Tag Archives: run

Magic

“Whatever you can do,

Or think you can, begin it.

Boldness has power, and genius,

And magic in it.”  ~Goethe~


 

In life, it is rare to fully commit to anything. We are taught that it is wise to always have a backup plan; that an all-or-nothing approach is rash.  Perhaps this is true, but I think this approach also misses out on the magic.  Dave’s record attempt is bold and full of magic, and I aim to capture a piece of that with my run across Alberta.

 


Running takes a lot of time.  When I’m not running, such as during a taper, I often find myself with more free time than I know what to do with. It can make me anxious and grouchy. I dislike tapering so much than I often just don’t do it.

Going into the run across Alberta, there’s no question that I need to taper.  My last training block left me feeling completely spent, often spending the first few minutes of the day limping around the house until my ankles had loosened up enough for me to walk normally. Likewise, the first few kilometres of any run had me feeling like an elephant lumbering along the asphalt. I am nothing if not stubborn so I kept pushing on. Now that the taper is here, I am happy to take a break from lumbering and spend a week hibernating.

Sadly I’m not a bear, so it quickly became evident that hibernating for an entire week was not a viable option.   To fill my non-sleeping, non-running void I decided to go to the library and get some books.  During my taper I have read:

  • Running on Empty, the story of Marshall Ulrich’s trans-America record attempt
  • North, Jenny and Scott Jurek’s account of setting the Appalachian Trail FKT, and
  • The Perfect Mile, an historical novel about the rush to break the 4 minute mile.

Each book contains fascinating narratives about the strength of the human spirit and the physical limits of endurance.  The characters went after impossibly bold goals without reserve.  Not all of them succeeded, but each runner gave themselves 100% to the task and saw it through to the end.  I dare you to read these books and not be inspired.

At this time next week I will be going after a big, bold goal.  I don’t know that I can do it, but I think I can.  I am chasing the magic.

 

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Training update

My philosophy in training for the Alberta run goes something like this: 

  • Run lots 
  • Don’t get hurt 
  • Eat all the food 

In reality, not getting hurt is the most crucial part of this whole training thing.  I’ve only partially succeeded in this goal: 

  • Several weeks ago I developed a blister on the back of each of my heels from my xc ski boots 
  • I made these blisters worse by trail running on them with the wrong socks 
  • The blisters were lonely, so I decided to develop a second set by allowing ice to build up on the inside of my hiking boots. 
  • I made these blisters totally raw by post-holing along a ridge for 8 hours. 
  • These blisters refused to heal until Gord sent me to Kenron pharmacy, where they sold me a magical bandage called MeFix. 
  • The blisters are now 90% gone, but limping around for weeks has given me massive knots in my calves and rather tender Achilles tendons. 

I’m an idiot because this entire cascade of events is preventable; I’m a stubborn idiot because I kept pushing through it.  The stiffness in my calves/ankles caught up with me on Saturday when I attempted to run 100km on trail in Bragg Creek.  My sore ankles were affecting my biomechanics, and 10km into the run I twisted my knee slightly and something pinched.  It was a painful, unnatural feeling, instantly filling me with dread. I ran on for another 10km hoping the pain would subside, but it only increased.  I decided to stop being a stubborn idiot and packed it in.   

The next day I iced the knee a bit to try to get the swelling out, walked around the neighbourhood for about an hour, and played some casual frisbee.  I also spent some time with the lacrosse ball, massaging out my giant knots. The knee felt tight, but there was no pain.  

After another rest day and some quality time with the lacrosse ball, I tried a 1 hour run on the trails with my friend Kim.  The knee felt fine.  It seems I have dodged a bullet, but my body was giving me a warning shot. My daily routine now includes regular dates with the lacrosse ball and proper foot care to prevent further damage to my poor heels. 

 

Some training highlights since my last post include: 

  • A 49km run from Bowness to Fish Creek.  Including my first ever ice cream from Village! 
  • A 30km lack-lustre MEC race where I was reminded that there is a reason why I never race with a watch 
  • A 46km trail run with some speedy guys 
  • Fun scrambles up Limestone, Yamnuska and Burke. 

Upcoming challenges include: 

  • Pacing the 3:45 group at the Calgary marathon 
  • More mountain days (because they make me happy) 
  • Some longer road runs in the 6-7hr range.  I might try this with a 20 minute lunch break in the middle to test out my stomach. 

5 weeks of training left! 

Bighorn 2017

Where do I begin?

The forecast for the race predicted some rain showers later in the day.  I made sure to pack extra warm clothes in each of my drop bags and then didn’t think much more of it.  I had survived 13hrs of downpour at Diez Vista 100km, this couldn’t be nearly as bad as that.

The race began innocently enough.  I was nervous and didn’t feel 100%.  My stomach was fluttering and I had to closely monitor my effort levels so that I didn’t feel nauseous.  I stuck to my plan of fueling with a gel or Sour Dinos every 20 minutes and drinking water every 10 minutes.  I would stop to walk whenever I ate to allow myself to digest, and each time I stopped to walk I would get passed by more people.



The race began with a relentless climb up a treeless slope which is carpeted with wildflowers.  I could see dozens of runners snaking up the slope ahead of me and I was blown away by the pace they were going!  How could so many people be so much faster than me?  I told myself to relax and to be thankful for the butterflies in my stomach that were forcing me to keep an easy pace.  I would start to pass people soon enough.

I began to feel good about 2 or 3 hours into the race.  My legs felt lighter and my mind settled down.  I had no idea what place I was in, but I felt confident that I was moving at the right effort level for me.  I met up with Matt at the Dryfork aid station and then looked at my watch. I was 10 minutes ahead of pace.

The trail from Dry Fork to Footbridge was like butter for me.  My legs and energy levels were steady and I found myself running the ups and the downs.  I was carrying a 2L hydration pak and a 500ml UltrAspire soft flask.  My strategy was to fill the hydration pak at the major aid stations (Dry Fork, Footbridge and Jaws) and just top up the soft flask when needed to at the minor aid stations.  This saved me a lot of time as I never had to take off my pack, and filling the flask at aid stations only took 30s.  I passed at least a dozen runners during this stretch, but no ladies.  I was moving really well while keeping a low effort level, and I was surprised that I wasn’t catching any women.  I didn’t think I could run this section any better so I just satisfied myself that I was racing the best I could and the other women were simply better than me.

I came into Footbridge exactly on my target time and feeling fantastic.  As I arrived they informed me that I was 1st lady.  Oh!  That explains why I wasn’t passing any ladies. At Footbridge I accessed my drop bag and grabbed my long sleeves and rain jacket.  I knew that the rain would have to start soon and that there would be very little shelter between Footbridge and Jaws.

The rain began to fall about halfway up my ascent to Jaws.  At first it felt good, but I started to get cold about 12km from Jaws so I stopped to put on my rain jacket.  I didn’t bother putting on sleeves.  Somewhere along this stretch the 2nd place lady, Amanda, caught up to me. We would meet up at the aid stations, but she would spend more time at them so I would gain a bit of a gap before she caught up to me at the next one.  The rain began to fall more heavily and the trail turned to mud.  With 8km until Jaws the trail was getting very slick and runners were adopting the strategy of hiking next to the muddy trail on the grass, instead of slip sliding through the mud.  I wondered aloud how the trail was going to be once we headed down, the guy next to me said he thought it wouldn’t be too bad.

With about 3km to the turn around I saw Andy Reed come flying down the trail.  He looked energized and I thought he was in about 7th place.  It was cool to see him doing so well.  The last few kilometres to Jaws seemed to take forever and the weather continued to get worse.  I thought about putting sleeves on … I didn’t.

I made it to Jaws at 8:40pm, 10 minutes behind schedule but given the trail conditions I thought it was a very good time.  I was eager to change into fresh clothes and get out of there as soon as possible.  I was feeling good and didn’t want Amanda to catch me. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to peel out of my wet clothes and as I struggled to dry off the beginning phases of hypothermia set in.  Soon I was shaking uncontrollably and I knew that I had to stay at Jaws until the shivering stopped, or risk hypothermia out on the trail.  I sat there for 45 minutes, drinking soup and coffee, often spilling half the cup because my hands were shaking so badly.  Bundled up with multiple blankets and hot packs I was frustrated not to be moving, but I tried to keep a positive attitude.

When I finally left Jaws I decided to bring my poles to help me balance on the slippery trails. I did not know what place I was in but I tried to relax and not think about racing too much.  I attempted to run down the road but I found I had no energy in my legs, and I was breathing heavily with almost no effort.  A lady and her pacer passed me.  I told myself to eat and drink, that I just needed to warm up.  Eventually I started to move better and I even wound up passing the lady while she was taking a bathroom break. Things were coming around … until they weren’t.

Suddenly I began to have explosive diarrhea.  This was extremely awkward because there were very few trees in the area.  I wound up just stepping off the trail into the grass and turning off my headlamp to “hide” from approaching runners.  The cause of the diarrhea confused me until I remembered that I had been fueling almost exclusively on gels for the last several hours.  The only gels that don’t seem to have this side effect on me are Hammer Gels, and I had been using a lot of Gu gels since that was what was supplied by the race.  I had learned this lesson a couple of years ago, but apparently I needed to relearn it.  I told myself not to use any more Gu gels, but I didn’t have any more Hammer gels or Sour Dinos on me, so this wasn’t a very good strategy.

This is where my race completely fell apart.  I failed to adjust to the nutritional challenge and threw my fuelling strategy right out the window.  I stopped eating or drinking and for the next 2 hrs all I ate was a Fun sized package of Peanut M&Ms and 250ml of Gu Brew.  The trail was so slippery that I was constantly using my poles just to stay upright.  Even with the poles I fell at least 5 or 6 times.  The lady with her pacer was within ear shot behind me and I could hear her swearing loudly each time she slipped on the mud.  It was hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud as I slowly worked my way down the trail.  I didn’t yet realize how terrible my own situation was about to become.

Eventually my shoes became so filled with mud and grit that it felt like they were 2 sizes too small. I thought about stopping to empty them but I was so close to Footbridge that I decided to just wait and do a full shoe change there.  When I got to Footbridge I made all of the mistakes.  I asked for food, but then I only ate one bite.  I asked for broth and drank 2 sips.  I didn’t know it, but I was setting up to have my worst bonk ever.

For my shoe change, I decided to change from my Icebugs to my Pearl Izumi N2s.  The Pearl Izumis are very comfortable shoes but they have no lugs.  They were probably the worst shoes possible to wear for the next 20 miles, but for some reason I thought the next section of trail was going to be less muddy?!  I really wasn’t thinking clearly.  I should have just rinsed out my Icebugs and put them back on.

I began to shiver so I left the aid station thinking that I would warm up once I got moving.  I should have stayed and finished getting some fuel and fluids in me.

As I walked down the trail it began to rain harder and the mud got worse.  I was headed up The Wall, a steep 3000 ft climb and I thought I would be able to get a good power hike going.  For the first time in my life I found I had no power hike.  There was absolutely no energy left in my legs.  I put on music and told myself to eat and drink something every 3rd song, but I was having trouble following my own instructions.  I have never moved so slowly on a trail and my mind just snapped.  The rain, and the mud, and the bonk … I just stopped caring about anything.  I stopped eating, I stopped drinking.  I had put some Gu Brew in my soft flask because I thought that some liquid calories might help. An hour or so later I was throwing it up beside the trail.  Normally after a good puke I refocus on getting in fluids and calories, but this time I didn’t. I didn’t replace anything.  I just walked, very slowly, along the trail.  Or rather, beside the trail.  The trail was so slippery I couldn’t stand on it without sliding.

Eventually I stumbled into Cow Camp.  They had bacon and hot chocolate there, I had 4 pieces of bacon and 2 cups of hot chocolate.  It was delicious!  I’m lucky that they didn’t have a bed set up or I think I would have stayed there forever.  Unfortunately the bacon and hot chocolate were not enough to get me out of my funk and I walked out of the aid station as slowly as ever.  The trail was still slippery AF and I’m not sure how I would have made it up the hills without my poles.  My attitude was shit.  All I could think about was the idiocy of the whole race.  Why would you continue to battle on through a 100 mile race when you slid back 1.5 steps for every 2 steps you took forward?  Many people passed me.  I did not care.

At some point I made it to Dry Fork.  I was so happy to see Matt, I needed a hug and a good cry.    I was so pissed off at myself; I was so disappointed in my attitude and how I had thrown the entire race process out the window.  I needed a reset button and I felt like Matt was the catalyst for that.

When I reached Dry Fork I ate a little food, had a good cry, changed my socks/shoes and had a nap in the van.  I looked at my hydration pak to see how much I water I had drank since Footbridge – only 500 ml.  No wonder I felt like hell.


Cry

Napping and crying


By the time I left Dry Fork I was feeling much better.  The sun was out and the trails were drying up nicely. Only 18 miles left and I intended to walk every single one of them.  I was going to enjoy a nice hike among the wild flowers.  Unfortunately, I hadn’t finished making mistakes.  I had changed into an old pair of Salomon Speedcross at Dry Fork, and these shoes simply do not fit my feet. I also did not re-lubricate my feet after cleaning them off.  This made the last 5 miles of my walk much less enjoyable as I developed massive blisters under the balls of my feet and backs of my heels.  I guess it was fitting that I should continue making mistakes all the way to the finish of the race.

I did meet a few other 100 mile runners during the long walk to the finish, and I greatly enjoyed the company.  I walked the last 12 miles with Paul from Boulder, Colorado who kept me entertained with stories about his local running community.  We also met a ski mountaineer from Montana with a sore ankle.  I lent him my ankle brace which I had been lugging around in my pack for emergency use, and he was able to run the last 6 miles to the finish.  I enjoyed juicy watermelon at each of the aid stations, and Freezies which were enthusiastically handed out by the local kids.  30 hours and 49 minutes after I began this epic hike, I finally crossed the finish line.


Finish


The upside of walking the last 34 miles of a 100 mile race is that I was able to finish with a happy stomach and no sore joints.  I enjoyed two beers and a burger at the finish line. It was awesome to be able to relax and cheer on the other runners instead of heading straight to the med tent 🙂


With the gift of hindsight, I think this was an important experience for me to have.  I needed to be reminded that ultras are all about the process, and that adaptability is the most important characteristic of successful ultrarunners.  I was too focused on racing, on trying to get to the next checkpoint, and I failed to see the hole I was digging myself until it was too late.  It was also good for me to experience a true “bonk.” I have never felt truly empty before, hopefully this experience will scare me into never allowing myself to get that way again.


Thank you:

To Rock Gear Distribution for helping me out with gear (Icebug shoes, UltrAspire packs, and Swiftwick socks).  Your continued support enables me to chase my dreams.

To the race organizers and volunteers.  The race was impeccably organized, and the volunteers did an incredible job of managing the carnage that was happening on the trails with that relentless rain.

To my incredibly supportive husband Matt.  Thank you for supporting me during the thousands of hours of training and the long day(s) crewing during races.

To my training partners and the Calgary trail running community.  I love that I can always find someone who is up for a ridiculous adventure 🙂


Next up?  The Spray Valley 10!!!  Follow along as Arielle and I attempt to summit 10 consecutive peaks in the Spray Valley.  This adventure promises to be epic!

Running Scared – Diez Vista 100km (2017)

Preamble:

As is my usual M.O., I took a good look at the entrants list before going into this race. There were a few stand out names I recognized, and I was sure there would also be some strong local runners who I didn’t recognize.  I made a list of the women who I was certain would be miles ahead of me:

  • Samantha Drove
  • Tracy Garneau
  • Amy Sproston
  • Darla Askew

If you don’t know who these ladies are, just Google them.

I decided to let those women battle it out for the podium positions, and then maybe I could sneak in for 5th place.  I’ve heard that in some sports they have extended podiums that include the top-5 🙂

I didn’t want to have a goal which was strictly placement-oriented, so I came up with a time-oriented goal as well.  Two years ago I ran the 50km version of DV in 5:50, so I figured I should be able to complete the 100km version in sub-12hrs, roughly double that amount of time.  Sure, I would slow down over 100km, but I am also fitter now than I was two years ago.

I spent the days leading up to the race hanging out at my sister’s place in Vancouver.  We ate copious amounts of sushi and my brother-in-law cooked up a mountain of crepes. There was also plenty of beer.  I was carb-loading like a boss.

 

The Race:

The race began in the pouring rain, but the forecast was calling for the rain to lighten up as the day went on.  I decided to wear shorts (I hate wet pants), a t-shirt (so that if the weather improved I wouldn’t be too hot), and a water-proof jacket.

The race started in the dark at 6am and I found myself running next to Amy Sproston (I recognized her from Google).  Running near her was disconcerting, but I wasn’t breathing hard and my legs felt good so I decided to just go with it.  We took turns sharing the lead for the first 15km and I wasn’t sure where the other All Star ladies were.  My Icebug Animas were gripping extremely well on the rocky/muddy trail, so I was able to run down the hills with ease, outrunning all of the nearby runners only to be passed again once we got back onto smoother trail.

At the 15km junction we turned onto the steep and technical Diez Vista trail.  Amy was about a minute ahead of me, but I soon caught up and she motioned for me to pass.  Nowhere in my pre-race planning had I ever envisioned leading this race.  I felt like an imposter, but I decided that if the other ladies were going to pass me then I was going to make them work for it.

For the rest of the DV trail I was entirely on my own – no one to see in front of me and no one visible behind me.  I focused on staying smooth and relaxed. The rain was pouring down in buckets now, and at one point it even started to hail.  I had flashbacks of running Fat Dog 120, when the rain came down and runners began to drop like flies with hypothermia.  I told myself to keep on eating and to avoid puking at all costs.  “Keep the furnace burning” became my mantra.  In hindsight, the terrible weather may have been a blessing-in-disguise, as it kept me very process-oriented.

Eventually I got off the DV trail and onto more runnable terrain.  The trail was super cruisey and I found myself running all the uphills and flying on the downs.  I did quite a bit of downhill-focused training in the weeks leading up to Diez Vista, so I was confident I was not going to blow my quads out with the speedy downhill pace. The fun trail eventually intersected with a flat, gravel road.  I sighed and kept on running.

 

Side note:

I am not a road runner.  Occasionally I have fits of delirium where I think I want to learn how to run properly on the roads, but it only takes me one or two road workouts to come back to my senses.  My road running skill (or lack of skill) is a serious liability for me if I want to be a competitive ultra-runner.  Thankfully the weather really sucked this winter so I was forced to embrace the treadmill for several runs while my asthma went into full revolt from the cold air.  The extra treadmill running has resulted in moderately better flat running speed.

 

Back to the race:

My improved road running skills came in handy during the several out-and-back road sections on the DV course.  With each out-and-back I could see my competitors gaining on me, but I was able to move fast enough that I could get back to the safety of the trails without getting caught.  I felt like a hunted animal, searching for the safety of a burrow or thicket.  (We’ve been reading Watership Down).

The course turned onto a trail which ran up under a power line.  The rain was falling harder now, and a bit of a cold breeze picked up.  My t-shirt wasn’t cutting it and I could feel the cold begin to seep into my bones.

I ran down a series of switchbacks into the next aid station where Matt was waiting for me with a merino wool long-sleeve, water-proof cap, fresh buff and some mitts.  Having Matt there with warm clothes probably saved my race. I knew that taking the time to change into warmer clothing was going to cost me the lead, but I also knew that if I didn’t take the time to take care of myself I was going to end up hypothermic.

It seemed to take forever to towel off and change my clothes, but surprisingly none of the other ladies caught me.  I wondered if they were toying with me.

The next section of the course was fun, uphill trail.  I settled into a good rhythm and found myself at the top of the climb way too soon.  I had been enjoying the climb so much I didn’t want it to end 🙂  Now we were running on wide double-track trail underneath a power line for several kilometres.  The trail crossed over raging streams and waterfalls, I wondered if they would burst their banks.  A slight, cold wind had picked up and the rain continued to pour down.  It was so cold, and I was so thankful for my wool shirt.

This section was, once again, an out-and-back.  And, once again, nobody caught me but several ladies were very close.  I was well over 40km into the race and I just wanted to relax. I told myself that I was never going to take the lead in the first half of a race ever again.  It is much more fun to chase than to be chased.

I got off the power line trail and enjoyed several kilometres of super fun trail.  I bombed down the switchbacks as fast as I could without colliding into any of the runners who were on their way up, and then embraced the power-hike back up the appropriately named “FU” Hill.  Near the top of the hill I ran into Katie who graciously volunteered to tackle the other girls for me if they got to close.  Thanks for helping me out Katie 🙂

From the top of FU Hill it was mostly downhill to the Start/Finish area, which was at the 59km mark of the race (it’s a convoluted course).  This was the lowest point of my race.  From the very beginning of the run, there had not been a single moment of relaxation.  There were so many times when I just wanted to slow down and take a walk break, but I couldn’t find a good excuse!  My legs felt fine, my stomach was fine, my HR wasn’t too high, my feet weren’t blistered.  I just wanted someone to pass me so that I could stop running so hard. I wanted a nap.

I came into the aid station determined to sit down and have a break, but nobody offered me a seat.  Instead, they all told me how good I looked, gave me a cup of hot soup and sent me out of there (after taking a quick photo with Gary).

I found myself running back towards FU Hill, when all I wanted to do was walk.  I needed an attitude check and I pulled out all of my mental tricks:

  • I reminded myself to be grateful.  There were over 100 volunteers who had given up their day to hang out in the rain and make sure I got to the finish line!
  •  I reasoned with myself; there’s less than a marathon left!
  • I tried to find some body parts to gripe about, but everything felt fine.
  • I smiled at the runners who were coming down the hill as I made my way up.  Fake it ’til you make it.

By the time I made it to the next aid station my attitude had begun to come around.  I’d made it this far, I may as well finish this thing up. I enjoyed a cup of hot soup and then slowly made my way out and back up the hill to run the power-line trail for the final time.  I was dreading that power-line trail, it was going to be so freaking cold!

Then something wonderful happened, I got caught!  It was the first person, man or woman, to catch up with me all day.  I can’t remember this guy’s name, but he was the most positive person I have ever met on the trails.  He talked about how much he was looking forward to getting back on that power-line trail and seeing those BEAUTIFUL waterfalls. That conversation changed the rest of my race and I found myself completely re-energized.  I picked up the pace and left my new friend behind as I gained a sudden burst of motivation.

During my trip back on the power-line trail I noticed that my lead had grown by a few minutes, and that the chase pack had shrunk from 4 ladies to just one. I assumed the other women had dropped out.  The weather was so bad, I couldn’t really blame them.

Back down the hill I went, feeling smooth and looking forward to more hot soup at the 80km aid station.  I drank a lot of soup at this race, and each aid station had a different delicious flavour! Strava tells me I had over 1.5hrs of stoppage time, I’m sure most of that was spent drinking soup.

At the 80km aid station I learned that I was not only 1st lady, but 3rd overall!  How exciting!  I left the aid station in good spirits, bound for the final aid station of the race before reversing the technical DV trail and running back to the finish line.

I spent too much time drinking soup at the final stop (87km) and one of the guys caught up and passed me.  He was the only person to pass me all day.  I had hoped to catch back up to him on the technical trail, but Mother Nature had other plans.

The narrow DV trail had transformed into a river with freezing cold water.  My frostbitten feet complained loudly as I forced them to keep moving forward in the bitter cold.  Whenever I could, I would detour widely around the water. I was moving very slowly.

Eventually the trail climbed high enough that the rivers reduced to mere streams.  I was able to move more smoothly, but I still didn’t feel particularly quick.  Whenever I needed to eat or drink I would stop and stand in place.  I didn’t trust myself to simultaneously walk, eat and not trip on a root or rock.

I got back onto less technical trail and was happy to discover that I still had the energy to run. I ran down the hills, and shuffled on the flats and ups. The kilometres ticked by and when I reached the stairs which led up to the finish line I knew I had finally made it.  I confess that I did not run up the stairs (I walked them), but I did manage to run to the finish line where Gary Robbins was waiting with a big hug.  I tried my best not to ugly cry.

1st lady, 4th overall, 13:15.

Epilogue:

  • Most exhausted muscles: forearms, biceps and shoulders from holding onto my heavy, wet mitts!
  • Blisters: None!
  • Chaffing: Everywhere!!!  Body Glide did not last.  Also, I am not used to prolonged rain running.
  • Fuel:
    • Gu and Hammer gels (various flavours)
    • Mini Starburst (although these tasted amazing, I wouldn’t recommend it in the future.  My mouth turned into a giant canker sore)
    • Soup (vegetable broth, tomato, carrot, squash)
    • 3 caffeine pills (100mg, every 4 hrs)
    • 3 salt pills (whenever I felt nauseous)
    • Water whenever I felt like it.
  • Gear:
    • Icebug Animas
    • Swiftwick 7″ socks
    • Ultraspire Spry 2.0 pack
    • Asics shorts.
    • Costco merino wool long-sleeve shirt
    • Mountain Hardwear jacket (men’s small so that I could fit it over my pack instead of under it)
    • Running Room mitts
    • Icebug buff (x2)
    • Nike waterproof golf cap
    • Petzl Tikka headlamp
  • Thank you:
    • To my wonderfully, unbelievably, supportive husband
    • To Susannah and Bernard for hosting us for the week
    • To Gary Robbins and Ridgeline Athletics for putting on this event and dreaming up the 100km course
    • To Ian and the team at Rockgear Distribution for helping me out with gear to train and race in
    • To my training partners who help me believe in myself and enable me to dare to dream bigger

 

Next up, Bighorn 100 Miler in June!

 

Happy Trails!

 

 

 

 

 

The Journey to 200k

At the beginning of the year I set some big goals for myself.  I wanted to stop playing it safe and really push my boundaries.  As the end of the year draws closer, I’ve accomplished all of my goals except one – climb 200 000m.  I set this goal because I wanted to push myself to explore new places, get outside and expand my limits.

Admittedly, I did not do the math when I set my climbing goal or I might have chosen a more reasonable target.  200 000m in a year equates to 550m/day (1800ft); and that’s if I don’t take rest days.  I’m not a streaker so I am going to take rest days, and days where I run on the road, and days where I run on flatter trails.  Those flatter days are okay because they just mean I need to run/hike/scramble up a lot of mountain peaks!

There are just over 6 weeks left in the year and I’ve climbed 170 000m.  It’s coming down to the wire and I’m loving the challenge!  What does 170 000m look like?  Here are some highlights:

 

170 000m has meant unlimited #summitOreos, jumping selfies, new trail friendships, #superquads that refuse to be constrained by pants, and a burning desire to learn how to do #summitHandstands.

summit-handstand

 

These last 30 000m will be a grind, but I’m beyond excited to see what adventures they hold!

 

Hmmm…

Something crazy happened today – I ran fast and it felt good.

 

Those who know me know that I hate running hard.

When I run hard I see spots, get dizzy, have unrelenting coughing fits and I get the shits.  Why would anyone want to do that to themselves?

 

I prefer to just run at a steady pace, and to keep running all day.  The effort stays at a conversational level and I enjoy the scenery.

 

I know that if my steady pace was faster, I could travel more distance during a run and see more cool places – this is my motivator for getting faster.  Every 4 days I sprinkle in a few intervals of hard running. Knowing that I only have to run fast once or twice a week keeps me happy.

 

I’m not sure what happened today.  Maybe it was all the heavy weight training paying off, or maybe it’s the little bits of “fast” running I’ve been doing, but something was different.  The workout plan was as follows:

10 min warm up,

3 min hard,

4 min hard,

5 min hard,

4 min hard,

3 min hard;

all with 3 min jog recoveries.

 

During the hard intervals I felt like I was sprinting.  I told myself that I needed to slow down or else I would burn up in the first minute, but that never happened.  I never slowed down and I never found the wall.  It was strange and exhilerating.

 

It almost makes me want to try running fast again.  Almost.

 

Happy Trails!

 

Burstall

In other news, I will be backcountry skiing this weekend with my brother.  Happy Dance!!!