Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I must warn you, this is not a typical running post, but more of an introduction to something fun I have been doing every Christmas season (yes, were already getting into Christmas time) for the past 3 years.

My boyfriend Peter has 2 older sisters, Kathleen and Angela. Both of them are awesome. Angela, this middle child, is not only an amazing elementary school teacher, but she is also an award winning scrapbooker. Right in her own home, she hosts dozens of card making classes per year but the one I go to is called 'stamp a stack'. For $15-20 bucks, I get to make 5 copies of 3 different cards that she has hand created, all Christmas theme. In the end, I leave with 15 handmade cards of which I am so proud of.

For me, this is a pretty tedious task and it takes a lot of concentration. I have never actually been diagnosed with ADD but I am pretty sure deep down, I must have a mild form ha! I am always the last to leave and I am not sure how because I am working as fast as I can. The class goes from 7pm-10pm and the time simply flies by!

You can check out her blog HERE
which I highly recommend!!! The cards she produces are just unreal. I have always hand made my own birthday and christmas cards, ever since I was a little girl, and it's fun to keep that tradition going with a more professional look (not that printer paper and pencil crayons is unprofessional!).

On a running note, I have taken the last 4 days off since the 50 miler. My left hamstring is a bit tight and was so during the race. I am running with a client tomorrow so that will be a good test.

See you in the trails!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Whistler 50 mile Race Report!

haha, I sit here and laugh because it has been forever since I have done a race longer than 50km. In fact, Western States 100 in June of 2010 was my last long race. This year has been a bit interesting as far as my running is concerned and I have had to DNF, due to ankle injuries, more than I would like. It's felt as though I had DNF'd more races this year than completed so I was more than excited crossing the finish line at the Whistler 50 miler this past Saturday!

The decision to race was very last minute (weekend before). I tapered for a week and felt pretty well rested overall. I knew going into it that it would challenge me mentally due to the course being 4 x 20km loops but also challenge me physically because it's a relatively flat course, with the majority on pavement. I like to run. I like to get into a flow. Flatter courses let me do that!

I woke up at 3:45, got ready, ate breaky, and left my hotel at 5:40am for the 6am start. My hotel was literally a 2 minute walk to the conference center where the race debriefing was. However, I had a mini panic attack because I was a bit lost. I was told to take 2 rights from outside the hotel lobby doors, but that found me at the Hilton, not the conference center. With a little surge of adrenaline, I ran into some guys who were working the race and they steered me in the right direction. Within minutes we were lined up outside and away we went!

It was pitch black and we ran the entire first loop in the dark. I was roughly 7 minutes behind Jen Segger after the first loop. She set out at an obviously faster pace at which I was not willing to match. Having not run an ultra in quite some time, I was more focused on starting out comfortable, as my main goal was to FINISH this one! However, I was willing to let the competetive spark come alive if that's what it felt like doing. I only had a couple little navigation hiccups in that first loop but overall it was pretty well marked with glowsticks and cones. My only complaint is that the aid stations were not set up with food yet. I actually did not have any food on me as I had planned to feed off the aid stations and after 90 minutes of no food, I started to get worried...and hungry! The temperature was below zero and I didn't find myself feeling all that thirsty and drank way less water than normal.

The second loop was awesome because it was now light out and it was as though I was running a whole new loop! The frost on the ground was stunning and the snow on the mountains took my breath away. Snow covered a few trails in lost lake portion but it was not slick and the footing was great. There were so many volunteers who stood out in the cold for hours and I tried to thank each and every one. The relay teams started at 8am and at this point there were tons of them waiting at the exchange stations. They always cheered us solo ultra runners on everytime we came past and I have to admit, it was pretty cool!

The 3rd loop: THE TRAIN! A few miles into the 3rd loop, I noticed Jen and a few others waiting with a volunteer Marshal. My first thought was, did she drop out (not something Jen is known for)? But then I quickly noticed the train that had come to a complete stop, blocking our running path. She had already been there for 10 minutes and was starting to get really cold. I offered her some of my water as she said she was getting thirsty. A bunch of people caught up at this point. I took this opportunity to stretch out and tried to keep moving. After 12 minutes of waiting there, they finally got the train going. Jen had been there a total of 22 minutes! On a cold day, stopping for that long is not ideal.

I managed to keep warm that entire time and quickly passed Jen shortly after crossing the tracks. I wasn't really into racing today and tried to maintain a steady comfortably fast pace, however, I think I was running the fastest I had been all day and I am sure it was just a rush from now being up front. I can't say I enjoyed being up front all that much. When I was behind, I was so content just doing my thing and listening to my tunes. Now, all I could focus on was Jen and where she was and if she'd catch me. My IT-Band started to flare up, something I had been worried about coming into this race but after I stopped for a minute to stretch it, it seemed to be fine. Muscle discomfort came and went on this lap. At one point my ankle was tight but then my left hamstring got tight and I forgot all about my ankle. This pattern changed around all day. It's interesting how this happens. All I kept thinking to myself was, 'Ellie Greenwood gets tight hamstrings and quads in races, but she still rocks on, you can get through this'.

Loop 4 was by far the most challenging. I just could not maintain the speed I had for the first 3 loops and everything just got tight. My stomach turned off and I couldn't eat gels like I had been in the beginning. Everything else I had been consuming (Cliff shot blocks) were too hard to eat because it was so cold out. I turned to coke and just survived on that for the last 10-15km. My calves started to cramp up pretty bad as well, bringing me to a screeching hault on many occasions. Thank goodness I had packed salt pills in my drop bag as they saved my butt a few times in that last loop. I know part of my problem was that I didn't take in many electrolytes in the first 4 hours. I was filling my water bottle up with water that had Elete (liquid sodium) in it but due to my lack of taking in fluids, I wasn't getting that much.

I managed to keep it together, plugging away the miles, even though I felt like I was moving at a snails pace. It took energy to smile, whereas before it was just written all over my face. In the end, I crossed the line in a time of 6:48 (actual time is 6:36 because of the 12 min at the train). Although I was the first female to cross the line, Jen won the event because she was waiting at the train for 10 extra minutes than myself. I had only made up about 4 minutes on her in those last 1.5 loops. I have to laugh though because I went up to her after she crossed the line stating how sorry I was that she was stopped for so long at the train. I told her she probably would have won if it weren't for that. I was so clueless!!! Of course they would deduct the time spent waiting...why didn't I think of that? The whole time I was running I thought I was winning. makes me laugh.

In the end, winning was not the prize I was searching for that day, so I was still overjoyed with my accomplishment. I am happy I entered. I am happy I finished. I am happy I pushed myself to a 2nd place finish. My aunt and uncle even came out to see me (thanks guys). Thank goodness for them because they helped me hobble back to my hotel room!

I just want to thank the RD and everyone else who helped make this event a success. The after party was awesome and I somehow managed to dance the night away in my less than functional state.

Next up: Deception pass 25 or 50km...TBD.

See you in the trails...which will hopefully be covered in a beautiful pillowy smooth layer of snow soon!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A few months ago, I was lingering on signing up for the Whistler 50 miler, taking place in Whistler this coming Saturday. After 4 hours of running a few weeks back, I was reduced to a walk due to some ITB tightness. This left me a little uncertain to whether or not I would be able to run 50 miles shortly thereafter. So, I ran the next week and the next week with no sign of any ITb discomfort and decided to sign up for the race very last minute. Package pick-up was hapenning at the Running Room on Denman last weekend, so naturally, I put on my runners and ran my butt over the Lions Gate Bridge to the store. I stuffed the hoodie and the rest of the goods in my backpack and ran back home. What a great way to get a workout in!

(The current weather conditions in Whistler as of Wednesday afternoon!)

So it's official, I am racing the Whistler 50 mile race this weekend. The weather looks to be pretty good on Saturday, even though it snowed there today! I am prepping my Shaby Chic look (thanks Kristen for the ispiration) and am excited for race day. The Whistler 50 is the new version of the classic Haney to Harison event. Instead of the 100km distance that it used to be, they downsized the race to 80km. Also, it is no longer a point to point but rather 4 loops of 20km. There is little elevation gain and loss and the majority of it is on paved road...should be fun! haha

Due to my ankle injury this past June/July, I have been doing a bunch of flat trail and road running so I am definetly up to the mundane task of 20km repeats! All in all, it should be a fun day no matter what the weather or terrain because this day is all about running, having fun, and hanging out with good people.

See you out there!