Monday, February 27, 2012


The countdown is officially on...T-minus 7 days until I am on a plane to New Zealand.

On the weekend I finally tackled a goal I have had for a while now, the big run to Squamish. I went to do this run a while back sometime in 2011 but just wasn't quite into it and turned around at Nelson Creek in Caulfield. I decided that when I would attempt this run again I would start there because the run from North Van to Nelson Creek is pretty boring. Peter dropped me off in the morning and off I went.

I have been seriously lacking some motivation. I am not to sure why but perhaps its a combination of solo training, horrible weather, and just wanting to be doing other things. Yes, believe it or not, I don't ALWAYS want to be running...With that said, I have been pretty good about just getting out there, even if it does take the nudge and support of my partner Peter. Coach Watson has been pretty good at reminding me how much better I will feel if I just get out there and run and he is right about 100% of the time. This weekend, I guess I was in need of a mission, something more than just spending 4 hours running around in the trails I always run around in.

The weather was just stunning- chilly with a near blue bird sky. I was wearing full length tights, a long sleeve shirt, a windbreaker, and gloves. The only thing I took off were the gloves but they went back on several times.

There was a sign early on that said 44km to Squamish. That's a little over a marathon, I thought...perfect! From there I broke it down into 6 mile chunks and each time 6 miles was ticked off it was like little mini victories that got me closer to the finish. It's a great run because you pass by all these little sub sections: Lions Bay, Porteau Cove, Furry Creek, Brittania, and lastly, Shannon Falls and the Chief.

I am not to sure what it was about this run but it was just awesome. Perhaps it's the landscape which just seems to get more and more beautiful as you near Squamish. Maybe it was the fact that I was the only person propelling myself on foot across the Sea to Sky Highway. I didn't even see any road bikers this day, which you often see training for the Whistler Grand Fondo. Nonetheless, I was pretty bliss-ed out the whole time.

(If my run had finished here in Brittania, I would have been eating at this local joint- Mountain Woman).

As far as car traffic goes, I never felt scared or worried about vehicles as the shoulder in most cases is pretty wide. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun adventure. It took me approx. 4 hours to reach downtown Squamish which is way faster than I had anticipated. For some reason I thought it would be more like 6-7 hours but I was wrong. The hills were all very runnable and running the entire thing was no problem.

(Peter and I on the Lions Gate Bridge, the windiest day ever!)

The previous day, Saturday, I woke up a little tired and minorly hung over from quite simply way to much fun the night before. The combination of Raclette and an end of the night jam session was killer. I may have also broke my back trying to attempt the worm.

It was a beautiful day, and we decided to head out for some "Urban Mountain Biking". That's just slang for riding our Mtn Bikes around the city. We started over the lions Gate bridge. I knew there was a wind warning for greater Vancouver but holy crap was it nuts out. We...ok...I...were moving at a snails pace and it was all I could do not to be blown over. I just couldn't stop laughing it was all to hilarious. There was a guy running just ahead of us who was having to hold his hat on his head but perhaps holding the bum flap on his short shorts would have been better.

Next we descended onto the Stanly Park Sea Wall where the waves were just crashing up all over it. It was just nutty! We then proceeded over to Granville Island for some lunch. I always forget how awesome this place is and how I should come over here more often. Yes, it is a busy place but I think that adds to the excitement. After some soup and the best doughnut I have ever sunk my teeth into we crossed the Granville Street Bridge. However, just before we merged off the bridge Peter pulls over and starts yelling something at me. He's telling me to take out my phone and call 911. He saw this guy fall out his window 4 floors down and land on a sub roof. After a few minutes it was evident that he was in fact still alive and breathing but he was not moving.

After a while the paramedics came and low and behold, my good friend Shauna's boyfriend, Josh, was one of them! We watched the entire process. The firefighters came and had to hoist up their ladder onto the sub roof. In the end, he got taken away in the ambulance. I asked Josh the next day what had happened and apparently the guy was just trying to fix his curtain. He was standing on a chair and one of the legs broke and he fell through the glass window. He broke his hip, hand, and maybe his pelvis and had internal bleeding. It just boggles my mind how one minute your fixing your curtain and then the next your in the hospital. I am glad he survived.

We finished off the evening with a little outside boulder session at cypress Falls. I think I bouldered for a combined total of 10 minutes and my obliques are just destroyed. Ha! It hurts to touch.

Alright that's all to report. Time to go do some push-ups and toughen the hell up.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


(The view from the ferry on our way over to Orcas Island)

I have wanted to do Orcas Island 50km for a few years now. I was signed up in 2010 but had to transfer my entry because I was unable to race. I was lucky enough to enter this sold out event and was excited to be taking part. With a 100km looming over my head on March 17, I figured I should be able to at least run 50km by this point.

I found out that Jen Segger was also entered and asked her if I could carpool with her. Turns out my good friend Jenni Chancey was coming down as well. She was not racing but rather, just out to support and get a weekend away. My new friend Poala Chadwick also came along for the ride. Both are training for the Gorge Waterfalls 50km in March!

I got picked up around 10:30am on Friday and we swiftly made our way to Bellingham, making sure to stop at Trader Joe's along the way. Oh, how I love that store. We also managed to hit up one of my favorite cafe's (Jen's too) in Fairhaven for some amazing sandwiches. I don't remember the name but I always go to it after doing the Chuckanut 50km.

We got to the Ferry in Anacortes at 2:47pm. There was a 3pm, 4pm and a 7pm sailing over to orcas Island. We were told that the 3pm was full and that the 4pm was broken down and they may or may not have it fixed by then. We were not stoked about getting on the 7pm and waiting around the ferry terminal for 4 hours but in the end, they had fixed the 4pm and all was good again!

Once on Orcas, we quickly made out way over to grab our race packages and then went straight to the cabin we had rented on the beach for some dinner (thanks Paola!!). The cabin was super cute, rustic, and it was great falling asleep to the sound of the waves crashing up on the beach.

I woke up at 6:15am excited for the day. The race start was cold and I was happy to be wearing 3/4 length tights and a long sleeve shirt. After a quick race briefing from James and a 10 second countdown...we were off!

(The race start, Photo by Glenn Tachiyama)

To my surprise I ended up being right beside my favorite ultra runner, Pam Smith. I just think the world of Pam and was so happy to see her. I quickly fell in behind her and Amy Sproston, another great runner and the 3 of us ran together for the first 4-6 miles. Amy ended up dropping back and Pam and I went back and forth a couple times. At some point though she got ahead of me on a hill and then I never saw her again! She went on to win by quite a gap.

(One of the spectacular views, photo by Jenni Chancey)

The trails were beautiful and I would highly recommend this race to anyone. The views at the tops of the climbs are out of this world. Linda Barton, Gary Robbins main squeeze told me prior to the race that it was a tough one and I would agree with that. There were 3 major climbs, which made for some wicked descents.

(Having way to much fun smiling for the camera, Photo by Glenn Tachiyama)

I personally struggled a bit and went through a couple highs and lows, which I guess is pretty typical in an ultra. However, I met some really wicked people out there. The encouragement you get from strangers is so cool.

(Tom Craik and I before he dropped me like a bad habit, Photo by Jenni Chancey)

I was pretty beat in the last 10 miles, but I`ll blame Tom Craik (my nemesis) for that one as he caught up to me, got me chatting, wasted all my energy, and then left me in his dust!

In the end, I finished 4th female in a time of 5:30. Full results can be found here. and I was stoked to be out enjoying the trails on such a beautiful day with all my ultra folk. I can`t wait for my next event (yes, I say this now)! Thanks to James Varner for putting on such an amazing day. Not only is there a full on post race meal with a band playing music, there was a pizza dinner party, with free beer and a dance party!

(Jenni and Paola, the greatest ladies in the world)

Also, Thanks to Paola and Jenni for being out cheering and supporting Jen and I. Your smiles, cheering, and laughter were a big part of my day. And lastly, thanks to the guy who made the `Shit ultra runners say`` video as it gave us lot`s to laugh about the entire weekend.

Next up, Terawera 100km in New Zealand (March 17th) and 3 months of glorious exploring!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Last week was a good week training wise. I didn't do any crazy amounts of training but ramping up steady.

Friday I got out with 2 co-workers from MEC. John O, a fellow ultramarathoner, took me and Justine out on a wicked 18 mile run, he playing tour guide. The trails were all new to me and I found myself wondering how I had never been on them. Pretty much after you get off the east side of second narrows bridge (Vancouver side) you can get onto the TCT (Trans Canada Trail). This trail winds all the way up and down to Port Moody...and beyond of course. Can't wait to take some friends on this one.

Sunday I also got out for a 3 hour run, solo this time. The rain was hammering and stayed that way for the entire day. I felt really good though and had such a fun time splashing around in the puddles. There were even a few mountain bikers out! I guess not everyone is a fair weather rider like myself.

Monday, Peter and I ski toured to the Wendy Thompson hut up off the duffy. The skin in took about 2.5 hrs and boy did I get tired. But I finally clued in that maybe I just needed to eat something. After a package of honey stinger chews and some gatorade, I got a little pep back in my step! We were the only ones at the hut and it was so cool to have it all to ourselves. We spent the night playing travel scrabble and re-fuelling. It was the first time I had eaten a dehydrated pre-packaged meal. I had the veggie curry and rice and Peter had the mash potatoes and chicken. Mine was just alright and his was very tasty. Anyone know of any other good ones? There are so many to choose from!

Someone had left a box of wine there that was still good for another 30 days! I may have dabbled a bit. It went great with all the chocolate we had! I highly recommend the Camino dark chocolate and peanut butter bar.

(Peter and I outside the Wendy Thompson Hut, before our skin back to the car)

Tuesday, after eating breakfast, we headed out for a few laps before heading back to Van.

The weather was great and it had snowed about 5cm overnight. The sun even started to come out as we were heading back. Apparently, that was the only place it was shining because it was downpooring in Whistler, Squamish, and Vancouver.

I had to lead a running group that night through a hill training workout. I joined in at a moderate pace, mainly as the cheerleader, as my legs were on fire after all the skiing!

Looking forward to a recovery day today and excited about all the sun that is in the forecast!

See you in the trails!