Thursday, February 25, 2010

On the Horizon

(Keeping it fun! Here running Hallow's Eve 1/2 Marathon, dressing up is mandatory).

I am not to sure why I have been procrastinating thinking about what my goal races are for the year. Western States was a given but besides that I had a really hard time thinking about what it was I wanted to do. Now that I have put myself back on in the "fun" zone, it all of a sudden became quite clear!

I have 2 main goals this year...

1) Run my first 100 miler.
2) Qualify for and secure my spot on the Canadian World Cup 100km team.

The race to qualify for the 100km team is Elk Beaver 100km. Elk Beaver is a flat 10km loop that I will be running 10 times. My immediete thought was...booooooriiiiing...but there are some benefits to the madness. Not only are you guaranteed an aid station every hour but I'll be able to properly monitor my splits. It's nice to know what pace you are on and if you are slowing and need to pick it up. In the past the 100km distance to this event has only seen about 10 people (or under) per year, so it's a small race. They get more entrance with the 50mi, 50km, marathon, and 25km walk.

Ellie Greenwood and I chatted today through e-mail and she confirmed her entrance today so I am excited to be running with her. We both have the same goal of qualifying for the world cup 100m team so hopefully we can do it together. This kind of reminds me of when Tamsin and I went to Mountain Masochist 50mi in November to qualify for Western States together. When two people have the same goal, I find I don't stress about my placement in the race as much and I enjoy the comradeship of ultimately achieving the same outcome. That doesn't mean I won't go out there and do my best, but I have another goal other than winning.

(Knee Knacker 08'. I just love this shot because they totally caught me exhaling hard!)

I also signed up for Knee Knacker 50km. This is by far my favorite 50km of all time and I was having trouble entering because it is 2 weeks after Western States. I have been told many times that a lot of people have done Western and then ran PB's at Knee Knacker. Peter Findley actually set a course record after running Western States a few weeks before, so there is hope for me yet! Regardless, this race is crazy FUN and watching it just isn't an option!

Anywho, I am super stoked for the races I am signed up for and having confirmed my entry into these races makes training that much more purposeful. I was feeling a bit lost not having confirmed anything. Perhaps I needed that time without commitment to mentally wrap my head around another year of heavy training, which I am now looking forward to. I always look at the season in 2 parts, 1) Jan-Aug and (2) Sept-Dec. There a handful of other races I want to sign up for later in the season, but no plans have been confirmed yet. There are still some races I am waiting to hear back about and or need to qualify for, which makes planning a bit harder.

Alright, time to go for a 22km Dirty Duo course preview run with the Mountain Madness Trail Clinic.

See you in the trails!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I am a very intuitive person, I always have been. I often have gut feelings and sometimes I choose to listen to them and sometimes I choose to ignore them. Usually, ignoring them does not equal success. Every time I listen to my intuition, I am never disappointed. I have also noticed that I like to learn the hard way. Why is it so hard to just listen to yourself?

I decided a month ago that I was going to get a coaching program to train for the Western States 100 miler. I have never really had a training program for running, except for 3 months when I was in University training for the Marathon at the NAIA National Championships.

I have always played competitive sports my entire life. I always had a coach telling me what to do, when to practice etc. The day I started running, I knew I had stumbled upon something special. A sport where it was just me versus me. I chose when I ran, I chose how hard I wanted to run, and best of all, no one else was telling me what to do. I loved just getting up out of bed in the morning and just going, without knowing where or for how long I was going to be out there.

When I trained for the Marathon in University I did seek out help. Even then however, I still deviated from the program based on what I felt like doing. I also found that I was more hesitant to go do the 'hard' workouts. I usually ended up doing them but it wasn't without a little mental battle inside my head.

Now, to be honest, I don't do a lot of structured speed work. However, I actually do like it. It usually comes in the form of spontaneously playing cat and mouse while out on a run with my boyfriend or just feeling good and running hard for whatever length of time. I also like using races as speed training. What I don't like though, is having a set program, and knowing that I 'have' to do something. That is how I feel about it. I understand, a lot of people like and need structure or they don't do anything.

The number one thing that running has to be for me is FUN. The same thing happens every year. I have a good season and I feel like I need to take it to the next level. However, whenever I take action towards that, I no longer have fun with it. All of a sudden running goes from being this fun amazing thing, to being a chore. I dread the workout and I procrastinate going running at all. It's a funny thing.

To bring this all back full circle, I have decided to just follow my heart and my intuition and am not going to be coached. I need to bring the fun back into the run.

I am going for a night run with Peter tonight. We missed our usual Wednesday morning run due to a late night at an Olympic Party. It will be great Western States 100 training.

See you in the trails!

Friday, February 19, 2010


Wednesday night Peter and I went to see Feist at the Orpheum Theatre. I had bought him the tickets back in November, not even realizing the show was happening while the Olympics were here and that this concert was part of the Cultural Olympiad.

The show had completely sold out and I was excited to be going out for a fun night. We had reservations at a Thai/Malaysian restaurant,called 'Tropika', where the accountant for Peter's work is a server. I had a friend last minute decide she wanted to come down to see the show and would try and find scalpers tickets.

Dinner was awesome! We pretty much had Billy (the accountant) order for us and he did not disappoint. We had chicken, lamb, and beef satay with peanut sauce and roti calai (malay bread) with a spicy curry sauce to start. The satay was juicy and succulent and the roti canai was amazing, nothing like I was expecting having had 'roti' before at a middle eastern restaurant.

For the main course we ordered green beans with tomatoes and prawns served in some sort of spicy curry sauce (that is my go to if I don't know the sauce) and an assorted Assam seafood hot pot (muscles, clams, prawns, white fish and squid).

Desert was on the house so we chose to go with the deep fried Banana. I have had this once before in my lifetime and as much as I hate the thought of having a deep fried banana, it was ever so tasty. I definitely left feeling quite full and was ready to move on and enjoy the show.

We only had to walk a few blocks to the theatre and the streets were just packed. The Olympics sure have brought this city together. You can go out on any given day and there are thousands of people roaming the streets, live music, and tons of random street shows.

We decided to skip the piano opener and opted to listen to it from the lobby, where we enjoyed a beverage or two and waited for Feist to come on. Peter and I had been listening to the CD I got him for Christmas over the last few weeks and we pretty much knew all the songs, which was great because I like to sing along. They finally came out and I was surprised to see that Feist is super short. I thought she was much taller, at least she looks it on T.V. She was spunky and lively and has such a unique voice to her. My only comment would be that she played for an hour straight without engaging the crowd at all. A simple "hello" would have sufficed but we got nothing. I found myself wanting to fall asleep (I was tired) during some of the mellower songs. I really like when artists connect with their audience and give you a chance to get to know them a little bit. She didn't do that.

I would still recommend her show to anyone who gets the chance to see her. She is very talented and plays and writes all her own music. Peter had yet to go downtown to see any of the festivities so we made sure to walk by the flaming torch before we got back onto the Sea Bus to go home.

Well I better get out the door because these legs won't run themselves. I decided to do my run later today because sometimes, a girl just wants to sleep in and enjoy a nice breakfast without rushing. So I did! Tonight I am off to an Introductory massage course. Should be fun and I am sure I will learn a lot. You need to have done this course before you can apply to the West Coast School of Massage. I am not 100% set on going or anything but I do want to see if it is something I want to pursue further. This course is a great start.

See you in the trails!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Have you ever thought of running as an ART?

I love healthy little reminders...

Last Wednesdays run left me feeling a little bit defeated. Perhaps, defeated is the wrong word but it felt much tougher than it normally does. I'll remind you that this run involves running an hour up a logging road that switchbacks 7 times, followed by the best reward ever: a kick ass mountain bike trail descent. I had gone for a long bike ride the day before this run and it was no surprise that my HR was higher than normal.

Yesterday however, I felt flippin' fantastic. The first 15 minutes of this run (what i would call the 'warm-up')is actually on some decent technical trail before hitting the logging road. It can get quite steep in parts and I hardly consider it much of a warm-up. I am usually having to work quite hard here, in full concentration as to to attempt to keep the HR as low as possible. Today though, I finished the warm-up without even having to think about what I was doing. I just ran, and all of a sudden, there was the logging road. I knew it was going to be a good day.

I was fully recovered from all previous days workouts and it showed as I was able to run up the hill with ease. We finished the ascent 4 minutes faster than the previous week. It is a very mentally challenging hill but somehow the hour of running uphill just seemed to pass by. I brought my IPod along with me today and maybe that helped keep my mind distracted. The descent just made me smile. Every negative thought I was thinking about as I climbed up that logging road just disappeared (yes, sometimes I have negative thoughts when I run uphill...weird?).

We had such a blast rip roaring down the trail. We take the Baden Powell Trail back home and it's a very technical trail full of rocks and roots. The speed we were traveling involved a lot of fancy footwork and sometimes I truly feel that trail running is an art. The art of the placement of each foot, choosing the best line, and doing all that while moving at max speed. I love it.

Runs like this serve as great confidence boosters. I do like variety with my runs but sometimes it's nice to have that weekly run where you can gauge your fitness level. Hills are a well known weakness of mine and as much as it's a struggle some days, it is going to make me a much stronger hill climber.

It's a glorious day here in North Vancouver and today's run was nice, easy and enjoyable.

Alright, I am off to do a talk to a running group about the benefits of strength training.

See you in the trails!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A week in the life of...

Warning: This post covers many days, embrace the length and get ready to read...

Last week Peter and I went up to Grouse for the Oakley media party. Peter's boss couldn't make it and canceled last minute. I was fortunate enough to get his ticket. We waited at the base of Grouse where Oakley had set up a couple tents, offering up free espresso beverages, tea, hot chocolate and yummy treats (cookies, brownies etc). I went for the Vanilla Rooibos tea and it was sensational. Once everyone had arrived, we boarded the gondola around 4:30pm.

Once at the top, we were escorted into the lobby of the main theater. There, servers offered up delicious appy's as well as free beer, wine, and champagne. Beer, yes please! The theater presentation was all about Oakley; who they are, where they came from, what their product is all about, and where it is headed. The main speaker and his tech guy did a couple experiments testing Oakley against a few of it's competitors. Clearly, Oakley destroyed the "other guy's" in each of the 2 experiments. An interesting thing I learned was that Oakley makes a lot of the NHL masks.

After that we went up to the bar where 3 Canadian Olympic Oakley sponsored athletes were being interviewed. We only caught the tail end of it but it was interesting to meet them and learn a little more about who they are. I will honestly admit that I am not 'in the know' about who's who in the Canadian ski and snowboard world, but now I know a little bit more and am excited to watch them compete. The bar area were also serving up free drinks and appy's. MMM!

We were then escorted outside for the Fashion show. I was a little worried about going outside because it was cold and pouring rain. Fortunately, we were all under cover, it was the models who were going to have to brace the elements. It's a good thing they were modeling ski and snowboard wear. They kept us warm with our choice of hot toddy's, coffee with kahlua, or hot chocolate with Bailey's and peppermint shnaps! The women came out first and then the men. An Oakley sponsored Olympian named Gretchen (last name ?) had designed the entire ladies line and she was interviewed (see pic above).

After the men's line had been shown, they interviewed Shawn White. This American snowboard trickster is one of a kind and has the craziest red curly long hair. I had never heard of him but I think I must be the only one because he is huge in the half pipe competition. Keep your eyes out for him on Wednesday.

The show ended the evening and we boarded the tram after grabbing our complimentary 'schwag bag' (Oakley backpack). Inside the bag we found an Olympic shirt, toque, and sunglasses! It was an awesome night. Thanks Peter for having such an awesome job where you get the luxuries of such fun events!

This weekend (Valentine's day) Peter and I went to run the start of the Trans Canada Trail (TCT). This trail actually goes all the way across Canada but today we were just taking it from the start and were only heading as far as Cleveland Dam. The TCT stars off with some beautiful hilly single track through the forest. After about 20-30 minutes, you end up scaling this long steep logging road. Once we got to the top of the road we saw some Olympic security signs warning us not to go any further as it was patrolled by the RCMP. Of course, we decided to keep going. The chairlifts were in full view and we knew that the Mogul course was pretty damn close. It was very tempting to want to hike up to see if we could catch a glimpse of the games but we pushed forward. It was only a minute later that ran into a sea of army men all dressed up in camouflage. I tried to bargain with them to let us keep going on our adventure but they weren't really having it. We turned around and tried to enjoy the 20 minute quad burning descent back to the car.

That night we went to the Cannery for dinner and enjoyed a really wonderful seafood dinner. This place is one of the best restaurants in Vancouver and I highly suggest it to anyone that lives or is planning to visit.

On Monday, Peter and I woke up at 3:45am. We changed into our running clothes and were out the door at 4:10am. We were heading up the Grouse Grind to watch the Today show live. Peter's nephew and about 100 other kids were up there because there was a 3 on 3 hockey tournament going on throughout the entire week. Wayne Gretzky was up there and all the kids were excited to meet "The Great One". The hike was great. The temperature was perfect and our headlamps made the Grind very visible.

I get so excited around TV Show/ Movie sets. I just find it very exciting. K.D Lang, the larger guy who read out the poem at the Opening ceremonies from atop the pillar, and Giada De Laurentiis were also being interviewed. We didn't stay too long but long enough to snap a few shots of Wayne and K.D Lang.

(The back of K.D)

Later that day, after finishing off the last episode of Dexter, we went to Granville Island. They have a great market there with such fresh amazing food. I could spend countless hours there. I picked up an organic squash to roast for dinner and some fresh strawberries for our salad.

They have some pretty innovative ideas around the Olympics. Check out these bagels:

Peter and I have been wanting to put another chair or love seat in our suite. However, we don't really have a lot more room in our place. While walking through the shops we stumbled upon the perfect thing...a hammock! The best part, we can take it down when we don't want to use it or if we want to create more space. It is also a multipurpose item because we can take it on trips!

That's about all I have to report. Tonight is the first Canadian men's hockey game and were heading over to Pete's sister's to watch it and have dinner. Can't wait.

Alright, time to go running! See you in the trails.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dark Clouds Suddenly Cast Over the 2010 Olympics

This morning I woke up with a little dark cloud hovering over my head. I won't go into detail about why, but it was present. Luckily, I had a very strong umbrella and I wasn't getting too wet (metaphorically speaking).

I was training a client at her house this afternoon and we watched some Olympic news on her T.V while she was doing an interval on her treadmill. At this point, the screen went black and "Breaking News" flashed across the screen. There had been an accident in Whistler during a routine Luge practice run. The reporters warned viewers that the footage they were about to show was quite graphic, and graphic it was. The footage left my client and I in a state of disgust. What they showed on T.V was horrible. Essentially, they showed an Olympian die.

This is a quote from an article I found online that describes the incident, (apparently I wasn't the only one being followed by a little black cloud):

"He was clocked at 144.3 km/h before he hit one side of the wall, crashed into the other, and was thrown off his sled and over the wall. He appeared to hit a metal pole on the side of the track." I think he must have died on impact.

What I want to ask you is, do you think it is alright that CTV showed the accident? Do you think it is fair to him and to his family that his death be posted on the internet and Television for all to see. Is that necessary?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Olympics have arrived + my life...

(View of the North Shore and Grouse Mountain, notice the lack of snow and the Winter Olympics start this Friday! Not to worry, we have it all taken care of)

Over the last couple of years I have really been thinking about "what do I really want to do for work". This is one of the worlds great questions that I think a lot of people have a hard time answering. I have learned recently that perhaps, over my lifetime, I will get to do a few of these things because a lot of people change careers every 7 years. I have also learned that it could be quite costly to do everything that I envision. I would just love to be the jack of all trades! I'll share with you one...

1) Dietitian: I have know ever since I went to UBC to pursue my Human Kinetics Degree that I was interested in also becoming a Dietitian. Back then, I remember telling my family that I wanted to get a double major. Of course, that was until I realized that I would have to go back and get my Math 12 (high school). This program also involved a lot of Chemistry, including Organic Chemistry. What did Chemistry have do with being a nutritionist?, I thought. Let's just say, I got a little intimidated and just wanted to graduate as soon as I could so I could get my butt out of the classroom and start living!

I biked out to UBC on Tuesday because I had an appointment with the adviser from the Dietetics program. Before I made any decisions I wanted to be clear on how long it would take, cost, what courses I can skip because of my current degree etc.

I was in and out of that room in about 10 minutes. I think the C- in cellular biology may have given him that clue...just kidding (but not about the grade). You apply to the program after you have all your 1st and 2nd year prerequisites. The program itself is very competitive and they only accept 30 students a year. You need at least an 80% avg, which is what I have, but I am assuming that would have been very hard to maintain after all that chemistry!

We also discussed why I wanted this degree. I really want to be a nutritionist but with the understanding that I want to be self-employed. He told me that if that is what I wanted then there was no real need to jump through all these hoops (5 years worth) to get there. There are many other schools in my area that offer more of what I am looking for, without all that science!

The one I am looking into is called the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. You can go 1 x/week for 2 years or 2x/week for 1 year.

As I biked home, I was taken away by the gorgeous view of the North Shore mountains. I love being able to get up and go for a ride in the middle of the day. I started to think about how hard it would be to sit in a classroom for hours a day for the next 5 years and how unwilling I am to do that. I just don't learn that way and really didn't enjoy that aspect of University. I didn't really feel like I had many teachers who taught me anything besides how to take rapid fire notes from power point slides that he/she would regurgitate from the overhead projector.

My hands were absolutely frozen after the large decent into the headwind from the University. I did what any other road biker would do and hit up "grounds for coffee" for just that and a muffin. I really do have a soft spot in my heart for muffins but I rarely eat them out. This one was a chocolate banana espresso muffin and the top was so delicious and crunchy. I ate just over half and gave the rest to Peter when I got home. All in all the ride was 2 hours and 40 minutes. In that time I figured out 2 things...1) I am not going to be a Registered Dietitian (2) I need to figure out a recipe for that amazing muffin!!!

Yesterday, at the crack of dawn, Peter and I woke up to do our weekly Wednesday morning hilly run of DOOM! Alright, that was an exaggeration but it felt a little bit harder than normal. Perhaps that 2:40 hilly bike ride from yesterday tired me out. We ran up old mountain highway for an hour which is great training for Western States. I tried my hardest to keep my HR as low as possible and it hung in and around 160 bpm for the entire 7 switchbacks. I just couldn't wait until the top because we are rewarded with that sick mountain bike trail descent. Total time was 1:40 and it felt great to get another one under the belt.

Later in the day I went to watch Peter, Keith, and Gary from North Shore Athletics play in a mini Olympic hockey game just off of 14th and Lonsdale. They had set up a mini fake (plastic, but you never would have known it) hockey rink and competed in the covenant Poutine Cup. It was awesome and there were so many kids out to play and cheer on their dad's. The torch was heading by there shortly after and there were hundreds of people lining the streets. If the atmosphere around the Olympics was big before, well now it is CRAZY. It really is a great time to be in Vancouver.

Time to go to work!

See you in the trails.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dazed and Confused

I know a handful of ladies out there that have problems with nutrition. I have had clients who have had problems with nutrition and let me tell you most of the time, it's because they are not eating enough. I somehow, don't even seem to have that problem, it's usually the opposite :)!

I am not to sure why a lot of women obsess about their dress size or whether or not they can fit into the same pair of jeans they still have from the 1970's, as a measure of how they look today. I am not to sure why some women are always trying to eat 'less' versus eating healthy. We don't need to deprive ourselves to look and feel the way we want to.

I blame a lot of it on society and all the information and diet fads that have come and gone over the years. Let's look at the Atkins Diet. There are still women all over the world who are trying to cut 'carbs' from their diet, because they heard years ago that it works. Does it? Is it realistic?

Then you get those who do not eat enough and do not lose weight, which I am sure only feeds the problem. They keep eating less, because their not losing weight and then they stop eating at all (k, I may have taken that to the extreme).

Now I know there are men out there that have these issues to and I am not trying to single out women. I have just had a lot of run in's with the situation lately and it has all been in the female sex.

When are we going to just learn to love ourselves for who we are, no matter what size we are?? I won't lie and say that I don't have days where I feel fat and bloated, but they are few and far between these days. Feeling that way gets me nowhere. Instead, go do something that is going to make you feel good, like your favorite activity. I bet you $100 (again, monopoly money) that if you went for a hike, the fat thoughts would disappear, because life is so much more than how your clothes fit on that particular day.

In conclusion, be happy, be healthy, and be active. You can be everything you want to be, but you won't get there anytime fast with negative thoughts about the way you look. You need to build yourself up with confidence inspiring thoughts. LOVE YOURSELF in every sense of the word. As my friend Lina would say, LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH!!!