Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dirty Little Secret

The other morning as I was getting ready to go to work, I dusted off my old ghetto blaster. Yes, the one I got in elementary school, that quickly turned into a canvas I painted with nail polish. I nail polished the names of my favorite artists at the time (1) Puff Daddy (2) Mase and (3) Usher- there all shimmered up in glitter. Oh, those were the days! My radio dial was set to the beat 94.5 with Nira Orora and Kid Carson. They were discussing a website they heard about where people divulge their deepest and darkest secrets anonymously. They took a few callers who were telling them their most sacred secrets. The first girl called and Nira says:

"hello? tell us your secret"

and the girl says:

"I wake up feeling alone every single day of my life"

The two hosts were kind of silent for a few seconds as they seemed shocked and were at a loss for words. Nira says:

"Well do you feel better now having told everyone"

"well sorta"

With that, they quickly got to a new caller. The other secrets were a little bit happier as one caller had just won set for life and hadn't told anyone yet. The first caller however, just left me feeling saddened. With all that we have in this world and all that is available to us, how can she feel so alone? I wake up every morning feeling so blessed that I have my health, a great support network, and that my backyard is my playground. Now I know everyone is not as fortunate as this but if you have been waking up EVERY SINGLE DAY (that's a lot of days) feeling lonely, I think it's time to wake up and do something about it! Don't waste life, embrace what you have, and do the best you can.

That was a rant that was leading into my little secret. I have always found this one a bit funny based on my lifestyle nowadays, and I thought you all might like to hear it. I was a very active kid but I will admit I was a lazy active kid. In elementary and high school I didn't get the best grades and I didn't always give 100%. Phys Ed was my favorite class but even in that I found myself cheating. I remember this one time Mr. Heer told us to run across the field and back into the gym. It honestly would have taken 4 minutes max. I decided to go hide out in the woodlot instead, wait for everyone to come back, and then re-join the group. Of course, I got caught, kicked out of class, and he immediately dropped me a letter grade. I really looked up to Mr.heer and I'll never forget the day he came to my Drama class and pulled me aside to tell me how disapointed he was in me. He was a teacher I really looked up to and respected and It made me feel horrible to have let him and myself down.

I'd love to say that I learned my lesson and that was the last time I cheated on a run, but 2 years later our middle school class from Balmoral merged with Carson Graham. I signed up for the strength and conditioning class. Perhaps I surrounded myself with equally as lazy people but there I was again, going for our typical 10 minute run around the block with a friend of mine (she was on my basketball team). I must have been really tired that day (right?) and found myself just walking down one of the blocks trying to kill time before enough had passed that we could go back. Of course, our teacher, Mr. Buchanan is not an idiot and he was walking the blocks near the school just looking for cheaters. Then he saw us, kicked us out of class and threatened to never let us back in. Thank god he did and from that moment forward I never cheated on a run again.

Maybe all this running I do now is pay-back for all the time I spent being lazy. It's weird for me to call myself lazy because I was always playing varsity sports, that practiced 5-6x/wk. But I never did give it my all. I had natural talent which allowed me to slack a little bit. I have always been told "you have so much potential". It has only been in the last few years since I started running that I am truly trying to give it my all. I want to know what my athletic potential is. I want to be great! That all stems from attitude and hard work. There were always girls who were just as talented as me in sports when I was younger. But the difference was, they worked and practiced harder and it showed as I got older.

With that, I am off for a run! Enjoy the day!

Monday, February 23, 2009

What a Great Week!

This week consisted of lots and lots of running (13 hours and 12 min). I am really starting to feel good and looking forward to running Way Too Cool 50km (in California), which is only 3 weeks away!!! I know who I am up against and the top 3 ladies last year are all returning, so it should be a competitive run. Cross your fingers, I need a top 3 female position to gain an entrance into Western States 100-miler. On Tuesday, Peter and I hit the track with the North Shore Athletics run clinic and pounded out some hard laps. The 50km course is a little faster than most 50k's and I wanted to give my legs a chance to remember what running "fast" felt like. With all the snow on the trails this year, I am worried I won't be able to match the speed of my competitors. Thursday, Peter and I went out for an awesome tempo run, snow free! We were playing cat and being the cat, him the mouse. It's always fun trying to chase after someone, especailly because that's what the race is going to be like. Just looking at this photo makes me nervous/excited.

Way Too Cool is just a warm-up race for Miwok 100km, May 2nd. This is going to be a hilly course, it says right on the website! I have been working really hard over the last few months to improve my hill endurance, speed, and power. It's a good thing I live in North Vancouver, where every single run involves LOTS of hills. Peter is an excellent power hiker and over the last couple of years has taught me a thing or two about it. I have used it a lot ascending hills in my past races, always trying to conserve energy for the descents. After looking at my splits from past trail races (especially those in the U.S), it is the ascents where I am losing time to my competition. I feel that for me, it is more effective for me to run (at a low heart rate) the hills, unless they are ridiculously steep. So that's what I have been doing. In all of my runs (with the exception of my LSD), I have been trying to run every hill. I have really noticed a difference in my heart rate. Hills that used to spike my heart rate, no longer do. As well, I am able to run up them without accumulating as much lactic acid (that "oh my god, my legs are going to blow up" feeling).

Saturday I ran 3 hours with the Mountain Madness Trail clinic. It's always nice to mix it up and run with a new group of people. I was leading the fast group and a friend of mine from North Shore Athletics, Sammi Loft-Pour, decided to come and join us. He is a very fast man, his personal best marathon time is 2:49. He is a machine on the hills. Needless to say, he is the reason I ran every single hill on Saturday and he pushed our group very hard. He also had no clue where he was going and I was forced to keep up with him to ensure the group (and Sammi) didn't get lost. THANKS SAMMI, HOPE TO SEE YOU OUT NEXT WEEK (that wasn't said sarcastically, I swear)! Sunday, Peter and I had the pleasure of running with our friend Jurgen Watts. He had a rough night the previous evening, which was perfect, because Pete and I's legs were tired from the day before. The weather did a 180 from the glorious sunshine on Saturday and we were up against some rain. I won't lie, I really enjoyed it. We managed to make it out 4 hrs and 12 min. We cut it short because Pete rammed his head into a tree while running up a set of looked painful!

We finished off the day with a wonderful birthday dinner at Peter's sisters house. We were well fed and even worked off all that birthday cake playing Dance Revolution all night long. It was not only fun to play but even more hilarious to watch, you honestly work up a sweat. Here is a picture of what the dance floor that you play on looks like.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Way to go DAD!

Today was a gloriously sunny day and I woke up early to get my butt over to the Pacific Road Runners First Half 1/2 marathon. I have ran this race 3 years in a row, but this year, I went to cheer on someone special, my step-dad Jim.

Two years ago, my mom and Jim also ran this race but I got so caught up in my own race, I completely forgot to cheer them on into the finish. I felt horrible and they were a little disappointed. This year, I made sure I was all over the course to cheer on my Dad, especially the finish. My step-dad is a postman over in Powell River and he does a lot of walking. He had injured his hamstring somehow and was off running for about 4 weeks though he still walked (with a limp) 5 days a week for his job. His hammy started to feel better and slowly built back up his mileage. A lot of people may use an injury as an excuse to just drop the race all together. I was proud of him for taking it easy, recovering, and coming out on race day all smiles. In races, he usually goes out way too hard and ends up pulling or tweaking something. But today he ran smart, kept at a comfortable pace, and picked it up in the second half. Today he finished strong with a time of 1:53!!!!

A lot of people were curious as to why I was not running today. I just kept telling them I was here for my dad. I guess I could have ran it and watched him at the end but it was really nice to see him multiple times along the course. He is always out there cheering me on in my races and considering he races about 1 race every 2 years, it was my chance I do that for him. Now I am working on getting him to run his second Marathon. He did Vancouver way back in the day when all people drank was water and Gatorade and wore the same pair of shoes for 10 years. He is just getting used to the idea of taking "energy gels", wearing a "watch" and replacing your shoes every 6 months.

He could most definitely qualify for Boston and I would love to go there with him someday. He is crazy about Baseball and has already looked to make sure they are in season when that Marathon takes place.

Awesome work dad!!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's back Baby!

I woke up this morning at 5:00am knowing that it may have snowed last night- AND IT DID! It was glorious and best of all, it stuck to the roads! The winter wonderland was back in action. I had a good time singing my own version of the old classic "running in a winter wonderland", though I don't know how much my boyfriend enjoyed it!

I usually run to and from work on Tuesday's and Thursday's for a 6am start. I am a personal trainer and I train my client at her house. Fortunately for me she lives high up on Delbrook Street, so I get the pleasure of slogging up Dempsey Road twice a week. Remember my friends "hills are your friend". Last week I had a really bad fall on some ice that I couldn't see in the dark. At least today the snow had lit up the route and was fresh enough to grip nicely onto my yak tracks. It was snowing quite heavily as well and I enjoyed having the plush snowflakes sprinkle onto my nose as well as melt on my lips for some extra hydration.

Enjoy the day everybody! Go run outside!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Seymour Hill- be my friend?

There are not many things about running that I dislike. Most things that I don't like, I learned to like. For example, when I was training for my very first Marathon, my run leader used to always say "hills are your friend", so, I learned to like hills because I knew they would make me stronger and the more you do hills, the better you get at them. Now,I've realized, hills aren't so bad.

In 2006, after my 1st Marathon, I met my match. The race was called "The Seymour Hill Run". It consists of running 13km uphill with lots of switch backs. It starts at Parkgate Shopping Center and ends at the parking lot at the base of Seymour Mountain. I had never considered dropping out of a race before but on one of the hottest days of the summer, it was all I could think about. The switchbacks were never ending and at one point I stopped to wait for my friend Jurgen. When he came around the corner I decided to run with him. He was moving a lot quicker than myself at this point and I told him to run ahead and he refused. After some friendly banter, I convinced him to go and did end up finishing the race. I felt great at the top but honestly swore to never do that race again.

My boyfriend Peter and I were going up the mountain on Wednesday to do some snowshoeing and he was commenting on how long the drive up was. It brought me back to race day and I decided that maybe it was time to attack this hill again. It was definitely a character builder and I guess it's time to go build some more!

Update: Well I am back (after taking the old loser cruiser "the bus" to Parkgate and back) and character was built. I ran the entire way and it took an hour and a half. Kept my heart rate low and didn't feel much fatigue in the legs at all. Had a few comments from some people who drove by me on the way up, they were all curious as to what made me decide to do something like this. I don't know if my answer "because it's challenging and it kicked my ass once before" made it any clearer. The run down was fun and not as bad as some people had said it would be. When I did the race my time was 1hr 23 min, so I know I can do it faster, maybe in a few weeks!

See you in the trails!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

SNOW SNOW GO AWAY....but not TOO fast...

Snow snow go away come again another day! I take that back, the snow was so much fun today, well at least before the teeny tiny beautiful snow flakes turned to rain!

I have really enjoyed running in the snow this winter. A combination of better gear (long tights, Gor-tex socks) and Yak Tracks, have made a big difference in running comfortably this year. I haven't felt that the snow has hindered my training at all, if anything, it has made my legs a lot stronger. However, I do wonder if my performance down in California (March) will be hindered at all. Most of my competitors will have been running in warm weather without a flake on the ground. I'll continue to think positive and not worry about it. The weather is an uncontrollable thing, ride the wave, and embrace it for what it is.

Today Peter, Kerry (and his friend Eric for the first half), and I went out for a nice 4 1/2 hour run. I awoke this morning to a surprising snowfall. I was excited because the weather man was calling for snow-rain. I'll take the snow without the rain anyday!. We headed from our house in Lynn Valley, up Dempsey Rd.(great warm-up hill) and made our way along the Baden Powell Trail over to Grouse Mountain and back. It was glorious and a lot warmer than expected. The fresh powder made the surface easier to run on. Eric left us after 2 hours and we headed into the headwaters. It started to get a little bit colder and the snow started to become quite wet. We ran into our co-worker Gary Robbins (who is training for Western States) and another Team Montrail Runner, Aaron Pitt. We bantered back and forth and continued on. It's always nice seeing people you know. We then headed down to Parkgate to refill water and returned the same way. I was happy to be going home and was looking forward to the long climb up Twin Bridges. I started to feel super woozy after ascending the last steep hill. I immediately took down a gel and after a couple of minutes felt 100% better. Its always a weird feeling when you think you're bonking. I had lost track of my fuel intake and it was showing but fortunately we only had 10 minutes left.

After an awesome run and long day, we showered, watched an amazing tennis game b/w Nedal and Federer (Australian Open),ordered pizza (the healthiest of course)and washed it down with a nice cold one! Thank you Shaftsbury.

See you in the trails,

Nicola Gildersleeve