Thursday, August 23, 2012


Shauna and I celebrate our 2nd place finish!
 Finally, the last day has arrived. I am not sure how the body just keeps going and going when it's tired and sore but some how it does and mine just felt better and better the closer we got to day 6. All we had was a supposed 19 miles, which as it turned out got extended to 23. I remember this stage well from 09' even though it ended up being a tad different this year. I remember feeling good and running a lot of the hills.

We started with 3 miles of road from Vail to the trail. The start was changed because there was a Grandfondo happening at the same time. When we finally reached the trail it was just as I had remembered...a ton of switchbacks and many of them runnable. I love this section and had a blast hanging on behind Shauna for the first while. We were moving pretty good and I was thinking how 3rd place would have to be moving pretty good to catch us today. But then I thought I saw another open women's team behind us. Once I could get a better look, it was just a guy with a pony tail! We eventually got onto a steep trail that climbed straight up for quite some time and it seemed like a the aid station was getting further and further away. It was supposed to be at 7 miles but one guy's GPS said 9. something and we still hadn't seen it. I was out of water at this point and getting hungry and really just wanted to see it and be done with this climb.

We hit it moments later and refilled out packs and away we went. We had seen 2 of the open mixed teams there as well and after asking what the hell they were doing way back here, they said they got lost and took a detour. I remember noticing a fork in the trail where if you weren't looking up, you would've easily missed the flagging to go right, which is exactly where they got off track. Unfortunately for them, the trail went straight down and they had to climb all the way back up!

Again, I loved the downs....just always so fun, especially single track! This next section was rolling and flat at times which was a bit mentally challenging but we soldiered on, walking when we had to. Then we descended a very narrow trail which was very rocky and you really had to pay attention as it would've been very easy to roll an ankle. After passing through a small tunnel, we ended up on the road again, where we would remain for another 3 miles or so to checkpoint 3 in Avon. The road sections were hot and all I wished for was some cushioned runners at this point! I was still feeling good though and we ran pretty much everything from here to the finish. I just wanted this thing done and knew that it would just drag on if we didn't run in it. Shauna had no issues responding and we finished this stage in the same time as the day before. A big hug at the end signaled the finish of 6 long amazing days together.

Jenny and Pam celebrating their win at the finish. Nice outfits ladies!

Shauna was the best partner I could have ever asked for. Her laid back personality makes her really easy to be around and we shared a lot of laughs out there on the trail. I pushed her and she pushed me but for the most part, we just worked together. There was never any drama- simply good times. The finish banquet was fabulous and it was amazing getting to sleep in a real bed again!

We drove for 2 days and got home on Tuesday night, just in time to see the birth of my brother`s son. I can`t believe the timing! Thanks Jess for waiting for me.

Carston Mathias Gildersleeve!
Thanks again to the guys at La Sportiva who were so generous over the course of the week. It was great to meet the guys behind the scenes as well as some of my other teamates who came out and raced as well as volunteered. TRR is such an amazing event. I know I said I`d never do it again while I was running but now that it`s over and I totally want to go back.

It`s great to be back on Vancouver soil and back running in the sick single track on the North Shore Mountains. It`s nice to be able to run up hills without feeling like my lungs are going to explode!

Next up: Meet your Maker 50 miler in less than 2 weeks time if the body allows for it!

See you in the trails!


Day 5 is always a tough day mentally for me. My body is tired, sore, and it's just a long day out there with quite a fair amount of elevation gain. I believe today's stage was 23 miles and you begin with 8 miles of steady climbing up a logging road. We had a nice crew to run with at the beginning but eventually parted ways once we got into the single track. Again, Shauna pulled me up the mountain as I was just lacking energy and having trouble eating. All I could do was put my head down and put one foot in front of the other. Shauna also thought she saw the 3rd place Go Go Girls which had me running scared. The views today are also stunning and all that climbing was worth it in the end to be surrounded by beauty.

There was a camera man up near the top who was looking for some fancy dance moves, so I busted out everything I knew hoping it would make the final cut! I brought a camera today but sadly I think I only took one terrible is that! My favorite part of today was of course when we got to go back down the mountain into Vail. It seems as though the only time I feel good, is on the descents. The year Peter and I did the race we ran down the entire road...something like 8-9 miles of it which was pretty hard on the quads. Today however, we got to run down an actual single track trail and a mtn bike trail called Fred's Lunch before finishing right in town. We finished this stage in 4 hrs and 41 minutes with the same guy (Matt) we finished the day before with.

Immediately after, we ran to the creek to soak our legs! God it felt good! I spent the rest of the day relaxing under the La Sportiva tent, chatting with the rest of the team and checking out next years clothing line! There is some super cute running wear coming out by La Sportiva so look out for that next year! The dinner they put on in Vail is also a step up from the other days. They bust out some BBQ's and roast fresh veggies and pineapple, do a prime rib, and some amazing salads we didn't have on the other nights.

Another memorable thing about tonight was that there was an outdoor concert literally right across the road from tent city. The genre sounded like some serious R&B music that went pretty late. When we selected our tent location Shauna was all concerned about being close to some rowdy foreigners but I had to laugh because after the concert started, I think they were the least of her worries!


Today was another short day- 14 miles. However, whenever there is a short day, there is usually always a big climb. We started where we finished yesterday and had another 2-3 miles of logging road to start the day. It was great to see Everett and Jonathon, 2 great guys who work for La Sportiva out of Boulder Colorado out running today. After the road we got onto a wide trail that just went up and up and up. I remember this hill very well from last time and its just a grunt to get to the top. Once at the top however, you are rewarded with beautiful views!

It wasn't too long before we made our way back down the hill towards Redcliffe where I could just taste the margaritas and Fish Tacos that awaited us! The descent was fun and steep. I bailed once, right after thinking to myself how great it was that I hadn't fallen yet on this trip. A few people were trying to help and offer me assistance and band-aids but of course being the angry faller that I am, I just got filled with adrenaline, kept my head down, said no and ran away. I had to apologize to those afterwards.

A relaxing finish to the day back at Nova Guides
 We ran through a ton of creeks on the way down, which was very refreshing, and were joined by 2 others as we rolled over the finish line in a 4-some. Minus the fall, today was super fun and we managed to keep it consistent by coming in 2nd place in our category again. I didn't feel terrible but I can still notice how the altitude is holding me back. Nothing that some alcohol and fish tacos wouldn't fix! Team La Sportiva sat down to enjoy a nice lunch together, under the sun at Mangoes before heading back to Nova Guides to hang out for the rest of the day. I finally made time to do some rolling and stretching which I watched everyone else get massaged!


DAY 3: Leadville to Redcliffe

Today we started from downtown Leadville. It just so happened that Todd (one of Peter's best friends), his wife Kristen, and their brand new baby Lucy Pepper, were in town from Revelstoke crewing one of Kristen's friends in the LVT100. Todd and Lucy came out to the start line and it was SO great to see them! The race starts with about 2-3 miles of road and then you begin running on the longest fire/ATV/logging trail of your life. It just seems to go on and on forever and Shauna did a great job dragging my butt through this section. Eventually though we got onto some sweet single track and my legs just opened and I was able to get into a nice rhythm. We finished the 24 mile day with 2.7 miles of flat logging road and it wasn't long before we cruised out way into the finish at Nova Guides.

I was pretty happy to have the longest day of the race over with and after grabbing a chocolate milk (Vanilla flavor) it was right into the small lake that was next to the finish to soak our tired legs. We came in as the 2nd open female team again and a fair distance back from first.  Pam and Jenni were just crushing it!

Shauna and I went into town today to do some laundry and afterwards we went on a nice 24 mile detour on the 91....oops. 50 miles later and we were back on the 24 en route to Nova Guides, where we were to camp for the next 2 nights.

Shauna and I at the start in Leavdille

Shauna with the Donnelly twins!

The highway on route to the trails

As always dinner was great and the awards, speeches, and slideshows are always super fun to see and watch. Shauna and I even mustered up the energy to sit at the campfire tonight and listen to some live music. Besides feeling pretty sore at the end of day 3, it was a great day.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Day 2: Up and over hope pass- 14 miles

Shauna and I on Day 3 (not this day)

This stage is always a tough one for me, well half of it anyways. I can remember when Peter and I did it in 09’ and I slogged up the hill, however we kicked ass down the hill, finishing in 2:05. I think then though the stage was only 10 miles.

The day was blue bird, so gorgeous! I had a really bad sleep the night before and I just had dead legs to start the day. I guess I wasn’t the only one feeling like this however because we were leading a train of about 8 men behind us. We “power hiked” the entire way up and I was so happy to reach the top. The air was thin up at 12,500 ft but the views were breathtaking. There were even some llamas at the top!

The downhill was just as fun as I remember but I ran it a bit slower today. Shauna was the powerhouse today and led the way from start to finish. I had a really tough time nutritionally as well and found it hard to get in enough calories. I find the altitude makes it a little bit harder to eat. In the end, we came in 2nd in our category in a time of 2:58.

Gordy, (invented the 100mile rune) and I

Ryan Sutter, for anyone who is not familiar with this guy, is the winner of the first ever bachelorette. And, he is the only winner still with his mate. This was many years ago but I watched that entire season , so I am very familiar with who he is. He and his TRR partner were with us most of the day but I didn’t even realize it was them. We ended up soaking our legs in the lake together and I had to tell him how I had watched his entire season, plus the TV wedding! Soaking the legs was great and this one guy dove in and it just looked so refreshing, so I did the same. Heaven!

The open womens top 3
Shauna and I spent the day in Leadville and had some awesome pizza from high mountain pies. Dinner was scrumptious as usual and it was great getting to see all the video and photos from the day. Hopefully my legs will feel better tomorrow…after all the food I’ve consumed today, I better hope so!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


We made it! And in one piece! Which is surprising because I pretty much learned to drive standard on the drive to Colorado. I can now say that I am a pretty competent Manual driver and proud of it! Too bad it took me this long.

Our first day we drove 12 hours straight to Idaho- Shauna's first time here! We were going to camp but had the energy to just keep going through the dark and ended up at some random cheap motel. $40- worked for us!

The next day we wanted to shake our legs out so we went for a nice run along a river in some small town. However, it was at 12pm and it was really hot, so we were pretty happy to get back to the car and get going again. We drove another decent day today, however, we were for sure camping this night so we made sure to get our tent set up before dark. We ate dinner at the Olive Garden which was tasty! After checking out an RV park off the highway we settled on a nice camp site in a state park next to the Colorado river. We set our tent up just in time because it started to rain about 5 minutes later!

We went for another shake out run this morning and again had perfect timing as it started raining about 5 minutes after we packed our tent away in the car! We made sure to go running in the morning when the temps were lower. We didn't have much to drive today so we took our time getting to Buena Vista. The drive to Leadville is just so pretty as you twist and turn, winding your way up to 10,500 ft! We made sure to stop off in town as I wanted to pick Peter and I up sweaters from Malanzana. If your ever in Leadville, you have to stop there. They make all their fleeces and what not in store. Shortly after we checked in at the Transrockies package pick-up and we headed off in search of a camp site. We were tipped off about some free camping by the river which is where we ended up. Such a great spot. We set up and headed back for the dinner banquet. There we ran into all our North Van contingent and some familiar faces from races I have done in the past, as well as other La Sportiva teammates. We got briefed on what to expect all week and were sent on our way. It had rained a little while we were eating dinner but once we were in our tent it was very cozy and before long, I was sound asleep.

Race day morning was finally here! Stage 1 here we come! We got up at 6:30, packed up our tent and headed off for breakfast. MMM oatmeal with greek yogurt, raisins ans banana...just like at home. Before long we headed off to the start. We lined up behind Pam Smith and Jenny Capel, who are my teammates with La Sportiva. I ran into Shaun Blanton (run bum) who is always very entertaining. This stage is 20.8 miles and is typically a very hot stage. I remember doing it with Peter in 09' and it was scorching. I could feel the altitude right away and just focused on running easy and steady. We walked the majority of the hills as running them just out my HR into a whole other level. The downs felt great though and the terrain is super fun. A lot more double truck than I would normally enjoy but the views were nice. The last 4 miles are on a flat paved road and seem to go on forever and the road is really exposed so the heat for sure plays a role in how your energy levels.

I am super happy with how we ran, even though at points it felt like a death march. We ended up coming in 2nd in the open womens category behind my teammates and we are super stoked to have  made the podium tonight! Hopefully we can repeat that tomorrow as we go up and over hope pass which is over 12,000ft. Peter and I had a really good run there in 09', so I am really looking forward to it. Ok, time to go and shower and get ready for dinner!

See you in the trails!

Friday, August 10, 2012


The inspiration is just flying high right now. Gotta love summer for that...

Last night I watched "Unbreakable" the ws100 movie by, JB Benna @ NSA for their grand opening event. Ellie Greenwood was also there chit chatting away about her training/racing experiences and signing posters. I saw the first 3/4's of the movie while I was in New Zealand this past spring (our spring, their fall) and was dying to catch the rest. The first 3/4 was just as inspiring and exciting as the first time I watched it and it just got me so amped to get out there. Transrockies is a mere 4 sleeps away now and I can't wait to hit the road with Shauna and get this thing started!

Last week I was fortunate enough to head down to Schuswap Lake for the 5th year in a row with my boyfriend Peter's wonderful family. They have rented the same cabin on the lake for the past 15 years or so and it's just such a great place to go to get some much needed R&R and enjoy some good ol' recreational activities. This year we watched some of the Olympics to as my cousin was competing in the men Beach Volleyball, so I couldn't miss that! Here are my favorite things to do:

- Play Tennis
- Go hiking and running (Balmoral Trail Head and steep bike trail behind the house)
- Water ski & Tube
- Bocce and board games!
- Eat delicious fresh food, especially the local peaches & blueberries!
- Swim in the lake. After watching all the swimming for the Olympics I was always so jazzed up to get in the water.

Peter, me, Angie, Flora, and Kathleen on a gorgeous hike in Shuswap!

Icing my Calf, as it was acting up a bit!

Peter with Angie's dog Rooney

After a wonderful week here I was supposed to go run the West Coast Trail in one day over on Vancouver Island. I have wanted to hike this trail for years and was really excited to do it. There was an awesome group of 4 people heading out: Pat M. Kerry Ward, and Ellie Greenwood. Unfortunately, Ellie had to bail and so did I after my calf started to bug me again. It was the same calf issue I had in New Zealand, however not to the same severity but I was worried it would get to that point if I went and ran 80km on it in one go. With Transrockies happening shortly thereafter, I couldn't risk letting down a partner and jeopardizing her trip.  Sounds like Kerry and Pat had a wicked time and this is one adventure on my list for sure.

On Sunday, Peter and I headed up to Skagit Valley for some trail maintenance and flagging for the Fat Dog race. It was a beautiful and warm day and we hiked from the Skyline 2 trail head to camp Mowhich. The trail is only 13km to get their but it's pretty much all uphill. There were quite a lot of overgrown shrubs so we had out work cut out for us as we switch-backed our way up the mountain. The bugs were terrible but were more tolerable once we got above the tree line. In the end, everything is worth it because the views are AMAZING! We filled up 120 L of water for the racers which will be at the Camp Mowich aid station on race day and ran all the way back down. 


Well, that is all for now. I leave for Transrockies tomorrow and it starts on Tuesday. My partner, Shauna and I, are just so jazzed up! I come back on the 22nd and have taken the remainder of the summer off. I start Massage Therapy School in September and will be a pretty busy be for the next 20 months! I am confident however that I can work training and racing into my schedule because I don't really want to miss a beat. I might also be an auntie by the time I get back or shortly thereafter as my brother is expecting a beautiful baby boy!  So many wonderful things to look forward to. 

See you in the trails!