view) and get on the otherside of the bear, making it a little more safe to cross the bridge. He started walking and told me to follow but I was so bear stricken with fear that I just stood there quietly with the 2 dogs. If the bear could see me at all, and it was to see me move, I thought for sure it was going to come eat me! At this point Peter had already gone around the potties, realized I was not following him, and came back to try and get me one more time. After about 20 seconds, I decided to make my move. I was so freaked out but we made it around safely and the bear didn't even flinch. It was way to preoccupied with getting whatever food there was in that garbage bin.

Now that we were safely out of harms way we made our way to "Sully's Hangout". I got in 2 really good climbs. I tackled a new one that was extremely challenging for me. Pete later told me he was very impressed because he didn't think I had it in me to try so hard (in reference to climbing). It wasn't my smoothest climb and I am pretty sure Pete directed me the entire way but I made it to the top and that's all that matters. I have lot's of time to work on my smooth transitions. Friday nights will no longer be spent watching movies, rather, we'll be climbing!

This weekend is jam packed with events. Today I am going to my cousins wedding and tomorrow is Iron Knee 25km. Hopefully I can behave enough to have some energy at the start line but I'll have to play that one by ear.

Alright, enjoy the weekend runs and see you in the trails!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fat Pig

I just wanted to post a quick write up about a theater production I went to last night at Performance Works on Granville Island. It was sooooo good and I wanted to let everyone know about it. If you live locally, I'd suggest checking it out. I think it runs until Sunday. Tickets are 2 for 1 today and tomorrow! The play is an hour and 50 minutes long, with no intermission. I'd also recommend going early if you are going to get tickets there as the line up was really long they were turning away people because it sold out. You can however pre-order them online.

Here is a little write up about the production I found in the pamphlet.

Fat Pig is a piece that examines human weakness, exposing our inability to stand up for what we beleive, particularly in a society that demands complicity with the status quo. In this exploration of insecurity two very important questions are raised: "Does love need society's blessing to be complete" and "Would you rather people were nice or honest?" The characters crudely wrestle with these questions to find their own answers. The taboo of loving someone who is different than you is what is essentially being examined in this production and whether or not we have the courage to embrace difference in the public arena.

I will also add that this play was done by a theater co-op, which is a professional production where all the members of the creative team donate their time and offer their own money in hopes that the costs of the show will be covered by box-office revenue. The proceeds from every ticket sold goes directly back to reimbursing the artists and creative team.

Anywho, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it really had me thinking about society and how critical we are. Sometimes I cant beleive the things I hear my friends say about other people. We are so quick to judge without knowing anyone's story.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Comparing- Don't waste your time!

I was running home today and got to thinking about weight and how easy it is for us to want to look a certain way, especially in running. I was browsing through a blog by Devon-Crosby Helms and she literally had just posted about that very same topic. I suggest reading her blog as well because it has some great insight.

I think a lot of people in this world spend a lot of time comparing themselves to others. It's as if, because they are not as fast, as strong, or as young as other people, they play down their abilities. I had a client who kept saying "I know I'm not as fit as your other clients" and I kept thinking, your way stronger and 6 years older than all of my clients! Everyone has their own strengths and weakness's. Shit, we even have different genetics that make us who we are. I can look at the cover of Ultra Running Magazine and wish I had muscles like Kami Semick (which I erroneously think will make me run like her haha) but too bad for me, it just won't happen. I think focusing more on the running and becoming more efficient at that, instead of looking like another successful runner, would be a better idea.

I have had people say to me, too bad I don't have your body, then I could run fast like you. It just makes me laugh because I think I look the opposite of most of my competitors. I am tall, have some meat on my bones, and an ass! But in the end, we all look different. No one is the same. It's not about what you look like, its about who has the most balls, and laid it all out there on the table. Who can suffer through the most discomfort and outrun their competition. Who came prepared on race day and trained hard to be there. At white river last year (I think I was 5lbs heavier than I am now) I remember looking at all the skinny girls at the start line. They looked so fast and I was a bit intimidated but not scared. I passed one just after the 1/2 way point and I remember thinking to myself "see Nicola, it's not about how skinny you are". I was clearly the better runner on the day and it had nothing to do with weight. I pretty much threw that preconceived notion out the window on that day. Skinny doesn't = FAST. Skinny doesn't = Winner. Skinny doesn't = ANYTHING.

I have struggled with my own demon's. After high school I became overly conscious about weight. I never not ate, but every nutritional label was read for its calorie/fat content, I became critical of others, if I ate very little one day that was a successful day, not to mention the guilt I felt after eating something "bad for me". This was all before I began running. When I started training for my first marathon at 20 yrs old, it all changed. I realized that to run as much as I was, I needed to eat well. I now have a completely different outlook on food and health. And thank god, because food, is such a glorious thing.

My take home message and challenge for every athlete out there- Love who you are and how you are built. Do what you can with the body YOU were given. Who gives a shit if you are heavier/bulkier/lankier/shorter/less muscly/different gender than the person beside you, if you can go give them a run for their money, boo ya. Train hard, train smart, and BE YOU!

Monday, May 25, 2009


(I didnt have any photos from the weekend, so here is one from the beautiful Leadville, Colorado)

The weather here is ridiculous...ridiculously good! The kind of weather I wish we had all winter, but I guess having a shitty winter makes you appreciate the sunshine SO MUCH MORE! I think I truly am one of those people that gets a major energy boost from the sunshine. I don't suffer from SAD disorder or anything, but a little extra Vitamin D is never a bad thing. Went for an awesome 5 hour run with Peter yesterday. Unfortunately, he wasn't feeling so hot, but he suffered through it (almost puked up a gel or 2) and ran it out like a champion. We ran the Summer Solstice route, which is fun and challenging. I cant wait to help Peter race direct. Well, he'll be doing most of it, I'll be the trusty side kick!

Today I got to do my first Lactate Test (besides all the one's we do during the certification) to someone on the bike. Well, technically I did it last week but we sharpened up the procedure using the computrainer. The protocol that I learned on using the Tacx trainer is different than a computrainer and I think I made my guinea pig, Jason Bond, work a little harder than he needed (Sorry J)! During the test it is quite common to get a miss reading from the Lactate Pro machine (it's tiny). Little things can happen that could totally mess with your test (air gets in, sweat interferes, not enough blood to get an accurate reading etc). It's not hard to know when a false reading occurs but it's important for the tester to know when it happens. I can always tell and it's fun making predictions on whats going to happen. As a tester, you get really good at guessing what the next lactate reading is going to be. I think it's fun for both the testee and the tester. I am in complete dork mode. I came home right away to input her info into my computer to analyze the data. I already see some strength and weaknesses in her performance and I can now give her training recommendations based on her results. No formula is needed (how can you use a formula to predict training zones when everyone is different). All you need is just plain old physiology!

K dinner time!
See you in the trails...preferably with no furry animals who have recently come out of hibernation.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Hidden Treasure

On Friday afternoon, a few of us went on an adventure to find this local climbing spot that a friend of ours has been talking about for a while now. It's located 20 minutes from the headwater's parking lot and a simple right hand turn off of the Lynn Loop running/hiking trail. Walk along a small trail about 5 minutes and BOOM...there she be. This crag has about 12-20 climb's on's even I can do (I am a beginner). Anywho, I am stoked to have a spot so close to home and I am sure Pete and I will get out a bit more than we have this year (which hasn't been much).

(Oli getting the rope ready)

It's hard to see but I am literally kneeling on this ledge. Peter was trying to direct me up this climb but I just couldn't do what he was suggesting. I took it upon myself to rely on my "climbing on my roof as a kid to get into the house when I forgot my Key" moves and this is how it ended up. I look more like a cat that is stuck on a ledge but it worked and I managed to make it all the way up.

Anywho, time to go for my Sunday long run. Pete and I are running the Summer Solstice trail marathon route. The race is Sunday, June 20th and I suggest you all come out- it's a challenging and super fun route!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

O' Happy Day!

(I'll imagine I am hear right now, Yosemite!)

There's something about the sunshine that makes everything "all good". You can have a bad day, but at the end of it, if the sun is shining, it's all good.

I am one lucky girl right now. I am done work most mornings pretty early (though I am up and at em' hours before most people press snooze for the very 1st time), leaving the rest of the day to run, relax, cook a great meal and be merry.

It occurred to me the other day that there are a few local-ish runs happening in the next few weeks and that I should probably jump on the bandwagon and try something new. I was contemplating Scorched Soul 50km or the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler. I wasn't sure if I was 50 mile race ready, though I did just do one 3 weeks ago. Well, we all know that story, my first DNF at 80km during Miwok. I was definitely sore after Miwok, but I tell ya, I was 1/2 as sore after Miwok than Way Too Cool 50km back in March. Because I dropped out early and wasn't moving too quick for the 10km prior, I have lot's left in me. I'm dying to race on some gnarly technical terrain; with some steep descents. I think the North Face 50 miler will provide me with all those pleasantries. I am not going to lie, the $1000/$600/$350 (1st/2nd/3rd)cash prize sounds a little enticing as well, though that's not my main reason for doing the race. It doesn't look like a fast course and i think I have my work cut out for me. I'll make my mind up in the next few days whether or not I should do the 50miler or 50km. Besides Knee Knacker in July, I have no major competitive races coming up. So, now is the time to try out some new courses and have some fun!!!

I had the chance to use my new TRX this morning at work. I trained a good friend of mine at a local park near my house. The TRX is wicked and really versatile. You can give challenging and different workouts with it, using only one piece of equipment. When you train someone outdoors, the less equipment, the better. Especially when I get around by bike. I can imagine it would be a challenge trying to carry my bosu in one hand and steer my bike with the other!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Running from the Devil"

Last week I felt like I was unstoppable, except for some random calf discomfort I had been having. This week however, with no rest day taken, I am feeling a bit sore and run down. Soreness is due to crossfit, which is to be expected, and I know my body is screaming for a complete day of rest. I find that extremely hard to do because everyday I commute by bike. Even if I try and go as easy as possible, I am eventually going to have to work my way up some major hills to get home. Plus, the weather is crazy beautiful right now and it's hard to not go play outside.

I pondered the idea of relaxing on a grassy knoll to read my new book "running from the devil", which the author gave to me to review on my blog. You can expect that review soon enough. It's a great book. I started reading it to Peter on our road trip a few weeks ago. Since he does all the driving he needs me to entertain him to keep him awake. This book made our trip pretty funny because I made up the weirdest accents (from all over the world) for the characters. I almost feel bad reading it to myself and I should probably wait for our next road trip to continue the story but that's not until August and I am getting impatient to know what happens next.

Peter and I both canceled on our CrossFit workout today and rescheduled it for tomorrow. My chest, inner thighs, and triceps were just crying today. When you work out hard, you end up tearing muscle fibers and by letting them recover (resting them) they actually rebuild and get stronger. So, there was no point in ruining that process by killing them again today. I know that as the weeks go on we will find ourselves less and less sore after the workouts. The body needs time to adapt to movements and weights we have not done in a while.

Well I am off to bask in the sunshine (get some color on this white frame)! Enjoy the day.

Monday, May 18, 2009

North Shore Spring Triathlon

Today was the 20th anniversary of the North Shore Spring Triathlon. I don't normally participate in this event, to be honest, I haven't even gone out to watch before.

It's a super well attended event and they even have a kids category. Watching them alone is reason enough to go. These kids were tearing it up swimming, biking, and running. Many made it a family affair with both kids and parents participating today.

I was getting picked up at 7am by my teammate Tiffany Fenton. We wanted to get there in time to catch the kids head out. I set my alarm for 6:37 (not to sure how it ended up on that odd number) and when I got up I had a message from Tiff that said, "is it cool if I come at 6:45am". So with 8 minutes to get ready, I grabbed all my stuff and printed out the door. We were meeting our other teammate Ali Shaffer and we got all set up. I know a lot of the triathlon community from working at North Shore Athletics but I have never seen any of them in action. It was awesome to support them out there, cheering them on as they did their thing. I don't think there were too many relay teams but we gave it our all. Tiff came out of the water in under 20 minutes and sprinted barefoot on the pavement to the transition area to tag Ali off on the bike. The bike was 4 laps along the parkway, which made it very spectator friendly. Shaffer had a wicked bike and finished right around 30 minutes to tag me off on the run. The run was 5km on both road and trail. It was so much fun. I felt like I was flying, mainly because everyone else had already spent themselves on the swim and bike and I had extremely fresh legs. The one thing about 5 k's...they hurt. You are pretty much going all out for just under 20 minutes. My heart rate was sky high, though, it slowly started to loosen up over the course of the run and ended up around my waist before I gave it to someone to hold. My number belt also had a malfunction and I ended up holding it in my hand. I came in just over 19 minutes on a pretty hilly course and was spent. My body was full of adrenaline and I just couldn't stop talking about how much fun it was.

After the race Peter and I came home, ate, napped, and then headed out to do some trail maintenance on Powerline. Powerline is this 3 km hill that we will be running up during Iron Knee 25km May 31st. Unfortunately, the trail is really overgrown and is in need of some tender loving care...and a trim. We worked a couple hours on it on Saturday but it needed much more work than that. Here is a before photo on one of the switch backs we were working on.

After over 2 hours on the trail, here is the after:

There is still more work that needs to be done but hopefully we can get it done by the end of this week. Fixing up the trail is super rewarding and I am sure it will make running that section a little more enjoyable knowing I helped keep it in good shape. I'll thank Peter for getting my butt out there. It doesn't take much to do a lot and I encourage any trail users to get out there and volunteer their time doing some trail maintenance in their community.

Well, my 5 day weekend is over and it's back to 5am wake up calls. Enjoy the week!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

R & R in MT. Baker

Thursday afternoon, my step-dad Jim and I took off to the little town of Glacier, right near the base of MT. Baker. We have had a cabin there for years. Jim built it with his own 2 hands, an accomplishment he is very proud of. For 2-3 years he was driving down there every weekend to work on it. A commitment he was very dedicated to. My parents separated 2 years ago and the cabin has been up for sale ever since. The economy in the US has prevented it from selling (we think) and I couldn't be happier because the longer it's around the better. It's a timber frame home meaning that there are no nails or anything holding it together. Rather it is held up by pegs of wood.

When I was a teenager I didn't make much use of it. I guess back then, I just wanted to stick around and hang out with my friends and not "miss out" on anything that was going on (partied etc). Also, I didn't think there was much to do down there. This didn't make Jim very happy because he wanted us to all go down as a family and spend time together. The last few years I have gone down more than ever. I can Snowboard/ski (for way cheaper than Whistler) in the winter, run/hike in some beautiful trails in the spring/fall/summer, splash around in the pool, and play loads of tennis, basketball, horseshoes, and volleyball. I could even bring up my bike and go for some amazing road rides. I actually saw an unreal amount of road riders biking up to the mountain.

The cabin is a place I come up to now to get some real relaxation. Eat some great food, drink beer we don’t have in Canada (Pyramid Apricot Ale), go for some beautiful trail runs, and catch up on some sleep. Glacier is a pretty remote little town. Graham’s, the town’s one local bar, is the place to be on every second Thursday because ‘Bent Grass’ is playing. Lucky for me, last night happened to be the right Thursday to be in town. It was packed and Bent Grass played for a good 3 hours. They were as raw bluegrass as it get’s. This one guy was playing what my dad called a “wash basin” but after speaking to the Tom (the artist) himself, he told us it’s actually called ‘tub bucket’. You should have seen it and if my camera didn’t so timely run out of batteries I could have shown you all. The wash tub basin is the lower portion of the instrument and it sits upside down. Screw a hole in the middle and attach a Subaru speedometer cord and you’ve got yourself a string to pluck away on (just one string!). He attaches the string to a wooden broom handle (minus the broom bristles) and throws a band member’s dirty sock on top and Tom’s made himself a tub bucket. He tapes his plucking fingers because he could really do some damage otherwise. To make music like he does, he has to pluck pretty hard. He showed me his tape job after the show. He wrapped it around each finger 4 times and all but one layer was worn through…CRAZY!

My step dad and I were playing pool most of the night while watching the show. Jim plays a lot up in Powell River at a place called the Westview. He has become very well known as the ‘Powell River Pool Shark’ (but he doesn’t know that). He certainly didn’t take it easy on me, in fact, he started floofing (I just made up that word) balls just to give me a chance to play. I think I lost at least 8 games but I got better with each one and that’s what it’s all about…right? I actually used to be a pool shark myself. Jim used to take my mom, bro, and I to this place called Joe’s on Commercial Street. I must have been 8 or 9 years old and I loved it. Joe was a bullfighter and the entire place was filled with his old bullfighting pictures. I’d always get a chocolate muffin and a hot chocolate. It’s amazing how much our brains remember from our childhood.

I tried to sleep in as long as possible. Jim and I got into this conversation last night about ‘late nights’. Essentially, I was saying how I go to bed at 9pm most nights during the week and I haven’t been going out very late on the weekends because of early morning runs etc. I am an 8 hour a night kind of girl. I can function on less, but if I keep lacking sleep, it affects my energy levels and makes it that much harder to get my butt out the door and go running. Or my runs will just suck and I’ll feel like crap. He, on the other hand, wakes up at 6am every morning for work and the earliest he goes to bed is 11:30pm. He says he’s way tired before that, but he just doesn’t want to say goodbye to the day. He kept making this reference last night at Graham’s as I was falling asleep watching the band play, “Don’t give up the night”. Part of me thinks he makes a good point and I probably should go out more but I really love getting friends together over a great home cooked meal followed by some good laughs with a few drinks. Plus, in my opinion, I’d rather be out and about when the sun is coming up, rather than when it’s pitch black, though I do enjoy a good night run! He’s a horse and I’m a rat, they/we don’t always see eye to eye.

I woke up this morning and headed out for a very scenic run. I drove up Glacier Creek Road, which was supposed to take me 9 miles up to a parking lot. From there I could hike to the top of the mountain. About a mile up the road there was a “road closed” sign as there was road damage up ahead. I parked the car and started up the road. It was pretty hilly to start and eventually leveled off before getting steep again. The road switched back and forth all along Glacier Creek. It was such a blessing to be able to run next to the sounds of the flowing water and I must have passed by 6 different waterfalls. I wanted to run up for about an hour but once I hit snow around 52 minutes I didn’t hesitate to start my descent back down the hill. I got back to the cabin in time for some lunch and apricot ale in the hot tub. What a good life!

Woah! Somewhere in the day today I managed to sneek in a 2.5 hour nap.

See you in the trails.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Holy Sh*t! Peter and I just went to our first crossfit session and got worked. It was EXACTLY what I was looking for. It's one of those workouts where you just want to get it over with as fast as possible because your lungs burn! My heart rate was sky high, it was awesome.

The major benefit I think I'll get from it, besides the obvious gains in strength, is the mental toughness aspect. Once you have been there and by 'there' I mean, wanting to puke/be curled up in fetal position, it will be that much easier to overcome being in that place during a tough race. I've heard it many times, ultra running is a game of attrition. Can you outlast your competitors?

Here is the link to a video if you wanted to check out what crossfit is all about. It's only a sample of one workout, there are many variations.

We're back in on thursday with Chris, the owner, for our second round of pain! I would suggest it to anyone! It's the good pain :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Beautiful Sunday + Mother's day!

What a gorgeous day! It's officially short sleeve weather out, I love it!

Today I went out with the Knee Knacker training group. I usually hook up with these guys a few times each summer to train for the Knee Knacker in July. The group was huge! There were approximately 80 folks out to spend a few hours in the trails. I got to catch up with some friends I hadn't seen in a while. Heard stories of their latest adventures and what they have in the works this summer. My legs are still a bit sore in places after Miwok but I managed to get out for 2 hrs 15 minutes! It was simply glorious out.

The sore spots change daily. I attempted to run on Tuesday but my body was telling me to STOP, so I turned around and went back home. I ran home from a job downtown on Friday and made it an hour on the road. I had some seriously tight calves, which were the issue today as well. I had a massage last Tuesday and that was the sorest part. Biking to and from work seems to be my bodies best option at the moment. I think after a massage tomorrow, some consistent stretching and rolling, I should be good to go to put in a decent training week (of slow training).

I get to have my first crossfit session tomorrow with the CrossFit Lions in North Vancouver. Hopefully the legs will hold up and I can start adding some more strength to this body. I definitely find that through putting a lot of miles on the body and neglecting my strength training, I begin to feel weak. My push-up rep max goes from 3 down to 1 (haha)...just kidding, but lifting my body weight becomes a challenge. Upper body strength has never been my strong point to begin with but if I work at it, I make huge improvements, but I HAVE to work at it. I'm not the type who just thinks about lifting weights and immediately has huge biceps. I have never been able to do more than 1 pull-up! What I am looking for is to develop more strength and power. I think that will help my trail running and will allow me to go harder on the hills or at least run them without as much fatigue.

(I folded like a cheap tent trying to lift this kid on my back)

I just wanted to finish this blog off my saying how much I love you Mom. She lives in Powell River and spent the morning cleaning the moss off of her roof. What a woman!!!! Wish I could have been there with you, hope to see you soon!!!!

See you in the trails!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Do they have 'Decision making school"?

If so, I'd like to enroll...

Hands down, my biggest personality "needs improvement" (I chose that word over 'weakness') is in my indecisiveness. I think I let other people influence my decision making process's a bit too much. It all started a little over a month ago when I found out I was selected to be on the world cup 100km team. I was stoked to have been selected but soon realized that the race fell at a really bad time. I had signed up for a bunch of other races that I was REALLY looking forward to going out and rocking. I was set up to race direct Summer Solstice 1/2 and full trail marathon (my first race directing experience). I haven't been working much since I left my job at the end of December, so finances weren't looking good for a $1200 ticket to Belgium. I was worried about recovery time from the Miwok 100km which is 6 weeks prior to the world cup. If I went to the world cup, I would have wanted to give my all and do as well as I could, knowing I had put in enough training time it would take to succeed. So a million and one things that were preventing me from wanting to go...I had made up my mind...I wasn't going!

Then all of a sudden, I had close family and friends tell me what a dumb decision that was and that this is a chance of a lifetime..."don't worry about the money"..."You can't pass up an opportunity like this"...etc. So I thought more about it and chose to listen to everyone else and asked if I could still be on the team.

This one race has been causing me more stress and anxiety than any other...
I have been dreading this blog because I look like I'm crazy, going back on myself again. But, to be honest, ever since I told them i wasn't in fact going to be joining the team, I have been so stress free. I had been having some hip pain going into Miwok 100. Thankfully, it didn't bother me during the race but there is no way I am going to be able to put the miles or the specificity of training in, during the next 5 weeks to go out and race 'the way I want to' in Belgium...and not come out injured or be wiped for the rest of the summer race season.

Don't get me wrong, I am going to try and make it on the team for next year. The race is in November (2010) which is a much more ideal time for a road race, since I tend to run more trail throughout the summer. I also know exactly when the race is going to take place over a year before it is happening. I didn't even find out about the world cup in Belgium until March 25th, very short notice. In the end, I had to follow my heart, which was telling me it wasn't in it this time.

For those who are going, I hope you kick some serious ass. Devon, I'm routing for you (even though your on team U.S.A).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The rest of the trip!

(Pic: This is Cafe Del Sol- we had 2 delicious organic wraps here)

The day after the race was Peter's Birthday! He turned 31 and because he was so sore from the 100km, he felt like an old man. We woke up, had waffles for breaky at the hotel and then went to San Francisco to fisherman's wharf. I have been here a few times now and I think that time may be the last. It's packed with tourists and besides the beautiful ocean view, the guy who scares people buy disguising himself as a tree, and seeing Alcatraz, there's really just a bunch of fast food restaurants and greasy looking seafood. My dad gave me $20 U.S for my birthday to go the Buena Vista Cafe to have a Spanish Coffee. The atmosphere in the place was awesome, it was packed. I had my $7.50 coffee and then we headed back to Mill Valley.

The hotel we stayed at (Aqua Hotel) had a great wine, cheese, cracker, and grape platter after 4pm everyday. Once we got back to the hotel, I put my feet up and had a glass of white wine that just hit the spot. We had reservations at a restaurant called Spinnaker's, which serves some great seafood. It is located right on the water in Sausalito and we had a table right by the window. As we were leaving we discovered there was a wedding reception across the hall. The people inside were clearly having a good time. Wedding crashers had been on TV the night before and that would have been a good one to crash. The band was playing some nice slow dance music so Peter and I danced for part of a song in the hallway (ya, were corny!). After dinner we went back to the hotel. I had brought some chocolate all the way from Purdy's in North Vancouver. Sweet Georgia Brown's are Pete's absolute favorite and I wish I had a brought down a candle to stick in one as well.

(pic: Pete, his mom and dad, outside of Spinnaker's restaurant)

The next day we did some laundry. It could have been a smelly drive home with all our sopping wet race gear. We headed home around 11am, stopped once for 2 hours, and got home at 5am the next morning. I think the plan was to stop at a motel 6 to catch some sleep but Peter's a die hard and would rather just get home sooner than later. All in all, the trip was awesome. I absolutely love Sausalito and Mill Valley and would love to come back to do some training.

I just booked my next flight to Whitehorse. A cousin of mine is getting married on top of a mountain in August. I am super excited because I have never been to Whitehorse. She said there is an amazing 53km trail called the Chilkoot trail that I should run but I am a little nervous to do the trek alone in bear country! Anyone want to join me??!!!

See you in the trails!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Miwok- The biggest learning experience!

Today was one of the best racing learning experiences of my life. A lot of things happened today, where if I were more prepared, the outcome may have changed, or maybe not...

I had a great sleep last night and woke to the sound of my alarm at 3:30am. I quickly ate breakfast and then got my race gear on. I had forgotten my heart rate monitor at home (I could of sworn I put it in my bag) which of course happens when you pack last minute (lessen # 1 learned). I helped put sport shield (similiar to body glide but less 'vaselinie') all over Peter's back, which I normally do myself because my camelbak chafes against my HR monitor, but because I didn't have it, I passed on the lube (lesson # 2- always wear body glide). We got to the start at 5pm, thanks to Peter's parents. It was pitch black and all you could hear was waves crashing in the background. It was windy! After checking in, getting everything ready, all of the starters were off to the beach for a start in the sand. Everyone headed into single track trail like one big giant ant farm. We quickly got onto a road that went 3 miles uphill. It was hot, and I quickly drew down my arm warmers and took my gloves off. I was happy about this weather because even if it did rain today (which is called for "light rain") I would be comfortable.

I ended up chatting to quite a few different people up this section, and quickly noticed I was working a little to hard for the start. I chatted with Joelle Vaught, who was doing her 1st 100km. She ended up coming 4th with a time of 9:57! I chatted with Scott Dunlap who was doing his like 100th race in 1 week. Last but not least, I found 2 guys who had done the race before and I was hitting them up for tips because they both ran 10 hours last year. I later found out they are both from B.C and Peter knows them well. We then went into a pretty nice decent and the pack started to widen. The course was pretty clear and the views were sensational, not to mention it was starting to get light out really fast. I ran with a guy "the woohooer" for the next hour or so. He was awesome and woo'd even more than I usually do. In fact, I didn't even have to, he did enough for the both of us. I was feeling pretty casual and trying to take it easy but steady. I reached the Muir aid station exactly when I wanted to and ran into Jurgen Watts Wife, Nina. Her and her son Ben were out cheering on the racers waiting for her husband and mine and Peter's friend Jurgen. I arrived at the aid station and needed to fill up my camelbak. One of the awesome volunteers offered to take my camelbak and fill it up as I kept running. So off I went! I ran into Peter's parents as the were driving into the aid station and ditched one arm warmer (I kept the other for a snot rag!) and my gloves. By the time I had done that, the voly was back with my bag. I quickly noticed that it was pretty much only half full (lessen # 3- always fill your own bag or watch them do it). I still trusted that I had enough to skip the Pantoll aid station and make it to the Bolina's aid station.

I ran with a guy from L.A and we had a very similiar pace. We chatted for quite sometime. The running in this section was awesome, reminded me of Costa Rica. Such a lush forest and the ground was so soft, reminded me of the Lynn Loop in the headwaters. There was still a lot of climbing and I alternated between a power hiking and running. After Pantoll aid station we went out onto Balina's ridge. This was fun and steady running. Not to hilly, very runnable and reminded me of the terrain at Way too Cool. I passed a few people on this section and met up with a guy I ran with a bunch at Way too Cool. I ended up running out of water but it was only about 15-20 minutes to Balina's aid station. This awesome kid filled up my camelbak as I held it open for him, ensuring it got completely full. I grabbed 3 more gels and headed downhill...or so I thought. This next section I ran with the guy from L.A until I had to take a bathroom break and he went ahead. It was very long, undulating and eventually it turned into a steep downhill. It is also the out and back section, so we got to see the leaders coming up. At this point I didn't know what place I was in, none of the vollies had said anything. I saw the lead men, but didn't know who any of them were, and then I saw Anita Ortiz, the first female. Kami Semick was not far behind and Caitlin Smith (doing her 1st 100km) was not far behind her. There was one more ponytail, or should I say 'pig tail', coming up the hill, which put me in 5th. I was pretty stoked about that. Gary Robbins had posted on Karl Meltzer's blog that I was a top 5 for sure, so part of me wanted to try and accomplish that. When I got to the end, I grabbed a wind proof jacket, some more gels, and 1/4 a PB & J sandwhich. I did not fill my bladder (lessen # 4- it's better to be safe than sorry). I headed back up and ran into Darin Bently. He is also on the Canadian 100km Team going to Belgium this summer. We ran together for a bit until I had to take another bathroom break. I was wondering why he was behind me but he told me he had gotten lost for about 25 minutes. I knew I was going to see Peter at some point and when I did, it couldn't have been a more perfect moment. No one was on the trail besides us. We both saw each other from afar and ran to each other like we were running through the meadows, arms spread, in slow motion. We hugged, kissed, and gave our best wishes. He looked so strong and I was glad he was having a great day. This uphill section was LONG! I could have sworn it went on forever. It was wet and my wind proof jacket quickly was soaked all the way through, rendering it useless. I had a wet hat on, wet sports bra and shirt, soaked shorts, and my feet were also soaked. There were monstrous puddles on course but nothing I am not used to. What I am not used to, is being in the rain, without the proper gear- Lessen # 5- it's better to be warm, than WAY TOO COLD!

I ran out of water and I had no clue how long it was back to the Balina's Aid Station. I was getting worried as I couldnt take any salt pills or fuel. I was getting increasingly worried that I was going to screw up my entire race because of such an idiotic mistake. I actually didn't feel toooo bad and after about 35 minutes I reached the aid station. My pace however, had definetly slowed. I grabbed 1/2 a PB and J, filled my bladder, and was off. I chugged a bunch of water and was actually feeling a bit better. Suzanna Bon was right on my heels. She was another lady who I was running around throughout the entire race. She was ahead of me for much of the start but then we switched roles and I was ahead for pretty much the rest.

What happened next was one of least fun things I have ever experienced during a race. We had to go back along Bolina's ridge to the Pantoll Aid Station. It was foggy, really foggy. So foggy that you could hardly see 5 feet in front of you. Not only that, it was muddy, so muddy that I feared slipping down the ridge that slanted down toward the water. If that wasn't enough, it was pissing rain and the winds were just ragging. The wind was blowing the rain right into my face and body. I was so cold. I wish I could describe in words how uncomfortable I was. Suzanna had caught up to me at this point. we were pretty much walking the ridge because it was easier than running. We both were not in a good place. I had such negative thoughts. I have thought about dropping out of races before but that's usually just the evil devil that sits on my left shoulder telling me that. In those situations, the angel on the right always tells it to shut up, this time, nothing was. Perhaps if I could see how beautiful the view was, that may have inspired me to get moving and keep running, but this was not the case. I just kept moving, taking the side piercing blows of rain wind that came at me. I was slipping and sliding all over the place because of the mud. I honestly had HAD IT! To top it all off, my hip flexors were seizing up, which made it hard to flex my leg with each step. Running uphill was starting to become difficult and painful and the only thing keeping me moving was going downhill.

We finally got out of the wind but by this time I was frozen and my hip flexors were out of commission. I literally had to lift my legs over fallen trees. By the time I got to the aid station, I knew I was done. At the time, I couldn't and wasn't willing to endure another 2-3 hours of this shit. I saw Peter's parents and just broke into tears. They did everything they could for me. They motivated me to keep going but in the end they knew it was my decision. One of the volunteers honestly tried her hardest to get me going. She rubbed my legs, got me to stretch, but nothing made the flexors feel better. Not to mention, the longer I stood there, the more they tightened. I decided I would wait for Peter, and make my decision to continue on then (lessen # 6- get your ass moving!). I for one know first hand that your body and how it reacts in a race changes drastically from one minute to the next. You can feel like absolute trash and then a few minutes later hit some different terrain or refuel and feel like a champion. Peter came in 20 minutes later. He had put 20 minutes on me in that section because I was 40 minutes ahead of him at the Randall turn around point. He was sad for me but he was willing to do anything to get me to the finish. I tested out my legs and although the rest of my muscles felt awesome, my hip flexors were preventing me from lifting my leg. In the end, as much as I was bummed, I let him go. I had never DNF'd before and even as I write this, I can't beleive I did. I wish so much that I had just kept going.

We watched Peter at the next aid station. He looked so good and kept such a steady pace. I was so proud of him. It was at this aid station that I found out that over 40 people had DNF'd already. The highest they had ever seen. That doesn't however make me feel any better about mine. We waited for him at the finish. My amazing boyfriend rocked this course. He came in under 11 hours (his goal) and ran such a strong steady race. He had everything dialed. He had 2 separate camelbak's that he had his parents rotate through and fill so all he had to do was exchange one of the other with them at the aid stations. He dressed appropriately and he even changed his shoes and socks twice. He finished his first 100 km and felt amazing. I am so proud of him. His organization and solid race plan allowed him to succeed. I am a bit more lackadaisical. I had a plan, but I could have been even more prepared.

A while after Peter finished, I asked him to go for a walk with me. I was very emotional. I balled on his shoulder and he comforted me. He was very sad for me that I did not finish. I felt, at that moment, a quitter. When I run, the one thing I am is not a quitter, but today was different. I had not planned for this.

BUT, with every wrong, there is a right. I learned soooo much from this race. From, never running out of water to packing for the weather. I know the feeling I felt when I DNF and that is something I never want to feel again. If I ever tell myself I want to quit, I will think back to this moment and how I felt. I wish you could see my back, I'll post pictures of it when I get home. It is soooo chafed, I cant actually lie back against the pillow on my bed. I am not looking forward to the shower. I was so proud of all my friends running out there today. I stayed at the finish for many hours cheering runners in, especailly my good buddy Jurgen. It found it to be very tough but in the end, he finished, and did his best. Everyone did so well, even under the weather circumstances. As I have only been running Ultra's for about 2.5 years, I look at all of them as practice. I will only get better with time and with more practice.

On a brighter note, I think my recovery from this race is going to be shorter and I'll be better recovered for the world cup 100km in 6 weeks. I can go redeem myself. I will definitely be back to do Miwok next year (as long as I can get in). There is some unfinished business that needs to be dealt with. Thanks again to the race director, volunteers, and Peter's parents, Keith and Flora. You guys made the day happen as it needed to. You made our team complete!

ps- sorry for my lack of pictures. I didn't bring my cord to San Fran. Will post at home.

Miwok- The biggest learning experience!