Sunday, January 31, 2010

Laugh it out...

I went to a comedy show this past Saturday at the Orpheum Theatre. It was called "Laugh it out" and was a gift I bought Peter for Christmas. The show was part of the Cultural Olympiad that is taking place prior and during the course of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. There are over 600 shows taking place across B.C. This show was hosted by Barenaked Ladies’ Tyler Stewart and Ed Robertson. They were hilarious and after every act that would come back out, tell a hilarious story, and sing a well known song.

The opening act was Nikki Payne. I recognized her from "video on trial" on much music. She was an absolute gong show and way too off-side which in turned made her one funny girl. I wish I could have filmed it. We later found out there was an 11 year old boy in the audience and I can't even imagine what he thought of it all or if he even understood many of the highly inappropriate jokes. Take a look at this to see what I am talking about.

Seán Cullen was the next act and this guy was off the charts. He has the most amazing way of doing stand up and the best part of all was that he is an incredible singer. He had the whole theatre singing "KOCHIVO KOCHIVO" in opera. Here is a comedy clip with some singing if you wanted to check him out.

Shaun Majumder was the final act and he didn't disappoint. He is actually one of the stars on the t.v show 'This hour has 22 minutes'. He publicly nicknamed the 11 year old boy 'pubes' and called him that several times throughout his act.

If you ever get a chance to check any of these 3 acts out, do it!

This morning Peter and I canceled our run out to 'Squish' (a.k.a Squamish) because it was raining and decided to have some fun in our own backyard. A nice 3 hour run to round out the day followed by some much needed pumpkin bread toast and eggs, with homemade potato pan fries! Yum.

I got the first month of my new Western States training program and am ready to re-introduce a little bit of speed work. I was a bit shocked by the reduction in mileage to what I have already been doing but as the old saying goes, quality over quantity, especially when my goal race is 5 months away!

See you in the trails!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Feeling good...

Trail clinic this morning was (in the words of my cousin Martin)a blasty blast.

I may not have mentioned this in the past but I have been involved with the Mountain Madness trail clinics on and off (due to work) for the last bunch of years. The returning leaders are awesome and the members are always super energetic and gung ho. Of course, I make it my mission to convert as many new trail runners to ultra runners as quickly as I can!!! It does take years however.

Two years ago a fellow named Raj joined the clinic. He was a delight but he kind of vanished part way through and we never saw him at the goal race. I think he ended up being injured but that is beside the point. Here we are, 2 years later and he shows his face again. He is hilarious and watching him run makes me giddy. That is because Raj runs with a lot of passion. He loves the trails, you can just tell, and he makes you realize why you love them to. He rip roars on the down hills and runs all over the place, like a little kid who has been let out for recess.

Today, I just had one of those runs where everything clicked. It was by no means a hard run but I felt good in all aspects of the run. Saturdays are always an interesting day for me. Normally I run Tues-Sunday. It seems as though, by Saturday, I am pretty tired from the previous 4 days of running. However, by Sunday, I am always rejuvenated and ready to rock out another long run. I think Saturday is my hump day!

I am excited for tomorrow as Peter and I are heading out to Squamish (weather dependent)for my first 3 hour run of the year! Seems like only yesterday 3 hours didn't seem like a big deal but when you are coming back from injury, 3 hours is great! I am building a really strong base with proper progressions and I am excited for everything that is to come.

I just wanted to mention how much fun I had attending 2 of the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival shows. Last night was a big 'hoora' for rock climbing. A few big names were there doing presentations about what hey had been up to in the last while. These guys live the life. Climbing is their full-time job. That means, they get to wake up everyday and go play. Most of them spend their time traveling the world to do so. Ideal life! I always get really inspired and fantasize about leaving town for a couple months to just run and climb all day everyday. It would be a very simplistic life and I really like that. A life without 'stuff'. Just you and nature. What could be better.

On that note,

Enjoy the rest of the weekend! See you in the trails!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The gym...

I am a runner. I love to run. I find it easy waking up in the morning and getting out for my run. I don't mind running in the dark, in fact, I love it.

It's all the other stuff I have such a hard time with...

For example, the strength training program I know I have to do 2x/week. It's the hardest strength program I have ever had. It only takes about 45 minutes, and a little extra at the end consisting simply of light stretching but for some reason it's always a mental struggle trying to go to the gym. Perhaps its the fact that it's indoors and I like being outdoors. Maybe it's the fact that I have to pay to do it and running is Lastly, it could be the fact that there are so many people there. Every time I go to the gym I see 10 people I am acquainted with, which is a source of distraction versus running in the mountains where you may run into 0-5 people total.

In the end, I made a choice to get a strength program put together. I know this will help keep me injury free and being injury free means a lot to me after all the time I had to take off last year. Today, I did eventually find my way into the gym and I managed to enjoy it. At least I have a wicked run to look forward to tomorrow morning. Long Lynn Loop!!!

See you in the trails!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Drum roll please.....

I have been procrastinating a little bit because I have have so much I want to write about!

I feel like this is the time of year where athletes begin to roll out their new long list of sponsors. So to be a little bit more original I'll have you play a little guessing game...


Remember those weird games you would play in elementary school to guess the saying...

This one is meant to guessed it...THE NORTH FACE!!! If you don't get my symbolism, the word Face is on the top (i.e- the north side) versus the bottom which would be the south side. Get it?? Anyone??

I am pretty excited about being a North Face sponsored athlete/ambassador. I like the roll they play in the ultra running scene and they sponsor a lot of really great races. Also, as a sponsored athlete/ambassador, there is a lot of potential for growth in that roll. To check out more about who The North Face is and what they do click here

Last night I went to the Vancouver Mountain Film Festival. The theme of the night was "The Stein Valley". Peter and I ran there last year and it is a stunning place to camp, hike, run. It's located in the 'armpit' of B.C, Lytton, which is one of the hottest places in our Province (I think). Peter has his own goals towards traversing the Stein, but I will keep those a secret. Mark Grist, A.K.A 'Moose', came along for the ride. He is a park ranger and an amazing guy, who by the way is great with a chainsaw and looks fantastic in buttless chaps (so Peter says). Ladies, he is single if anyone is interested. We are currently taking applications. He asked me what my favorite 2-3 hour run was and although it is only 1:45 I didn't need more than a second to answer.

From our house in Lynn Valley, we run up Hoskins Rd and within 10 minutes we are on the Baden Powell. From there we go all the way to the St. Georges Bench and up St. Georges Trail to Old Mountain Highway. Continue along this road until you get to secret seven or seventh secret and get ready because its one twisty, turny, technical gnarl of fun. We have done it the last 2 Wednesdays and I hope this trend continues.

Give this run a try and let me know how it goes!

I have lots more to write about but I best leave it for another day.

See you in the trails!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's just one of those days...OR is it YOU!?

Sometimes, in our busy world, we have the tendency to become a tad careless. With so much on the go (i.e. places to be, people to call, run to fit in, gym to fit in) it's easy to forget the most simplest of things. Such as...


Alright, in the paragraph above, you can replace 'I' every time I previously said "we" or "you". I had one thing I wanted to get done today before I met Peter for lunch at noon: complete my strength training program. I have 3 to do this week and I did my first one on Tuesday. Today was the day to get in session #2. It needed to get in before lunch because I just knew in my head it wouldn't get done otherwise (I wanted to run in the afternoon). I trained a client this morning and met a good friend for coffee, knowing all along I would do the workout after that.

I drove to the gym, parked my car, and went into my trunk to grab my workout sheet, which lists all the exercises, reps, sets and weight. I was surprised to realize that I had forgotten it at Delany's coffee shop. I had taken it out to show my friend some of the new moves I had learned. Yes, you pictured it correctly. I was demoing exercises, on my hands and knees, in the middle of the coffee shop. I can get, what some might call, 'a little over excited' at times.

Fortunately, I have a great memory and remembered all the exercises, reps, sets and approximate weights. I was set, or so I thought. I quickly and without thought, closed the trunk of my car. Within seconds, I realized I had left my keys inside.

Now, I have been known to do stupid...wait...let's change that to 'careless' acts before. It was only 6 months ago I locked myself out of my house. We could probably go ahead and call this sort of thing "pulling a Nicola". Common, say it with me, "I just pulled a Nicola!". You can say it anytime you lock yourself out of your work, car, house, and/or anywhere else that would really suck to be locked out of.

I immediately called Peter and whimpered. That's how I tend to deal and immediately get over such misfortunes. After a little tear, I called BCAA. It was going to be $140 to renew my membership (which was somehow canceled in 2008?) and get road side assistance. The alternative was to call a tow truck for $60. Any of these options would of meant, sitting by my car for an unknown period of time, thus missing my workout. As an athlete, I tend to put myself and my workouts at the top of the list.

I called Peter back, asked him if he could help me break into my car later, and got on with the show. I have only had a car for the last 4 months and before that I used to get around on my own 2 feet. I had a killer leg workout, followed by a 15 minute run to meet Peter for sushi. I arrived in the best of spirits and had a great time. Afterwords, I took what some might call "the loser cruiser" (bus) back home. To get home I had to make a transfer. I had some time to kill and went into the library to check out some books. I found one, and seeing as though I didn't have my wallet (in my car) she had to look up my account. She told me I had $30 dollars in fines that were from 2003. I could have sworn I took care of those 7 years ago! All I wanted to say to myself was "I guess it's just one of those days". However, if I were to have said that, I feel like I would have been setting myself up for something else negative to happen. Instead, I will attribute it all to carelessness!

The moral of the story is, we can all make a choice whether or not we let something unfortunate shape the pace of our day. If you let something get to you, and you are cranky and moody because of it, that is your choice. Those who choose to be negative tend to affect the moods of those around them, and they get what they put out. I choose to remain positive because my day and my life are sooooo much better that way.

See you in the trails!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Trying new things and learning from others.

Today was awesome. Why? Because I had a very busy and efficient day. Due to some horrendous road closures, and being stranded in West Van,(a jewelry store was robbed) I had over 3 hours to kill and decided to hit the gym for the first strength workout of my new program.

(Me at a strength training fundraiser, none of the moves looked like this)

I hired a very experienced trainer/movement specialist, who has an extensive resume with athletes, to help me identify my own strengths and weaknesses. Yes, even though I am a trainer myself, it is always a good idea to work with others. A) you get great ideas and (b) there is always more to learn. I am a do-er and I learn better by executing something myself, rather than reading it on paper or by having someone explain something to me.

After getting trained, I coached a run client and put her through a great hill workout. She, unlike myself, needs someone to push her because she will not do it herself. Now, I say that about myself in regards to running only. When it comes to 'all the other stuff' such as strength training and stretching, I need someone to push me or tell me what to do. If it were left up to me, I would just go run all the time!

Strength training and athletes is very interesting. You see a lot of trainers out there simply putting people through 'workouts' without any purpose. Every exercise I am doing has a purpose. Each deadlift, side lunge, or front squat with the Olympic bar, isn't performed with the sole purpose to make my butt and hamstrings look good. It's to give me more strength for running and to balance out my weaker muscles. Think about that the next time you are at the gym. Ask yourself, What is this exercise doing for me?

I really want to try something new this year. I spent a total of 3 months of last year injured and I don't want that to happen again. Obviously, I have some muscle imbalances and extreme muscle tightness that needs to be addressed. I would like to build a really great strength base. I want more speed and power. The strength in the gym will help me with that. I have also hired a run coach. I have never run 100 miles and although I could make my own program, it would be nice to have a little guidance as I train for something so lofty. If I know I have to do a speed workout or a tempo workout, I will do it. If left up to my own devices, I may just run lots and run easy because let's be honest, that intensity is quite enjoyable. But we all know we need to push ourselves outside our comfort zones to get better.

I will admit. I have been successful in my short running career without doing a whole lot of functional training (speed). I have found in the past that this type of training has taken out some of the fun. But, this is a new year, an older wiser me, and I am ready to take on the world!!! Nothing feels better to me than doing a hard workout and feeling your heart beat out of your chest. To me, that signifies that we are truly ALIVE! I always tell my clients that after they complete a tough workout. Although, I doubt if it really makes them feel any better.

I have always been told in school, athletics, and my professional life that I have a lot of POTENTIAL. This year I am focused on working towards that in every aspect of my life.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I just wanted to take this moment to say a HUGE CONGRATS to Gary Robbins. Yesterday, he won the HURT 100 in Hawaii in course record style. I am so proud of him and I know he must be beaming ear to ear right now. Enjoy the rest of your time on the beach GR.

His win truly gets me excited for my first 100 mile race ever. Western States 100, June 26th/27th. I even had a running dream last night where I won a 100km with a pretty stacked field. I woke up feeling pretty good about myself. Now let's just see if I can transfer that into reality!

On that note, time to go hit the trails for a great run out towards Haine's Valley.

See you in the trails!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

T-shirts and Short shorts!

This winter has been bananas!

I can remember it all too clearly. It was last Winter and I was running knee deep in snow for months on end. Yak tracks and Katoola micro spikes were plastered onto my shoes for every single run. I wore layers upon layers of clothes. Cars were buried under thick layers of snow for weeks. Every run felt like a run through Winter Wonderland. Peter and I even took a vacation to Costa Rica to escape it!

Now, our 3 local mountains were all shut down because of the lack of snow. Cypress, the host of many Olympic events, has tarps covering it's hills to prevent further snow loss. What is going on?

I won't lie and say I am not excited, because I am. I love that I can go out running and not have to worry about running through ice, slush or snow. I actually have been rocking shorts and a T-shirt. It's even too hot to wear gloves!

I don't know if this will last and I won't be sad if it doesn' because I do love running in the white fluffy snow. But we all know, white and fluffy, only turns into gray and nasty.

I'll enjoy it while I can. No complaints!

See you in the trails!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Taking out the trash...

If I was to tell someone I know that I was lazy, they would roll their eyes and call me crazy. They'd say "You? The girl who runs 100 miles everyday (not true), you can't be lazy".

I hate to admit it, but it's true. I have lazy tendencies. However, none of these lie in my athletic sphere, they are all in my personal sphere of life.

But, for the first time in a long time, I am changing. I don't know if I like the word 'change' so much. Rather, I feel as though I am 'improving'.

Today I did something I have not done in over a year. For the last year and a bit, Peter and I have been living in a ground level suite below a very nice family. The perks of this arrangement are great. We never have to take out the garbage. Yes, we do have to put our own garbage and recycling in their bin, but we never take it out.

Today, I went to take our home garbage out. Forgetting it was garbage day, the garbage bin was out on the street, along with 3 recycling bags, 2 plastic recycling bin's, and a yard bin. As I walked over to the garbage bin, I contemplated simply putting my garbage bag into it and walking away, leaving it on the street for my landlords to take care of. Of course, for the first time in a while, my conscious set in. I simply was not going to let myself do that. Here I am, with the rest of the day to do whatever I want, and I was about to leave this simple task, for 2 busy parents who both work full time, to take care of themselves. So, I made the choice to take the garbage bin in.

As I walked back towards my front door, I couldn't help but look at the rest of the items that still needed to be taken in. At that point, I had no intention of bringing the rest back to the house, but once again, my conscience set in. It took me all of 10 seconds to grab it all and put it back in it's original place.

Because I am home during the day, I have walked by the garbage numerous times. I have even pondered to myself whether or not I should take it in. It wasn't until today I finally decided to do it. For something so small, I felt something really big inside. I felt as though, I made a step to improving some of this 'laziness' that lies inside of me. I feel as though, I kicked laziness in the butt today and hopefully I can continue this forward motion. I am sure my landlords appreciate the gesture as well.

See you in the trails...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I for one know what it feels like to always be 'striving for perfection', or whatever I think that means to me. But without fail, I always come up short. Perhaps that is because, we are all human, and perfection is one hard thing to reach, especially since there really is no definition for perfection (well,I lied,there is: the state or quality of being or becoming perfect).

As an athlete, I always want to be able to train as much as I can. How much is enough? That is a hard question to answer. How much is too much? There is no definition of the perfect amount to train. We all have different bodies that allow us to train more or less than the other. Just because one may train less, doesn't mean, they aren't working as hard. It's just that, one body might succeed just as much as another, with various training volumes.

Then we have the 'perfect diet'. There are a million books out there telling us the proper way to eat. Which one is right? Perhaps I should say, which one is right for you? I ordered a nutrition book for athletes online (it's on it's way) as the route of it's foundation looked interesting. I was on their website and began educating myself on the basis of this particular way of eating. One of the first things I noticed is that they cut out, potatoes, yams, and sweet potatoes. Immediately I got a little defensive. How dare they tell me I can't have sweet potatoes! Of course, I bought this book as an educational tool. If I want to keep eating yam's, I will keep eating yam's.

There have been times when I have stuck to a more structured eating plan and to be honest, it wasn't very fun. I am a girl who is all about fun, laughter and life. If I am always striving for 'perfection' I am not having a lot of fun. On the flip side, if I neglect myself and what I truly want for myself, I am equally not having any fun. I guess that is why instead of striving for 'perfection' (whatever that means), we strive for balance. Because, I know for myself, when my body, mind and soul are all in equilibrium, I am one happy girl!

ps- If we were always striving to be perfect, I would be left with little room for error. As a person who likes to try a lot of different things, I need as much room as I can get!!!

See you in the trails!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Walking to school...

I was running with a client today and we were doing hill repeats up a local hill by my house. This hill happens to be on a major route where children walk to the nearest elementary school. It was really cute watching all the kids trekking to school, some on their own and many in groups. I couldn't help but reflect back on my own childhood. I lived a block from my school and walked every single day.

For a moment, I tried to put myself in their shoes. What kinds of things did I think about? Worry about? It was hard to remember but interesting to think about.

All of a sudden Peter's Father and nephew (Joe) were walking up the street. I said hello and wished Joe a great day at school. We passed by them on the next repeat and Joe started sprinting up the hill. Adorable would be an understatement and it truly made my day.

So, what do I think about now? What do I worry about?

Is it that much different than when I was a child?

Boys and crushes: I think I spend a lot of time, too much, thinking about this when I was a child. I seemed to have a crush on someone new every month. It kept life interesting. Back then, I think the only thing that attracted me to these boys was the fact that I thought they were cute. Then you grow up and you realize the cuteness factor will only get you so far. Can they make me laugh? Do we have similar interests? Can we live together? Can he run with me (hehe)?

Work: Well, I guess when I was in Elementary school I didn’t think too much about this but, I did have a paper route and I was a soccer referee. Both were short lived. The paper route proved to be too much work once my mom stopped helping me stuff my papers and I couldn’t handle all the abuse I got as a ref. One thing though, I have never had a job I didn’t like. I have had a lot of jobs and each one has helped me get to where I am today. All have been a natural progression to the next. I don’t worry to much about work. I love my job and besides the odd inconsistencies during the holidays and summer, it allows me the freedom to pursue all the goals I have in my life.

Money: I was lucky, I had an allowance. It wasn’t crazy but I think I worked my way up to $40/month. Hey, that was enough to buy candy, 2 for 1 chocolate bars from the dollar store, and see the odd movie at the theater. I really don’t worry much about money. As long as I can do everything I want to do in this life, I am one happy girl. I often get asked, how do you afford to go on so many trips? Do you have an endless bank account? No, I don’t. I just try not to live beyond my means. Peter and I go on road trips, saving us money on airfare. We camp or stay in motel 6’s. We cook our own food. It’s one formula that seems to balance out pretty well.

Athletics: They were a huge part of my childhood. I was a total tomboy and spent my entire lunch hour playing basketball, soccer, four square, and any other sport I could with the boys. I have an older brother and I always wanted to play with him and his friends. Nothing has really changed. I am still striving to be the best I can be and I am really looking forward to seeing my full potential in the years to come.

See you in the trails!

Monday, January 4, 2010


I have really enjoyed the down time of the holidays. I have enjoyed sleeping in until 8am (it's so dark out it's hard not to). I haven't missed waking up at 4:35am on Tuesdays and Thursdays to train my lovely clients. However, with that said, I do miss seeing their smiling faces and can't wait to get back in the gym to kick some ass...just kidding.

I have had some amazing meals, family events galore, and have seen friends who are back in town for the holidays. It's kind of crazy to think that at certain times of the year, our daily routines just change for a week or two and then eventually we go back to the way things were. However, nothing in my life is very routine and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Orcas Island 50km is almost a month away. I was really looking forward to it but having been out for 6 weeks with a tight ITB, I have dropped down to the 25km. With that said, I really love running 25k's. You can just hammer and usually feel great the next day!

Every time I get injured (which has only been this year) I learn something new about coming back. Once I feel good, I kind of just want to run everyday (a slight flaw). I pretty much did that for the the 2 weeks (minus 2 days for hikes) over Christmas and starting to feel some discomfort on my middle toe on my left foot. It started bothering me on my last and longest run, which took an hour and 50 min. I know, pretty small, but having been injured twice this year, I'm starting to get a little paranoid. Hopefully it won't be too big of an issue. I have tested it out running and it doesn't hurt but I am aware of it. Anyone have any experience with toe's?

See you in the trails!