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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

SERGEANT!



There she be...I called her Sergeant...G.I Jane baby! The last 3 letters of the license plate are SGT, it was only fitting.

I agonized over what I should do for a vehicle for quite a while after it got totalled. You can breifly read about that HERE if you want the background story.

In the end, ICBC ended up rewarding me with a whopping $1200 for her. On the bright side, I did make $500 on the car considering I only baught it for $700!

After countlessly contemplated not getting a car, I realized that I am way too lazy to walk the 20 minutes to the grocery store, suck it up and bike to work and/or hitchhike my way up the mountain (especially in these winter months). With all that said, I decided to buy one.

Then it came down to buying another old one or go for a newer one? Well, I applied for a line of credit and got it. However, having never really had debt in my life I was a little concerned about having one. But, knowing I have to drive the Sea to Sky highway every so often left me feeling as though I needed something reliable. Plus, I wanted a car I could take road tripping and more importantly, something that would hopefully last me a long time.

In the end, I found a great deal on craigslist for this bad girl and I jumped on it. Having a car salesman as a client helped as well. I got a killer of a deal for a used 2005 car with only 65,000km on it. It took me a few days to get over the fact that I had such a nice vehicle. I couldnt help but feel like I was selling out. I live pretty frivolously but here I am spending all this money on a car. However, I know this thing will bring me much freedom and memories. I'm pretty sure that if I fold the seats down I could manage to sleep in it!

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The days have been a little rainy and muggy but I am still managing to get out the door and get my runs in. These aren't even training runs as I am not training for anything- besides life. hey are fun runs where I go where I want, for however long I want.

As for next year, I have decided I am not going to race anywhere I can't get to by car. Over the past few years I have spent all of my money on trips, mostly running trips. I have had a ton of fun in the process but I'd like to take this year to enjoy everything around me because it's just so damn beautiful. I had contemplated heading over to one of the montrail ultra cup races to try and get a spot for western again (bandura, ice age) but when its all said and done, its just way too much money, especially for ONE race. There are so many other hidden gems out there that are local and easier on the pocket.

I am pretty stoked for the next few weeks. Lots of time will be spent with family and friends. I'm heading up to Mt. Baker this weekend and then over to Whistler for 4 days with Peters family. Hopefully my legs can handle all this skiing! Then it's back to North Van for Christmas Eve/Christmas day dinners with the Gilders! Can't wait.

See you in the trails!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Learning to Drive all over again!

Wow, I just had a 90 minute standard car driving lesson. My one regret (not really) in life will have to be not having learned this years ago when I started to drive. It feels so unnatural to have to use my left foot. Usually it just dangles pretty off to the side. I only managed to freak out and cry once.

I started to find all my mistakes/frustrations rather amusing by the end. I think being the instructor for these lessons would be such a tough job. A) you have people totally freak out on you (2) because I was concentrating so much on changing gears etc. I was definitely veering in all sorts of directions, not to mention, almost rolling back into cars on slopes (3) you have to repeat yourself A LOT and (4) and give positive encouragement even when the person is totally blowing it!

Man, that was crazy. I tend to get frustrated when I can't pick something up quickly, especially when I repeatedly make the same mistake over and over. He had to politely tell me that "it's ok, your a beginner, it's going to be tough", "No one ever picks it up right away". However, he did tell me that compared to most, I was "the best". Maybe he was lying to make me feel better but maybe not...I'LL TAKE THAT!

Tomorrow I get possession of a standard car and I guess I'll be learning as I go. The lesson was a good start. It's a good thing Squamish is a bit flatter than North Vancouver. Anyone have any good "Learning to drive standard stories???"

See you in the trails!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

SQUAMISH DAYS

I think I have forgotten how to blog it's been so long! I guess 3 weeks isn't that long but when your used to blogging a few times a week, it feel like forever.

Our move up to Squamish has been both amazing (hands down best decision I ever made) but has had it's share of frustrating moments.

We love our place and location. So far, the running I have done (before it snowed) was great and made for some awesome solo exploration. Jen, my local running tour guide, has taken me on a few runs up and around Alice Lake. And of course, the mighty Cheif has called my name more than a couple of times. I actually hiked it with my aunt and uncle yesterday. My uncle had NEVER hiked it, and my aunt hadnt done it since she was 8 years old. The snow was still hanging around but the tourists weren't and we had the Cheif all to ourselves.





I know I should probably explore some new places (up high) but I am a little nervous all by my lonesome in the snow.

The only frustrating thing about our move was the lack of cleanliness on our landlords part. I hesitate to say anything bad about him because he is such a nice and genuine guy, however, our place was filthy when we came to move in. He also has a dog who left behind a colonie of fleas. I can't beleive how incredibly grossed out I get when I spot them. It must have to do with the way they jump around. The straw that broke the camels back was when we woke up at 3:30 in the morning with them in our bed. After trying a few lower key flea/bug sprays, it's looking as though we may have to fumigate. I'm getting the feeling that because I havent blogged in so long, I'm starting to overshare...yes? haha

The week of our move, Peter got in an unfortunate accident in my car (he's not at fault), which ended up being a write off. Peter managed to get away with some scrapes and bruises and the odd ache and pain in his shoulder but overall he is doing well. However, this has left me without a vehicle, which is almost a blessing in disguise because I was considering giving my best go at becoming a bike commutor. This would not only save me a lot of money, I would be able to afford a mountain bike. Even though the money I got from the write off (1990 civic) is not quite enough to buy a mountain bike, it will help towards one. I also wonder how much freedom I would be compromising by not having a car...any thoughts?

I can't beleive all the wonderful things that are available to me within a 10-20 minute drive. I went snowshoeing up in Garibaldi Park with 2 friends of mine. We were only able to make it to the first hut because they had to be back in North Van but that left me wanting to explore more. I must admit, ski touring looked like a lot more fun, especially on the way down. I am just waiting on my bindings and once those arrive, I can assemble my skis and hit the hill. I am so incredibly stoked. Last year was the first time I had skiied in 13 years but it was amazing how fast the skill came back. It also made me realize how much I missed it.

The last thing on my list this month is to pick some running goals for 2011. I find I am struggling with this right now because I really want to enjoy everything I moved to Squamish to discover. I want to climb, mountain bike, ski tour, and pretty much just take advantage of everything that is in my backyard. I fear that trying to focus too much on one thing will take away from all the others. Perhaps, this is a good year to teach myself how to still run/race while finding balance with those other activities.

Peter said it best, why vacation this year when we have everything we need right here in Squmaish. We literally could spend the entire summer climbing here and still never hit anywhere near all the routes that are available to us.

I know I sound like I am turning into a climber but running is still my go to form of euphoria. In fact, there is a rainfall warning going on right now for this area and its pissing rain here today. Nothing makes me want to get outside more than running on a rainy day. It makes you feel so alive and pretty awesome when you see everyone bundled up with the heat on driving down the streets, and here you are, braving the elements!

Alright, time for a run and then a day studying for my final exam!

See you in the trails!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Phantom 19km Race Report

For the past 2 years, I have volunteered with Peter and the Phantom Race, which takes place in the Lynn Headwaters area. This race is put on by the lovely Heather Macdonald of Mountain Madness trail events/clinics. There are 3 distances to choose from- 12km, 19km, and 24km. This year, very last minute, I decided I would run it.

I decided upon the 19km because I just like the route better than the 24km. This race is not a cake walk and has it's fair share of hills, however, none too long. The weather was perfect- not too cold. I wore a long sleeve wool top and shorts.

I got there 20 minutes before the event started because I had to pick up the keys to the moving truck we rented for our big move to Squamish. I was really excited to run and after the gun went off, I darted out full of energy. I lead the female race from start to finish however, I always had a girl on my heels. I was a bit under the weather and my body was not feeling 100%. Often, I will do a race and everything just clicks and I hardly feel any fatigue in my legs. Other times, specifically during this race, that was not the case but I still managed to push through and keep the others behind me.

My favorite part of the run is getting the satisfaction of reaching the top of Lynn Loop. The trail from here is simply fun and uber technical. No matter what the state of my body is, I always have the energy to just giv'r through this section. I saw my buddy Rajen on this section and that gave me a big boost of energy. Before I knew it the race was over. I finished in a time of 1:50, 1st female. I stuck around to cheer on all the other race participants and chow down on all the yummy food that people brought. The save your skin foundation was out in full force and they brought, as per usual, their homemade ministrone soup, yum!

After that it was back home to pack up our place as the big move happened last weekend. Another blog on that to come soon.

Thanks again Heather for putting on such a fabulous race. The volunteers were amazing and it was nice to see Peter, who was manning an aid station, along the way. What's up next? I am not sure...other than a lot of Squamish exploring. I just got my new ski's and am just waiting on the boots and bindings...Can't wait!

See you in the trails!

Monday, November 8, 2010

THE FLAPPER

I had once considered massage therapy as a career but after speaking with a few, many had stopped doing some of the activities that they loved because of how it would affect their hands. Now I get it...



I was totally stuck on this one boulder problem at the climbing gym and tried relentlessly (and repeatedly) to solve it. I noticed a mean callus forming on my pinky finger but just kept going. After my final attempt, I ripped this gnarly flapper and kind of freaked out a bit, like I was expecting it to start gushing blood or something. Of course, it never did and I had to sadly call it a day. Bouldering takes a lot of patience, more than I have with myself when I am playing. You have to rest and recover from each pump. I just wanted to keep doing it over and over and sometimes, you just have to surrender to the rock (or fake rock in this case). Humbled once again.

See you in the trails!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

You know your a trail runner when...



This scene is from the garage and if I had taken this picture yesterday, you would've thought that metal rack barfed up about 8 pairs of trail shoes. I am sure our landlords think we're nuts. I have so many pairs of the same shoe that I don't even know which one goes with which. I always tell myself to mark down when I got them (inside the shoe) but I have yet to make that dream come to fruition. Maybe it's a form of hoarding! And these are just the trail shoes!

Alright, time to go dig through and find a not so old looking pair to take out into the trails today!

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Big Move

I was reading a blog post by Tom Craik on his RUN NOW blog. yesterday. He's discussing how he feels on his runs when he isn't training for a goal race. He quotes:

"Run Now" is my mantra on so many occasions, but this morning, while climbing a new route up Grouse, I had an epiphany that some recent restlessness, and lack of present-minded running, came from having no racing goals. I'd been racing and training so much it had become a way of living. About three quarters of the way up it came to me that I was enjoying myself immensely and hadn't thought about my running plans for the coming year. I was so focused on "Running Now" that I was able to just be there."

It is no surprise that I have been feeling this exact same way over the last few months and just like Tom, is has been nice just running, without any goals or expectations other than to ENJOY and run in the here and now.

On another note- I have some exciting news...


(The mighty Chief- it's going to be in my backyard- not a big deal)

A month or so ago, Peter and I decided to move up to Squamish! We are both super excited. Reactions have been mixed but anyone who is outdoorsy seems to be supportive. I get asked "Why?" a lot. That answer seems to be pretty simple (1) World Class Rock Climbing (2) awesome cross-country mountain biking (3) equally as awesome mountain running (4) Closer to ski touring which I am going to start this winter! O' and can't forget my favorite spot- The Zephyr Cafe...and many more. I am excited to explore somewhere new. Peter and I have both lived in North Vancouver all our lives and I think change is a good thing. I am excited to be apart of a smaller community and meet new people.

Now that we are coming closer to the move-out date (Nov 15th) I am starting to notice just how much I do love Lynn Valley but the good thing is- it's not going anywhere! It will be exciting to come back and visit and have our friends come visit us. We have a 2 bedroom apartment in Valley Cliff so if anyone wants to come up, we've got a spare bed!

As for work, I am going to train clients 2 days a week in North Vancouver and start helping Jen Segger with her project X on the other days! This is a really exciting opportunity and the timing could not be more perfect. New Adventures here I come!

See you in the trails.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Kettlebell Swing


(Even Lance is doing them!)

I am taking this awesome strength training class with Human Motion called "L.I.F.T Camp". Basically, the owner is not a firm believer in boot camps and the style of training they traditionally put their clients through. Typically, boot camps are just an ass kick and if you come across one, a lot of participants demonstrate bad form and are very susceptible to injury. If you do choose to take one, make sure the instructor is going around and making corrections and is not just getting you to do 10 more push-ups (when your form go's) because that's what the program called for.

This class is much the opposite. The class size maxes out at 4 people. This way our instructor, Kevin, can make sure all 4 of us are doing the exercises correctly and has the time to make corrections.

We use all sorts of equipment, from the TRX, sandbags, big medicine balls, and most often kettle bells. I am now super stoked on developing my kettle bell skills and am looking to do the RKC (Russian Kettle Bell certification) next year. Apparently, the certification is very intense and not everyone passes. You have to do a specific test (strength test) to pass. The owner of Human Motion told me it would probably take me 6-9 months to prepare for the certification, so it looks like I have some work to do!

For those of you who have no background knowledge on kettlebells and any of the exercises you can do with them, I am going to introduce to you the most fundamental exercise of all- The Kettle Bell Swing.

Here is a link to an article by Bill Fox, who goes into detail about the benefits of the kettlebell swing: http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/323/.

Here is a video for those who want to see the movement in action. Although this guy is wearing over-sized clothing, he does a great job at describing some of the most important aspects of the motion. check out this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygv4nOcoaDw&feature=related

Alright, time for a run. See you in the trails!

Contest Winners



Congrats to Sue Lucus for being the second winner of the Elevate Me Organic Energy bar contest. She gets a free box of their new flavor 'Strawberry Apple Pie' delivered straight to her door step. Way to go Sue!

For everyone else, it isn't too late to still reap the rewards of the contest. Elevate me is offering a 20% discount to anyone who places an order online by Nov 1st. By the by, ordering online is cheaper than buying them from your local super market. Just type in the promo code 'elevatemerules' to receive the discount.

Just a reminder that the bars are Gluten and wheat free, are 24% protein, cold formed, not baked, low fat, high in fiber, and come with no added sweeteners/preservatives or flavors. BAM!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hallows Eve 10km race report


(photo care of Gary Robbins)

I've said it before and I'll say it again, this race rocks!

This year I decided to go for the 10km instead of the half marathon. I still haven't done any distance (race wise) over 15km so I didn't think I should start now. Not to mention, I had some ITB tightness going on last weekend at Around the Lake Giv'r take around the 12km mark, which forced me to pull out. 10km was an excellent choice and would serve as some good speed training.

My friend Shauna got back into town yesterday and I convinced her to grab her best thong, throw it over some tights, and head over to my place. When I did this race 3 years ago I wore hot pink tights and a black thong. This year however, I decided to switch it up, black tights and a hot pink thong. I do beleive that the thing gives me super human powers and propels me to run at high speeds.

My other friend, Tom Skinner, sent an email out that morning saying he was too sick to come. Once I told him we were dressing up in thongs he was game and made the trek out from Vancouver. However, Tom, being Tom, took the thong thing to a whole other level and asked me whether or not he should forgo the tights and just rock the thong. I said to him, "If you've got the balls, and I know you have the balls, to just wear the thong, then just wear the thong!"...and so he did and it may have been the funniest thing I have ever seen. He ran ahead of me for the first km or so and I literally was keeled over laughing while running. I had to pass him or my race would have been in jeopardy! (see blurry pic above for peep show of Tom. If you look closely I am wearing a white hat keeled over on the far right because I am laughing so hard))

The course starts at the Jaycee house by Capilano College. From there it heads up passed the cemetery, along Lillooet road, and you dive into Diamond trail heading towards the Baden Powell trail. Once I was on the flats in Diamond I passed a whack of people and while everyone skirted around the mud and puddles, I just plowed on through. This is wear my strengths come in because for the next 15 minutes or so, it's flat and downhill. My main competition was a friend of mine, Marieve. She is awesome and is a fairly new mother. She wasn't too far back and is a daemon on the hills. She started gaining on me as we crested up towards the suspension bridge. There were a few flights of stairs and I could see her getting closer.



My main goal was to run all the hills and stairs. When I did this race 3 years ago I walked every single stair. Now that I am a little bit tougher and not as much of a pansy ass I ran up them relentlessly. My legs were burning but I knew once I got to the top, the lactic acid burn would subside and I would get my stride back once again. I knew that if I could hold her off until we routed back to Diamond trail that I had the win in the bag. We were pretty much side by side at the Gazebo but I opened up a gap pretty quick as we headed back down twin falls towards the suspension bridge. I knew from there, we only had one more climb and then it was home free.

I passed by all the other 10km runners as they headed up twin falls and I tried to cheer on as many as I could. I worked hard up the hill doing a combination of power hiking and running. I gave mike (who is normally dressed in a cow costume) a high five and headed towards diamond trail. This trail is the reason I do this race. It's flat, technical, and a lot of fun. If I were to do speed intervals anywhere, I would do them on this trail because it has so much variety and changes directions a lot. There was one guy ahead of me but he was holding a steady enough pace that it took me a while to get close to him. I always seem to pick up speed in the final km and in doing so I managed to pass him and sprint to the finish to hold him off.

I finished in 48min and change and couldn't have been happier. My man (the race director)was there to congratulate me and I jumped up, took hold, and planted a big wet kiss on him. It is such a fun race and I encourage all to come out and join in the festivities next year. More pics can be found at the Run the North Shore website.

I am really enjoying the shorter distance races. They are over quick and the suffering is over with in under an hour! I think Peter and I are going to head over to Powell River next weekend and Tom told me there is a 10km in Cumberland which is just a short Ferry ride away. Awesome!

See you in the trails!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Living in the past...

I was training a client the other day and he was having a hard time with the workout. He was doing a lot of negative self talk- saying out loud that he was 'fat, slow, and out of shape'.

At this moment I drew upon many of my experiences with running. I too have gone through periods of negative self talk- I think we all have at some point or another.

This gentleman however, is not the same shape he was in 6 months ago. He is just getting back into it after taking some time off of training. He kept making reference to the fact that he used to be able to do all of these things in the past and was clearly frustrated that he kept having to take breaks.

This instantaneously reminded me of what I feel I have been experiencing and dealing with. I have however, come to the realization that I am not in the exact same shape I was 4 months ago. I can't run for hours up hours like I used to. And I can proudly say that I am totally OK with that! And, I will get back to that when I am ready.

I shared with him my experience with a similiar situation. I told him about my anxieties over not being able to perform as well as I had in the past at a race I had done the year before, where I won and broke the course record. I almost didn't want to go because I knew I couldn't beat my time. I explained that I really had to do some self-reflection on the significance of these feelings.

I think it's really important not to think about what we have done or where we used to be. The only thing that matters is the here and now. The reality of the situation is, no, I am not in the same shape. I have not been running as much as I was 6 months ago, so why am I pressuring myself to beat a time, such an insignificant thing. That day, I went out, I ran as hard as I could and because of the effort, I was happy. I did not think about my time, I just went out and tried hard. For me, that truely is what matters most.

I reminded him that he is not what he was 6 months ago and that it was OK. All that matters is that he was there, giving it his best that day, moving towards where he wants to be tomorrow and in the future. Maybe he didnt do the workout as fast as he thought, and maybe it took longer to complete the exercises selected. In the end, he still finished everything I gave him. He did the work and he tried his best. That's all I can ask for.

Friday, October 22, 2010

HOW TO PUSH PAST THE PAIN

There have been a few races in my life where I didn't think that the effort I was putting out was sustainable, only to find that I was able to hold that intensity for the entire race. Who knew you could run at 183bpm (max = 184) for an entire half marathon! That one hurt...

I was reading an article called "How to push past the pain" and it really demonstrates what elite athletes go through to win some of these races. The discipline and the mentality needed to overcome fatigue and the balance between winning and failing to finish.

I wonder how fast I could push my body in a 100 miler. I wonder how early on I could push the intensity. I wonder if I could run some of the early hills and still recover over the long run or would each one slowly tire me out.

I think that is why part of me keeps choosing longer and longer races. I like that I don't always need to go to that pain zone. Western states took me to the physical pain zone (knee pain) and the mental pain zone (wanting to quit) but not the lung/leg burning wanting to throw up zone.

Some of my fastest and best races have been when I didn't feel much at all. I was able to run fast and burn uphills without feeling much fatigue. The feeling when your muscles, mind, and body are all in sync. That could also be the result of a really great taper and everything is rested versus tight and recovering, thus, taking longer to fatigue.

The forecast is calling for rain all weekend. That should make the Hallow's Eve 10km and 1/2 marathon extra special. If you live on the North Shore and haven't signed up, come out! It's a fabulous course and gives us an excuse to dress up and run! Also, my boyfriend Peter is the race director and he puts on the greatest races ever!

Just a reminder to check out my Elevate Me Bar giveaway and promotion (20% off boxes of bars when you buy online).

See you in the trails!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

ONE MORE CHANCE

Alright, so clearly my question was way too easy! I have decided to give this another go (giving away my free sample box) to make it fair to those who won't read the post right way. Nice work Joey for answering the question in under 2 minutes of the blog being posted!!

All you have to do is leave a comment, proving to me that you have checked out the website. Give me a small piece of info that you picked up or learned from visiting it. For example, at first the bars weren't even bars, they were 'power' balls or one of the sponsored athletes is a triathlete named Allison Hooper.

I'll do a draw at the end of the week (Sunday). Whosoever name I draw, wins a box of the new flava!

Also, as a reminder, if you buy online from the website, you will get 20% off on your bars! Just type in the promo code 'elevatemerules'.

See you in the trails!

Elevate Me Bar Giveaway



I have known the owners of Elevate Me (gluten free) Energy Bars for quite some time now. I used to personal train them back when I worked for Innovative Fitness. At the time, Earl was a very fit individual (he still is) and his wife Trish, was very pregnant. Training them both at the same time was a challenge. I developed a solid relationship with these 2 and am proud to be an athlete ambassador for their amazing product (they still use mom's original recipe!).

These bars are are not only extremal delicious, they are very healthy. Most of them have as little as 5 ingredients and all of them are natural. Here is the ingredient list in their all-fruit original bar- whey protein isolate, dates, organic raisins, almonds, apples, cranberries (cranberries, cane sugar, sunflower), papaya (papaya, calcium, citric acid), mango. As I mentioned above, the bar is Gluten free, which is perfect for those who suffer from an intolerance. The bar is conveniently sectioned off into 3 pieces, so you can just grab whatever you feel like and keep the rest for later. Keep them in your car or purse because they make a great snack on the go or fuel pre and post workout. Each bar packs 24% protein (appox 16g), so it acts as a great meal replacement (or recovery product) if you have no time to eat anything.

I asked them if I could give away a box of bars to one lucky reader and they said YES!

CONTEST DETAILS:

Here's the deal: Go to the Elevate Me website. The first person to tell me which Olympic Gold Medalist fuels themselves with Elevate me Energy Bars, wins a box of their new flavor (strawberry apple pie). Just leave a comment with your answer. The first person to get it right, win's the box!

For everyone else, Elevate me is kindly offering a 20% discount specifically to you guys until Nov 1st. To order, go to their website and go to 'buy online'. Put in the promo code 'elevatemerules' to receive the discount.

Try them out for yourself and let me know what you think. I promise you will not be disappointed and if you are, I'll personally buy them off of you. If you think you might want to try one out before you buy, you can get them down at North Shore Athletics as well as most health food (specialty and whole foods) and grocery stores (Queensdale, save-on).

I got my butt kicked at my kettle bell class this morning. However, I showed those push-ups whose boss.

See you in the trails.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pumpkin Millet Muffins



Every now and then I come across a recipe that I just have to share because it's THAT good. I had been wanting to try it ever since I got the Rebar cookbook. I had been bundled up at home sick for the past 2 days and suddenly had a lot more time on my hands to bake! As my good friend Meghan (who just got engaged!!!) would say, the millet provides the crunch factor (I love crunch factor).

Pumpkin Millet Muffins: yields 15 muffins

2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used apple sauce instead)
1 cup buttermilk (I used low fat)
3/4 cup brown sugar (I used 2/3 and it was great)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup millet (toasted)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (toasted)
1 cup unbleached flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg (I used ground)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a large muffin pan and line with muffin cups if you like. Set aside. Combine eggs, oil (applesauce), buttermilk, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin in a large bowl and mix together, making sure there are no lumps of brown sugar. Stir in oats. Toast millet in a hot dry skillet until lightly browned and fragrant. Toast the pumpkin seeds and add the millet and seeds to the bowl. Set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Add the dry mix to the wet mix and gently stir to combine. Do not over mix, or the muffins will be dry and tough.

3. Fill muffin cups generously with batter. Sprinkle tops with pumpkin seeds and bake for 25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

These muffins are not only healthy but would make a great pre or post-run snack (or desert!). I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. I have given half of them away. When you find something amazing, you must share with others!

See you in the trails.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Around the lake, Giv'r take 30km


(There were a few people out in costumes...)

Last Saturday I drove the large and in charge North Shore Athletics (NSA) mobile out to Chiliwack to partake in Around the lake, Giv'r take 30km. NSA sponsors the event, and because of this Peter usually goes out and drops off the tents and prizing and runs it himself. I have joined him for the past 2 years and I must say it is one of my favorite races.

This year however, Peter is away on a climbing trip and I wavered back and forth about having the responsibility of driving the big truck out, setting up/taking down tents, and running. After being convinced into it by Dirk Handke, I picked up the truck Saturday morning and headed out. The new truck drives a lot smoother than my 91' Honda Civic and I had to be careful because it was way to easy to speed.

I had been having a few aches and pains leading up to the race, probably because of all the random activity (running, climbing, kettle bell class) I have been doing without any stretching, massage, or rolling. But, I thought it would be fun nonetheless. I had only run once that week and about 3 times the week before so I was definitely not in prime running shape, but I thought perhaps it the lack of running would have my running legs rested.



Last year, at this point, I was in peak physical condition training for Mountain Masochist and was ready to come out and run my heart out. At this point, this year, right now, I am nowhere near where I was last year, which is totally fine. I just knew I had to re-adjust my goals and not have any crazy high expectations.



When the gun went off, I went out with ease, and settled into a nice pace as we ran a flat couple of km before heading into the steep hills above Cultus Lake. I was leading the female category and was feeling good. As we started up the first major climb of the day, some guy started chatting me up. He told me he had seen my times and thought he better stay behind me. I felt the need to remind him of my current shape compared to last year and that he might want to re-consider. Looking back, I didn't really need to explain that to him. But I guess somewhere deep down, I didn't want to look silly when I finished slower (I need to get over that).



Anywho, out of nowhere this awesome chick whizzes by me like I was standing still. I was impressed! Two years ago the same thing happened and although I did not recognize this person (I only saw her back), I wondered if it was her. The grade of the first climb is stupidly steep. The first year I did this race I walked it. The second year I was determined to run it (once I realized my power hiking is pretty inefficient). Not surprisingly, I found myself doing the same this year. I remember feeling good. It didn't feel any harder than last year, just a bit longer and I was excited for the downhill of fun to begin.



Two years ago when I raced this same lady, I caught her on the long downhill section that followed the steep hill climb, and never saw her again. This year however, she was nowhere in sight. I plugged away at the downhill switchbacks and noticed that I was having some minor pain on the outside of my right knee. This is where I normally feel it when I have a combination of a tight hamstring and ITB. I kept going hoping it would miraculously get better. I knew that if it didnt I would drop out at the relay exchange and call it a day, knowing I had busted my butt for the first half of the race.

After descending a long time, the course spits you out into this open grassy field and then immediately onto the road for a couple of km to the 15km (half way/relay exchange). As I came into the field I could see two people ahead of me, one being the lead female. She clearly is wicked on the hills but I seem to have an edge on the downhill. We descended down onto the road and I slowly reeled her in. By the time we got to the half way mark and the relay exchange we were literally side by side. Now, I must be honest, I don't really enjoy racing someone like that. I'd way rather be the underdog and pass someone and drop them so they were out of sight, or be in the lead and work my butt off to keep them out of sight. When you are neck and neck like that, it just hurts!

My knee pain was not going away but here I was at the relay exchange and I am neck and neck with the lead female, I might as well give it a go and hope the pain goes away. Right away we started up a long switchback hill. She naturally took off, and I watched her float away. As soon as I started to descend again, the pain worsened and it was clear to me that my day was done. There no point in pushing another 13km with the sort of pain I was having. It wasn't the worst it has ever been, but it was enough to know that if I continued, it could potentially put me out for a couple of weeks.

I walked all the way back to the transition area, which seemed surprisingly longer than what I just ran. I had about a dozen people say to me "your going the wrong way!". Thanks...

I wasn't upset that I dropped. I do wonder how my time would have compared to last year and if I would have ever caught that woman. I'll have to wait for next year!

This race is super awesome and it never gets the numbers out it deserves. The location is stunning with the race starting and finishing on the beach at Cultus Lake. They had a fire going and many of the vollies and runners bring homemade goodies.

I can't wait to go back next year! I am glad that I made the decision I did because I didn't experience any pain the next day, however I haven't tried running yet! I've been bogged up at home sick for the past 2 days. Time to try now.

Alright, let's get outside...

See you in the trails!

Melanie Burgon, Holistic Nutritionist



I would like to introduce my long time friend Melanie. I say long time friend because we grew up a half a block away and spent a lot of our elementary school years together. She ended up going to a different high school so I never saw much of Melanie after that. Recently however, we have re-connected and I think what she is doing is very cool and something I would like to do myself one day. Melanie has recently graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and now does her own consulting.

A little about Melanie:

Melanie is a high-energy jovial person, who takes immense pleasure in working with people of every demographic.

Along with her passion for maintaining a high level of fitness, she believes it is as important to maintain a healthy nutritional lifestyle. She personally believes in the importance of eating fresh, locally grown, whole all natural foods to help create a balanced lifestyle. She enjoys getting to know people on a more personal level, as each nutritional case/needs she encounters is different.

Melanie believes that she can assist people in discovering their true potential and help them to focus more on their personal goals. She is a persuasive and thorough motivator and believes that anyone can achieve his or her goals with enough enthusiasm and hard work. She is honored to help anyone she can on his or her journey to creating a more balanced lifestyle both nutritionally and physically. She takes immeasurable joy in seeing people change into happier healthier human beings.

As a graduate from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition Melanie has experience in providing nutritional advice from pre- and post-natal nutrition, children of all ages, adults, seniors and anyone who is energized, open and ready to accept assistance on a new nutritional lifestyle. (she told me she scored highest in sports nutrition!)

She would love to work with you, and bring happiness to all those around her with her winning smile, dynamite personality, adaptability and unshakable lust for life!

To contact Melanie, visit her blog at http://www.melanieburgon.blogspot.com or email her directly at melburgon@gmail.com

Thursday, October 14, 2010

SMITH ROCK CLIMBING

(This beautiful river wraps around this beautiful park)

Like I said in one of my earlier posts, the last time Pete and I came here we ran around Smith. How O' so very exciting it was to come here and explore all that Smith has to offer...well at least a bit of it (it's a big place).

We departed North Vancouver at 4:30pm on Thursday. A minute after we let our place, Peter was having some doubts about whether or not he had packed his guide books. Eager to get there, we took the risk and kept going. The driving was smooth, minimal traffic on the way to the border which had no line-up. First stop, Edaleen dairy for a chocolate/vanilla swirl soft serve cone. This dairy farm is legendary and is a must stop for anyone who goes through the truck crossing.

We continued on and around 7pm we stopped at a gas station to (1) do the obvious and (2) use a microwave to heat up some turkey curry I had made the night before. The attendant for some reason was a little hesitant to let me use it but it said right on the microwave "for paying customers only" - we baught gas...is that not enough! Anywho, we quickly got to chatting and after we told him what we were up to he went into a story about his life. Basically, he broke his neck in a bad biking (motor) accident and for the time being was quadripolegic. He spent 2 whole months in rehabilitation at the hospital. They didnt think he would ever walk again. But, miraculously, here he was, walking like normal with a just a few scars to prove it. It really made me think again about how lucky I am to be alive, healthy and able to enjoy all the facets of life.

My landlord yesterday actually commented on how "we just don't stop". Pete and I really do try to make the most of our time. With that said, when we relax, we relax hard, which usually involves renting a DVD series of entourage (or other) while eating pizza and drinking beer. Good times.

Alright, back to the adventure. After contemplating a pit stop at a motel 6 for the night, Peter decided to just keep on driving. We arrived in Smith Rock at 2:00am. We fell asleep pretty quick and awoke to clear blue skies. Wow, what a perfect day for a day of climbing. We ate breakast and packed our bags and it was then that Peter realized he had in fact left the guide books (which he had been studying all week) behind! He has been here 7 or 8 times before so it's not like he didnt know where to go. The first day we got in about 6 climbs. Seems like a small amount but it takes a while to make them all happen. The heat of the day made climbing really challenging and at around 4pm we headed back to the camp site. When we were here 2 years ago the skulls hallow campground was free. They have since added a fee but at $5 a day, it's pretty minimal. Any extra cars are $3. We were expecting some friends to arrive that day but we never saw any. The forecast was looking bleek when we looked mid-week so we thought maybe they chose to stay home. We finished off the night with a plate of fajitas (staple camping food) and decided to forgo the campfire and went to bed.

Saturday turned out to be a drizzly day. I wanted to get a run in and ran the 7.9 miles from our campsite to the Smith Rock parking lot. Peter had been leap frogging the entire time in his car and I finally met him with his radio blaring in he parking lot. However, when he went to start his car, the battery had died. Uh oh, good thing there were sad climbers constantly leaving the drizly crag that wanted to give us a boost! Peter had heard about some caves in Bend, OR that would be dry and fun to climb. I had never seen anything like it!





The volcanic rock was pretty sharp on my tender little fingers and after playing arounf for a bit I watched Pete climb. Bouldering is not my strength but it is something I am working on!



We came back to the campsite around 3pm and saw that our friends Ross and Nicole and had been by. At this point the rain had stopped and the sky was opening up again. We decided to go hit the crag for a couple hours of climbing before it got dark. Once we hit the parking lot we ran into our friends and the 4 of us climbed together. We still managed to get in 3 or 4 climbs, which made us feel satisfied about the day. There were a few runners in the park and I was only momentarily wishing I was one of them. But, I came here to climb and that's what we did! That night was great. The 4 of us went back, ate dinner, and lounged around a warm and cozy campfire for a few hours. The wine was flowing because at $6 a bottle (same bottle is $13 in Canada) you feel bad if you don't! We inquired about the other couple who were suppose to be here with us (along with new baby and dog) and we found out they had a little fire in their basement suite. We were very sad to hear the news but it seemed as though they were well taken care of my friends back home.

Sunday was an equally amazing day, however, I felt a little hung over from the bottle of wine. The sun was shining and the crag was full of people. The heat of the sun only seemed to intensify the hang over. However, after a few hours and some banana bread to saturate up the alcohol, I had forgotten all about it!

Before I started climbing, I really had no idea the popularity of the sport. It truly is amazing. Even crazier is that in Smith Rock, the routes were all developed by people who had some serious balls! The first bolts for many of the routes (to secure the rope to) are well above the ground. I don't just mean like a jump up and reach but quite a few climbing moves high. Fortunetly, my boyfriend has 'mad skillz' and it doesnt seem to phaze him that much. Me on the other hand, I would be shakin' in my booties! It was this day that I found my first nemesis- Modern Zombie (10d). After ascending the climb with a few breaks I was determined to send it all in one go. I must have tried 5 times before finally succombing to the rock gods.

I find I get frustrated very easily when I climb. I can get down on myself because I am not picking it up as fast as I think I should. Peter makes things look so easy and I often have to remind myself that he has been doing it for 18 years and he SHOULD be better than me, he should have better technique than me. I am always being taught the lesson of 'patience'. Slowly I am learning that I am not always going to be able to walk up to a climb and just 'know' how to climb it. Sometimes, it takes 1, 2, or 3+ times to learn a sequence.

(A view of one of the most classic climbs in Smith Rock, The Monkey Face...Can you see it?)

The night finished off again with a campfire and dinner. I passed out pretty early this night which was perfect because we woke up super early monday morning. We wanted to get in a couple of climbs before heading back home. Again, blue skies surrounded us and because we were up and at em' so early, we were the first car to the parking lot. We literally had the crag to ourselves. We smashed off 2 climbs and headed back to the car and started our long drive home.


(Peter at Mesa Verde on our last day in Smith)

The trip was amazing. The climbing was world class, the company of our friends Ross and Nicole (who we are still getting to know) was fabulous, and Peter and I got to spend some quality time together doing something we love- adventuring, pushing (my) limits, and exploring. I can't wait to go back. This weekend and next I get the house all to myself because Pete is off on another climbing trip in Red Rocks.

I am running Around the Lake Giv'r Take 30km this Saturday. I have not been running all that much in the last 2 weeks but I'll call it a taper and leave the race up to the running gods. I've let go of the fact that I am not in as good a shape as I was last year when I ran this and if I don't get the same time, it will all be ok!

See you in the trails.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

SMITH ROCK!

The last and only other time I have been to smith rock was exactly 2 years ago. Peter and I went on a 3 week road trip through the U.S.A. He pretty much took me to all these steller climbing destinations (bishop, smith rock, indian creek, yosemite) but because I did not climb 2 years ago, he settled on running through them all with me.

Today we take off for a weekend in Smith, which is located in Bend, Oregon. Before that trip, I remember seeing a photo of Krissy Moehl on the cover of trail runner magaine running through there and thinking how amazing it looked. It really is a special place.

Since I last posted, I have been doing pretty much of the same. My runs have not exceeded 2.5 hours and that has been pretty comfortable for me. As I make my mind up on a goal for the new year, I will start to up the mileage but for now, I am happy where I am. Although my running hours arent anything crazy, I have been filling the rest of my time climbing in and outdoors as well as learning to do all sorts of crazy things with Kettle Bells. Kettle bell workouts can be very intense! I love it.

Look back shortly after the weekend for all the photos from the weekend! I hope the weather stays nice. Also, this will be the first time I am away for thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt Julie`s. I hope all the Gilder`s enjoy the celebration and keep us in your thoughts as you feast away (maybe save us some left overs too...wink wink!!!)

See you in the trails!

Friday, September 24, 2010

...just a thought

It's funny how going for a run can make you feel like you can change the world...

"Fat Canadians still expanding but not as fast as Americans" (The province)

This morning in between clients, I decided to make a quick pit stop at Delany's for a nice cup of Joe (I don't even know why it's called that). I was looking through the Province newspaper and came across this article (Title above) by Peter O'Neil. I was shocked but not surprised by the numbers and the fact that they are not only amazingly high, they are also increasing.

- Canadians are among the fattest people in the Western world. 60% of Canadians adults are overweight (which is up 2% from 2008) and 1 in 4 (24%) are obese!
- The problem is worse for men at 66% and females at 54%.
- In contrast, the thinnest are the Japanese 24% overweight and 3% obese.
- They say, the goodnews, we are getting fatter every year, with the proportion of overweight people expected to rise 5% over the next decade.
- In America, they estimate that 3/4 of the population will be overweight by 2020.
- The report states that 25,000 to 40,000 pre-mature deaths could be avoided annually with stronger "interventions" such as education in schools, mass-media campaigns, better food labelling, industry self-regulation and improved physician counselling.

Here is a table that summarizes each province and how they stack up to one another:

Province Estimated Population Overweight/Obese:

British Columbia 4,413,973 59.0 %
Alberta 3,497,881 60.9 %
Saskatchewan 1,006,644 68.1 %
Manitoba 1,193,566 62.5 %
Ontario 12,861,940 58.6 %
Quebec 7,730,612 56.3 %
New Brunswick 751,250 64.4 %
Nova Scotia 935,573 59.7 %
P.E.I. 139,089 66.5 %
Newfoundland 508,099 71.0 %

(All data courtesy of Statistics Canada. Source: Regional differences in obesity. Statistics Canada, http://www.statcan.ca/english/studies/82-003/archive/2006/17-3-c.pdf, June 2008)

I know there are a lot of overweight and obese people in this country. However, Vancouver, where I live, has the lowest percentage at 12% obese.

Health Canada can say all they want about what is going to stop this epidemic but in the end, the choice comes down to the person. Just like finishing a 100 miler, you have to want it pretty bad!!!! The power comes from within and believing you can do it.

Food companies can change a label to say 'THIS IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU BACK AWAY NOW'- and it wouldnt stop people from buying it. Just like ciggarrettes, unless the person wants to change, a label on a package, no matter how disgusting it is, won't change the behavior unless they want to change it.

Anywho, just some food for thought...

See you in the trails!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Transitions

I was kind of dreading having to write this blog because anyone who really knows me knows how incredibly indecisive I am. This post might have you thinking..'can't she ever make up her mind', but to me, this is one decision I feel I am incredibly decisive about.

After 2 weeks of school (yes, not long, but it felt like ages) I have made a switch in direction. In August I signed up for classes (pre-requisits) to Persue a career in P.E teaching. This was not a new idea, I had been thinking about it for quite sometime. I was also taking one counselling psychology class as a pre-requisite for an eventual masters in counselling psych to become a guidance counsellor. Everytime I sat in a teaching class, I couldnt help but think to myself "what am I doing here?" and I was constantly questioning if this was even a career I wanted. Part of me thought it was just a practical position because you get great benefits and a pension. However, I am not a practical person. I live my life very unpractically, which has proven to be a blessing. It has allowed me to LIVE MY LIFE.

However, with all the dislike of my other classes, I was LOVING my counselling psych class. I activily participate in the class and I actually WANT to read the text book. I kept thinking to myself "why not skip this teacher bit and just persue a career in counselling". With the deadline of dropping my classes and still getting a refund looming over my head, I finally made my decision. To be honest, it feels like a weight has been lifted. There is nothing worse than being in a classroom when you flat out don't want to be there. I really tried to put my best foot forward, telling myself that doing classes you dont like is just part of the game. But, I did that for the 6 years I was getting my degree and life is just too damn short to want to do it again!

Now, I am back to my life. I only have to go to school 1 day a week. I added another counselling psych class I need but it is online! I am so excited to learn more in this area. A masters in councelling psych is the nest step but I am not going to jump into that until I am really ready to be there.

I am doing a 15km race out at Bunten Lake this weekend. I am excited to go run fast on some amazing trails with a bunch of other people. Time to get my speed cap on!

Congrats to everyone who did Frosty 50km last weekend!

Nic

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Coho Run 14km- A Run the North Shore Event

I finally came out of retirement and spontaneously decided to do my first event since Western States. Taking the last 2.5 months of racing has been really good for me. Previous to last weekend, I hadnt even felt an urge to race in the last couple of months. Then all of a sudden that urge came back, so I jumped in it.

The Coho Run happens every year and is part of the bigger Coho Festival. Besides sending an important environment message, the purpose of the festival and the Society’s other endeavours is to raise funds for salmonid culture programs in North Shore schools and to support volunteer-managed fish hatcheries and local environmental groups involved in stream protection.

The run starts in Kitsilano and scenically takes you over the Burrard Street Bridge, onto the Stanley Park Seawall, over Lions Gate Bridge, and Finishes at Ambelside Beach (i.e- beach-bridge-beach-bridge-beach).

I was full of energy on this warm but rainy day. I was also full of inspiration because of those I watched participating in the giant Grand Fondo the day before. For those who don't know, the Grand Fondo is a 120km road race that went from Vancouver to Whistler. My boyfriend Peter pretty much did it off the couch and quite successfully I may add, finishing in a time of 4:45. All he was left with was a very sore butt the next day!

3, 2, 1...and we were off! I basically tried to mimic my 10km pace hoping that I could just hold on for the last 4km. Now, It has been a long time since I raced a 10km, so I don't even really know what 10km pace is. I just went out at a pace I thought I could sustain for the entire 14km. I mean, pace varies and is switched up multiple times in a race like this. I slow down a bit on the uphills, speed up a bit more on the downhills, and try and go as fast as I can (within reason) on the flats. I felt really good and was catching people all day.

There were definetly moments where I would think to myself "right, now I remember why I run ultra's". In ultra's it is usually a body part that starts to get tired, but in this race it was my lungs! I was more than happy to reach the 13km mark and cruised on in for 3rd place female (I think) in a time of 56:30! My goal today was just to go out and have some fun running fast, which I felt like I did. The day before I was unsure whether or not I could break an hour. I was stoked to see I did. These short races always hurt during but I truely do feel so good afterwards.

My family was having a big breakfast for my cousin Jordan who is moving to Toronto for work. The food and company were amazing. Great way to spend a day after a race. I would like to congradulate my uncle Mike for getting engaged a couple of weeks ago to his stunningly wonderful fiance Hilda. She has been such an amazing addition to our family and I couldnt imagine himself finding anyone more perfect for him. Love you both.

Alright, off to class. Analysis of dance here I come! Oh the glories of becoming a P.E Teacher.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Black Tusk


(The Grey peak on the left is Black Tusk)

As Monday rolled around, we naturally found ourselves in need of a rest day from 2 days of climbing in Squamish. Neither of us had ever been up to the Black Tusk so the decision was easy. We got up, ate some breaky/packed lunches and drove out to Squamish for the 3rd day in a row. I love doing long hikes on Mondays because there is hardly anyone else out there on the trail. Tamsin did the same route we did the weekend before, but didn't end up summiting the Black Tusk itself because there was a 30 minute waiting line!


(View of Garibaldi Lake)

The hike starts with a pretty boring 9km uphill switchback slog through the trees from the Rubble Creek parking lot. Once you are out of the trees however, the scenery is stunning. You have Garibaldi Lake on your right (as well as other amazing landmarks) and Black Tusk on your Left. It's odd though, it is not until you are almost right at the tusk does it look black. I kept wondering why it was called "Black" tusk because from afar it looks Grey.




The trail after the Black Tusk junction is quite steep and after a couple thousand feet of climbing the ground gets quite rocky (loose rock- gaiters would have been nice!). Nonetheless we got to the Tusk. It was in the clouds and the weather turned cold. We put on a few extra layers and were good to go. You can climb up the Tusk itself and the first way we chose proved to be a little bit sketchy. Besides the fact that it was very steep, the rocks that form the tusk are quite loose. I didn't trust that whatever rock I used to pull myself up on would not come flying out of the rock, rendering me to my death. The thought of down climbing freaked me out even more. I knew there had to be another way because lot's of people go up the tusk. We wandered around the corner and there was in fact a much safer way. I was happy to have made it to the top because I am not one to usually forgo the epic end to an adventure.


(Climbing up to the Summit)

We didn't spend much time on the summit because it was really cold. We spent just enough time to grab a few shots. After descending we made our way back down. Eager to get back to the car, we ran pretty much all the way back to the parking lot. The hike up/run down was just over 5 hours in total.


(On the Summit!!!)

(All photos taken by Peter)

We followed this up with our standard trip to the Howe Sound Brewery for a pint. They always have great beer specials on Mondays!

Alright, I head off to school next week. I am a little nervous but I am sure it will be awesome. I have thought about a few races I would like to do in the upcoming months (1) Buntzen Lake 5 peaks (2) Giv'r take around the lake 30km (3) Hallow's Eve...In the words of Jerry McGuire...WHO'S COMIN' WITH ME?

See you in the trails (or the streets of Kitsilano and Dtown running to and from School!)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Revelstoke, Lake Louise and Star Chek!

The past 2 years (since graduating from University) have been the best years of my life. I have accomplished more in that time frame than I would have ever thought imaginable. I have been riding this incredible wave, sometimes feeling a little selfish along the way. I have been employing myself as a trainer and run coach, a job that has allowed me the freedom to pretty much do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. A freedom I never took for granted. I can honestly say that for the last 2 years, I have truly been LIVING my life...and to the fullest I will add.

The decision to go back to school to pursue a career as a teacher (long term goal: school counselor) has not been easy. I have spent the last year waffling on this decision. It is really hard to imagine a life without the type of freedom I have come to enjoy. Just as daunting were the thoughts of being back in the classroom or in the library studying instead of out running in the mountains, or playing on natures climbing wall. However, with that said, I have come to realize that self-employment is not for me. I am much more productive when I am busy. Left up to me, I will always choose less work and more play.

I initially went to school to become a Phys.ed teacher. After 2 yrs in the program, a rather brief experience coaching a girls soccer team had me re-thinking my decision. Another hindrance was that I didn't have a second teachable subject, something that is required. I never really found anything but psychology (not a teachable subject) interesting, a subject I was very keen to learn more about. I ended up switching specializations and graduated with a Human Kinetics degree in Health and Fitness instead.

With everything said, I have no doubt in my mind that this is going to be an amazing career for me. I have about 7 prerequisite courses to take in order to apply to the education program for next year. I will also tick off a couple more classes for the eventual master's in counseling psychology I require to be a guidance counselor.

With all of this in mind, I have taken the last week off work (and the week coming up) to really enjoy what remains of the summer before going back to school. Here is a picture album of my latest adventures. Last week Peter and I headed to Revelstoke to visit our friends Todd and Kristen. Worthy experiences to note: climbing in the Begbie Bluffs, summited Mt. Begbie (got my first dose of 'Mountaineering'), and a beautiful run in Revelstoke National Park. After that we headed over to Lake Louise for 2 days of picture perfect climbing with friends Eric and Eileen. However, a day of rain scared us back to the coast to spend 2 days climbing in Squamish. We climbed Star Chek (a multi-pitch on the Chekamus River), a bunch of roots at Rogues Gallery, and finished off the weekend with 3 other couples (+ a dog and 4 week old baby) climbing at 'Up Among the Firs" at Murin Park.


(Gearing up to cross the Glacier- note- cramp-ons over La Sportiva crosslites!)


(On the glacier, at one point Todd put a cross over a snow covered crevasse stating "Nicola do not step here or you will fall to your death")




(Revelstoke down below)


(Finally on the summit of Mt. Begbie at 9000ft, 7000ft of climbing)


(Down scrambling the North Buttress)


(Eric working on his 12.C project at Lake Louise)


(View of Lake Louise from our climbing spot)


(Climbing up Star Chek on the Chekamus River).

The weather looks like it's going to turn on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, which means that tomorrow will see us hike/running up to to the peak of Black Tusk, followed by an evening of climbing at Sulley's hangout. Life is so good...

See you in the trails.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

North Gulley Scramble, Hanes Valley, Elsay Lake!



The adventures never stop, and so 'high school' summer break continues. Since my last post I have been climbing more than a handful of times. I even freaked myself to tears last week on a climb called 'Denice the Menace'-That was humbling (Thanks Pete).

Scrambling up the North Gulley of the Chief was something- something pretty amazing. It was supposed to be a rainy day but we managed to avoid it all together in Squamish, although it was a bit cloudy. Some adventures don't wait for good weather! After a couple hour scramble we found ourselves on the 2nd peak of the Chief and made our way down. We had a great lunch at the Zephyr cafe (mmmm to the avocado chicken burger)and decided to finish the day off doing a multi-pitch climb called 'calculus crack'. I really do like crack climbing but I have a whole lot more to learn about it that's for sure.



A day later my friend Kate and I headed hiking up Hanes Valley. I have only ever done this as a run and it was nice to take it a bit easier and take it all in, however we did run back down old mountain highway!







(The bears they kindly keep captive for everyone to see on the mountain)

On Monday, Peter and I took advantage of another beautiful day and decided to try something new - Hike out to Elsay Lake from Seymour Mtn. We had no clue how long it would take but we new it dropped down quite a ways over about 8.5km. The hike was stunning, as were the views. The lake was huge and not another single soul was there. Bliss! I was somewhat dreading the hike back because we had dropped down about 2000ft but every steep section was quickly relieved by a traverse or ridge line that allowed for a change of pace (and rest). It ended up being 2.5 hours each way for a total of 5 hours. Not bad! If we were to have run it, I am sure it could be done in 4 hrs (or less for you fasties).







Tomorrow we leave for a trip to Revelstoke to visit our friends Todd and Kristen. I had the privileged of attending their wedding 2 years ago in Leadville Colorado, the home of the mighty Leadville 100, which Kristen had done herself a month before her wedding! I didn't know them that well then but have since spent much more time with them (although not enough) and I can't say how excited I am to go hang out- they are a lot of fun! After that we are heading to the Rockies to climb and hike/run. I am stoked! Will post pics when I can.

See you in the trails!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cal-Check, Colloseum Mtn,Sulley's and The snake!

Last weekend Peter and I, as well as 3 other friends (Meg, Joe and Nicole) went camping in Squamish with one goal in mind- To climb! And climb we did. Saturday morning, megs picked me up (Peter had to work until 2pm) and the 4 of us went to score a camp site. It was the long weekend and we were in a bit of a hurry to secure one before they were all gone. Luckily, we came at the perfect time because there were 2 left. We set up shop and went directly to the climbing craig in Cal-Check. We did a few nice and easy warm-up climbs and once Peter came, decided to head somewhere new. I haven't learned to lead climb yet but that is on the "to do very soon" list. Not long after we got there, the gods from above started rebelling by unleashing some thunder and lightening. After one more climb we all knew it would be best to get back to the car. We timed it perfectly because just as we arrived back at our vehicle, it started to downpour!

We went back to the campsite but were forced to have a party in the car for an hour or so. We made some dinner as the rained drip dropped from above and went to bed shortly thereafter. Of course, I couldn't just spend a weekend climbing without getting out for a run! Before we set out climbing for the day, Peter and I went for a run on the sea to sky trail, which heads towards whistler. It was an easy, non-technical trail with just enough hills to remind me of how out of "running" shape I am after taking nearly 5-6 weeks off due to injury (after ws100). We spent the day climbing at Murin lake and it was fabulous. It was overcast but the air was warm and perfect. These 2 days climbing with great friends left me incredibly stoked to climb.



The next day peter and I decided to go for a long hike up Colloseum Mtn. It's a hike that starts from the headwaters and goes to Norvan Falls and then heads up and up and up until you reach the most fantastic view at the peak. I think it took us around 3.5-4 hours to get up and a couple hours to get back down. We spent about an hour at the top, eating lunch, napping and ooing and awwing at the beauty we had all to ourselves. As Peter stared down at the city he couldn't help but comment on how there could be hundreds of thousands of people down there and we had this place all to ourselves. Crazy!!!!!


(it looks silly- but it works...play on Buckley's cough syrop!)


(Catching some zzz's)


(munching at the top of Colloseum)


We climbed a few more times throughout the week at Sulley's hangout, which is about 15 minutes from our door. There is this one climb called Lubo (11a) and it just kills me. It has about 4 crux's and the second one has proven to be my nemesis. After many attempts I finally got to the top but not without a few falls. I am determined to do it the next time I am there, without bailing. Yesterday, Peter got off work early and we headed up to Squamish to climb a multi-pitch route called the Snake (5.9), which is a climb on the Apron. I think there were 6 pitches, with the last 3 being a little more challenging than the first. After that, Pete took me up one more route which was the hardest of the day. I think it couldnt have been more than a 5.10a, but the holds were small and the footing was minimal. I have just learned recently how to trust my feet, and it has made a world of difference.

I got out for my longest run since western today, a whopping 2 hours! It felt great though and I had no hamstring/knee pain! I have been running everyday since I was able to get treatment on my injured area which seemed to have solved the issue. It's crazy how running just makes me happy. I am just not the same when I can't run, although I do my best to stay positive. Somehow, it just seems to keep my body and thoughts all in balance. I find it also keeps me motivated. When I am not running, I am just not that motivated.

Anywho, it looks like I am going scrambling in Squamish tomorrow. This should prove to be interesting because I can't say I've done much scrambling in my day. Am I excited though? HELL YA!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend and good luck to everyone doing Stormy 50/100 mile today. I will post some pictures of all these adventures very shortly after I get Pete's camera to download them.

See you in the trails!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Re-analyzation- Taking time to think!

I admit, it has been a while since I have written. I am sure part of me feels a bit weird writing about subjects that are non-running related, seeing as how this is a "running blog". However, due to a slight tight hamstring "thing", that was presenting itself on the side of my knee, I have not ran more than a handful of times since Western. This has been more than O.K with me because it has provided me the opportunity to explore a whole new side of myself.

I kind of anticipated that after Western States I was going to take a little bit of a break from "competing". I will admit it and say that I was a bit burnt out. Ever since I was 6, I have been competing in sports and that pressure to perform to my best has always been present.

When I first started running 5 years ago, I did not feel that pressure. Each new distance conquered felt amazing and gave me a new sense of joy and fulfillment. I can still feel the emotions I felt after completing my first marathon, 50km, 50 miler, and now recent 100 miler. I have never had a "first" I did not absolutly love. Looking back, I am sure it is because I never put any pressure on myself to be the best; I just wanted to finish and have fun.

Somewhere in those 5 years, something changed for me. Because I did fairly well at running, all of a sudden it became another thing to be competetive at. Each time I did a distance or a race I had already done, I put more and more pressure on myself to acheive a certain place or time. I put pressure on myself to get in a certain amount of hours on the trail, without really enjoying every minute of it. I just did it because I should and it's what other people do. It's hard not to get caught up in what other people (who are at the top of their game) are doing (especailly when you are not sure of what you were doing!).

I guess what I have realized is that, for me, getting to serious about running, takes away the fun of why I do it. I don't want to think about how many hours I "should" be putting in on the trails, or if I am doing enough (speed work).I want to be out there because I WANT to be out there. I think that is why I am always trying to do something new- because whenever it is a first (distance/race), I go have an absolute blast.

A little while before Western I had decided to take on this more relaxed attitude. This strategy seemed to work for me because it allowed me to really take in the experience. No matter what my training, I will always go into an event and give my best. I simply just become a completly different person. It's the worry and fear before the event that seems to kill me.

In the end, the break is just a way to give my psyche a mental break from the stress and worry about racing and to re-analyze why I do this and what I really love about it. With all this said, my result at Western States, left me feeling re-charged and ready to go. However, after being injured for a few weeks, I thought it was best to settle down.

Now, a break for me doesn't mean not running or signing up for events. At this moment, I have no race goals (except for the world cup 100km in Spain in November
If I get accepted onto the team-I'm the 2nd alternate). I will take everything as it comes. Peter and I have a long list of mountain runs/fast packs we want to check off this summer.

Since then however, I have really enjoyed exploring myself as a climber. My boyfriend Peter has been climbing for 17 years and has taken me out numerous times in our near 3 years of being together. With that said, he has been climbing way less than before we met because we have been persuing our running goals together. This past weekend we climbed with some friends in Cal-Chek, just passed Squamish on the way to Whistler. I had so much fun. Words can't describe how challenging climbing is for me and how rewarding it is to reach the top of a hard climb. It's harder than any of the sports I have ever played and the challenge truly is endless. There will always be something harder. I groan, I moan, and sometimes getting to the top just isn't pretty. Just like running, climbing can take you to some of the most beautiful places in the world.

Our weekends are jam packed with trips to places we have always wanted to explore in B.C. Hopefully, a mountain bike will also present itself in my near future!

To sum, life is good. My hamstring/knee is cured and I can't wait to take my exploration to the next level whether it be by trail shoe or rock wall!

See you in the trails!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summer Vacation



I officially feel like a lucky elementary school kid who is on their summer holidays!!!

Two weekends ago I spent 3 wonderful days on Vancouver Island with all the Gildersleeve Clan (including the inlaws, who renamed themselves the "outlaws").


(``The Cousins``)


(All seven of my Dad`s sisters and Brothers- including himself)

It was a family reunion of sorts except there were some key players missing. Trip highlights:

- My first run ever with another family member - Uncle Mike and my cousin Caitlin


(My cousin Jordan sporting something he picked up in his travels through Brazil)

- Volleyball 24/7
- Cliff Jumping, it took me 10 minutes to convince myself to jump off the highest rock!
- Breakfast at The Bakery, owned and operated by a guy who had his leg shot off when he was 12 because someone in the woods thought he was a Deer!!!!
- Covering myself in clay



- Saturday night dance party at the Reader family residence


(My Aunt Julie busting a move)

- Camping on the Reader Family Residence lawn
- Ping Pong- notably getting beaten in a close match to my aunt Julie!


(Game face is on, or not and maybe that is why I lost)

- 23 of us watching the Holland vs. Spain World Cup Final on Sunday

The day after we got home from the Island we were off to spend 7 wonderfdul days with my boyfriend's awesome family on Shuswap Lake. Trip Highlights:

- Getting my butt kicked by Peter`s 7 yr old nephew in a game of Backgamon
- Swimming, swimming, and more swimming
- Late night Sequence
- Couples Tennis!
- Amazing baking (brownies, banana bread, Cookies)
- Discovering a new running trail thanks to Pete`s Sister Kathleen!
- Taking part in Kath`s first yoga class- it was hard, I`m still feeling it!!!
- Morning Bike ride with Peter...I`m still feeling that too, just in the wrong place!

Now I am off to Manning Park for the week to Hike/course marking/do maintenance on the Fat dog 100 mile course. I don't think I have seen a drop of rain in 12 days and there doesn't seem to be any in the forecast. I sure am one lucky girl.

I ran once at the lake and after about 20 minutes my right knee (maybe ITB Syndrome) started to flare up. It doesn't bother me up hill, only downhill and a bit on the flats. I've accepted my fate and will not attempt to run for another week, however hiking feels great! I will just enjoy this down time(which I am a lot, more than I ever have before)and will bask in what is happening around me. So far that has been biking, hiking, and a whole lot of tennis and bocce! OK, and I guess eating, eating, and a lot more eating (without a care in the world of what and how much)!

I'll post some pictures very very soon! For now, I am off to hike the BCMC!!!

See you in the trails (Manning Park for those doing Fat Dog 100). Good Luck!