Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On My Way...

Today, Peter and I (and my wonderful younger cousin Caitlin) began our drive to Reno. We are currently laying down at the 'hole 6' in Eugene, OR. We managed to get here in one peice however the windsheild of Pete's car got hit by a rock, leaving a rather large crack that's spreading rapidly. He will need a new one upon our return home. The price of this trip just went up!!!!

For those of you that want to follow along live, June 26th (sat @ 5am start) here is the link...


Thank you everyone for all your kind words as Peter and I both embark on this amazing/crazy adventure. I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!

Wish me luck!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

20 questions...

When people hear or are told that I am running 100 miles...they first of all take a moment to think to themselves silently (probably about how long it takes them to drive it), then they look back and repeat..."100 miles?"...after I politely say "yes", the hit of questions starts to roll on through. The questions I have found to be the most common are:

- In one day?
- Do you run the whole way?
- Without stopping?
- what do you eat?
- Do you have to carry all your fluids and food with you?
- How long will it take?
- How do you train for that?
- How many others are doing this?
- Do you run with anyone?
- Where do you sleep?
- Do you change your shoes
...and the list goes on!

I can understand how those who don't run ultras can look at this and think it's a little crazy. It was only 7 years ago that I went to visit my friend and her family in Toronto. My friends dad was training for his first marathon and he told me he had a 3 hour training run to do that weekend. Well, I just COULD NOT understand how anyone could RUN for 3 hours. I just couldn't. Then I started to run and while I was training for MY first marathon I met a guy at school who ran 80km races. Once again, I was left in a state of shock wondering how anyone could run for 80km! I was the person asking all the same questions above.

My favorite question is- "Are you ready?". This reminds me of university when colleagues would ask me if I was ready for the test we were all studying so hard for. I don't think I ever felt ready and I don't know if I am now. I won't know until I am done. Just like a test, after it's over, you figure out whether or not you were ready, and I am sure the same goes for running. If I can run smart, steady, handle any body issues, finish strong and with a smile on my face, I know I was/am ready!

Another day in the sauna. I started to feel a little puky towards the end of it. Hopefully tomorrow feels easier!

See you in the trails!

Monday, June 14, 2010

12 more days!

I came back from Banff feeling inspired and rejuvinated and ready to take on the last bigger week of running on the shore. It was also during this week that I just got crazy excited to toe the start line in Squaw Valley.

I threw a little more intensity into this week than I normally do, starting the week off with a Personal Best up the BCMC. I went into the steep hike with no time expectations because usually my legs are still a bit fatigued from the weekend. However, I quickly realized that they had lot's of juice in em' and my HR was much lower at my given pace. Perfect. I passed a fit looking fellow just after the 1/2 way point and he quickly followed suit. I could tell he was working to keep up, and keeping up he was. I passed another fit looking guy with about 10 minutes to go and even put a little jog in the mix because I was feeling so good. Then I heard running foot steps behind me! Both guys were now on my tail and it was pretty clear they were pushing hard to catch me. Of course, being the competitor that I am, I started running hills I never run, and I've never seen my HR as high on the BCMC as I did this day. They reached the top 15 or so seconds back and we all panted at the top of the mountain, glad to have pushed eachother to the finish...sometimes the best training partners turn out to be strangers!

The next evening I ran a couple of hours with the Summer Solstice training run group. I took it slow and easy (most of the time) but perhaps not easy enough to be fully recovered by Thursday and I kept the run short and easy this day.

Friday however, I felt fantastic and had one of my greatest tempo runs all year. I followed this run up with a family birthday party, as my aunt Julie, Brother Matthew, and uncle Mike were all celebrating on this day. When partying with the Gilder clan, there is always great food and amazing company.

Saturday I ran 90 minutes easy and part of it with the S.S training run group again.

Sunday, Peter and I slept in until 10am...which is very rare but sooooo enjoyable and was obviously really needed. We headed out around noon and managed to get in 3 1/2 hrs of good running. Lot's of climbing and descending. My quads were feeling it the next day and today!!! I had a massage yesterday followed up by an soak in the freezing cold Lynn Headwaters, which was then followed up by an hour sauna. I don't know if the massage was extra brutal (in a good way)or if the sauna dehydrated me a little bit but man oh man my muscles are sore today!!

All I have left to do now is Taper, eat well, and pack for next weeks road trip to Western States...SO EXCITED!!!!

See you in the trails!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Banff- adventures and fun!!!!

I have a list of places that I have never been, that I would like to see this summer...and because of Banff Trail Trash, Banff was one of them.

After perusing Leslie's Blog (Banff Trail Trash) and seeing all the great photos of her epic weekends spent running in the rockies, I spontaneously emailed her and asked if she would play tour guide and host me for the weekend. Leslie is also training for a 100 miler (Bighorn) and I knew she had some good running to do. She graciously obliged and before I knew it I was on a plane to Calgary!

I couldn't have been more excited to get off the plane and start my journey from the Airport to Banff. I had booked a ticket with Greyhound, which I thought took me straight from the airport. It was the cheaper option but it meant waiting a couple hours in the airport. Turns out, the greyhound actually leaves from Downtown Calgary and I needed to take a shuttle to get there (an extra $15). All good! The shuttle left a little late and I made it to the greyhound station with only 5 minutes to spare...I was a bit worried!!!

With a quick hop, skip and a jump I was in Banff. The drive in was spectacular and before I knew it, I was already going for my first run with Leslie! She neglected to tell me, and I had no clue, that Banff sits around 4500ft. We headed up this mountain and I was huffing and puffing more than usual. I was a little concerned but just pushed through. I was later informked about the elevation, which made me very releived.

The next morning Leslie and I hopped on her Tandom cruiser bicycle.

This bike might be the greatest thing my butt has ever sat on. One can only be totally and utterly blissed out while riding on it. I was all smiles as we road through downtown Banff and along the highway to the destined trail head. Leslie took me on a great tour of the nearby trails and after 2 hours, and a dear and elk spotting, we were back on the tandem riding to our next destination. The staff at her workplace were all heading out paddling on a voyager. It was great fun and I learned a lot about the Voyagers daily grinds. We rode back to her place, re-fueled and headed out for another run (90 min) up Johnston Canyon to the ink pots.

Saturday I woke up to a pot of coffee and the traditional morning bowl of hot cereal-all prepared by Leslie of course (hoestess with the mostess). We were meeting up with 5 other ladies for this mornings run at Emerald Lake. Among them was Ellie Greenwood. When she lived in Vancouver we never got a chance to get out running together but now that she is living in Banff, we made it all come together.

Most of all the ladies carried poles with them. I never have and had to dodge alot of shots to the face but I see how they can be beneficial in that mountainess terrain.

Leslie took us up 3 different trails that diverted off the lake. We just ran and power hiked up them until we hit snow and turned around. However, we made it all the way to the Emerald basin and the view was spectacular. We even got to witness a couple of avalanches that fell off the rock like a waterfall, spewing snow into the air. I was a little jelous when everyone started pulling out their yummy sandwiches and tasty looking bars, while I carried my usual GU gels and chomps.

After 5 hours of being on our feet, a few handfuls of kettle chips, and 20 minutes of showing off our yoga moves in the parking lot, we started the drive home. We finished off the evening with a delicious BBQ at Leslie's.

It was really fun to meet all of those ladies. Each one of them an adventurer. It's interesting how fast you click and develop relationships with like minded individuals.

Sunday, Leslie, Ellie, and Nicki and I decided to run the trails in and around Lake Louise. This was by far my favorite run of the weekend. The lake is absolutly stunning, with it's booming turqoise skin. It reminds me of all the beautiful smaller lakes I see when running the Howe Sound Crest Trail.

We ran up to the tea house and stopped in to visit a friend of Leslie's. Her friend, Joanne, had just recently had a baby and during the summer months she lives up there. Joanne was also born and raised up there. Back in the day, and during the summers before school was out, she would have to hike down and take a bus to banff. Then, after school she would get back on a bus to Lake Louise and hike all the way back up. I'm pretty sure the hike was over an hour. Can you imagine doing that when your in elementary school?! Crazy!

We stopped for a little bit longer at the Plains of 6 and had some fun playing with Leslie's killer bear call as it echoed off one mountain and then 3 seconds later another. On our way back along the lake, I couldnt help but notice the dozens of climbers scaling the rock walls along the lake.

(Can you spot the tiny bodies climbing on the rocks?)

It got me really excited to come back here one day soon with Peter for a little climbing fun!

All in all it was about 4.5 hrs of awesome hiking/running, on a simply gorgeous day. We finished off the run at a local eatery that made the best wraps I had tasted in a long time.

On Monday morning I headed home. From the greyhound terminal in Calgary, I decided to take the public transportation to the airport, which to my surprise was free and easier than I had thought!

There are no words to sum up this trip. I have come back entirely rejuvinated and ready to run Western States 100. People keep asking me if I am "ready" and before last weekend, I was not sure I was ready both physically and mentally (when do you know). I found running in a entirely new place, with a new adventure everyday, really inspiring and it has left me in a state of bliss and ready to rock.

I guess I am on the start of my taper. What does that even mean or look like 3 whole weeks out from an ultra. For me, all the stress of having to run all the time and the worry about whether I am doing enough has been thrown out the window. I am almost more excited to run now.

It's funny though, as soon as I changed my mind set and stopped worrying about getting in the miles, I forgot about how hard it has been the last few months preparing for this event. I forgot about the low points, the sacrifices, and the "what am I doing all this for?" moments. I can look back now and be proud of everything that I have done. Everything has gotten me to this point, injury free and in good spirits. I am so excited for this event and being around all those lovely ladies on the weekend really inspired that for me. Now I really need to spend some time organizing my race plan and hitting the sauna everyday until I leave!

(Thanks Ellie for letting me steal some of your photos!!!!!) For more pictures and descriptions of where the hell we actually were, please go here Banff Trail Trash.

See you in the trails!!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Humbled once again..

I have had my share of falls over the last few years, many of which simply resulted in a few scrapes and bruises. I think the worst fall I've had was this year when I ended up bruising my sternum and was off any sort of physical activity for 3 days.

It must have only been 2 weeks ago that I took that huge scraper bail, which I blogged about before heading off to the Grand Canyon. Since then however, I have bailed twice more, all on my left side!!!! Both falls have been on my way down the BCMC, which is a very steep technical descent down a mountain. They both happened at the end of the run, which has led me to beleive that they are the result of fatigue- not picking my feet up!

I went as far as to create a mantra for myself as I descended BCMC last night. As I was passing this gentleman and his partner, he proceeded to utter "DON'T FALL!!!". I looked back at him and said "No, you can't say that, you have to say something encouraging such as- STAY UPRIGHT!". And that my friends is what I said to myself the rest of the way down- stay upright stay upright.

As I am coming down the trail last night (Peter a bit further ahead) I trip on this root, which catepolted me at rapid speed down the trail. However, somehow, I managed to stay upright. Alright, I thought, this mantra is working! Peter pointed out that this was the exact spot where I supermaned it last time and that he tripped their too today but managed to stay up. It turned out to be this extra large branch that had fallen from some tree and we removed it promptly from the trail, so it could never hurt anyoen again!!!!.

Peter is a bit quicker than myself on steep technical terrain, especailly when the trail is wet. I had been descending at a slower pace than normal, as to ensure no falls were to happen today. But after the trip scare, and the brilliant save, I decided to let her rip. I was doing my best to keep up with Peter but then it happened, I went down like a pile of rocks right into some roots.

My first instinct was to scream and whale like a new born child as if straight from the whomb (over sharing??). The fall didn't even hurt. What got hurt was my confidence. Holy crap man, I thought to myself, honestly, this is 3 falls in 2 weeks, what's going on!? I dusted myself off, may or may not have kicked a few rocks and threw my hat to the ground.

The funny thing is, when you get mad at yourself in running, you can only take your frustrations out on yourself and the trail (poor rocks). If it were another sport, I might be able to hip check my opponent into the boards, to release some of that rage and aggression.

In the end, I got away with a few more battle wounds, perhaps to remind myself to not run with such reckless abandonment when fatigued or to pop another gel for an extra power boost. I have never been afraid of falling and perhaps that is why I consider myself a powerful downhiller. Even with the falls, it doesnt stop me from going out there and working it on the descents whenever I get the chance. I live for downhills. I have always said that they are the reason I even go up. Falling is part of the game, and as long as there are no broken bones, I'm game!

See you in the trails!!!!