Tag Archives: ski

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!


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.

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.


Lake Louise to Banff Loppet – preview

It all started with a Facebook message.

“Hi Joanna.  Arielle is a new ultra-runner in town.  Would you be willing to show her our trails?”

I love showing off our mountains so of course I agreed.

We ran up Ribbon Creek, over Guinn’s Pass and back via the Galatea and Terrace Trails.  We finished in the dark under clear skies illuminated by endless stars.  As I got to know Arielle better throughout the run I was impressed with her attitude. She has a zest for life that I haven’t seen in many people and she tackles obstacles head on.  I could tell this run was just one of many adventures that we’d have.


We had a bit of bad luck so we didn’t run much after that initial adventure.  Arielle had a sore hip and I tripped on a rock, cutting open my knee.  Once we were mostly healed up we decided to go out for a xc ski.  Neither of us are particularly skilled at skiing, so it was a fun day out with the main objective being not to fall over.

I’m not sure how the conversation started, but somewhere along the way I mentioned to Arielle that I had heard of this 72km race where you ski from Lake Louise to Banff.  I was thinking it might be a fun goal to aspire to.  You know, in a year or two once we learned how to ski properly.

Arielle thought a little differently, she thought we should sign up right away.  It would be a good challenge!  Apparently I’m a pushover, so I agreed.  The race was scheduled for January 24th, and we were at the beginning of December.  We had almost 2 months to train.

We opted to overlook the fact that neither of us even owned skis (we were renting), had never waxed skis (we were using waxless), and the furthest we had ever skied in our lifetime was just over 20km.

Over the next 2 months we both bought skis, learned a little about wax, and spent a lot more time on the trails.  Our longest ski was 45km; an out-and-back from Lake Louise to Lake O’Hara in temperatures well below -20C.  It was during the ski that I gained the confidence to believe that I could actually ski 72km, and also resigned myself to the fact that completing the 72km would be a total sufferfest.  Oh well, I’m an ultrarunner.  Suffering is part of the job description.

2015-12-26 14.24.23-1

Family ski on Ribbon Creek

2016-01-02 09.28.14

Arielle and I skiing from Alberta to BC via the Great Divide!

2016-01-16 16.35.53-1

My car is very tasty

2016-01-15 11.25.06-1

Solo ski in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park

2016-01-10 12.21.02

Skiing with my friend Colin on the Bill Milne trail.

2016-01-02 12.59.53

Lake O’Hara!

2016-01-08 14.30.37

The Coal Mine trail in Kananaskis leads to this stunning viewpoint

2016-01-02 12.50.28

Lunch stop at Elizabeth Parker Hut


Unfortunately Arielle is working through a groin injury and won’t be able to do the race with me.  She has decided to join my friend Alan as my crew instead.  It sucks that we won’t be racing together, but it will be fantastic to have her along for support.

Even if the loppet doesn’t go well tomorrow I am incredibly thankful for the journey I’ve been on as we’ve prepared for it.  I feel like I’ve discovered a whole new world that I never knew existed!  Who knew that you could ski from Louise to Lake O’Hara?  Or by extension, from Banff to O’Hara?!  There’s a whole world of loppets, birkebeiners and ski adventure routes that I knew nothing about. I’m already making plans for next year 🙂

Happy Trails!