Category Archives: Uncategorized

GDT – Prelude

I had hoped to write a more well thought out, insightful blog post leading into the GDT, but life has been intense and I haven’t had the energy.

The combination of surgery, reopening/managing a gym during a pandemic and training/planning for the GDT has pushed me to max capacity.  Most of these stresses could be viewed as positive learning experiences, but experiencing them all at once is more than a bit hectic.

I am beyond grateful for my friend and family support; I know that no matter how badly I mess up the planning for the GDT they will have my back.  My support network has stepped up in an incredible way – offering to crew, house sit, lend equipment, and act as emergency back-up.  Nicola and Alicia have also been great, as I know I’m not always the nicest person when I’m stressed out.  It’s amazing to me that we’ve made it to this stage in our journey without having a major blowout.  I realize this comment may sound a bit negative, but I maintain my sunny world view by managing expectations.  If I expect the worst, I am constantly experiencing happy surprises when things aren’t so bad!

My head space going into this journey is a bit mixed.  Last weekend a friend of mine was killed in a ski accident.  I’ve met few people who ski with as much stoke as he did, and I have no doubt that when he started down that couloir descent he had his tunes playing and a huge grin on his face.  I was looking forward to getting out for more ski adventures together next winter.  The mountains are a land of contrast; they give so much joy, but they also balance that joy with tragedy.  My heart breaks for the friends who were with him that day and witnessed the accident.  I wish there were something I could do to provide comfort, but I know that time is the best healer. No words or actions can take away that pain.

With this incident fresh in my mind, I am going into the most challenging mountain adventure of my life. While I don’t anticipate that the trail itself will be particularly dangerous, I am concerned about weather and river crossings.  Recently we have had hail and thunder of epic proportions, and it’s terrifying to think we may be stranded outdoors with minimal shelter while golf ball sized hail is being hurled from the sky.  I have similar reservations about being swept downstream in a river swollen from storms and lingering snow melt.  While I am committed to finishing this trek, I know that sometimes these things are beyond our control.  I aim to embrace the process, and relinquish control of the outcome.  While I’m out there I will relish every moment. I will thank Mother Nature for allowing me to experience her fully, in all of her awesome and terrible beauty.  I will remember my friend, and celebrate life, and practice gratitude for this wonderful opportunity.

 


Some pics from ski adventures with Nav.  Radio Nav lives on.  Rest in peace my friend.

Goodbye Timf

I owe you a Timf update and a GDT update.  That’s too much for one post, so here’s the Timf update.  I’ll keep you waiting on the GDT…


3.5 weeks ago I went in for sinus surgery to remove Timf.  In addition to removing the cyst, the surgeon took out all 4 of my wisdom teeth.  I woke up from the anesthesia groggy and confused, with a mouth full of gauze and stitches.  The sinus incision was quite long, extending from my first bicuspid all the way up to the back of my cheek beneath my cheek bone.  I was mentally prepared to be in a world of hurt after the procedure and the nurse sent me home with an ice pack, Tylenol 3s, ibuprofen and instructions to sleep as much as possible.  Because the sinus incision was so large she told me I was on extended sinus precautions.  Basically, I was not allowed to do anything which would cause a large increase in blood pressure, and I also had to avoid blowing my nose, stifling sneezes or drinking from a straw.  The nose blowing/sneezing/straw restrictions would last for 3 weeks. I had minimal restrictions related to the wisdom teeth – I should start with a soft food diet, but I could add in solid food as pain permitted.

 

Matt drove us home after the surgery and he did a fantastic job of taking care of me while the freezing slowly came out of my face.  I was a bloody, drooling mess, and when I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror I couldn’t stop laughing.  It was like a scene from a horror movie.

 

For whatever reason, my recovery was extremely fast and easy.  The pain was always manageable and I was able to wean off the meds in a few days, (this was good because I wanted to save some of those T3s for the GDT).  I was eating solid food almost immediately and found I had a ravenous hunger.  I was very diligent with the ice pack for the first day, having been told from multiple sources that ice packs are a key component to a comfortable recovery.  My swelling was minimal.

 

I’ve only been on antibiotics once before this, and I didn’t handle them well. Knowing this, I made sure to drink tons of kefir, eat yogurt and take probiotics.  This seemed to work, as my GI distress has been minimal compared to my last experience.

 

I only have had two significant complaints during the recovery process.  The first is that there is an open hole (slowly shrinking) from my mouth to sinus.  This hole makes drinking awkward as it feels like the water is sloshing around inside my face.  I also don’t taste very well on that side of my mouth.  I can feel air flow moving between my mouth and sinus, and while it doesn’t hurt I find it a bit uncomfortable.  I also recently discovered that I have very poor sense of smell.  Apparently Moxie was farting up a storm and I couldn’t smell a thing.  Maybe this is a good thing?  During my 2 week follow up appointment I got the surgeon to look at this hole, there is still a 3mm gap.  The rest of my healing is excellent but I’m a bit concerned the hole won’t fully close on its own.

 

My second complaint was the stitches for the sinus incision.  The surgeon used a thicker thread for these stitches so that they wouldn’t dissolve as quickly as standard wisdom tooth stitches.  The ends of the thread constantly were stabbing into the side of my cheek, until the inside of my cheek resembled mashed potatoes.  Thankfully, he removed most of those stitches at my follow up appointment, and as I’m writing this I only have a couple of stitches left remaining in my mouth.

 

The Timf saga is not entirely over, as I still have a couple of potentially infected teeth in my mouth and a lot of bone loss, but for now I’m feeling very good and breathing much better.  I’ll decide what to do with Timf’s aftermath once I’m done the GDT.

 

I’m feeling incredibly grateful for all of the support I’ve received, and that my body appears to have handled this entire saga like a champ!

#beatSinister – 50 Miles on the Red Deer River

I’m not going to sugar-coat it, this pandemic has left me feeling a bit lost. As a fitness centre manager, my life has been profoundly affected by physical distancing measures.  My fitness facility is closed and all my staff and instructors are on temporary lay-off.  Normally my day to day life is filled with personal conversations with members about their lives; their goals, dreams, struggles and failures.  I love this interaction and gain a lot of fulfillment from it. Skype and Zoom meetings are not filling that void.

 

Outside of work I cherish my solo time, running trails through the mountains and exploring new places almost daily.  This moving meditation fills my soul and keeps my emotions balanced.  When they closed the provincial and national parks I almost couldn’t handle it. I’m not exaggerating when I say I was preparing to wig out and extricate myself from society entirely.  Being told to stay in the city, surrounded by 1.3 million of my closest friends, but not actually allowed to interact with any of them was not okay.  I’m sure many of you can relate.

 

Thankfully, the government has reopened the parks and I am slowly easing back from the edge. Try as I might I still don’t love my work situation, but at least now I have my trails back.

 

Earlier in the year I registered for the Sinister 7 100 mile race, however that race (like nearly all races) has been cancelled. The only other endurance event I have planned for this year is an 1100km FKT (Fastest Known Time) attempt on the Great Divide Trail.  Thankfully, this project meets all of the physical distancing guidelines and I am optimistic that it will go ahead as planned.  In preparation for 2.5 weeks of 60km+ days on rugged trails I’ve been doing a lot of walking.  Running has been fairly low on my priority list, since I’m fairly certain our legs will be toast by day 3 regardless of how much running I do in training J I’ve been enjoying getting out for longer days, even if they’re not necessarily faster days.

 

In lieu of Sinister 7, Sinister Sports is putting on a series of virtual ultra events.  The first virtual ultra event was called Beat Sinister. The race organizers recruited “Agents” to run pre-specified distances, and race participants would try their best to beat those agents. Most of the agents are highly ranked ultrarunners or well-known figures in the trail community. As a past winner of Sinister 7, I was invited to act as one of the Agents.  It sounded like a fun event and a good way to get some extra training in for the GDT, so I accepted the challenge. On May 23rd I would run 50 miles on trail, and try to put down a time that people would find challenging to beat.

 

I came up with a relatively flat, snow-free, out and back course in the Ya Ha Tinda, then I recruited my friend Philippe to join me on the adventure.  Ya Ha Tinda is a 2.5hr drive from Calgary so I opted to drive out there the night before and camp.  Philippe was going to join me in the morning for an 8am start. There is no cell reception in the area so if Philippe wasn’t there by 8am, it meant something had come up and he wasn’t going to make it. I waited at the gates until 8am, but Philippe didn’t show up. I plugged in my tunes and set off for a solo adventure.  It was a bit of a bummer not to have company, but I enjoy solo running so I wasn’t too worked up about it.

 

A few kilometres into the run I realized I’d taken the wrong fork at a junction so I turned around to retrace my steps.  Running up the hill behind me was Philippe!  I must have just missed him in the parking lot. We regrouped and set off down the trail together.  The route was muddy and we spent a lot of time dodging puddles, but overall the pace was steady and we enjoyed easy conversation.  My personal best time for a trail 50 mile is 7:56 and I briefly wondered if we could come close to that time.  However, the combo of puddle dodging, occasional deadfall hopping and heavy packs soon made it clear that a sub-8hr goal would not be realistic.  I set an adjusted goal of 9-9:30 in my head.

 

The trail was covered with an interesting combination of animal scat: bison, horse, deer, elk, cougar and bear. I had fun pretending I was some sort of animal tracker and wondered if I should post some scat trivia on my Instagram. Just after the 30km mark we came to a drainage and got a little turned around.  I saw a blaze on a tree on the other side of the creek, however I didn’t see an obvious trail. We wandered up and down along the bank for a bit before braving the cold water crossing.  The blaze marked a lovely forest trail and soon we were cruising over roots and rocks on spongy forest floor.  This is some of my favourite kind of trail and it gave me a big energy boost. There were also bear tracks on the spongy trails, which definitely helped our level of alertness. At 40km we came to our turn around point – the Natural Bridge.  This is a super cool area where the Red Deer River narrows to a slot canyon and we took a quick moment to enjoy the views before heading back the way we came.  Elapsed time was 4:39.

 

At this point my legs were feeling a bit more sprightly than Philippe’s so I ran ahead.  I also had to filter some water (I had carried 2L, whereas he had 3L) and I didn’t want him to have to wait for me. There were fresh bear tracks on the return trail, but we never saw the actual bear.  Philippe passed me by while I was filtering water and continued to walk up the trail. I caught up to him slogging through a particularly dense patch of deadfall.  He seemed to be slowing down and I was mentally preparing myself for a slower trudge back to the finish line.

 

I can’t remember precisely when it happened, but suddenly Philippe started running at a pretty good clip.  I made a comment on the pace, he looked down at his watch, and then he just kept getting faster!  I knew the pace wasn’t sustainable, but I was also feeling competitive and there was no way I was going to let him drop me.  We continued at this breakneck pace for the next 10km, only slowing down when we hit a hill or the trail was washed out.  Now we only had 20km to go and I wondered how long this second wind was going to last!

It turns out that when Philippe hiked ahead while I was filtering water he had eaten a bunch of food.  Stumbling through the deadfall had given him time to digest, and then when we were back on smooth trail he was ready to go!  Sadly, the second wind didn’t last forever and the final 16km back to the vehicles was a bit of a sufferfest.  We both ran out of all our food and water.  I debated filtering more water, but decided it wasn’t worth the effort.  I watched the time closely, determined to finish in under 10hrs.   I stayed back with Philippe, hoping that we could both make it under this arbitrary number, but with a mile to go it became clear that I had to run ahead.  I squeaked in at 9:59, Philippe finishing shortly after.  Ironically, with his late start he also finished 50 miles in 9:59 J

 

This was a super fun event and race format.  I still don’t know if I was a successful Agent, or if some of the participants beat me, but I was happy with how my legs held up and I think we did a pretty good job of putting a challenging time out there.

 

Fuel:

3.5 litres water

12 Oreos

3 Mars Bars

A handful of gummy worms

A handful of sour JuJubes

(Next time I think I will bring some salt. Potato chips tasted amazing on the drive home)

Sorry to Keep You Waiting

For those of you who don’t follow my Instagram, sorry for keeping you waiting.

 

The biopsy results were the best possible.  I have an apical cyst, which means surgery will not be nearly as extensive as I thought it would be.  I still have a large cyst which needs to be removed, but it is completely benign and I should be able to have it removed with just a day surgery.  Dr Matthews is no longer my specialist, and I’ve been referred to an oral surgeon whose name I can’t remember.

 

Besides the overwhelmingly good news that I am not going to have “extensive surgery with a long recovery”, I still have a lot of questions and I found my biopsy follow up appointment to be quite frustrating.  I don’t yet have an appointment with my new specialist.  The specialist will call me at some point but Dr Matthews was unable to give me a timeframe. I also don’t know what this new surgery will look like, or what the recovery will be. I have no surgery date and no one to contact to ask these questions.

 

Of course I tried to ask Google what to expect, but Google was not helpful.  Most of the studies I could find dealt with patients whose cysts were in the 4-8mm range, Timf is 23mm.  Also, my teeth are still alive and it seems like in all the case studies I looked at the subjects had dead teeth.  It’s likely for the best that Google is not an apical cyst expert, this way I can’t waste my energy thinking out the various scenarios.

 

Dr Matthews cautioned me against getting too excited about my summer adventures.  I have decided to ignore this advice.  I registered for Sinister 7 and I’m making plans to run the Great Divide Trail with some friends.  After 3 months of being in limbo I am still somewhat in limbo … but I’m ready to move on.  If I find out that I can’t participate in these adventures I will deal with that hurdle when it comes.

 

I have hardly been doing any running these last several weeks.  I haven’t been a total slug, but I’ve been enjoying skiing, bouldering and weight-lifting instead.  If I’m going to run 1100kms this summer it’s time to pick up my socks and start building my run volume back up. I’m looking forward to adding some structure back into my life.

 

I am so grateful that Timf is as mild as a large sinus growth can be, and that this will soon be a chapter of my past life.  I hope to embrace this learning experience; to remember the support I’ve received from my community and to run every day with joy.

 

Happy Trails!

 

It Takes a Village

First, a description of biopsy day:

My mom and I waited patiently in the minor surgery area of the McCaig Tower at Foothills hospital.  I was just starting to come down with a cold and my mom had had her cold for a few days already.  We are the picture of health as we sit on the waiting room chairs sharing a box of Kleenex. The lady who has just been in before me looks like she’s in pain and I wonder what exactly I’m about to experience …

The procedure room is brightly lit and has a lot more medical equipment in it than I was expecting.  Don’t ask me what I was expecting, I really don’t think I had a clue.

Dr Matthews and another doctor come in.  Dr Matthews explains the procedure to me: first he’s going to freeze me up ‘really good’ and then he was going to use a cauterizing tool to make the incision.  The incision would be made in the roof of my mouth, near the base of my molars.  This is where the CT scan showed the bone was thinnest and the growth appeared to be most aggressive. After the incision Dr Matthews would go in with a tool and punch through the bone to access Timf.  He assured me I wouldn’t feel pain with the punch tool, just pressure.

True to his word, Dr Matthews did a very good job with the local anesthetic and I didn’t feel a thing.  That being said, seeing the smoke rise from the cauterizing tool as he literally burnt away my flesh was super unnerving. I’ve never been more motivated to keep my head still.  It took him a couple of tries to punch through with the tool, but there was very little pain.  And then the procedure was done!

I was so amped up when they told I could sit up, I felt like I was going to faint. The doctors and nurse hung out with me for awhile while I slowly calmed down.  The nurse brought me some juice and I asked to see the little piece of Timf.  It was unremarkable.  I have had a previous cyst near the side of my knee. When they drained that cyst the fluid was thick, viscous and yellow.  Timf looked more like a flake of red fish food, floating in a clear storage solution.

Throughout the procedure I tried to get a feel for what I could expect my recovery from my actual surgery to be.  Dr Matthews was very non-committal and referenced potentially “extensive surgery” on more than one occasion.  I am trying hard not to read too much into this, but it is so hard to think that my entire summer might be spent in recovery.

The freezing wore off very quickly, and my mom drove me straight home so I could get some Advil and Tylenol.  If I ever have to go through this type of procedure again, I would just take the pain killers with me to the hospital.

My mom cooked me up some scrambled eggs while I sat on the couch like an invalid.  Looking back on it, I think I was still in shock. I spent the rest of the afternoon napping, and when I woke up my mouth tasted like burnt flesh.  Have you ever read the book Alive? I now understand why they had so much trouble eating human flesh.

The biopsy was followed up by the worst cold I’ve ever had, and I spent the next 3 days in bed or on the couch.  Thankfully I did not have much pain, just a giant hole in the roof of my mouth.  Matt was home all weekend so I was able to just lay around while he took care of me.  I am truly spoiled.

About a week after the biopsy I started to feel pain whenever I would drink cool liquids. This pain progressed in frequency to whenever I would drink room temperature liquids, or anything acidic like yogurt and berries.  I realized that the root of my tooth was exposed deep, down in my mouth hole. I could not drink anything other than hot liquids without giving myself intense brain freeze.

A quick shout out on social media gave me some potential solutions from friends who had been through similar scenarios. Try a straw? Use Orajel? A friend came over with some Traumeel, which is a homeopathic topical anesthetic.

The Traumeel helped … for about 5 minutes.  I would slather it on my mouth hole, and then guzzle water for the next few minutes until the pain came back.  I don’t own any straws, but a member at the gym brought me in one of those silicone straws to try. It definitely helped.  I picked up some Orajel at the local Co-op but like the Traumeel, it only helped for a few minutes.

The best solution to my problem was found a few days later when a member brought in some leftover topical anesthetic from his wife’s oral surgery.  This stuff was 20% benzocaine and I found I could drink without pain for 15-20 minutes after application.

Why am I telling you all this? Because it takes a village.  Look at how many people came to my aid to try to find a solution when they heard I was in pain!  Look at how my mom and Matt took care of me when I was in shock and sick. If there’s one overwhelming positive out of this whole situation, it’s that I realize I have a huge support network of people who genuinely care about me.  I have always believed in the basic goodness of humanity, and this stage in my life is highlighting that truth.


 

Looking Forward

I’m now 2.5 weeks  post-biospy and my mouth hole is definitely shrinking.  If I’m careful I can even drink without brain freeze!  It is a wonderful feeling to be hydrated again as I was getting so sick of tea.

On Thursday I get my biopsy results.  It feels like a big day, but then the more rational part of me tells me that it really isn’t.  Even after my appointment on Thursday, I’ll still need an additional appointment with the surgeon to discuss options, and then probably another delay until I actually have my surgery.  The real hurdle will be recovery after surgery, and I don’t yet have the information I need to know what that will look like.

Thursday is not that special, it’s just when Timf gets a proper name.

The naming options are:

  • Large periapical/radicular cyst,
  • Keratocystic odontogenic tumor, or
  • Ameloblastoma

Personally, I think Timf is much easier to say than any of those options.

The importance of the name, is that it will inform how much of a margin the surgeon will have to remove around Timf. Ameloblastomas need to have relatively large margins to prevent recurrence, whereas periapical cysts are much less aggressive. Let’s all hope for a periapical cyst 🙂

 

Thank you for following my journey. If you’re out there struggling, don’t be afraid to put a call out for help.  People are amazing!

My Big Fat Wish List

I love planning for the future.  I gain great satisfaction from dreaming up an adventure on the very edge of possibility, and then working towards that dream.  Right now I’m struggling, because I am unable to plan.  My future is an unknown, and I’m floating in the abyss at the whim of circumstances beyond my control.

 

In an effort to scratch my adventure planning itch I’ve decided to put together a Wish List.  Normally I hate the term “wish”- you either do something or you don’t.  Wishing is a waste of time and energy.  However, at this stage in my journey I don’t have a lot of ability to “do”, so wishing is going to have to be good enough.  Here’s hoping I get some of these wishes granted this year, and maybe next year this list can transform to my Big Fat To Do List!

 

So here we go, in no particular order:

  1. Multi-day adventures
  • 200 mile hike of my choosing
  • The Great Divide Trail
  • Family hike on the Juan de Fuca trail
  • Mount St. Elias, ocean to summit (lifetime goal)

 

2. Long Days Out

  • The Brazeau Loop
  • The Stein Traverse
  • Banff Triple Crown
  • Sub-11hr Iron Legs 50M
  • Sub-20hr 100 Mile Race (still needs to be a course I’m excited about)
  • Hardrock
  • Bluerock – Gibraltar – Picklejar – Junction Creek Loop
  • 10000m ascent and descent in 24hrs
  • Athabasca Pass, Mt Hooker and Mt Brown (haven’t done the math on this one, might be a multi-day).

 

3. Ski Trips

  • FHR on a sunny day
  • Mount Joffre
  • White Pyramid
  • Dolomite Traverse
  • Lake Louise to Lake O’Hara out and back (classic xc ski)
  • 2000m ascent in a trip

 

4. Scrambles, Summits and Ridge Traverses

  • Sub-6hr Banded Peak Traverse (with Arielle)
  • Full Opal Traverse
  • Mount Ptolemy
  • Livingstone Range Traverse – redo to the highway (with Arielle)
  • The Rundle Traverse (with Arielle)
  • Mount King George
  • Gap to Townsend (with Patrick)
  • Majo’s Loop (Nihahi, Compression, Prairie, Powderface)
  • Mt Fisher via Secret Pass
  • Mt Evan Thomas
  • Mt Daly
  • Tour de Noseeum, including the summit

 

Do you have an adventure idea you think I’d enjoy?  Send me a message and we can build my Wish List into a lifetime of adventures planning.

What’s Up?

December was a mess of doctor’s appointments. I had my CT scan at the Peter Lougheed Hospital. That same week my throat was feeling swollen and when I shone a light and looked down at it in the mirror I could see white. The technicians who were operating the CT scanner couldn’t help me, and they suggested I make an appointment with my family doctor.  I went to my doctor and it turned out I had thrush, a yeast infection that happens when you use a steroid inhaler and don’t rinse your mouth out well enough afterwards. My family doctor was able to prescribe me medication to combat the thrush. She also was able to give me the results of my CT scan, so I didn’t have to wait until January wondering about the scope of the Thing In My Face. 

 

Basically, Timf is a slow-growing mass which has completely blocked my right maxillary sinus and is associated with two of my molars.  For the most part, TIMF does not appear to be aggressive but it has eroded away quite a bit of bone. My family doctor could not tell me what these results meant in turns of surgery/recovery so I would have to wait until my appointment with the specialist to get answers. 

 

My thrush infection seemed to disappear as soon as I went on the medication, however the pharmacist made an error and only gave me 40ml instead of 140ml. As soon as I stopped the medication the infection came back with a vengeance, so I went back to my doctor and made sure to get the proper prescription from the pharmacist on the second time around.  None of the doctors I’ve talked to seem to think the thrush has anything to do with Timf, but I think it’s kind of a strange coincidence. 

I took a break from all the doctor appointments and we drove up to Revelstoke for a family Christmas. It was amazing to see everybody, and I wish we could have family gatherings more often.  The rest of the holidays were spent trail running, cross-country skiing and backcountry skiing.  I wouldn’t call it a relaxing holiday season, but it was just what I needed. 

Throughout the holidays Timf would swell and subside.  Constantly reminding me that it was there, but not causing any real issues besides the occasional headache. 

 I was really looking forward to today’s follow up appointment with the specialist. I am feeling fit and strong, and I want to run, race and adventure. I was hoping the specialist would give me a timeline for my surgery/recovery that would enable me to start planning these adventures. The specialist was able to explain the CT scan in more practical terms:  

  • I need to have a biopsy to determine what exactly Timf is. This will be a general procedure, and it is booked for the 24th.  I’m happy to not have to wait for another month before the next step in this process. Recovery from the biopsy should only be 1 or 2 days, but it means I’m going to miss the Calgary Roadrunners XC race 🙁 I’ve already emailed to see if I can volunteer instead!
  • The lack of bone and awkward location of Timf means that surgery may not be simple. After they remove Timf I may end up having a hole through the top of the mouth to my sinus. The hole would have to be filled using either a prostheses or bone graft.  Thankfully this is not a decision I have to make now.  
  • I asked the doctor about summer plans; he said there’s a good chance they will be affected by my recovery, so I’ve made the decision not to sign up for any more races. I was really hoping to run the Sinister Triple and do a 200mile hike in September, but I am going to have to learn to plan less and go with the flow more. With a little luck I may be able to sign up for races or go on adventures at the last minute. 

 

In the meantime, I will continue doing my thing. You can find me running, skiing, bouldering and weight lifting. Send me a message if you’d like to get out!

A Quick Update

Not a whole lot has happened since my last post.  I had some bloodwork done today, and yesterday the specialist office left a voicemail to say they were in the process of booking the CT scan.  I wasn’t particularly impressed with the voicemail, don’t tell me you’re in the process of booking an appointment, just tell me when the appointment is!

The dental office also phoned, just to check up on me and see if I was doing alright.  The combination of phone calls and upcoming bloodwork made me feel a bit blue, and I could feel tears starting to well up during my drive home from work.  I had been feeling pretty strong and secure for the last week, so it surprised me how quickly I could feel myself coming apart.

This sudden flood of emotions emphasized my need to stay active outdoors.  Since I let go of my 1Mvert goal I’ve been enjoying some indoor workouts, including some treadmill intervals and a couple of weight sessions.  But if I’m honest, these indoor sessions do very little for my headspace. The outdoors are where I clear my thoughts.  I’ve decided to make a commitment to get at least 30 minutes of outdoor aerobic activity each day.


As far as my health goes, I think I’m doing pretty well.  I’m not in any pain and I’m feeling quite fit.  I’m excited to work on running faster and getting stronger.  The swelling around the lesion is fairly minimal, but the rough part of the lesion seems to have grown a little bit.  I’m not sure what that means, but I’m not going to interpret it.  The swelling is what causes me discomfort and I’m grateful that it has not been an issue these last couple of weeks.


In other news, I’ve been having fun outdoors!  This past Friday I skied at Bow Summit, followed by a Saturday scramble up Blackrock, and a Sunday tour around the French-Haig-Robertson circuit.  The FHR wound up having some tough whiteout conditions, but we all made it through in one piece and I think we learned a lot from the experience.

 

Changing Focus

Last week I put a vague post up on social media.  In the photo I was sitting on a rock, crying.  I didn’t give a lot of detail into what was upsetting me, but I wanted to share the message that sometimes life is hard and it’s okay to let the tears fall.  A few days after that initial post I shared a few more thoughts.  I had spent the afternoon wandering around Forgetmenot Ridge, and while I was on the ridge I found the sense of peace and acceptance I had been searching for.  Now that my head is in a good place, I am ready to share my story. 


 

November 12th 

I was out for some evening laps on Prairie Mountain when I noticed that my top molars seemed to have grown and they were preventing me from being able to fully close my mouth.  I’m a big eater and this was extremely frustrating as I found it quite difficult to chew.  The issue continued to get worse throughout the evening, and I decided that I needed to see a dentist.  I’m not a very nice person when I’m hungry. 

 

A little background here, I have not been to a dentist in several years.  In the past I have viewed dental visits kind of like getting a massage, or going for a haircut.  I know I probably should do it, but I’d rather play in the mountains than take time out of my day for an appointment, so I postpone until it’s absolutely necessary.  Not being able to eat was the kick in the ass I needed to make an appointment. I scheduled a visit with the dental office closest to my house, and booked the afternoon off work. 

 

The dentist was very kind and understanding about the state of my teeth and lack of dental history.  It turns out I have great teeth, with only the one cavity that I’m pretty sure I’ve had since the last time I went to a dentist. Unfortunately, the dentist was unable to do anything about my heaving molars.  It turns out the issue wasn’t my teeth; rather I had a lesion which extended from the roof of my mouth to my cheekbone.  The swelling from the lesion was pressing on my teeth and causing them to “grow.  At this point the dentist mentioned something about cancer and an appointment at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre.  My eyes welled up and I couldn’t fight back the tears.  How could I have cancer when I’m only 35?!  Also, why the fuck didn’t I come in sooner?  I had felt that lesion growing on the top of my mouth for the last year, but I had just assumed my gums were irritated and it was no big deal.  My ability to absorb the news was not helped by the fact that I was SO HUNGRY from not having been able to chew properly for the last 24hrs. 

 

I walked out of the dentist office feeling totally lost.  I sent a text to Matt to let him know what was going on, then I bought a milkshake with extra whip cream and phoned my mom.  Mom did a good job of talking me off the ledge, and by the time I got home I was reasonably convinced that I either had a cyst or a prolonged sinus infection.  Cancer was unlikely. 


 

November 13th  

 

After the dentist appointment messaged some friends to let them know what was going on.  They helped me brainstorm foods that required minimal chewing and helped me to realize that I have a very good support network.  I was not alone. 

 

I had no game plan now except to wait for a phone call from the Tom Baker.  I waited and waited, but the phone call never came.  I’ve never been so obsessed with my phone.  Thankfully, the swelling had gone down in the lesion and I was able to chew properly again.  Food keeps me sane. 

 

That evening the last thing I wanted to do was go for a run, but I went out anyway because I know that running enables to be a more resilient person.  As soon as I got onto the trails I knew that this was exactly what I needed.  I listened to a Spotify playlist which included a heavy dose of George Ezra, and I soon found myself smiling and singing along.  I was strong, capable and in control.  I could do this.   

George Ezra was followed by “Unsteady” and suddenly I found myself collapsed on the trail bawling my eyes out. 

 

Hold
Hold on
Hold on to me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady 

 

The lyrics rang true.  Sure, I am strong.  But to get through this I was going to need to lean on my support network. I couldn’t do it alone.   




 

November 14-16 

Still no phone call from Tom Baker, but I wasn’t expecting to get a call on a weekend. I took some time for myself and consciously focused on practicing gratitude. Slowly my head got back to a space where I could have rational thought without random intervals of weeping. 

 

I did some Googling and attempted a self-diagnosis.  I know this is not recommended practice, but I couldn’t resist.  I decided that it was most likely a prolonged infection or nasal polyps and I felt like an idiot for my hysteria over the last few days.  I climbed some mountains with friends, and continued to feel at peace with whatever my circumstance was. 




November 18th 

 

The long-awaited phone call finally came.  I had an appointment for 10:30 the next morning.  I didn’t know what was going to happen during that appointment, but I was hoping it would be biopsy.  At the very least, it would enable me to form some sort of game plan. 



November 19th 

 

My mom accompanied me to the hospital.  I had two doctors, Zoe (a student) and Dr Matthews.  They asked me a bunch on questions and stuck a camera up my nose.  Zoe was just learning to drive the camera and she took a few wrong turns, but the experience wasn’t terrible. I’m sure I’ll experience worse.  The doctors also spent some time looking around my mouth and repeatedly asking me if I was having difficulty swallowing. 

 

I think I left the appointment with more questions than answers.  I didn’t have an infection or nasal polyps, it was something more serious than that but we still didn’t know what.  I had a requistion for bloodwork, a CT scan and there was a biopsy in my future.  Dr Matthews told me that they were going to have to drill through the bone for my biopsy, so I would need to go under general anesthetic for the procedure.  I’ve never had any surgery so that sounds a bit daunting, but I’m sure it’s fairly routine. 

 


November 21st (today) 

 

I feel like I’m doing okay emotionally, but last night I had a dream that the lesion had grown, that it was bleeding into my mouth and I was choking.  I woke up this morning totally exhausted and not at all certain of what was dream and what was reality.  I’m realizing this is going to be a bit of a bumpy, and unpredictable road. 

 


Moving Forward 

 

I’ve decided to forego my 1 million feet of vert challenge.  I was really enjoying getting out and running hills or mountains every single day, but the project is extremely time consuming. In addition, I’ve had to eat A LOT of food to fuel my activity level and my appetite has been at an all-time high.  I know that in the coming weeks I will have a lot of time-consuming appointments, as well as additional emotional stress, and probably some difficulty eating solid food.  The challenge doesn’t seem fun anymore.  I feel like I need to relax and be more flexible with my training, so that is what I’m going to do. 

 

Over the last week several individuals have messaged me to tell me their stories and give me their support.  I know that many people have cancer scares, and that there’s a good chance that whatever is going on in my mouth/sinus is benign. However, I’d like to share my story publicly to lend support to others who may have similar ordeals happen in their lives.  I also want to keep a written history of this experience, so that I can look back on it and hopefully use it to build my mental toolbox in the future. 

 

Going through this process is teaching me to have so much more gratitude for the blessed life that I have.  I appreciate my ability to chew (something I never really thought about before), and that I lead a life with so much freedom that I can set ridiculous goals like climbing a million feet.  I’m grateful for free healthcare, supportive friends/family/spouse, and for a work environment that allows me to take time off to take care of myself.

 

The Inaugural WAM 100

“The WAM 100 mile race is hands down, all at once the most stunning ultra in Canada and the most challenging race in the country, in fact it ranks right up there as one of the toughest 100’s on the continent.

167 kilometers of incredible terrain, up and down the two major mountains on the east side of the Whistler valley: Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain…while doing Whistler Mountain twice! All while covering over 9500 meters (31,000 feet) of climbing and descent, and skirting no fewer than a half dozen alpine lakes along the way, including Jane, Jake, Logger’s, Cheakamus, and more. We’ve even thrown in three suspension bridge crossings for good measure.

This is as much an adventure as it is a run. The course is unrelenting, but it has a high “reward value” in that we don’t have long sections of suck while you’re waiting for the few highlights to present, rather the highlights are plentiful and you’d have to close your eyes to eliminate the beauty of the area from constantly coming at you.”

~excerpt from the WAM website~


 

I came into this event ready and excited to race.  Last year’s running season did not go particularly well, and my opportunity to truly race at Bighorn earlier this year went up in literal smoke when I hit a buck during our drive down to the event. Standing on the WAM start line I felt fit, healthy and rested. I hadn’t felt that good in a very long time and I had to work hard to temper my enthusiasm.

Whistler Alpine Meadows 2019. Photo by Scott Robarts

Standing at the start line, not sure what’s up with that expression 🙂       PC: Scott Roberts Photography


Meadow Park to Alta Lake – 14.5km, 733m ascent, 696m descent 

I ran most of this leg either with Jessica (a strong runner from Edmonton) or on my own.  The leg began with a climb and Patrick and Chris went on ahead.  I was trying to keep my effort very easy, and keeping up with the boys on the climb would have taken me out of that zone.  The leg finished with a very cruisey downhill section with 27 switchbacks.  Anyone who has ever run trails with me knows that I like to corner, so this was right up my alley. I let my legs go, passing several runners and catching up with Patrick and Chris in the aid station.  The aid station was a few kilometres sooner than advertised (and I was moving faster than expected) so Matt wasn’t there.  I grabbed some candy from the well-stocked aid station and began to hike up the hill on the next leg of the course.  As I hiked, I sent Matt a quick text so that he would know that we had missed each other.  It was a nice luxury to have cell service on a race course.

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Views over Whistler on Leg 1.  I think that might be Sean Blanton hang gliding!


Alta Lake to Function – 11.5km, 632m ascent, 711m descent 

 

Chris hiked up ahead, while Patrick soon caught me from behind.  Patrick ran with me for awhile, and then all 3 of us were running together through the Function Junction section.  I was surprised that we were all moving at the same pace, but I enjoyed being part of a “team.”  Soon we were at the second aid station.  The distance for this leg had been correct, but we were still running much faster than I had anticipated.  Matt was there to help crew me and I had a rice ball (rice, egg, cheese, soy sauce) from our cooler.  It was nice to have something other than candy.  The 3 of us left the aid station in close succession but I took it super easy on the crushed gravel path, falling behind the rest of the Team.  I was very concerned about all the running we had been doing this far into the race and I thought that I needed to figure out some sort of walking strategy to slow myself down.

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Running along a raging river as we head into Function Junction.


 

Function to WAC – 19km, 1071 ascent, 1061 descent 

 

The course turned off the crushed gravel path and onto an ATV road.  The ATV road angled uphill, and the grade slowly got steeper as the path got rougher.  I made a conscious effort to slow down and just focus on being relaxed, eating and drinking at regular intervals.  Jessica caught up to me and we talked for a bit before I found myself moving ahead again.  I really enjoyed this climb because it felt like it gave me a chance to reset from all the running we had been doing.  I was a bit sad when the climb ended, but I didn’t mourn for long because the course turned onto what looked to be a brand new mountain biking trail.  The trail was cut into the mossy undergrowth of the forest and traversed between a couple of picturesque mountain lakes. It was gorgeous! This is where I met my new friend James, a runner from Squamish who had wandered off-course and just made his way back.  WAM was his first hundred, but he had plenty of leg speed having just run a 34 minute 10km the previous weekend!

 

I loved this forest section. I had good company to run with, and the route had taken on much more of a wilderness, mountain feel. I no longer was fighting to force myself to slow down, I simply had a big grin on my face and was fully embracing the forest bathing.  The forest section ended with a downhill mountain road before turning back onto some rockier single-track.  The good vibes continued and I broke out a bag of Cheetos to celebrate as the trail came to a lookout over another mountain lake.

 

Shortly after the lake I ran out of water.  This leg was definitely longer than advertised, but I wasn’t overly concerned.  I knew we were going to have to make up for that short 1st leg at some point. Eventually we came to the top of a climb and began a technical descent down towards what I assumed would be the aid station. This descent was where I saw the first of the “DANGER SLOW” signs.  I chuckled to myself, how many more of those would I see today?  A kilometre or two later I ran into the WAC aid station and Matt was there to crew me.  I had a rice ball and a yogurt tube before heading back out.  Patrick was just ahead of me and I caught up to him as he was finishing off a bottle of Coke.

 


 

WAC to Village – 15km, 755m ascent, 601m descent   

 

The next section is a bit hazy for me.  I recall Patrick and Chris moving ahead on the initial climb, but then somehow I caught up to them and I was leading the Team.  I was feeling really good and just enjoying cruising along.  At one point I was enjoying the view a little too much and completely missed a turn.  Thankfully Chris was there to set me straight.  The course was impeccably marked, but you still have to pay attention.

 

Apparently we made good time on that leg, because we arrived at Whistler Village just as our crews were setting up.  This was a planned longer aid station break, as we prepared to head up Whistler Mountain and into the night. I ate more rice balls and yogurt, changed my socks and shorts, and re-lubricated areas that were threatening to chafe. I also packed an extra headlamp. We left Whistler Village as a team of 4, having picked Mike up (another runner from Calgary), at the aid station.  I had been looking forward to the long walk up Singing Pass to Whistler Mountain all day.  It signaled the end of the running and beginning of the adventuring!


 

Village to Whistler Mountain – 19km, 1720m ascent, 460m descent 

 

My focus during the walk up Singing Pass was eating.  I ate a Mars bar, and a couple of slow burning Muir gels.  I probably also had a bunch of gummies and jelly beans, maybe some Oreos.  It was a constant snack fest. Chris dropped off the back of our train for a bit at one point, while I lagged behind Mike and Patrick on the steeper sections.  I was feeling really good on the flats and downhills so I would quickly catch up to them on any of the undulations.  The trail became more technical and undulating as we left Singing Pass and went over the Musical Bumps.  Technical, undulating terrain is a strength for me, so I soon moved ahead.  It was dark out and although the route was extremely well marked, it was still easy to wander off course. At one point I missed a turn, but thankfully I quickly realized my error.  I climbed back up to the missed turn and waited at the corner to warn the other guys. But if I’m honest, I am not good at waiting and I soon decided that they could probably figure it out just fine on their own.

 

Eventually I made to the summit of Whistler Mountain.  The volunteers had some good tunes going and the aid station was well-stocked with candy, including M&Ms! I’ve had a bit of an addiction to M&Ms lately so I filled a ziplock with the tasty treats.  I asked the volunteers if they had pancakes, but they told me they weren’t cooking them up until the morning.  This was a bit of a bummer because I knew Patrick had been looking forward to those pancakes since last year’s WAM.


 

Whistler Mountain to WAC – 14km, 158m ascent, 1572m descent 

 

All good things must come to an end, so I reluctantly left the aid station and started down the extremely steep and technical descent trail.  Having been on this trail last year, I knew what to expect and I was apprehensive.  I was fearful my legs might not be able to handle this kind of trail after 80km and 4000m of climbing, plus this time I was doing it in the dark!  My shoes handled the rock and mud well, but I didn’t do so well on the boardwalks.  After one particularly hard fall on a boardwalk I was extremely careful navigating the rest of my way down the route.  There were several of those “SLOW DANGER” signs, but I think they could have just posted one at the top of the trail and called it good.

 

Eventually I got onto more runnable trail and I enjoyed the easy cruise down, occasionally crossing paths with one of the lead runners who were on their way back up.  I counted the men and the ladies as I passed them. The lead lady was in 10th and looked very strong.  I was in roughly 20th place overall and 2nd lady, about an hour behind 1st.  I took some extra time at the aid station, feeling very sleepy (it was just after 1am) but otherwise in good spirits. I had some coffee, broth and snacks, dropped off one of my headlamps and began the slow shuffle back up the trail.  I had spent about 20 minutes in the aid station and was surprised that none of the Team had made it in yet.  I didn’t worry for long though, because I ran into Patrick a few hundred metres out of the aid station, and then Chris few minutes later.  They both looked to be in very good spirits.


 

WAC to Whistler Mountain – 14km, 1572m ascent, 158 descent 

I was dreading the climb back up Whistler Mountain.  It was SO TECHNICAL and STEEP!!  I ran into Jessica a few kilometres out of the aid station and we stopped and talked for a few minutes.  She had a sore foot and had decided to drop to avoid a more severe injury.  Then I ran into Mike who was walking like a zombie.  He did not look like he was interested in continuing the torture.  Near treeline I ran into a dense patch of fog as I climbed up through the clouds.  It made spotting the flagging tape much more challenging.  The fog continued above treeline and suddenly I realized I was off-course.  I looked around me for any markings but I didn’t see a thing.  Thankfully I remembered my watch had a breadcrumb feature and I was able to use that to get back on route.  I was borrowing the watch from my friend Katie and I made a mental note to send her extra thanks for saving my race.

 

I didn’t think it was possible, but I had ascended the mountain too quickly and I reached the aid station well before sunrise. We were above the clouds now and I could see that sunrise was going to be accompanied by a spectacular inversion.  I decided to lollygag a bit at the aid station – if I moved slow enough maybe I would get to see the sun.  I ate a full cup of noodles in front of the aid station heater, and then I spotted the big box of bananas.  I knew that I don’t handle bananas well when I’m racing, but I also wasn’t thinking very clearly.  All I could think was that those bananas looked delicious!


 

Whistler Mountain to Base 2 – 19.5km, 482 ascent, 1772m descent 

 

I scarfed down a full banana and then made my way off the summit towards the Musical Bumps.  Not even 10 minutes later I had thrown everything up on the side of the trail.  I checked my watch, I had made it 19.5hrs without puking.  Not bad!  I was sad to see those noodles go to waste, but I felt much better after puking. Unfortunately, even thought I was feeling better my brain was truly checked out at this point and I proceeded to miss another very well-marked corner and wander off route.  A few minutes later I realized my mistake, and once again used the breadcrumb feature to get back on track. Now I was back on very technical trail, and I had to be alert to follow the course markings.  I was so focused on the markings that I hardly ate during this section and my pace slowed significantly.

 

The upside to all of this is that the sky started to lighten and I got to see the sunrise! The sunrise was so beautiful, that I found myself full of gratitude for the comedy of errors that had slowed me down. Soon I was shuffling my way back down the Singing Pass trail, smile on my face but starting to feel very stiff and tired.  Puking always takes a lot out of me, and I was so stiff by this point I couldn’t manage a full stride. I noticed a tightness in the back of my right calf, and a memory tried to trigger, but I couldn’t quite place it.  I ignored the tightness and pressed on.  It was around this time that I started to pee constantly. I was thankful that I was on my own because it felt like I was peeing every 10 minutes and I wouldn’t have wanted to have to move far off-trail.  I tried increasing my salt-intake to help with some water retention but it didn’t seem to make a difference.  I was peeing far more than I was drinking, and I found myself not wanting to drink because I felt like it would just trigger more peeing.

 

Eventually I made it to the Base 2 aid station.  I was very tired and happy to have a seat.  I had a rice ball, some yogurt, salted potatoes and some delicious bacon kindly offered by a random bystander.   Nicola was at the aid station volunteering, and when I complained about my constant peeing she had said that she’d heard it was related to protein intake.  Hopefully the bacon would help.  While I was sitting there Patrick and Chis came running in.  They said they were tired, but they looked great!

 

 


 

Base 2 to 7th Heaven – 4km, 848m ascent, 6m descent 

 

I walked out of the aid station and began the steep climb up the Blackcomb Ascent Trail.  My calf had tightened up to the point where it was painful on every step and I was not moving very quickly.  Patrick and Chris soon passed me, and I was happy to continue at my slow and steady state.  The trail went up and up and up, but eventually I reached the aid station.  I had slowed down but I felt like I was still in good spirits and moving okay considering I’d been running for 24hrs straight.


 

7th Heaven to 7th Heaven – 12km, 758m ascent and descent 

 

The volunteers warned me that the next section was very slow going.  Apparently even the lead runners had taken over 2.5hrs on this section.  I think their warning lit a little fire under my ass because I was able to run the next portion of gravel road.  From there the route turned straight up a ski hill, it wasn’t even on a trail and I laughed out loud. It was time to Minotaur!  I love a little bushwhacking and I took joy in the fact that I probably loved that section more than anyone else in the race.

 

The bushwhack was short and soon the course turned back onto well-developed trail. I didn’t know anything about the Blackcomb alpine and to be honest I wasn’t expecting much more than random mountain biking trails.  So you can imagine my surprise when the trails turned out to have some of the most stunning views on the course!  We had climbed just above the inversion and were dancing with the clouds.  Marmots whistled, and the trail wound its way around alpine tarns and boulder fields. Glaciated peaks popped in and out of view.  I was happy.

 

SidenoteI do have one complaint about this section of the course, and this is that we were doing the loop backwards.  The best views were always behind me so I found myself constantly wanting to stop and look back, but I couldn’t do this because I was in race and I was trying to move efficiently.  There were also a ton of people up there travelling the opposite direction, so they were constantly having to move out of my way.  I feel like if I was moving in the same direction as them I could have just hopped on the boulders to move around them, and not make them feel like they had to make way for me.  But I digress...

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7th Heaven to Green Lake – 17km, 495m ascent, 1420m descent 

 

I find I move quickly when I’m happy and I finished the 12km loop faster than expected, catching back up to Patrick and Chris as they were leaving the aid station.  Now there was only 25km left to the finish line with no significant climbs.  My energy levels felt good and I was ready to give a good push, but my calf wouldn’t allow me to run.  I decided to ask the aid station staff for a tensor bandage to see if wrapping the calf would make it feel any better.  It turns out one of the volunteers, Adam, was a bit of a guru at this type of thing and he did an amazing job.  The tape job definitely didn’t get rid of the pain, but it seemed to slow the progression down.  Up to this point the calf and been getting progressively more painful, but now I was able to shuffle (slowly) down the ski out without feeling a significant increase in pain.  I tried to take a full stride, I wanted to force myself to do it out of sheer will power, but I found that I couldn’t.  Just like at Bighorn, I found that I have an upper pain threshold and I can’t seem to push through it.  But (unlike at Bighorn), I was still moving at an okay pace and my spirits were still good.  The road for the ski out was very firm and I found myself wishing for a softer surface.  My wish was granted when a minute later we were directed off the ski out onto a very squishy, technical downhill mountain biking trail. This was not exactly what I meant by softer surface.  The terrain was steep and slippery, and the going was extremely slow.  I found myself cursing Gary under my breathe.

 

The rest of the race course was just plain cruel. After the downhill mountain bike trail we meandered up and down and around for what felt like hours!  Jamil Coury caught up to me and we hiked together for a few miles before he went ahead to finish the race strong.  We both thought the meandering trail was ridiculous, especially when it became clear that this was another one of those legs that was longer than advertised.  Jamil ran ahead and I hobbled on as quickly as my legs would allow me, eventually reaching the final aid station.


 

Green Lake – 8km, 275m ascent,  285m descent 

 

I had it in my head that I really wanted to break 33hrs, but if the last leg was actually the 8km advertised there was no way I could do it.  I asked the volunteers if the last leg might be short – I was already at 164km on my watch and the race was only supposed to be 167km long.  They said no, the last leg was a full 8km.   Oh well – I held onto my hope that the volunteers were wrong. I filled up my soft flask with coke and pushed as hard as my legs and lungs would let me to get to the finish line.  I left Green Lake at exactly 32hrs and if I didn’t reach the finish line in 33hrs I could allow myself to slow down and walk it in.

 

I wasn’t able to run the hills so I walked them all.  I also wasn’t able to run the downhills particularly well, so I just moved as best I could.  The flat sections felt okay. The trail was totally smooth crushed gravel and I was in love with the friendly surface.  Why couldn’t the whole race be like this??  I pushed hard, there was a guy behind me and I told myself I wasn’t going to let him pass without a fight.  The minutes passed by and it became apparent that I wasn’t going to make it in under 33hrs but still I kept pushing. Something in my mind told me this leg was going to be short.  We came onto a road and Ellie Greenwood was volunteering at a junction, “1km to go!”   The leg was short!!

I looked at my watch, maybe I could do it …

 

That last kilometre was the longest kilometre of my life.  I ran as hard as my legs would let me, even though Strava says it was only a 6:06km.  Whatever, it felt fast !!  I crossed the finish line in 32:59:14, less than a minute to spare on my arbitrary timeline.

Whistler Alpine Meadows 2019. Photo by Scott Robarts

I think WAM may have eaten my soul.  Finish line relief.  PC: Scott Roberts Photography



 

The Aftermath 

 

Chris, Patrick, Matt and the crews were all at the finish line waiting for me.  Marieve, the ladies winner, was also there to congratulate me at the finish line.  I thought that was a very classy thing to do, as I know I am usually too destroyed after a race to think of anyone except for myself.  Gary was there with a finish line hug, and I was so happy to be done I forgot to ream him out for making us run around in circles for 10km.

 

Overall, I am very happy with this performance. I still haven’t raced my perfect hundred miler but I think I’m getting closer.  I didn’t puke until almost 20 hours into the race, and even then it was just a one time thing. I took care of myself when things went sideways.  I slowed down when I had to, pushed when I could, and when I got hurt I took the time to treat the injury, which definitely enabled me to move faster in the end. I had no blisters and there was no crying. I didn’t take any naps.

 

There are a few things I could do to improve for next time:

  • I could improve by remembering my poles.  I think poles would have definitely helped me from Base 2 to the end when my calf quit working.

 

  • I also could improve by not eating that stupid banana.  Puking lead to a minor bonk, as well as dehydration and associated muscle stiffness.  I was running downhill totally pain-free before that banana.

 

  • I also could improve by figuring out why I was peeing so much. I did seem to pee less after having some protein …

 

Thank you:

  • Matt – for being the best support crew I could ask for.  Not only on race day, but supporting me throughout my endless hours of racing

 

  • Patrick – for being an awesome training partner and finding us a sweet place to stay in Whistler.  I hope your feet heal up so we can get back out adventuring!

 

  • Gary and the CMTS team – Thank you for organizing this ridiculous race, even if I was cursing you at times.  The swag was awesome and organization impeccable.

 

  • Spry – your continued support enables me to pour my heart into this sport and lifestyle I love so much.

 

  • Katie – thanks again for lending me your watch all summer!