Monday, March 29, 2010

Find the motivation...

I have been dealing with what I am self diagnosing as a hamstring strain. I don't really know what is going on but whatever it is, it has been causing me a bit of discomfort during my runs. I pretty much ran through it all week but on my Saturday long run I noticed it was significantly worse.

Sunday, yesterday, I got in my car to go do the grind. As I drove towards Grouse Mountain, the light rain turned to hail and I found myself at a stand still. I pulled over and called Peter and we decided to spend the afternoon at the climbing gym instead (followed by some street hockey with Peter and his sister's family).

Today, I got my butt out the door to really do the Grouse Grind. I had that same feeling where I just didn't want to go. I actually turned around at one point, only to turn around again in direction of the mountain seconds later. Again, as I got to the base of the mountain the rain started thundering down. I found myself sitting in my car, debating with myself about whether or not this was what I really felt like doing. I thought perhaps the spin bike at the gym would be a much better idea, at least I would be warm and dry there. Normally I am not this much of a woosy. I love exercising in the rain. Perhaps I am just feeling sorry for myself because of my bum hamstring.

All of a sudden, this girl walks in front of my car wearing shorts and a T-shirt and she is holding an umbrella! It's pissing rain, I'm in my car debating life and this girl is wearing next to nothing and is out doing her thing. Although I thought scaling a mountain while holding an umbrella a bit odd, it empowered and inspired me to get the hell out of my car. I did. I had a great hike. I could hardly feel the rain which had eventually turned to snow 1/2 way up the hike. It was beautiful and I still can't believe how much self convincing I had to do to get myself there.

My boyfriend kept telling me as I left the house, "just remember how much better you'll feel once your done". He was right, I was.

Let's be honest, as runners, I think motivation comes and goes. I am a very motivated individual but for some reason or another there are times where I'm just not 'feeling' it. Sometimes it's because of a bad streak of crappy weather or not having a training partner. Whatever the case may be, look to others to find motivation or simply just 'start'. I would say 99% of the time, if I just get out there, it isn't too long until I am quickly running in bliss.

Alright, time to get back to the climbing gym to tackle some very humbling climbs!

See you in the trails!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chuckanut 50km

Peter and I drove up early (5:45am) Saturday morning to participate in Chuckanut 50km. NOTE*** If from Vancouver, make sure to take the truck crossing and not Peace Arch. We had a one car wait while our friends didn't even move for 30 minutes and almost missed the race. I did this race back in 08' and I really enjoyed the course, people, and post-race festivities. This year the field was super stacked and the results rally are impressive.

We were there an hour before the start which was perfect because if you come to late there is a huge line-up out the door to get your race number and goodie bag. In 08' it was pouring rain and we had to stand outside for over 20 minutes to get inside. Luckily for those in line, it was turning out to be a beautiful day.

The race started right on time at 8am, I wished Peter good luck, and before I knew it, we were off! The first 6 miles run along the interurban trail which is pretty much dead flat. This is where the field spreads out a little bit and let's the 'fast guys' get ahead. After you pass Aid Station #1, you head directly uphill to fragrance Lake for 2 miles, followed by a couple miles of traversing and a quick downhill, followed by a 2.5 mile logging road ascent. Back in 2008, I pretty much walked the entire first hill and most of the logging road. While comparing my splits (from 08') with the other 3 females who finished before me I realized that the only place I lost time was in that first flat and uphill section. My goal this year, was to run all the hills to see how much time I could take off. In 2008, my split was 2:05 from the start to Aid Station # 3 and this year I came in 1:45. I was super stoked to see that I had taken 20 minutes off my time.

The rest of the run was great and I felt consistent, smooth and controlled. I was really looking forward to 'chinscraper' which from what I remember is this arduous and relentless climb right before the final descent of the day. I remember it seeming to go on forever, like this never ending hill. This year however, it seemed like a piece of cake and it was over in the blink of an eye. I ran much more of it this year, with a few power hikes thrown in on the steep sections. Before I knew it, I was descending the logging road which would take me back to the 6 mile interurban trail return. I passed quite a few people on this final downhill and I tried to take as much advantage of this section as I could. I wasn't pushing too hard because I knew if I fried my quads, the final 6 miles of flat running would just destroy me and I wanted to finish strong.

I had passed the 5th place female (Meghan Argobast, 2:46 marathoner) just before the flats and I was worried that she, with all her leg speed, would catch up to me. I ran well along this section. I didn't top up my camelbak at the last aid station as I thought I had enough water to get me to the finish. As it turns out, I was on the verge of cramping in my right hamstring, which forced me to take more slat pills and therefore, I needed much more water. I didn't pass very many runners along this section, however, there were a lot of non-racing walkers and bikers. There were 2 guys wearing matching blue shirts out for a run ahead of me. At first they were quite far ahead and I was unsure if they were part of the race or not. Along this section, mentally, chasing people in front of me is one of the only ways I stay motivated. I eventually caught up to them and told them to keep it up and pace me (half joking, but secretly hoping they would stay with me). They asked me how far along I was in the race. I wasn't able to run and do math in my head but I eventually said "I don't know how far I am but I only have 4 miles to go". One of the guys had a bottle of Powerade in his hand and because I was low on water, it's all I could think about (slash drool over) a I ran with them briefly. They were very impressed at how fast I as moving considering I had already run 46 km (now I can do the math). I quickly dropped them and carried on chasing after the next.

I should add that this 6 mile trail back to the finish has mile markers for every 1/2 mile all along the way. I had a mini celebration in my head every time I passed one. I was smiling on the outside but fist pumping on the inside!!! Just after the 2 mile marker (at 47km) you get off the gravel path and enter the rolling single track trail for a mile. This is such a nice change because it gives your legs a break from the monotonous straight flat running. The final mile is back onto the gravel path, which is slightly downhill. I passed one more guy here. I decided to look behind me with a little less than a 1/2 mile to go and to my surprise, Meghan was right there! I still managed to have a little kick left in my stride and quicken the pace. I looked back again with about 200m to go and this time she was even closer. I pretty much booted it into a full sprint (which hurt) and never looked back. I finished in a time of 1:35 and change. I was 4th female overall and 1st in my age group. This was a big confidence booster for sure and I am really happy with my effort. I guess my dead legs from the week came around after all! See here for full results...

For those of you who are new to ultra running, I guarantee that as the years go on and you gain more experience, your times will improve. I have been ultra running for 3 or 4 years now and it wasn't until the end of last year that I really figured myself out as a runner. I experimented a lot with different fuels and running styles. When I first got into ultra's I took a of advice from different people. Some of it was helpful to me and some wasn't. Peter taught me a lot about power hiking. However, he is a power hiking animal and for him, it is a more efficient way of climbing a hill. I did this for years before I realized that I am actually a pretty inefficient power hiker (needs much improvement). I feel much more comfortable when I run them and I find it easier to transition at the top of the hill onto a flat or downhill section if I have been running. When I get to the top of a hill when I am power hiking, running again almost feels like a chore and it always takes me a few extra seconds to start the run again. With that said, how much running I can maintain depends on the distance of the event as well as the terrain. Obviously on a ridiculously steep climb, some hiking is necessary and in a 100 mile event where your legs are pooped, some hiking breaks will serve you well.

Gear for the race:
- La Sportiva crosslites. I would have gone with my North Face single tracks but I was having a blister issue that needed to be addressed with the shoe. I was nervous that the crosslites would be to low profile for me over the 50km distance but they were great. I like to feel light on my feet and they got the job done great.
- North Shore Athletics team gear socks. I have worn these for each and every race I do. I think they are made by Defeet.
- North Face light series shorts. I absolutely love these shorts and they even have an inside pocket that fits 2 gels.
- North Shore Athletics shirt and arms warmers
- Way Too Cool 50km hat I won in 09'. The only hat that has ever fit my head!
- Camelbak siren. The same pack I have used for 3.5 years (change of bladder of course)!

- 6 GU gels. 5 x just plain and 1 x vanilla orange Roctane (not my favorite flavor). I ate a bit less than normal. I find it hard to eat gels on the descents as they mess with my GI system.
- Thermolytes- Salt Pills.
- Water baby, and lot's of it! I have been having some GI tract distress in every ultra I do. I thought it was the gels but through talking with someone I figured out that maybe I wasn't drinking enough water to digest the sugars fully. I had no issues, just 1 pee stop.

My only issue is storage space for my gels/salt pill container. My pack has no front pockets for easy access to my fuel. I had a gel stashed in my sports bra (thanks Tamsin for that tip), I held my salt pill container and a gel in my hand the whole way, 2 in my shorts, and 1 up my arm warmer sleeve. That is creativity at it's finest!

Pete and I enjoyed the rest of the weekend hanging out at my parents cabin in Baker. They have a hot tub and it was heavenly to soak in that night and the next morning. We went to the North Fork (short drive from Bellingham off the Mt. Baker Highway) for the most amazing pizza and homemade beer. That place is a must for anyone staying in Glacier.

Hope everyone had a great weekend of running! I'll post some pictures once they are up on the site.

See you in the trails!!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dead legs

This has been a weird week! My legs feel like someone has gone and sucked the energy right out of them with a straw and has yet to blow it all back in. Every run I just keep hoping they will feel strong and energized, but alas not yet. As Chuckanut 50km draws closer and closer, I am starting to wonder how I will feel come race day. Sometimes, this wonderful thing happens where the adrenaline kicks in on the day of the show and everything just seems to come together nicely. I am not tapering for this event as it is only a 'C' race thrown in last minute for some fun but it would still be nice to feel a little fresh!

The race this weekend is super stacked and I am stoked to be joining all these fabulous runners for a rad adventure on Saturday.

On Sunday Peter set out to do the first ever (maybe?) winter crossing of the Knee Knacker 50km. Goodie for him, it snowed the week he was planning on doing it. The week before I am pretty sure it would have almost been bare up on those mountains! He packed up his bag with snowshoes and all and left himself a drop bag at the 1/2 way mark at Cleveland Dam. I was to meat him at the end in Deep Cove to drive him back home. He estimated an 8 hour finish time. At 3pm I set out for my own run to meet him, thinking he might only be 20 minutes away. I was stunned to see that I had not seen him by the time I reached the Seymour Grind. After an hour and a half, I had gotten all the way to Hyannis. I was starting to get worried as it would be dark soon. All I could think about leading up to this point was "how do I go about calling search and rescue"! After starting my descent from Hyannis Road, I saw him coming towards me. He had survived!!!!! You can read about his epic journey hear.

Alright, time to go roll out the legs and stretch a little. Hopefully I can roll some life back into them!!!

See you in the trails!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

All Signed up...

After hearing (yesterday) that the Race Director of Chuckanut Mountain 50km was re-opening registration (that sold out in 5 hours a few months back) with 25 more spots, I couldn't stop thinking about it.

I went to bed thinking about it, woke up in the middle of the night thinking about it, and even came home from work today thinking about it. The re-opening was happening at noon and I thought for sure that by the time I was off work, the spots would be filled. But, low and behold, there were still 13 available!

I first did this race 2 years ago and I had a really great time. It was a sloppy muddy year and I found it challenging. I ended up coming 4th (I think) in a time of 4:55. That was back when I used to walk most of the hills and since changing up my running style I have always wanted to go back knowing I can do better. There is a great line up of strong competitive woman so I will have lot's of people to chase! More so than anything, this will be a great chance to test out my climbing skills (tons of hills), work on tempo and leg turnover (12 miles flat gravel path) and have a great time with friends. Krissy Moehl does a great job and there is always fantastic food at the finish. The price is also very affordable ($40) and is reasonably close to home (just over the border in Bellingham, WA).

Peter is signed up as well and I am looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend post-race at my family cabin at Mt. Baker. The beers and hot tub will be very well earned! We might even get up the mountain for some skiing one of the days.

On that note, I better get my butt out the door and run.

See you in the trails..

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dirty Duo 25km race report

If you are one that is interested in 'what we ultra runners think about when we race' then read this post. This is a great look into the mind of a competitor.

Pre-race thoughts:
Because I had impaled myself onto a rather large boulder last Sunday (badly bruising my sternum) and I was going into this race just to 'participate' and get in some miles. This (just participating) of course is easy to say, hard to do. I managed to run twice (under an hour) this week and one small hike up the Grouse Grind. Actually, yesterday I was really bummed out. I went for a run in the afternoon and felt awful and I couldn't stop thinking about how 'behind in fitness' I was getting. Getting sidelined is a hard thing to swallow. I hate to be a Debbie downer but I am just speaking honestly.

I woke up around 8am and made myself a nice bowl of oatmeal for breaky. I then watched a few good T.V shows (saved by the bell, food network) and decided last minute to shave my legs. I couldn't wear my 3/4 tights with sasquatch legs now could I! The funny thing is, I had so much mud on my legs after the race, no one would have been able to tell. The race did not start until 11am and because I was just going to have 'fun', I left my house around 10:20, arriving with a little over 20 minutes to register and go to the bathroom (i.e- the bush). I chatted with a lot of familiar faces and we quickly towed the start line, pouring rain and all.

I have recently been reading a lot of running blogs that have mentioned the word 'sandbagging'. I finally asked Peter what it meant and even after he explained it to me, I still didn't quite get it. Well, I certainly do now! When people asked me how I was doing, I felt the need to let people know that I was going in with an injury (bruised sternum) and that I wasn't going to be 'competing' in this event today. I guess I feel like people have expectations of me and when I anticipate finishing in the middle of the pack, I want them to know why. I wish it weren't this way. I wish I could just show up, without expectations of how I will do, and not have people ask questions when they see that I didn't finish in the top 3 or pull off a great time. Of course, it's all in my head and if I could just let go of what other people think, I wouldn't feel the need to explain my situation. I'll work on that.

I started the race off not fast, but not slow either. I settled into a less than tempo running pace. My sternum felt better than it had in the past few days and I took advantage. I took it pretty easy at the beginning because it is quite hilly and I wasn't out here to make myself hurt today. I worked on my cadence running uphills, trying to move my feet faster when I noticed them slowing down. This seemed to work wonders for my speed. After about 45 minutes I saw a woman up ahead and as I was passing her she told me I was in 3rd place. I knew the 2 girls that were ahead of me and I assumed they were long gone as they are great runners. The minute I realized I was contending for a top 3 finish spot, my competitive nature took over.

Just after I passed 3rd place, I ran passed Peter and Gary Robbins (NSA) aid station at Twin Bridges. I gave Peter a kiss, which was my toll to pass over the bridge. It took me a while to catch Shannon as she is a great hill climber. We trained for our very first marathon together back in 2005. She has since become a competitive triathlete (Ironman) and I got the ultra running bug. I think this was our first race together in 5 years! Anywho, I am faster on the downhills and was able to take her over along Bridal Path, only to get blown by on our way up Old Buck. She was out of sight within a minute. At this point, I settled back into 3rd place and in my head, this is where I was going to stay for the rest of the race. I got out of competition mode and went back into having fun mode, or slogging up the hill mode. This pattern of thinking is often how I work. Once I start to pass people and get into a good placing spot, I get motivated and I work harder. Once I get passed, and others are clearly feeling better than me, I get a little bit discouraged. Suddenly, 3rd place doesn't seem so bad.

I continued the climb up old buck (which seemed way shorter today than normal) and got back onto Baden Powell, which climbs up towards the Powerline to Ned's. The trail was ugly. There was snow, rivering waters, and lot's of rocks to throw you off balance. I have run this route a million times with the trail clinic and I knew I could run everything that was given to me today, no matter what the trail conditions were. I was excited to get to the top of Ned's as I knew I could recover on this long section of downhill. I went a bit slower than normal as it was really wet, snowy, and slippy. I really did not want a repeat of last Sunday and concentrated extra hard on staying on my feet, even if that meant slowing my pace. I was passed by a fellow at one point and that sucked a little bit because (and I say this in the most non-egotistical way) I rarely get passed downhill. It was more of a reassurance that I probably wasn't working hard enough. I just kept doing my thing, taking my time, until I saw Shannon again.

I actually thought to myself 'dammit, now I have to try hard again'. I know, a horrible thought, but I thunk it. I find, you either have to go into a race with a race mentality or not. I went in without one, picked it up somewhere along the way, lost it for a bit, only to have it resurrect itself again. At this point, I dramatically picked up the pace because I knew there was a long stretch of downhill and I needed to take full advantage if I wanted to hold 2nd place. There was 1 more big hill and I knew if I could get to the top without her passing me, 2nd was mine. I ran as fast as my legs would take me along the flats, up the hill, and onto my favorite section of the race. I passed a number of men along the next slightly downhill, technical, muddy section, which only fed my fire. After one last small climb/power hike, it was home free. All I had to do was run diamond trail (flat) and back through the cemetery to Jaycee house (start/finish area). Diamond trail was pretty much a mud fest with mystery puddles everywhere. It is also a very technical trail which tends to slow some people down. As I was nearing the end of the trail, I spotted and ran by my friend Dirk Handke, a fast guy from Kelowna I never thought I would catch and Matt Sessions.

If you follow my race reports you will notice that I have passed Matt Sessions at least 3 times in the final minutes of races. I always find it satisfying, sorry Matt!!!! As I passed him I could hear him kick and I knew I was going to have to push hard to the end. However, the sound of his footsteps slowly began to fade and I finished comfortably hard.

I feel like a total sand bagger for telling all my acquaintances and friends that I wasn't going to be racing because I had this 'injured sternum" only to then feel good, run harder than expected, and come 2nd. Next time, I will not mention a thing and just go run and see what happens. Moral of the story, you never know how you are going to feel until you get out there and start running!

All in all, I had a wonderful day. I never went into that 'world of hurt' zone and I ran a great run, for me. I got in some great tempo training, worked on my cadence (a weakness) and ran all the hills (even though slow). The race was so well organized and the food after wards was killer. Lasagna, salad and watermelon never tasted so good!

Thanks again to all the Volunteers who stood in the rain for hours. Also, I'd like to thank the race director Heather (H-Mac) Macdonald for putting in so much time and energy to making something fantastic.

See you in the trails!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The green light!

It's amazing how your mind and body react once you get the "Green Light" to go ahead and exercise (run). I was hesitant to try and run the last 3 days because I really did not want to aggravate my bruised sternum. After finding out today that there was no fracture and that I could indeed run, I hit the trails at my earliest convenience.

It felt so good to just be out there and not worrying about doing any damage. In fact, the pain almost went away once I started running. The discomfort became nothing but a dull ache and there were even a few moments where I had forgotten I was hurt at all. I simply stopped focusing on it and allowed my mind wonder.

This weekend was suppose to be a big weekend. Saturday I was going to run Dirty Duo with a friend of mine as my relay partner. I run 25km and then he rides 30km. I had to pull the pin on him yesterday as I didn't think I would be able to run at all but I may give it another day and decide by tomorrow. I would definitely not be racing it but it would be good to get in some miles. Sunday, Peter has been excitedly planning to run the first winter crossing of the Knee Knacker course. This would be a longer effort, especially with the recent snowfall but it was something I had really been looking forward to. Yesterday, I thought for sure I would be down for the count but today I am thinking it may still be a possibility. I am just dying to get out for an all day adventure!

Anywho, I am back in good spirits!!!!! Hope everyone enjoys their weekend of running! Congrats to all those who got accepted into the Knee Knacker!!!!!! The lottery was this evening and I am sure there are a lot of happy trail runners. If you were someone who was not lucky enough to get in, never fear, Summer Solstice is here! I believe it occurs 3 weeks prior to Knee Knacker and is an amazing and challenging race. Spots are filling up fast, so hurry up and register.

See you in the trails.

Sport Med Doctor

I so happy to have found an amazing Sport Med Doctor here on the North Shore. Dr. James Bovard is such a wealth of knowledge and I would recommend him in a heart beat. He is an athlete himself, which is something I look for in most of my practicioner's.

After palpating my ribs, he determined that it is indeed just a bruise. He said it could take weeks/months to fully heal but on the plus side, doing physical activity will not make the problem any worse...yippy! As long as I can handle the discomfort of the activity, I can do it. To me, that is great news.

Looking forward to watching all the racers this weekend at The Dirty Duo here on the North Shore. As promised, the weather is always crappy, but it wouldn't be the dirty duo without a little rain and mud!!!!! If you need to get a longer run in and are in the North Vancouver area on Saturday, sign up for this awesome race. There are lot's of options to choose from: 15km, 25km, and 50km run solo, 25km run/30km Bike solo or relay. The route is fun and challenging and I promise it will not dissapoint. Peter and I will be volunteering at the same spot as the last 2 years (twin bridges). I'll get my cheering voice ready!

See you in the trails!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Trial run # 1

Although I am feeling better and better each day, my sternum is still not quite well enough to run. Today was the first time I felt a bit bummed about it. I took Monday off and managed to Hike the Grouse Grind yesterday.

Today however, I had planned to try running later in the day when I had a chunk of time. I made it about 5 minutes out the road when I realized this probably wasn't the best decision. Although it didn't hurt, I was feeling some discomfort that I thought would only make it worse for the rest of the week. I have been injured a couple times in the past year and if there was one thing I have learned, it is this: if you suspect injury, don't keep running on it until it is ultimately unbearable days and weeks down the road. Doing this will only put you behind an extra 3-4 weeks. I came home with the intention of riding my bike on my trainer but that didn't feel very good either. I think I'll have to stick to hiking and if I can wrap my head around it, some pool running.

Our weather has been so funny this week. This morning I woke up to a drizzling of wet snow and the temps have been way down. What happened to our early spring?? It's like our city is working in reverse! Olympics come, no snow, they finish, it snows...go figure! The Paralympic athletes are happy I am sure!

Have a great night, it's time for bed!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The things we do to our bodies...

If anyone managed to get through my oh so scientific post yesterday, you would have seen the part about me Super'womaning' it into a large boulder right smack dab in the middle of my chest. I didn't really elaborate on it because at the time, I wasn't in that much pain. However, I knew in my head that I would probably feel worse the next day (yesterday)...and I did.

I woke up feeling like someone had thrown me to the ground and repeatedly stomped their foot over and over into my sternum. It hurt to stand up, sit down, put on socks, shoes, pants, reach across the table, you name it, it hurt. That didn't stop me from enjoying my day off however! I managed to get out and go dress shopping for Peter's best friends wedding that is coming up in a few weeks. I even needed him to help me undress (not to hard of a task for a loving boyfriend (over-sharing?)). Note to self, do not wear my tightest pair of skinny jeans while shopping for dress's with potentially broken ribs. It takes a lot of upper body strength to pull them up/take them off (just kidding...k maybe not).

As I reflect back on the "fall", a few things come to mind. 1) We make different noises when we slip, trip, fall, and/or superWOman. I tripped a few times on the run, as well as I took a few close calls on some slippery terrain. I realized I made the loudest noises when I got into situations where I thought "Holy Shit, this could be a huge bail" but acted fast enough to keep myself upright. There is a difference however when I know I am going down and there is nothing I can do about it. I just let myself fall and remain completely silent. Whatever happens, happens and I'll leave that up to gravity. This isn't the first time this sort of situation has happened. I remember sitting stationary on my bike one day as a child and somehow me and my bike began to fall. I remember going into this zen like state, where time slows down, and you have a moment to think to yourself "well here I go, let's see what happens".

Has anyone else had that feeling on a fall? . Where time stood still for just a moment and you had time to think about what was happening.

I just spent the last 2.5 hours at the hospital. I managed to get xrays within 20 minutes but it took the next 2 hours for a doctor to free up to look at them and get back to me. Doesn't look like anything is broken and they can't determine if it is cracked from the xray. I am crossing my fingers for a bruise and hopefully my speedy recovery skills will take care of the rest. It just goes to show how important it is to pay attention out there on the trail and make sure you are well fueled. I usually start tripping when I am fatigued and I probably could have used an extra gel at that point. Life wouldn't be an adventure without silly things like that to remind you just how lucky you are to be out there, healthy, and functioning optimally.

See you in the trails (soon I hope)!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Vernon + Sloppy Joe

Thursday morning, Jen Segger and I headed up to Vernon, B.C to get some athlete testing done with Andrew Sellers (F.a.C.T Canada). He and his wife, Ginny, put us up in their beautiful lake front home for the entire duration of our stay. We were in a bit of a rush to get up there because we were supposed to do some athlete testing once we got there. As it turned out, Andrew wasn't working the following day, like he thought he was, so we just hung out and got our selves settled in.

Jen, Andrew and I sat outside, staring out at the calm lake, catching up on life and what is coming up for us in terms of life and racing. Afterwords, Andrew got us set up on something called "The Fitmate" which is a machine that tests various things including Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This entailed wearing a breathing mask and laying supine and still for 15 whole minutes. I found this rather challenging because I kept wondering if I was truly breathing 'restfully'. We did this test several times over the next 2 days and each time was a little different. The first one I did was right before dinner and was 1163 kcal/day with a HR avg of 34bpm. Now, this isn't the number of calories I should eat per day but if I did absolutely nothing but sleep for a whole 24 hours, this would be the caloric intake that my body would need simply to function. I did a test directly after breakfast on day 2 and this one read 1311 with a HR avg of 58 bpm, much higher than the previous day. I am not sure if eating directly before has something to do with it but it is my only assumption. Day 3 I did it for the last time right before breakfast as I thought this would give me my true BMR. This was was 1033 kcal/day with a HR avg of 50. This was good to know because this number is somewhat of a baseline. If I take into consideration the amount of calories I burn during exercise and during daily activity I can add that to the 1033 and that should be around the number of calories I should eat per day. However, there are going to be times when my BMR is elevated (after a strength training session) and I'll actually burn more than the 1033 kcal/day and I'll have to take that into consideration.

Jen did this test a few hours after exercise and her BMR was elevated significantly around 1800 calories.

On Friday morning I did my Balance Point test and a Vo2 test, where I was strapped up to a face mask. Notice that I wrote Vo2 not Vo2max. In my sport, ultra running, I will almost never be running at max speed, thus Vo2max is an irrelevant test. Knowing my Vo2 patterns in general is much more relevant to me and my sport. I contracted something the day before and wasn't feeling very well and was hoping it wouldn't effect the results too much. Unfortunetley, the treadmill they have was a bit old and as we were nearing the pivotal point in the test, it shut off! I broke it! We got it back working but it kept shutting itself off every minute or so and we never got to finish. The Vo2 info was also lost because the machine shut off and all the data was gone. Andrew however, was able to make conclusions from what he saw during the test and my respiratory system seems to be working optimally.

Andrew determined a weakness of mine which is my cadence (turnover) at lower speeds (it wasn't too bad at higher speed). You can increase speed in 2 ways, 1) increase stride length and/or(2) increase cadence. I seem to have a pretty good stride length, so to get faster, I need to move my feet a bit quicker. This will be important in a race like Elk Beaver 100km.

That afternoon, Jen and I went for a nice hike in the area around the lake. The trails we were on turned out to be great running trails and I will have to come back to explore them further. The next morning we went to a 'cardiac pulmonary' talk in Salmon Arm, followed by a great run on the Salty Dog mountain bike trail. It was a very hilly course but Jen and I had a blast ripping around on the trails. I was glad we got out for just over an hour and a half of running because this was followed up with a 6 hour drive back home. All in all it was a great trip and I learned a lot, not only about myself as a runner but ways I can be an even better coach. One thing I learned was the importance of determining your limiting factor, especailly if you have hit a plateau in your training. Your limiting factor could be neuromuscular, respiratory, muscular, cardiac, etc and once you determine that, focus your training around it. As athletes we often train our strengths because it is what we are good at but you will be a much more well rounded athlete if you focus on your weakness's. Go into each workout with a goal/focus. Use B and C races to work on your weakness, whatever they may be. What is your limiting factor????

Today, Peter and I went out for our first 4 hour run of the year. It seems pretty late in the year do be doing our first 4 hour run but we have been building up slow and steady. We have done a million runs at the 2.5-3 hour range and I think it is the reason the 4 hours felt great, although I tripped a bunch of times and felt a little sloppy. I am still feeling a bit sick but it's all in my throat and my body actually feels fine. We got in a great Western States training run. Lot's of ascent and descent (5500 feet up and down). We started out running to Grouse Mountain (about an hour) and power hiked straight up for 50 minutes. That was followed by 25 minutes of steep downhill. My quads just got worked but they came around pretty quick. After about 20 minutes of rolling terrain we started up our second power hiking effort, followed by another long descent on kick ass mountain bike trails (the same one's as usual).

The title "Sloppy Joe" refers to the massive bail I took on the final part of the last descent. We were already on a fairly technical trail but it was particularly rocky where I supermanned. I must have tripped on a rock and literally went chest first right into one the size of a volleyball, landing hard on my sternum with scrapes all over. I was surprised that it didn't really hurt that much but I was nervous that I broke something. I was able to get up and continue running the lat 30 minutes of the run. Now however, it is getting increasingly sore and is quite painful every time I twist to reach for something. I am sure it's just bruised...

Anywho, the last 3 days have been great/educational and I can't wait for the adventures to get even longer!

ps- I love how long runs tire you out, which makes sitting on my couch, watching the Oscars guilt free.

See you in the trails!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Back on the Mill...

Pic: I really didn't have an applicable picture to add to this post so I thought I would introduce you to 2 special people in my life. 1) The guy in the jean cut off shorts is my Brother. He wears those any chance he gets! Make's me puke in my mouth a little bit but I laugh every time. He is cradling my cousin Martin. He is currently living and training on the National Beach Volleyball team in Toronto. He is aiming fort he 2010 Olympic games. Crossing my fingers!

This morning, I completed my 2nd Treadmill workout in a week! That really isn't all that exciting but because I really dislike the treadmill so much I was quite pleased with myself. North Vancouver's roads/trails are really hilly and with all the interruptions from traffic, speed workouts on the road prove to be quite difficult.

Ever since I signed up for Elk Beaver 'flat as hell' 100km, I thought I better throw in some speed training. Two weeks ago, you wouldn't have caught me step foot on a treadmill but now for some reason it's a piece of cake. I say this now, hopefully I won't be biting my tongue next week. Last Friday I did a 10km run on the mill. I wanted to see how fast I could do a 10km keeping my heart rate 20 beats below my balance point. It was around 47 minutes but my HR crept up towards the end so it probably would have taken me around 48 min. Wendy Montgomery has the Elk Beaver course record at 8:37 (I beleive) and her first 10km split was 48 min. Considering my effort was minimal at this pace, hopefully I can come close.

Today, Tuesday, I trained clients from 5am-7am at the local recenter and it's pretty convenient to just get on the T-Mill right afterwords. There is something nice about setting the speed and just running. Yes, we all know treadmills are boring, but when it comes to speed work I find there is enough stimulation (change of pace) to keep me interested. I find the track just as painful to run around so it's a close comparison for me. At least this way I get to stay dry on rainy days. There are also usually people running on the treadmill's around me and I can pretend like we are all in it together! Today I did 4 x 400, 4 x 800, and finished it off with 2 more 400's. I wasn't trying to do too much because I haven't done many speed workouts yet this year. I don't even know how much is a little or a lot...anyone???

I am off to Vernon this Thursday-Saturday with Jen Segger to get some personal testing done. We both are certified lactate tester's through F.a.C.T Canada and we are going to their headquarters to get ourselves tested this time. I am hoping to learn a lot about where I am at physically and what areas need improvement. Getting tested it great because you get tangible results regarding your fitness. You get to set a benchmark. I will have results that I can compare the next time I decide to test. It's always nice having proof that your training is working for you.

Alright, time to stretch, eat, foam roll, and then run again!

See you in the trails!