Tuesday, April 27, 2010

As of late....

I had a great week coming off my Salt Spring adventures. I felt like my fitness really hit another level and I am able to run more miles (at a lower HR) with less fatigue and it feels great! However, with that said, I spent all of Sunday moving and never got my second weekend long run in that day. Oh well, I am sure all the lifting and packing/unpacking counts for something! Our new place is great and I am excited to be living somewhere new. Our landlords have to be the sweetest/kindest folks in the world. While I was unpacking our kitchen on Sunday, Karen and Bill (landlords), brought us fresh baked blueberry muffins, with a note that read "I hope you will be very happy here"!!!!

The view out my new front door is gorgeous! It is a beautiful view of the not to mighty Lynn Peak. It's hard not to head straight towards it when you see it staring you in the face. I much prefer ascending/descending Lynn Peak compared to the Grouse Grind/BCMC because (a) there is usually nobody on it (b) it's runnable in parts and (c) there isn't a single stair on it!

It's funny, when we moved last, I was away in New York for the marathon and he was left all alone to set up our old place. This time, a little role reversal has occurred as he flew off to New York Monday night, leaving me to unpack the new place. An interesting coincidence wouldn't you say!

My thoughts have been adrift this week on my runs. Mostly about two things (1) running across Canada (b) opening up a local healthy cafe in North Vancouver.

A) Running across the country. I have always wanted to bike across Canada. My aunt did it with 2 other girlfriends when she was around my age. She has told me so many amazing stories and the experience sounds phenomenal! My dad however has walked across the country, but not so straight forward. He left Vancouver with $50 in his pocket and came up with innovative ways to sleep in motels/hotels. He would place an envelope in the door hinges during the day and if the envelope was still there come nightfall, he had a place to sleep! He met some of the most amazing people on this trip that he later took my brother and I to visit as kids. I suppose because I am a runner, he has implanted in my head that I should run across it. I haven't stopped thinking about it ever since he mentioned it 2 years ago.

B) It just kills me that there are over a hundred restaurants/coffee shops on Lonsdale, but besides sushi, there are no real healthy places to eat. I was at this place called the Zephyr Cafe in Squamish and it was the exact replica of what I would want to open. The food is simple but healthy- salads, rice bowls, healthy sandwiches/wraps/burgers. And the baking, OH THE BAKING! They also had many vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options. If only I could stumble upon a giant wod of cash to open up something like this. There is just something satisfying knowing I can be the one to feed people healthy and delicious food that is going to be doing their body good.

Alight, dreams aside, it's time to go unpack the bathroom. I only managed to finish the kitchen yesterday after work. Baby steps!

See you in the trails!!!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Adaptations of training..

When you train, build in volume/intensity, and follow that with a period of recovery you get adaptation. Hopefully this adaptation is to the positive side!

I had been building my mileage up gradually over a 3 week period. At the end of the 3rd week I had totaled nearly 15 hours of mountain running, and my legs were perfectly fatigued by the end of it. I could sense that a down week was needed to recover from such a steady build. I ran a total of 5 days with my longest run being 3:20 (40km). Each run was no longer than 1:15 and I managed to get in a 2:45 minute bike ride as well. The total weeks hours running was approximately 8 hours + biking time.

I was expecting to have very fresh legs this week after a near 7 hour drop in running! Mondays I normally take off but because I simply rode my bike the day before (mind you it was with a heavy heavy pack going to Salt Spring) I thought I'd test the legs out. Unexpectedly, they were quite tight and I guess the biking adventure fatigued them more than I would have anticipated. Tuesday, Peter and I went for 2:30 minute run and this time I wore my HR monitor. I WAS SHOCKED...on every hill, every flat, and every descent, my HR was at least 5 beats lower than the previous weeks. I almost thought my HR monitor must be reading things wrong because I am almost always in the 160's going up hills, especially if they are directly at the start of the run. Although my legs were still a little fatigued, they gains in my cardiovascular system were very noticeable. A little rest does go along way! Wednesday I went for a 50 minute fast run in the am in between clients and felt REALLY good. I got out for another 1:30 later in the afternoon which felt equally as GOOD! Today was more of a mental run for me because it involved running an uphill logging road for an hour but the reward at the top (getting to go down) was all worth it.

I am looking forward to the rest of the week. Peter and I are moving on Sunday and may have to be very sneaky with our running that day. Hopefully, we can throw down a bigger run on Saturday. The weekend is supposed to be gorgeous.

See you in the trails!!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Salt Spring Island

(A break at serious coffee in Sidney, Victoria on our way to the ferry)

I had a few goals I wanted to accomplish this summer and one of those was to visit Salt Spring Island (as well as all the other gulf islands). When I arrived in Victoria on Friday afternoon I noticed that the ferry to Salt Spring was right in the same terminal.

My friend and I had all Sunday to play and I asked her if she wanted to bike to Salt Spring. Not having been there since she was in grade 2, she nicely obliged. I packed up my entire big back pack because I was leaving that night for Vancouver. It sat on my back for the entire trip. I tried to leave it at a small restaurant near the ferry but they weren't so keen on the idea.

We began the adventure at 8:30am and set out on our bikes, down the highway towards the ferry. The highway riding was nice, large shoulder, and there weren't too many hills. The total distance from her place to the ferry is 19 miles. Fawn suggested we make a pit stop into Sidney (5km from the ferry) as we left a bit early and had some time to kill. She had been dying to take me to 'Serious Coffee' all week and we found one there. I ordered an americano and paired it with a power cookie I had stashed away in my bag. We sat outside and basked in the glorious weather that was starting to roll on through.

We didn't have long to wait at the Ferry and boarded within 15 minutes of arrival. The ferry is small, which is to be expected because the population on Salt Spring represents just that. We walked upstairs to the 'deck' and laid down and soaked up the heat of the sun. 35 minutes later we were in Salt Spring!!!! I must tell you, I was beyond excited. We were told we had to go to a town called Ganges, which was 13km from the ferry. We asked a guy off the ferry where we had to go and he said left and worriedly told us there was a huge hill we had to bike up. I wasn't all that nervous as North Vancouver is ridiculously hill and people tend to underestimate the power/length of a real hill.

(The ferry terminal on the Salt Spring side)

(the first gas station off the ferry. I thought by the look of it that it was no longer in service, but those pumps work baby!)

The heat of the sun started to shine through and I had to immediately de-layer into a t-shirt. The country side was stunning and we passed by many wineries and other local houses that were selling eggs and organic beef and poultry. The 'hill' we had to climb turned out to be unimpressive, which I was happy about because the pack was weighing m down a bit. But, I was not complaining, I could use the extra weight to build some more string in these here legs. It didn't take us long to get to Ganges and we rolled in to a small festival with a live band and the smell of hot dogs. As hungry as I was we decided to take a friends advice and headed straight to the Tree House cafe. This town had everything one would need- specialty bakeries, ice cream shops, amazing restaurants, coffee shops, and a local grocery store. Every Saturday there is a local Farmer's Market and I would love to come back for that, as Salt Spring is known for their artisan's.

(The tree house)

Lunch was ever so scrumptious. I had the chicken cranberry sandwich, served on a fluffy and light ciabatta bun. The chicken was freshly BBQ'd and the cranberry sauce was homemade and sooooo good. Along side it they served up a simple but yummy spinach salad, no fries offered here. We met a really nice couple from Bellingham and they gave me a really good idea for another biking adventure (Vancouver, Salt Spring, Bellingham, to my cabin in Glacier). I had to catch the 5pm ferry back to Vancouver, so we headed very quickly after lunch. We had just enough time to tour around the town and get back on the saddle. The ride back was really quick and we had about 45 minutes to kill until the next ferry came. Fortunately, there were a few small shops to browse through. I picked up a green Matt and Nat Wallet that just jumped out at me. I love green bags and purses, this wallet seemed to fit the bill nicely (no pun intended).

The ferry ride back was again- stunning. The islands are all lined with gorgeous arbutus trees and all the cabins have so much character. This is a place I would like to come back to sometime soon in the near future. I said my goodbye's to Fawn and boarded the ferry back home to Vancouver. My friend Leslie's boyfriend came and picked me up from the ferry and drove me back to my car. I was a bit nervous about the drive back but I followed Leslie's directions to a T and managed to get home safe and sound.

To end off a great weekend, Peter came home early from his ski touring trip! We headed down to Taylor's crossing for 1/2 price pizza and caught up over a Red Truck beer.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Friday morning after a sunny weather/early morning inspiring run, I packed my bike in my car and headed to Victoria. On my way I visited a good friend of mine, leslie, who lives in Tsawwassen, and has a beautiful new baby boy named jack. She was kind enough to let me park my car at her place and give me a lift over to the ferry, which is conveniently only a 5 minute drive from her place. She rents an entire house (which is brand new and stunning) out there for the same price as what she was paying in north Vancouver for the top floor of an older home. Pretty impressive.

I got to Vic in the afternoon. After wondering around the terminal like a lost puppy, I was directed towards the elevator to the parking lot where my friend Fawn was waiting for me. We got the bike in the car and headed over to her place. Shortly thereafter we headed to 'downtown Victoria'.

There has been one thing I have always wanted to do in Victoria and that one thing is to eat at the Rebar restaurant. I bought their cookbook a few years back and absolutly love their recipes. I was so excited I could hardly wait to get there. It was only 5:30 and it was already buzzing with people. My eyes were just wondering onto peoples tables as I scoped out their food choices. They had an entire menu front and back of smoothies and shakes...yum. I ordered the Monks Curry (something I had always wanted to make from the cookbook) and while we wated they brought us fluffy light foccacia bread which was brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with course sea salt. I had to ask for more! (what? I had a long run to do the next day).

My meal was absolutly amazing. There were thick peices of bok choy and other greens cooked to perfection with large chunks of tofu, served over brown rice. And the sauce, OH THE SAUCE!!!! For desert we had a chocolate peanut butter square. Heaven on a plate!

Yesterday we had talked about doing Rebar yesterday and Sushi today but after that meal, I asked fawn if we could go back again as there were so many things I wanted to try and I rarely come over this way. Perhaps ishould leave it as an excuse to come back, other than to visit her of course. The best part, for the 2 us, the bill came to $26!!!!! (includes 2 dinners and desert).

My friend had to work this morning, therefore I had the opportunity to head out for my Saturday long run. I decided to go run loops around Elk Beaver. There is a 100km here in 2 weeks. That's right folks 10 x 10km loops! My goal was to run at my easy run pace with my HR around 145-150 bpm. This rendered me a 50 min 10km. I managed to hold that for 4 loops. I was taking this week as a down week and although I contemplated another loop just for numbers sake (50km just sounds good) I didn't need to go there. 10 loops is a lot and 5 would have been about all I could handle in terms of sanity. The trail is nice because it runs along a lake but it's pretty hard packed. I would recommend wearing road shoes for anyone who is contemplating this event (and an Ipod, discman, walkman, whatever you got!)

The best part about the run is that I felt great after. I didn't get bloated or crampy or anything. I had a smoothie right after for recovery and didn't eat for the next couple of hours until I was hungry. I actually had an appetite and it feels soooo good!

Tomorrow Fawn and I are biking from her place over to Salt Spring Island!!! I have always wanted to go there and since she is an injured runner, a biking adventure sounds ideal. The only downfall is that I must bike with my over sized bag that I brought with me from Vancouver. The Salt Spring Island ferry and the Vancouver ferry are side by side and I'll head back home upon our return from S.S Island.

ANYONE HAVE ANY TIPS OF WHAT TO DO IN SALT SPRING??? I'll definetly have to check out the place where they serve Salt Spring island Coffee.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! See you in the trails!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The big 26!!!!

Yes, that is right, today I turned the big 26! A couple days ago a friend of mine asked me how I was going to celebrate and I replied " a little running, a little climbing, and yoga!". She replied "of course you are exercising all day for your birthday, I thought you would spend the day relaxing at the spa". Sadly, I have never even been to the spa!

Peter and I managed to get everything in but the yoga. The day was killer nice and there was no way we were going to be cooked up inside for an hour when we could be playing around in the beautiful sunshine.

After eating a nice breakfast we headed off to Squamish to run some new trails around Brohm Lake. I love running in new places and there were tons of trails in all different directions. The sun was shining and the temps were high! Afterward we headed down to the lake to cool off. We got down to our knickers and stood there staring at the lake, a little hesitant to get cold and wet. I am usually the last one in but today, I just went for it and jumped. The lake was chilly and I literally jumped in and jumped out! However, the feeling tat came over me once back on dry land was phenomenal. After you get out of the lake you initially feel cold, and your body kind of goes numb, and then all of a sudden it warms and you feel energized. I loved the feeling of how refreshed I felt that i went for a second jump!

We had lunch at the Zephyr Cafe in Squamish, which I highly recommend to everyone. It had a funky atmosphere and the food was awesome. They had tons of Vegan and Gluten Free options as well. Try the Gluten Free Brownie, to die for!

We headed back to Vancouver so Peter could get some intuition liners fr his ski boots. He's going on a 5 day ski touring trip tomorrow and needed to replace his liners bad. With that out of the way we had the rest of the day to climb!!!! We headed back to West Vancouver and parked outside Klouchman Park. I love this little spot. It's literally on the water that overs the ocean. Stunning. I wish I had my camera. Today was my first time climbing outdoors this spring. I have climbed tons in the climbing gym this year but being outdoors is so different. You have no tape showing you where the next move is going to be. It's all trial and error. I am so much stronger than last year and there is no way I could have gotten nearly as far as I did today. It's great to see progress!

After that we headed back downtown to eat some dinner at the Naam. It was packed as always but as Peter would say, it was "Good eats treats".

Alright off to bed! I am looking forward to a fun trip to Victoria this weekend to visit my good friend Fawn. Looks like the weather trend will continue for a little while longer. I am just loving the warm temps and sunshine. It makes getting out there for hours so much easier!

See you in the trails!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The experimentation begins...

I went to see the Naturopathic Doctor today, Nina Lange at Pacifica Naturopathic Clinic.
I have met and seen her speak before on nutrition and I knew she would have some insight and ideas on how to tackle my problem.

Right away after we discussed what's been going on we decided to 1) cut out dairy. However, I find things like yogurt and cheese are fine, it's mainly milk that I have trouble with. I have been drinking almond milk for the past few months and I'll just keep with it and eliminate the chocolate milk.

2) No Gluten

3) No corn anything

I am doing this for 3 weeks to see how I feel. Fortunately, I am pretty creative in the kitchen and I don't eat a lot of wheat anyways. No more salads or raw veggies for lunch. They wreak havoc on my system, especially if I have to run later in the afternoon! No problem though, I'll cook em!

She is also going to give me a few recovery drink recipes to try out using Vega. I am sure these will be more nutrient dense than the endurox or chocolate milk I have been using post run. I will also be taking probiotics and lot's more L-glutamine.

I have never been one to take vitamin supplements because I have always been told you can get all you need from food. However, as ultra runners, who demand so much of themselves, perhaps we need more than what we can take in from food???? Thoughts????

Can't wait for a beautiful day in the Squamish mountains tomorrow as this girl turns the big 26!!!!!

See you in the trails!!!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Figuring out the body...

Normally, running, for me, is one of my greatest pleasures. It's among those things (i.e- eating, eating, and more eating) that I look forward to doing everyday. Sometimes I even get to do it twice!

There is one area that I STRUGGLE with and that is- post long run recovery. It's hard to explain but I'll give it a shot. When I run longer, I take in more fuel- gels, salt pills, water. It seems as though after long runs of 3+ hours, and 4 + gels consumed, I feel like absolute crap after. However, it's not my muscles that feel beaten up, it's my tummy.

Literally, after every race and every long training run I have this internal battle with my stomach. I try and do everything right. I have a drink of some sort (endurox recovery drink or chocolate milk) always within that 30 minute window post long run and then I have a nice balanced meal within an hour or 2 after that. I have tried to forgo the recovery drink and just drink water but It feels no different. I rarely do that though because I know I need to recover, stomach issues or not. But, if I am making my stomach feel the way it is, is this formula helping me recover at all?

What happens is, my stomach gets really bloated (looks like I'm prego) and it gets super cramped up. It then becomes uncomfortable to do anything, which is sad. I am usually never hungry after these runs but I know I need to eat, so I do, and then the cycle happens. It's hard to not want to eat after burning 2500 + calories! I am scared every time I do eat because it happens time after time. I have experimented with eating different things but nothing has really been able to help. Lying down and drinking A CRAP LOAD of water seems to settle it a bit.

I am a little sick and tired of feeling like this after every long run. Has anyone else experienced this sort of thing post long run or race? I am going to see a naturopath tomorrow and I am hoping she has some insight into what I can do. Perhaps I need a new recovery drink or just need to have a GIANT smoothie which is easier to digest as my main meal after the run. I don't know. Hmmmm...

See you in the trails!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Biggest week thus far...

Monday: Off
I usually take Monday off as a rest day. I always have and it just feels right after what feels like a long week of running. Doing back to back long runs on Sat/Sun usually leaves me wanting a break by Monday to recharge for the upcoming week. But, my boyfriend Peter is a climber and I usually end up spending a few hours at the Edge climbing gym. I find this is a great activity to stretch out the muscles and challenge myself in a different way (strength- core and upper body). I have been improving weekly and I am looking forward to getting outside to climb some real rock soon!

Tuesday: 1:40
Peter and I ran in the pm this week. Tuesday is more of a hill day where we head up Grouse Mountain and down. I always push myself a lot harder when I power hiking up the Grind with Peter, as he is a much superior mountain climber than myself. We only made it to the 1/2 way sign due to snow and finished up the run along the Baden Powell train and I took the power lines back home.

Wednesday: 2:00
Peter and I woke up early and ran out to Norvan Falls and back. If the legs feel good this run doesn't seem like it climbs too much (only gradually), if I am tired, it can feel a bit more arduous. But, my legs felt great and it turned out to be a beautiful run up the river.

Thursday: 3:00
I had the whole day off and I managed to get in a longer run this day. It was beautiful out and I took advantage. However, it had clearly rained A LOT the night before because the trails were like rivers. But, I don't mind wet feet!!!! Again, my legs felt awesome, for some reason I remember feeling surprised by this. I finished the run off by soaking in the canyon for 10 minutes. The water was ice cold but the sun was beaming on my face so I managed to stay warm. I walked 5 minutes to the corner store for a chocolate milk and during this time I got really cold. So cold that I literally sprinted the 5 minutes back home. My legs were still frozen from the ice bath!!!!!! It was a weird sensation.

Friday: am-1 hour bike, pm-90 min snowshoe adventure
I normally like to cross train this day just to give my legs a bit of a break before a big weekend of running. I felt so good though that I could have ran but I decided to go for an hour bike ride in the woods instead. That night Peter and I joined a group up Cypress and snowshoed up to Hollyburn Mountain. I forgot how steep this trip and it ended up being more of a workout than I was anticipating. The view from the top was worth every step!

Saturday: 4:45
Peter and I woke up early and ran to meet the Mountain Madness Trail Clinic, who were meeting at the picnic area on Mt. Seymour. The run there was 1:30 and we finished into deep cove at 3 hours. I had done some self talk to myself as we descended the final steps to the end of the Baden Powell trail. My legs were feeling a bit tired and I was going to call it a day here with the rest of the clinic members. I felt a bit guilty about stopping early as the plan was to run 4 hours. I thought perhaps I could just do an out and back to Quarry rock which would have gotten me close to the 4 hour mark. However, as I was coming down, I saw Peter coming back up!!! I said "are we going to go back to Quarry rock and back?" and he said "nope, were running back home". I stood there for a moment contemplating that decision. I had mentally checked myself out of the option to run back home. But, I remembered the Motive for why I am training, to run a 100miles. I think it's good to run when your tired because I sure as hell am going to be during WS100!!!! So we did and it felt great.

Sunday: 3:00
This run was simple and fun. Peter and I joined the North Shore Athletics marathon clinic and ran 23 miles (their longest run). I love running with these guys as I get to see so many familiar faces. Remember, I trained for my first ever marathon in 2005 with them. That move changed my life and has shaped a lot of who I am today. I also get to date their cute manager!!! My legs were definitely tired but overall I kept a consistent pace and was very happy with how I feel rounding out the week. I ran the entire way with Pete, which was awesome because he had never ran longer than 10km on the road!!!!

This week was the biggest in terms of hours spent training. After being injured for many weeks last year, I am always thankful when my body allows me to do what I love to do: RUN! I am turning the big 26 on Wednesday and I am looking forward to a nice big run that day!!!!! I am planning on going over to Victoria to visit my good friend Fawn. If my memory served me correctly, I haven't been back there since I did the marathon in 2005! I just want to give a congrats to Gary Robbins and Chris "G.T" Downie who came 1/2 at Diez Vista 50km this weekend and to my buddy Adam Way for lowering his previous PB!

I hope everyone had a great weekend of running in the sunshine,

See you in the trails!!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dance like no one is watching..

I'll start this blog off with a familiar quote:

"Dance like no one is watching, love like you'll never be hurt,sing like no one is listening,and live like it's heaven on earth."- William Purkey

Picture this: a girl, sitting in the canyon, ice bathing, doing a complete dance rendition of the YMCA that's blasting on her shuffle. That was me today! A glorious day it was.. I was utterly and completely dancing like no one was watching.

I read a few blogs this week where the writer talked about bonking. One totally and utterly bonked, and the other one saved herself with some random fuel she forgot about.

Fueling on the run is an interesting topic. I find it is one of the most important aspects of ultra running that can make or break your race. Yet, I hear stories of experienced runners who still make rookie errors. A lady I coach went for a 21 mile training run and had a horrible experience. She blamed it all on her poor nutrition and alcohol consumption from the night before. A couple days later I asked her what she ate on that run and she said "3 sport beans". WHAT!!!!? 3 sport beans!!!!???? I am sure if she had fueled correctly, she would've been fine (alcohol and all)!

As one becomes more experienced they learn what they need in terms of fuel. I have done enough races to know how much I need on an intense effort and how much I need during a training run. For myself, I know exactly what a bonk feels like, when one is coming on, and how to recover from it. I have been there and done that before...and it sucks!

I went for a 3 hour run today and my stomach was just jostling all over the place. I felt like I was fueling accordingly but I think I was just hungrier than normal. Lot's of things can play on how much fuel I need on the run..
- If I had breakfast and how much...big breakfast = less food on the run.
- Time of day. I find I am more hungry on a morning run than an afternoon or night.
- Fueling the day before. Sometimes if I have a big dinner, I am less hungry on a morning run for example.
- Intensity- If I am working harder I need more calories over a long period of time.

Somewhere along the way people headed into this "train your body not to need a lot of calories". Now, I am not saying I don't think this can work for some, but I can guarantee it won't work for all. Also, somedays you can get away with not a lot of fuel and somedays you cant. I am also not sure of the long term effects of depriving your body what it needs (change metabolism?).

My theory: When I go out on a long run, I pack what I think I will need plus a bit more. Sometimes I use less, and sometimes I need it all. Again, it all depends on the day. There is no reason to bonk. Today, I headed for a bonk and reached into my camelbak for my last gel (which was an extra) and it took me out of the depths of wooziness and allowed me to run strong for another 30 minutes. Today, I almost did a little experiment. I was going to ride with the bonk and she if I could make it the rest of the way in that state. But, then I realized I would be much better off, downing the last gel, and finishing the run strong. That was a much smarter decision and I even added on extra time because I felt so good.

Think about that the next time you are close to the end of a run and you are tired and feel like crap because you are underfueled. Even if you are 20 or 30 minutes from the end point, if you have fuel, take it! I am sure you will finish a lot stronger than if you didn't.

My last point- I think sometimes we are afraid to take in extra 'calories'. I know I have been in this state of mine before. You go for a couple hour run or longer and the thought of taking in 500 calories in fuel seems like A LOT. Listen up, you probably burned over 2000 calories and I am sure your body will appreciate the extra fuel to keep the legs working optimally.

Anywho, that is just my two cents. Tomorrow is Friday and I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend of running!!!!!

See you in the trails.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I used to work at a gym that really focused on what they liked to call "Prehab". Meaning, work on things to prevent injuries so you never really have to get to the rehab stage.

A few months back when I was dealing with my ITB injury, I sought help from Jennifer Keefer at Village Physio. Jen is a friend of mine and it just so happens that she is a really great athlete (runner, biker). Her knowledge amazes me and after 1 or 2 treatments with Jen, I was all better! The ITB hasn't been an issue since. A week or so ago I was complaining about a slight hamstring issue that never really resulted in anything long term. During that time however I made an appointment to go see Jen. Even though my hamstring issue was gone by the time I saw her today, I knew she would have a lot of good insight into where I am at currently with my body. I wanted her to assess me to determine possible muscle imbalances, tightness, and weakness. I am now starting to really ramp up my time spent running. I want to make sure I am going into these next 3 months healthy and free of anything that could lead to chronic injury.

I always learn so much about my body when I go to Jen. Today I learned that my whole body is kind of rotated to the left. Obviously, that is not something you can see but it is something that needs to be dealt with. My right glute is still weak/tight. The right side of my back is very tight and I don't rotate as well to the right as I do to the left. I also have anterior rotated shoulders (as do most runners) with my right one being more significantly rotated than my left. To top it all off, My ribs were quite compressed!!!! We finished off the session with some IMS (intra muscular stimulation) which is sort of like acupuncture but different. I have found it to be highly effective at getting tight muscles to relax.

If you are fortunate enough to have extended benefits, and physio is covered or a portion of it is covered, I wouldn't wait until an injury occurs to go get an assessment. If you know the right physio, they may just help prevent an injury from occurring by correcting simple biomechanical imbalances.

For anyone who is interested:

Jen Keefer Profile:

Jen is a graduate of the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy (2000) and a Bachelor of Human Kinetics (1999). In 2004 she furthered her skills by becoming a Resident of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Therapist and completing her training as a certified practitioner of Intramuscular Stimulation using the Gunn Needling Technique.
Jen is passionate about sport, a passion that has taken her to the pro-elite level of competition in mountain biking and running, while still having fun recreationally by snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and playing soccer

See you in the trails!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter run and family fun!

(My soaking spot (i.e- ice bath) post run)

Sunday morning was beautiful. After a few nasty days of running, the clouds momentarily vanished and the sun poked it's little head out to say hello. I went to to watch and cheer on my aunt, uncle and cousin Caitlin as they completed their first trail race ever.

The race was appropriately named "My First Trail Race" and is put on by the local running store (my second home) North Shore Athletics. My cousin Caitlin started working at NSA a few months ago and after a big of convincing from the staff, she signed up. My uncle who has recently started "exercising" decided to come give it a try. My aunt is a power house and has spent most of her life hiking the BCMC. Therefore, I had no doubt in my mind she would rock it. They all looked so happy at the finish line. I think my uncle pushed himself to another level he never thought he had. My aunt was 1st in her age group and my cousin Caitlin won the woman's 5km race!!!

After some lunch I headed out for a 3 hour run of my own. This was a true test of 'running on tired legs'. I actually felt really good and took it pretty easy. I had been experiencing some hamstring tightness from my 45km run the day before but it had eased up overnight and all was in working order. I came home, grabbed Pete, and he accompanied me to Lynn Headwaters for a soak in the snow fed canyon. The water was scorchingly cold due to the recent snow fall.

That night Peter and I took a stroll on over to my aunt and uncles place for Easter Dinner. They were cooking up a monstrous prime Rib roast that was made to feed 25-30 people. However, if you have ever seen my family, you would understand why the roast that's meant to feed 25-30, is cut down to about 15-17. We are in no way a 'round' family. We are dutch, we are tall, and we come hungry! It was a great way to end the day. Thank you so much to the Leahy family for hosting us last night! My hat goes off to you!

Enjoy another great week of running in the trails!!!! Good luck to those running Diez Vista this upcoming weekend.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Long run...

Today, I went on a solo long run adventure. I didn't really know how long I would be out for. I drove to Grouse Mountain, with the intention of meeting the trail clinic but I missed them by a couple of minutes. They were only running 12km today and in the long run, I knew I wouldn't be with them for long. I began running east along the Baden Powell trail and it started snowing within minutes of my departure. I'd take snow over rain any day because it is just so light and fluffy.

The main goal of the day was to get lots of elevation change to the run. I really wanted to pound out the quads and get in some good power hiking, mixed in with some running. I had 5 hours before I had to be at an appointment to check out a basement suite for Pete and I, so I didn't feel like I had any time constraints. I ran all the way to the St. Georges bench and then headed up the St. Georges trail. This is quick and easy way to get up to the 6th switch back of Mountain Highway, the gateway to some awesome logging road descending. There were minimal amounts of snow on the 6th switchback and it faded shortly thereafter. The snow didn't seem to be stopping the dozens of bikers I saw slogging up the switchbacks. My legs felt heavy, sore, and tired getting up to this point. I thought I would feel more than amazing today considering I cross trained lightly yesterday with 20 minutes of stair climbing (easy) and 20 minutes of swimming and water running. I also climbed for an hour in the evening (more of an upper body pump though). As I descended down Mt. Hwy I started to feel light headed. Because I find it tough to take in fuel on the down hills (I get a jostly belly), I waited until I was on the flats to take a gel.

At this point I decided to go do the long lynn loop (sorry for those who aren't from North Vancouver). Holy mud city batman. Seriously, the whole thing was a mud pit. This proved to be quite the recovery my legs needed however and I finally felt like I was starting to warm up. I was slow traveling through the upper section but once I passes the debris shoot I was flying. I started my way back onto Baden Powell and back over to Grouse. I knew I had a little window of time and once I got back to the St. Georges bench, I did one more repeat up the trail and down Mt. Hwy. Running back to grouse felt easy and my legs felt great. I finished the run in a time of 4 hours 45 minutes. I think that is probably the longest I have done this year. It felt so good to just run my own run, at my own pace, and just adventure around in my backyard. I can't wait to do it all over again tomorrow!!!! Western States is only 3 months away (including a taper) and I know I need start upping the mileage up.

Peter and I have booked our flights to Vegas to do the Rim2Rim2Rim in the middle of May. Anyone have any tips who has made this trip before??? Amount of water to carry? etc etc.

I was in the sauna yesterday and there were 2 teenage girls fully clothed sitting in there as well. I asked them if they were heat training and one girl responded "sort of, I am trying to drop weight for wrestling". I can hardly handle the sauna wearing just a bathing suit!

I wish everyone a Happy Easter and enjoy the rest of the weekend!

See you in the trails!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hail Storms

I'm currently sitting at my kitchen table, typing away at my blog, all the while sipping on some chocolate flavored endurox (recovery drink) loaded with L-Glutamine.

Today's run was great and so was yesterdays. This week so far I have ran through two hail storms, where the sky goes from nothing, to intense hail. I always find myself smiling and giggling out loud like a little school girl whenever this happens. The greatest part is, the hail storm only ever lasts 5 minutes and then sky magically opens up and clears.

Today was fun. I had a nice route planned out in my head. My legs were feeling a bit tired from yesterdays run and I ended up also having a little G.I distress around the 40 minute mark. After an emergency pit stop in the trail, I ran to the turnaround portion of my out and back run. I had a chocolate mint GU stashed in my hand held water (I just typo'd H2O as "wotter" haha) bottle and I used that to replace what I had just lost. Yes, even on 90 minute runs I sometimes have to take a gel. This gel made me feel soooo much better and my legs felt re-energized. The rest of the run consisted of me powering up the hills and recovering on the down and flats. Usually my runs end up being in reverse...slow up the hill...pick it up on the stuff I'm good at (flats & descents). But, considering that hills are my weakness it makes way more sense for me to push on the hills...when I feel good!

I was just reading in a running magazine that for ultra distances, things like hill repeats are not an essential part of training. Rather, your better off going for a run and working the hills during the run, as I did today. I like this much better!

I am glad to say that I have no more hamstring discomfort when I run. The rest I gave it last week seemed to help! Peter and I went swimming for the first time in years (in a pool that is). It was super fun and I loved stretching in the hot tun and the sauna. I think the sauna is going to become a regular part of our weeks training schedule leading up to Western States. I could hardly handle 3 minutes!

Alright, time to go shower, I'm still all muddy!!!!

Are there any locals running long this weekend??? I am looking for a running buddy this Saturday & Sunday!!!

See you in the trails.