Sunday, June 28, 2009

The First Half

Knee Knacker 50km is a short 2 weeks away and I couldn't be more excited (and a little bit nervous!). I usually like to get up Black Mountain at least once before race day, just to remind myself how hard it is. And O, I was reminded!

(The Boulder Field, my favorite part up Black Mountain)

Once we got to Eagle Bluff, we stopped for a brief moment to take in the view. I am always blown away every time I grace this mountain. Even during the race, I make a point of looking left over my shoulder to see the view. It makes all the hard work seem worth it and reminds me what life is all! I truly feel alive here.

There was way less snow this year but the terrain was extremely muddy. I didn't even hesitate, and ran balls to the walls straight through the mud, screaming like a little school girl the entire way.

The descent into Cypress Mountain was so much fun and I got to blaze down my favorite section of all- Hollyburn Shoot. Sometimes I feel like running downhill is sort of an art. There's something about the way I move my feet in an around the rocks/roots, the way may arms wave all around counterbalancing my weight, the speed at which I move, and the way my feet just seem to know where to go, like they are connected to my mind. I always finish that descent saying "That was so much fun".

We stopped at Brother's creek bridge to watch the falls. The rest of the run was a little bit of a tempo back down into Cleveland Dam. We finished around 3 hrs 30 minutes completely covered in mud. We rushed home to shower and eat and headed down to Lynn Valley Park where the BC Bike Race finish line was. The owner of North Shore Athletics was there with my co-worker Bryan Kelly. They had a very successful day and are off to a good start.

Western States 100 happened yesterday, though some racers didn't finish until today. I knew of a few people from North Vancouver who were running it. I got really into it and followed them, as well as the leaders sporadically all day. I can't wait to do that race someday. My boyfriend Peter is in for sure next year and I am hoping to qualify as well. Watching the live webcast got me super stoked for Knee Knacker and I can't wait to go race in 2 weeks! My dad is coming over from Powell River to watch. It is always nice having him out to support and cheer me on.

Tomorrow is the beginning of the 'taper' or 'recovery period' as others may call it. Time for rest, healthy yummy food, and massage!

See you in the trails!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Solstice adventures

Holy! I just did my hours log for the week and I did 15 hrs 45 min (and that's with 2 days off)!!! That was a big jump from my near 12 hour training week last week. I won't lie, my legs were tired but I still felt like a champion in the last hour of my 6 hour long run on Sunday. My clients were all away last week and I hardly rode my bike. It rained so we didn't get out climbing much and I didn't go to CrossFit either. I guess running filled in all that extra time I had. The only other thing I did was Hot Yoga on Wednesday after our seak the peak run. I have never sweated so much in my entire life like I did in that yoga class. I am not a big sweater, even when I run, I never bead, I just glisten! I was with 2 friends and I was by far the sweatiest. It was getting in the way of my performance because I couldn't hold my foot to my other leg without it slipping and I was sliding all over the mat!

This weekend I had the pleasure of pre-sweeping the Summer Solstice Trail Marathon and 1/2 Marathon (which turns out is more like 25km). I had ran the route many times before with Peter (the race director) so I knew what I was in for.

Kerry Ward and I set out at 6:30am to make sure all the previous nights flagging had not been taken down. Sometimes there are people who feel that we racers are invading the trails and take down markings to keep in clean. Perhaps they are not aware that all the flagging will be removed promptly by a sweeper. Nonetheless, it is important to make sure it's up so racers know where to go. Peter and Jurgen did a great job flagging the night before. However, The flagging tape was yellow and it pretty much blended completely in with the trees and bushes that it was tied to. We ended up putting quite a bit extra on course to make the route more visible. It was fun seeing racers along the course.

(Simon Driver- 1/2 Marathon winner, representing NSA)

We finally got passed by the lead marathoner about 5 hours into our run. I had only planned on being out there for 5 hours so it was great getting to nibble at aid station goodies (something I usually don't do in my own races). For some reason I was just craving bananas and the coca cola near the end didn't hurt either.

We finished in 6 hours exactly. Thank you to the wonderful ladies from Moveo (Kristy and Leah) who provided free post-run massages. Apparently I have tight hamstrings (what else is new)!

This week I am filling in 46 hours at North Shore Athletics while some co-workers are away + my personal training hours in the morning. It will be a busy busy week as I continue to peak for Knee Knacker. Can't wait for the KK run on Sunday where I get to revisit Black Mountain for the first time this year!

See you in the trails!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Seak the peak and back!

This morning Peter and I set out for an epic run. Our new Wednesday run theme is: start at sea level and run straight up to the top of Grouse Mountain and back. There is a lot of elevation gain in Knee Knacker, so the more practice the better. I left today knowing I was going to put forth a hard effort and didn't let me heart rate dictate my run.

We wanted to do the Seek The Peak route that goes from Ambleside to the top of Grouse. Instead of going to the peak of Grouse Mountain (as the race does), we just turned around at the top of the Grind and came back the same way. Going up was great and I felt really strong. I think I under use my glutes when I run hills and that is why I struggle with them. I heard that to activate your glutes (if you don't naturally) you literally have to tell your glutes to fire. So, all day, I was constantly talking to them and I could really feel the difference. It saves my quads from doing all the work. I ran all the hills, except for the Grind of course. I am sure it wasn't my fastest time but I kept a very good and steady pace all the way up.

(The Outdoor Stairmaster)

It had rained a bit and some of the logs and rocks were pretty slick so we took our time coming down. After running down the grind and Nancy Green Way, my legs felt like Jello. It's a mix between feeling like your floating and getting a really good ass kicking deep tissue massage. I really wanted to test myself here and push through the bla feeling I had in my legs. They felt like they did after the 7 mile logging road downhill near the end of White River 50-miler (which I may be doing this year). In that race, I found it so challenging to push through the crap feeling I had in my legs for the last 10km of technical undulations to the finish. Today was perfect training for that and I must say, I felt way better than I thought I would. It must have been those beans in tomato sauce I had last night with dinner!

Anywho, it was 2:40 round trip and the soak in the river post run was very refreshing. Can't wait for Yoga tonight to stretch out the tight muscles and an easy recovery run tomorrow! Knee Knacker here I come!

Monday, June 15, 2009

(View from the trail, between the trees)

The weather continues to be 100% pure bliss, which means, tons of running, tons of climbing, and not a lot of everything else (i.e- house is a mess).

This week Peter managed to get me out for 4 days of climbing. I am getting better each time and it's definitely one of my new favorite activities. Of course, as with most things, I start to get a little competitive with myself and can get frustrated when I don't learning at a faster rate. I've woken up multiple days with my core and arms sooo sore. I love knowing that I am getting stronger, especially from an outdoor activity.

As far as running goes, I got in 13 hours of running. Wednesday's run was perfect knee knacker training. Peter, Mark Grist and I started at the auto mall and ran up mosquito creek to the top of Grouse Mountain and back. The quads were sore for days after. I am sure the 100 overhead snatches we did at cross fit the next day didn't help ease any of that soreness. Friday I went for a great run out to Norvan Falls and back and Saturday I did the SFU 5 Peaks Enduro event (10km). It was so much fun to go rip off a 10km. It was really hot and the course was quite hilly but with Knee knacker in a little over 3 weeks, I will take all the elevation I can get. I ended up placing first female, which I really wasn't expecting but am pretty stoked about. I guess it proves that just because you run long and slow doesn't mean you can't run fast! I spent the rest of the day lounging by my friends pool, swapping stories, drinking Hoegaarden, and enjoying the beautiful day.

(5:30 am start from Lynn Headwaters)

Sunday we went out for an epic. It was finally time to do our favorite run, Haines Valley. It's a run we do every year and the views are stunning. Being on the boulder Field on the back side of Grouse reminds me of being in a prehistoric Dinosaur land. Adam, Meredith, Peter and I started at 5:30am. We started early because Pete and I had a family breakfast to go to and my dad's blueberry pancakes are not to be missed! There was quite a bit of snow on the top but we went earlier than we do most years. I hadn't run in snow for quite some time and it was very refreshing in the heat of the day.

(Pete and I at the bottom of the Boulder Field)

There were some large ascents up boulder fields, river crossings, and rad mountain bike trail descents. Round Trip was 4:45 and I can't wait to go back and do it again.

(Adam and Meredith at the river crossing)

(Adam and Meredith at the top of the Boulder Field)

(Lot's of snow!!)

(The end)

Hope you enjoyed the picture show. It truly is a beautiful run or hike and if you can ever get into that neck of the woods...DO IT!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Great Week of Training

Today, Peter took me to Squamish to climb a section of the Chief. We did a multi-pitch climb called "Banana Peel" on "The Apron". It was my first introduction to multi-pitch climbing. It was an easier climbing day but a good one to learn something new. Afterward, we went to the Howe Sound Brew Pub for a good pint and some yam fries. I really wanted to go climb something that had defeated me the first time I tried it. So, after the pub we headed toward a climb called "Garfield", located off the sea to sky highway, 12km south of the Chief. This climb is classified as a 5.7 but I swear it's way harder. It was still challenging but I had improved 10 fold and went up it with relative ease. Pete really wanted to teach me how to rappel but I was a little to wimpy to attempt it this time around. All good things happen in time!

I had a great week of training. It was very very hot and I think Vancouver had some all time highs for this time of year. Good heat training for those heading down to Western States in a few weeks.

Monday: walk/hike 1 hour easy easy
Tuesday- am- bike to/from work, pm- steady hour run w/ good friend in the HEAT!
Wednesday- am- bike to/from work, XFit (10 sets, 2 reps of max squat), 1:30 run out to Norvan Falls and back.
Thursday: am- Bike to work and Grouse Grind up and down (1:05), pm- 1:30 bike in Demo Forest.
Friday: Bike to work and XFit. No running today!
Saturday: 3:40- Summer Solstice 25km training run
Sunday: 4:50 knee knacker training run

Run: 12 hrs 50 min
Bike: 3.5 hours

Next up- 5 peaks 10km "enduro" on Saturday the 13th. Should be a fun time. I haven't raced anything of that length in a long time but it will make for some good speed training.