Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Is it taper time yet?

Whoa...3 weeks from today I leave for Colorado. That's sick. Where did all of my training time go...it's almost time for a taper of some sorts...nuts! I'm getting pretty excited but still feel like I have lots of training left to do. Training is going really well but i'm starting to feel a little out of my league with my brother as a partner...damn guy is a machine and keeps pumping out these sick days of running. I really hope I can keep up!! I am getting pretty tired though and am definitely looking forward to the taper. I'm also getting more and more mentally exhausted and it feels like i'm turning into a bit of a dumb ass as a result....especially on mondays after a long weekend of training...some of the stuff I do on monday blows my mind. Dumb. Ass.

I'm also starting to go a little crazy doing so many long runs by myself and am trying to hit up anyone I can find to go on some long trail runs with me! Things are looking up for this weekend as I think i've found people to run with for at least 1 of my 3 long days. I have to admit that after this ridiculous summer, getting back to training for a normal marathon again is starting to look better and better. I mean don't get me wrong...it's still tough and hard but training for this multi day mountain stuff is a bit intense. I look forward to a bit of a "break" after this summer and getting back to my one long run a week (not multiple) as I train for the Okanagan marathon in October and Boston again next year (oh and Vegas? maybe in December).

Last night I was feeling pretty decent when I got home so decided to go on a 20km trail run. There's not many places you can do this in Calgary so I decided to run through the Douglas Fir trail 4 times....it's close to my house and it has some hills and lots of stairs. It was tough but I felt pretty good. At about the halfway point I was running down a hill and this wasp flies into my hand and gets stuck under the strap of my handheld water bottle. I didn't realize it had happened until I started to feel pain and then more pain...and had to rip the bottle off my hand to get it outta there. It stung me right between the fingers and my hand is actually sore and a little fat in that spot today. I'm glad nobody was around as I let off a few choice words! Ok, yeah if you know me then maybe more than just a few. What?...it hurt damn it! Good thing i'm not allergic or that could have been an interesting turn of events for my evening :)

Anyhow, aside from that...things are good, training is good, life is good. I'm a happy girl :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I've got my horseshoe for Transrockies :)

Transrockies is approaching fast and i'm getting pretty excited! Sunday past marked 5 weeks till Stage 1 of the race. I just booked my flight last night to Denver and i'm leaving nice and early...i'll be there about 5 days in advance before the race so hopefully I can get somewhat acclimatized in that period. It should be interesting to see how my body feels. I do remember what it was like to move from Ottawa to Calgary and run for the first time...I felt slow, winded, and out of shape...and that was only an increase in about 3000ft. The race starts in Buena Vista, CO which sits at just under 8000ft...4500ft more than Calgary (that's not even to mention how high we get during some of the stages)! So yeah...this is why i'm heading down 5 days in advance!

I managed to get in some pretty decent running this weekend. Friday I got in 25km and unfortunately Saturday was a weak day for me and I only managed 14km...it was damn hot, I was damn tired, and just felt like hell. So I cut it short and headed home to sit in a cold bath...felt mighty nice on my legs! I made out better on Sunday and joined the Trail Trash group for 45km out in Kananaskis starting at the Little Elbow Campground. It was a long day and I hadn't anticipated how long we'd be out so I ran out of the 2L of nuun I brought...luckily a bunch of people had those water bottles with them with the built in filter so you could fill it up anywhere...they saved my butt for sure! Much of our run was on a horse trail and there was some crazy deep mud and I almost lost my shoe a couple of times...the same thing must have happened to one of the horses as I picked up a horseshoe along the way and brought it home with me!! That's gotta be some kinda good luck for Transrockies no?

It was a beautiful day and there was nothing I would have rather done! I felt guilty spending my entire day in the mountains and not having my best friend Logan to join me! He wouldn't have made it past 15km...those huskies get HOT quick! So I made it up to him later by taking him on a good trip to the park!

Here are some pics of our run...some were taken by Alan with my camera, some by Hugh....

At the start - Little Elbow Campground in Kananaskis

Took me about 5 mins to get warmed up and shed the long sleeve!

1st of maybe 15 river crossings!!...wet feet for about 30 of 45km!

And another...

Are you kidding me?! Argh!!

She'll be comin' round the mountain when she comes!

This is more like it!

Our view from the top of Paradise Pass - at 8300 ft

Me and Adrian

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I got worked at Powderface

Holy Hannah...what a day what a day! I knew going in that this was going to be a tough race and it did not disappoint!

I left my house at 6am for the 45 min drive to Kananaskis Country where the race started at the Station Flats parking lot. I run into my friend Alan on arrival and hang out and chat in the parking lot for a while and get introduced to some people and some other people that are also doing Transrockies this year. Good times. It's probably 40 mins before race start and there's already people all ready to go and i'm sitting there yawning my face off and waiting till the last possible moment to get changed and ready. It's not that cold...around 10 degrees...but when I wake up in the morning i'm always freezing no matter what the temp and it takes me a while to get over it! While I'm in line for the bathroom a guy turns around and asks me "Are you Deb?" I'm like, yeah! (that's never happened to me before haha). Anyways, he knows a friend of mine and also ended up finding and reading my blog! Cool beans! It was great meeting you today Jason, great race! :)

About 10 mins before race start we have a pre race meeting and are told that due to a wildlife incident our route is going to be detoured about halfway through the race...we have to go off the trail and down to the dirt road to run on for about 3km to the midpoint aid station. Hmm...interesting...bear siting? I dunno what it was...but we're told later :)

So...the race...what to say...I don't know a lot about the details of elevation other than the start of the race was at 1410m, the highest point of the race was at 2025m, and we had a total elevation gain for the day of 1858m. What can I say...the first 10km was hard! I had a feeling there was 3 girls in total ahead of me and I had been following behind 1 of them for the first 5 km. At about 5km came aid station #1 and I ended up leaving it quicker that her. She had been running really well and I was actually thinking she would come back and pass me pretty quick but this didn't happen. The next 5km was pretty fun and had a lot of fun downhill leading to aid station #2 at about the 10km mark.

This is where I met the guy just infront of me - Jeremy - and we left the aid station together. It was especially nice to have the company as the second 10km was harder and mentally exhausting as well. It helped take my mind off of how I was feeling. There was a lot of steep climbing that we walked and he chatted away and I cursed to myself how easy he was talking while I gasped for air with my responses. Damn you lol! This is where I really was not feeling well at all...I was not happy that I was already feeling this way at about 13km in! These hills were tough!! I expected Jeremy to quickly move on but he was content to stick with the pace we were going. Finally we got to some great downhills again and he was a superstar while I'm still learning to go fast on them. I was actually super impressed with myself on the downhill sections today as I'm trying to get used to just letting myself go and stop holding back all the time. There were many crazy sketchy spots where I could have seen myself tripping and flying in the air halfway down the hill.

At about 18km or so we break out onto the dirt road for the detour and reach aid station #3 at about 22km. We hear that we're 12th and 13th overall and I am infact the 3rd female. Cool stuff. We leave that aid station and after having some banana and orange slices...i'm feeling like a rockstar! Fewf! The trail is nice and rolling and we fly along chatting away. At about 26km I notice 3 guys come out of nowhere from up ahead just standing there...huh? As we approach I realize it's my running friends Al, Garrath, and Erich and they high five me and cheer me on. It was awesome seeing them and it definitely brought a huge smile to my fast and gave me a boost!I had no idea they would be out there today!!

The rest of the run up to aid station #4 around the 32km mark was fun and I felt really good. I knew there was still some tough stuff to come but didn't want to think about it and just enjoyed the run! We start catching up to half marathoners at this point as they were doing an out and back route. I didn't expect to see so many at this point as it should have been pretty late into their race...they were supposed to start 2 hours after us...but apparently they started about 40 mins late as there was a bear on the trail. Aid station 4 is a bit of craziness as we're coming in and half marathoners are everywhere. Leaving the station it climbs up and we run the same route back that we did on the way out for the last 10km. As we're climbing up on this rocky section I don't know if I should be moving out of the way for the people going downhill or if they should move for me?...mostly they moved but I felt bad and the first time I tried to move...i kind of step off the edge of the trail and stumble somehow and total wipe out...so yeah I end up screwing up the people coming down and the people going up...very nice Deb, nice work. Come on though...did you doubt this would happen? Every trail race i've run so far this year i've totally bailed on.

Anyways, from about 8km on my long 22km run with Jeremy ended as I was feeling pretty good and I guess he wasn't and slowed down a bit...however, his longest run in preparation for this event was 26km up to this point so he was doing a pretty kick ass job! I kept going and fully expected him to appear out of nowhere. 8km left and I felt awesome!!! I come to this weird section that looks like it used to be a river with big round rocks...I should have slowed and walked over them but did I? No. I tried to run through it and ended up falling HARD onto both knees and getting a bit of a nasty gash on one of them. Oh my. What a surprise...Deb falls again...shocking I know. It definitely didn't feel good but I was more angry than anything for being such a dumb ass!

Anyhow, I continue on and began to realize that we had come down some crazy downhills a few hours ago to get to that last aid station...which means there's some fun climbing to come...damn! All i'm going to say was that the next 4km were tough...tough! And while i'm cursing the hills I look back and see these 2 guys catching me pretty quick...shit balls! Relief hits when I see by their bib that they're half marathoners...saweet. But I also notice this girl farther back down the trail power hiking and moving pretty quick...to me she looks like the girl I passed over 25km ago! That instantly gets me moving quicker and finally i'm into the last 4 km which is pretty much flat or downhill...running scared! I can't get caught when I have 4 km to go!!

And I didn't...yay! I finished a long day in 4:39 and managed to get 3rd place overall female. Unfortunately I heard throughout the second half of the run that I was only 2 mins behind the 2nd place woman but i never saw her! I had trouble believing that but it's true...first place was Doone Watson (also heading to Transrockies) with about 3 mins on me and the second place lady was about 2 mins on me. Honestly, I couldn't have given anymore and was pleased with my finish! And it turns out that it was a half marathon female that I had been running scared from so I should say thanks to her for motivating me to pick up the pace!

After the race, my friend Alan (who also finished about 3-4 mins ahead of me) and I drove a few mins down the road to get to the glorious river to soak our legs...damn that glacier fed stuff is cooold. I could only manage to get in just passed my knees...i'm kind of a wimp that way! We spend the next couple of hours waiting around for the awards and chatting with everyone about the race. I was happy to discover a lot of people had also bailed and looked worse off than me with their cuts and scrapes :) However one guy that ran the half marathon ended up falling and having a stick go completely through his hand...poor guy was rushed off to the hospital!

For my third place finish I got a sweet ass SmartWool long sleeve zip merino wool shirt...it fits perfect! Great prize! Oh and remember the "wildlife incident" that caused the detour and the race being a bit shorter finishing at about 41.3km? Apparently there was a cougar kill on the trail that a grizzly was now enjoying. Yikes. Pffft...and Alan called me a rookie for running with bear spray...whatevs, if it wasn't for Jeremy i would have spent almost the whole day by myself and it's Kananaskis Country...bear country people. I feel safer with it...bears freak me out!

So yeah, this was definitely the hardest race I've ever done and I'm damn sore! I wore my skins in the race and i think they really helped a lot and now i'm recovering in my zoots which are a bit tighter...feels great. I'm actually thinking about buying a pair of compression tights for Transrockies for recovery each night. My quads and hamstrings are super sore and if they feel like that after each stage then I'll definitely want them!!

It'll be interesting to see how I make out on my run tomorrow. Tonight i'm chilling and watching more of le Tour...can't get enough :)

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Powderface 42...tomorrow!

This time tomorrow i'll be almost 3 hours into the race....seems like i've been talking about it for weeks and now it's finally here! Powderface42!! The forecast looks good and I'm thankful it's not going to be a crazy hot day like it has been out there in the past! Looks like they're calling for sun/cloud and a high of 23 with showers in the afternoon. It takes a while to warm up out there too so I expect i'll be finished long before it even reaches that temperature. It's going to be ideal for me!

The entire race, including the half marathon, is capped at 150 people. I have no real idea who'll be there and how many people are actually doing the marathon. Usually there's tons more doing the half. I know one other guy doing the 42 and two from the blogging world I look forward to meeting...Mike from Banff...and Phil from Canmore (who's also doing Transrockies!).

I have absolutely no idea how long it's going to take me or what to expect...i've never run these trails before...although that seems to be the case in every trail race i've done this year! In a way I kind of like not knowing what to expect! From the profile, it looks like it's going to be harder than the Scorched Sole 50km I did a month ago with a lot more ups and downs and it might even take me a bit longer. I'm not sure but it's going to be an interesting day! I never really seem to have a race plan going into any race that I'm doing...regardless if it's on the road or trail...I kind of just go with the flow and how i'm feeling and see what happens from there.

For the past couple of weeks i've been having issues with one of my toes...the one that's next to my big toe. I keep getting a blister on the side and top of the toe after each run but I have no idea what's causing it...it's not even my longest toe! As a result I finally lost the toenail this week - now it matches my other foot as I lost the same toenail on my other foot about a month ago which was a result of running Boston way back. Bizarre. Anyhow, the toe is still annoying me and I could feel it last night during an easy 8km run that I did to loosen up. I'm not sure if I should tape it for tomorrow or just rub bodyglide all around it and hope for the best. Other than that, my legs are feeling pretty good and I seem to be recovered from last weekend's insanity

Yesterday was our stampede team building party with work and since I wasn't drinking it was a pretty funny perspective to sit there as my co-workers got increasingly drunk around me. Some of them made it to work today...some did not lol. It's funny the pressure you get from your co-workers to drink...how many times did I get asked why I wasn't drinking? They know I run and when I say I have a race then they're cool with that...guess that's a good enough excuse around here! Wahoo!

So that's all I got. I'm feeling ready and I'll let you know how it goes :) It's going to be a fun day!


Monday, July 6, 2009

I missed the memo...

...for some reason after 3 years of living here I still haven't clued into the fact that Stampede week in Calgary also means dress like a cowboy/Daisy Duke at work (and this is no conservative Daisy Duke look either people)...seriously, this is no joke...people are nuts in this city...wellll woopity doo! I don't do that. Bah Humbug! I'm actually shocked at the amount of people living here that actually own cowboy boots. By the amount I saw today on the streets I'd say 1 in 2 people in this city own em! Here's what I will do to celebrate Stampede...I will take advantage of not having to dress up for work this week and I will wear jeans each day...but that is as far as it goes!

And now onto more important things...

This was a tough weekend of running for me...both mentally and physically. I'm glad I got through it as they say that kind of stuff makes you stronger...but really...who are "they"?...and does it really? I dunno but I hope so...i'm completely bagged from this weekend.

The weatherman forecasted heat for Vernon this weekend...and that's what we got. It was a blazin hot one from the moment I arrived on thursday evening till the time I left yesterday afternoon.

Friday's run was to be an evening run as my brother was working and then had a friend visiting in the afternoon. We had a fun afternoon with a walk to the beach for a swim. Logan must have been pretty hot as I've never seen him swim so far out from shore before.

By the time we started our run in Kal Park it was almost 7pm. It was still 30 degrees and I could feel it, despite the shade we were in during much of the run. I didn't feel good from the very beginning...my legs just felt like lead and I could not lift them for the life of me. On one particularly hard climb we were on I finally had to stop for a break and I got swarmed by mosquitoes...and when I get bit, they turn into giant welts...my arms and back probably have at least 30 bites...not cool at all.

I finally started to feel a little better once the really tough climbs were over and we got to do some fun downhill singletrack stuff! We get to about 1km to go and stop dead in our tracks as a rattle snake is on the side of the trail rattling and hissing away...and looking pretty pissed. He wouldn't even budge when Steve started throwing stuff at it. Steve ended up just trotting by which it didn't look to happy with and I followed suit wondering how far those things can lunge at you? Luckily it was all talk and no action :) That was my first time seeing a rattler!

We finished 17km with some pretty sore muscles. I'm not used to feeling sore after a shorter run like that but the heat definitely messed with me for sure. All I have to say is how much I love my compression socks lately. My legs feel like a million bucks putting those on after a run!

Saturday started with 2+ hours infront of the tv watching the first day of the Tour de France. Damn is that ever addicting. We wanted to leave for our run by 10am but Day 1 was close to finishing so we ended up delaying our run till around 11am. It was already 25C degrees by this point...our own fault but hey, you've gotta get used to running in heat too...you never know what race day will be like right?

The first half of this run again started out really tough for me yet my brother was a rockstar...i am not used to running in heat and the climbing in the beginning was so tough. I felt guilty that I was having such a hard day and kept apologizing but i've got to learn to stop doing that. We're both going to have tough days at Transrockies and have just got to deal with it and not let it get you down mentally as well. He's very good at keeping optimistic and motivating me along though when i'm having a tough time which i'm pretty thankful for.

We knew there was a lake up there that we were going to cool off in and when I needed it most is when it showed up at around the 18km mark. Wahoo! It was fabulous and we felt frigging amazing after that! The rest of the run up to the 32km mark was pretty decent and there was a river that flowed all the way down so we got to stop lots to dunk our heads. I was pretty thankful for that!

At 32km we were out of the trees and back down to the road for the rest of the way home. Steve had used up all of his 3L of nuun he brought with him so we made a stop at Esso and asked if they had a sink we could use to fill up our hydration bladder. After having to explain what we needed it for the lady agreed! I thought it was fairly obvious why we needed water but apparently not!

Back out on the road...not fun...it was 35 degrees in the shade...but we had no shade! Ugh! According to Google Earth we measured that it would be 10km to get home from here...this was not the case. A little bit further and we see a sign that says "Vernon 13km"...I was like WTF?!? That's going to be over 50km!! Finally at about 36km we decided to call Kira to come get us and she arrived when we were getting close to 40km. I'd had it...that was enough for sure!! This was a long hard day and a blizzard has never tasted so good to me as the one I had that night :)

Sunday was a relaxing morning of watching Day 2 of the Tour, cherry picking in the backyard, and the end of a super exciting Wimbledon final!! I was also happy to get to go to Kira's babyshower before the long drive back to Calgary...i'll be Aunt Deb in less than a month! :)

The rest of the week will be fairly easy running as I do a mini taper before race day on saturday! Wish me luck!


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Canada Day Atop the Moose

Yesterday I decided to finally join the Trail Trash runners for a group run up Moose Mountain. For whatever reason I've never been able to make any of the trail runs till now so it was a nice change! When I awoke at 6am to find a beautiful sunny day out there, my immediate thoughts of rolling over and going back to sleep disappeared. Plus I promised Logan the night before we were going on a fun trail run where a bunch of other dogs would be too!! We met at the carpool lot in Calgary at 7:30am for the drive out to Kananaskis and met some others at Moose Mountain trailhead to find 12 people and 5 other dogs. Awesome!

A little info on Moose Mountain....it is the most easterly Rocky Mountain near Calgary...and it takes its name from its profile on the horizon that looks like a moose resting. It's an out and back route...15km round trip...7.5km to the top at 7995 ft where there is a fire lookout and helicopter landing pad. I'm still pretty lame when it comes to stopping and taking pictures on a run so here are some that Hugh took yesterday!

Beautiful morning!!

This is where we came from....

Here's some steeper stuff on the way up...look closely and you can see my white hat towards the top left...in close pursuit are Alan in red and one of the dogs (Logan by the way left me in the beginning to run with the 2 fast guys in the group! He prefers boys :) He would have gotten to the top before me but I had to call him back and put him onleash...it's quite dangerous up there and on leash dog signs are everywhere as you approach the fire lookout.)

Me and Logan chilling out on the Heli pad and having a snack :)

Me, Karen and Logan on our way back down with Moose in the distance.

Me and Charlie on the way back...Logan is tired and is falling behind!

Besides the great company, an added bonus to running with this group is that everyone brings some kind of awesome treat to have back at the trailhead for a little tailgate party :) Now that's my kind of run and a great incentive for me to run with these guys more often! haha :) When we got back home Logan and I enjoyed a huge nap and then got ready to head over to a friend's house for a BBQ.

Unfortunately Logan was suffering majorly bad gas for the entire evening and totally stunk out James' apartment. I tried to explain this is what happens to him (and sometimes myself haha) after (or during) a run. Honestly, it was the worst gas that has ever come from him and it was pretty much flowing in 10 min intervals...Logan totally knows how to clear a room...even James' dog Chance left a couple of times lol.

Anyways, that was my Canada Day...it was a gooder! I'm on my way to Vernon again this afternoon for the weekend for some running with Steve. Can't wait! It's going to be tougher this weekend because it'll be my first experience this year running in some much hotter temps than i'm used to...forecast says 33C.

Have a great weekend!