Monday, December 16, 2013

Halfway through December already?!?

Running is going really well these days and we're already halfway through the Strides Run Streak! I can't believe it's Dec.16th already!  December started off really painfully cold and while I like to take pride in the fact that I will go outside for a run in most conditions...I just wasn't having it. The thought of putting on 10 lbs of clothes and trudging around town at an unbearably slow pace just to say I got outside and ran in -30? thanks! I wanted some good quality I spent quality time with my treadmill and Netflix for 8 days in a row! I actually find the treadmill a really good training tool and was mixing it up lots with speed work, hill climbing, power hiking workouts etc.

When it finally did warm up again, I had an extra pep in my step when I headed back outdoors and noticed I was regularly running faster that I was before. It's been 2.5 months since I've been fully back running after my injury and I'm happy to say I'm definitely feeling I'm in the same place (or perhaps even a littler further along) than I was this time last year. Wahoo!

Even though I've never been a morning running person and likely never will be, I've really been enjoying my morning weights/strength/core workouts! I've been consistently going to the gym a few mornings a week and I think this is ultimately what I've been missing from my training regime this whole time. It's great that you can run and run and run, miles upon miles, week in week out - but eventually you're likely going to get injured or niggles going on that you could have avoided! Trust me, I've made this mistake many times!

This is the year I'm going to be a faster AND stronger ultrarunner! My body needs to take me through anywhere from 5 to 20+ hour days out there on the trails this summer. Let's do this! I'm loving Christmastime more than anything - but definitely super excited for what the New Year brings!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I won the lotto! :)

Yup I won the kind of lotto that is - my first ever race I've entered that's gone through the lottery process! The Miwok 100 km is usually pretty popular and they only let in 350 runners each year so i'm pretty pumped! I'll be running 100km with 12,000 ft of total elevation gain in the Marin Headlands, which i think is officially in Sausalito, Ca but literally just across the Golden Gate bridge. So we'll be making a mini vacation out of it and hopefully taking a week to check out San Francisco and surround after the race

Here's a look at the course profile - fun no?

This is gong to a be a long race for fairly early season for me...i'm usually a 50km girl up until at least June with a 50 mile thrown in there after.  This race is May 3 which means significant winter training time to get up to 100km shape.Yikes.  This is good though as originally i was going to sign up for the Gorge Waterfalls 100km. And while I would still love to run this some day - March 30 is a really really early race for me to be running that distance.

In other news, the #stridesrunstreak continues and i've run 12 days in a row now. Yesterday I had zero time - busy at work and busy after work so I stuffed in a bare minimum 1 mile run with L-Dawg at around 9pm. My own minimum was going to be 5km for the month of December but this was the one day that I allowed myself to slack off and just get the 1 mile in. I think my body needed the break anyway so a nice little jog around the block with Logan was actually pretty fun.

My parents arrive today for 2 weeks of Christmas fun. It should be good - and Dad brought his ice skates so maybe we'll hit up the Olympic Oval for some public skates. I've never been there, not even to race around the track so it'll be fun to go skating. However i'm pretty pathetic - like really pathetic. So i might put on some knee pads under my pants. I can't risk falling on my knees as I don't think my left knee would survive a fall like that after just getting over last year's fall on the trails and bashing it on a rock.

That's it for now. Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sinister 7 Take 2

Yay, I managed to get through the stressful registration process yesterday and register for the Sinister 7 Ultra! I was in Vernon for the weekend visiting my family and couldn't leave to make the drive home to Calgary until after registration. Last year I think this race sold out in like 12 mins so I knew it would be crazy again - if not more so this year as the race has been extended to be a full 100 miler now which appeals to a lot more people. 

Anyway, it was super stressful as the site was slow and bogged down and I was definitely doing a little panicking when 20 mins had gone by and I couldn't get the site working in my favour! But I'm happy to say I'm in and pumped to be toeing the line again next year! A chance to redeem myself after last years stupid fall ending my race early!

Here's a pic of me running it as part of a relay in 2012. It was like 30 degrees that day....

In other news, yesterday was the beginning of the 3rd annual Strides Running store #stridesrunstreak. Basically you run every day of December and I've done it so far each year! It's fun as they have prizes and little things going on to keep you motivated. The rules state that you only have to run a minimum of 1 mile per day but my own goal is a minimum of 5 km. Unfortunately today we're having a blizzard in Calgary and super cold temperatures all week. While I'm usually pretty good running in all kinds of conditions and temps, I'm feeling particularly wimpy this week and will likely be spending quality time with my treadmill!

Happy running! And stay warm out there!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Looking forward to 2014!

Almost a full year has gone by since I wrote on this blog. That's surprising to me as I actually thought I had been writing throughout last season pretty much right up to my A race - Sinister 7 Ultra. Obviously this was not the case since my last post was in January! I didn't have a great 2013 race season unfortunately. I did have two great was the Calgary Police Half marathon in April where I accomplished my goal of breaking 1:30. I knew this was doable for a while - the probably is i don't train for these fast races. Ultrarunning is where my heart is at. However, that's not to say i don't want to be speedy either! So every now and then i'll sign up for a half marathon and see how it goes. I ran a 1:28:47 on a pretty tough course so i was pumped with that. I killed the first easier half of the race with both a 5 km PB (sub 20 mins) and 10km PB (sub 40 mins). It was a 3 PB in 1 kinda race :)

The second race and only ultra of the season :-( was the Fast Trax 50 mile in Edmonton. It was a fairly flat and fast course on cross country ski trails. I'm not a fan of looped courses and we had to run  a 10 km loop 8 times which was mentally painful for some reason. However I had a great race and finished in around 7:17, 1st female and 2nd place overall.

Other than these two races, it was mostly all training all the time for my goal of the summer - the Sinister 7 Ultra. 148kms in the Crowsnest Pass of Alberta. Unfortunately for me that race ended early, part way through the second leg where I stopped paying attention for a second, caught my toe on a rock or tree root, took a fall and bashed my knee on a rock. There was a time when i used to be the queen of falling during a trail run and it was never a big deal. But that fall was rough. I've never felt pain like that and sat there while some lovely runners came by and patched me up - while delaying their relay team in the process. I was so grateful! After a while I thought things were ok and kept running - however I think it was the adrenaline. I decided to keep going and start leg 3 of the race. About 10km into that leg i called it quits at the aid station. My knee was not happy and neither was I!! Bummer.

That was an early end to what was to be an exciting race season. The knee took a long time to heal and I didn't get back to running again until the beginning of October - almost 2 months ago now. Andrew and I were in Europe for the month of September and did a ridiculous amount of walking and hiking around. I think this helped my knee a lot and when I thought it was finally ready, I did a little 28 min run/walk - (5 mins running, 2 mins walking) x4. You hear so many stories of people given the go to start running again and they immediately overdo it and re-injure them-self. I was determined that would not be me! I pretty much stuck to the run/walk thing for the first few weeks back and just changed up the intervals.

And here we are at the end of November and i'm happy to say things are going really great so far and i'm loving being able to go for a run everyday. I missed it so much - especially when lunchtime rolled around and I had to go to the gym for a workout instead of getting my butt out the door for a run! December 1st is the beginning of Strides Run streak where we run everyday of December and this will be my 3rd year participating. For the most part it's pretty easy as I already run 6 or 7 times a week as it is. It's those times when you've done a little too much celebrating at all those Christmas parties where the last thing you want to do is run the next day. But I usually find that once I get out there and get going, i'm good to go! So bring on the streaking!

2014 running plans have been in the works for a while - pretty much since I got injured lol. But as all of the dates to register and enter lotteries for races approaches, i've been trying to nail down everything that I want to do. Below is a preliminary list - needless to say, i'll be heading back to Sinister 7 again in 2014 to redeem myself after this years falling fiasco! How appropriate that this would be the year they decide to increase the distance from 148km to a full on 100 miler. My first 100 mile race too. I'm pumped :)

At first glance May looks a little ridiculous, but i'm having trouble deciding so they are all maybes. Not sure if i'll throw a marathon into the mix or not. If I do another road marathon, I definitely don't want anything half ass about it and i'd be aiming for a sub 3 hour for sure.

March 30 - Gorge Waterfalls 100km - Oregon - throwing my name in the lottery, hoping to get in!
April 20 - Yakima Skyline Rim 50km - Washington
May 4 - Vancouver Marathon (Maybe)
May 18 - Sun Mountain 50 Mile - Washington (Maybe)
May 24 - Blackfoot Ultra 100km - Edmonton, AB (Maybe)
June 8 - Beacon Rock 50 km - Washington
July 5 - Sinister 7 100 mile - Crowsnest Pass, AB
August 16-17 Squamish 50/50 (50 miles Saturday, 50km Sunday) - Squamish, BC - REGISTERED!
September 6 - Lost Soul 100km, Lethbridge, AB

Obviously this is not a definite list and is open for a ton of change - especially since the only race i'm registered for so far is the Squamish 50/50 - which i'm super pumped about. A lot of other races are thoughts in my head of what i'd like to do and dependant on how i'm recovered from other races, how training is going etc, lotteries etc.

ok that's it for now - let's try and keep blogging throughout 2014 :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Last weekend in January!

I had a fun weekend! There was a lot of relaxing, running, hiking, good food and some girl time. Andrew was off on a guys ski trip to Revelstoke and I definitely got a good fill of me time this weekend. It was all about me me me :) Those are good now and then!

Saturday morning involved some coffee, oatmeal and a serious amount of laziness till around 1pm! I was shocked at the time and realized I better get my butt in gear and out the door for a run! I had planned on 20km for my long run this week as i'm slowly slowly increasing the distance of these runs. I'm at 4 months out from marathon day so there's no need to be going insane with the long running yet! I have been maintaining longer weekly mileage than i'm used to though and it's feeling pretty good so far. This was my second week at 80km and i'd like to get comfortable at that weekly distance before moving up closer to 100+ km. Again...4 months out, no need to do anything crazy!

Beauty day at Nose Hill

Saturday night my girlfriends and I went out on our monthly date night. This month we tried Black Betty Burger & Winebar. I can't comment on the burgers, I probably should have tried one though since i'm assuming it's good for burgers and wine? But they had like 8 different types of grilled cheese and I just had to have one! It was quite good - brie, poached apples, maple pepper bacon, and applewood cheddar. Yum!

Today was my day off from running! Ahhh, it was nice! I wanted to check out what COP (Canada Olympic Park) was like for running so decided to take Logan there for a good hike this morning. Nose Hill was pretty icy in spots yesterday so I wasn't sure what COP would be like. I wore my microspikes in case it turned out to be crazy but it was actually nicely packed snow with no ice.

Logan and I had a blast. I had him tied around my waist and he was just pulling me along. He's getting older and while you wouldn't know to look at him as he rips around, he's been known to hurt his paw sometimes when he gets all fired up racing through the trees. I think he sprained it once a few years ago and now it seems easy for him to aggravate it again. So it wasn't an off leash day.

We had a great morning and took a few pics of our little hike. Can't wait to get back there soon for a good run!

 Fun single track

 Hidden Gem at COP
 Logan checking out the city on top of a huge slab
Logan wants to go for a ride!
Finished off my day with a weekly house cleaning/laundry extravaganza and made a huge pot of chili. Thinking of an early bedtime for some reading. Good night!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Decision made!

Registration for Death Race was yesterday. While it's filling up really fast, i don't think it's sold out yet. However, I did finally make a decision yesterday to not register. There's a couple of reasons. One being, I just don't think i'll be recovered properly within 4 weeks from Sinister7 to race Death Race. I don't want to do it just for the sake of doing it. If i'm going to register for a race like that, then I want to do well! And seeing as how I came 2nd last year, I'd definitely be aiming for a podium spot again!

My second reason for not doing it is that the race fee is insane...something like $325 I believe it is. I'm not a sponsored athlete and that is a ton of money to fork over! Andrew and I have a month long trip to Europe planned in September so i'm busy saving money for that. Like my brother also mentioned to me yesterday - by the time August rolls around, i'm starting to get tired of training and racing and mentally preparing. I think it'll be nice to have my big races over by early July and then enjoy the rest of the summer.

That being said, I did register for one more race to add to my schedule - Iron Legs 50 mile which is in mid August. I raced it in 2011 and it was awesome and I somehow managed to win it. This year i'm hoping with all the extra training i've been doing for Sinister7 that i'll be able to smash my 50 mile time. It's a tough course and I managed a 9:39. I would be thrilled if I could break 9 hours! That's my goal. Hopefully recover goes well after Sinister7 as i'll have 6 weeks until Iron Legs. Even if i'm not fully recovered, it'll still be a fun day out in the mountains!

I'm in the middle of another solid week of training and looks like Calgary is thawing out for the weekend, wahoo!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Twas a good training week!

Last week was a great week of training! I ran a total of 80km which actually felt pretty good and my legs handled it well! The past few marathons I've raced, there's been no set training for them. Aside from last year's early season Calgary marathon which happened to be my 3rd weekend in a row of racing, usually a marathon for me has come at the end of a long trail racing season. I've done really well but again most of my training was on the trails and I threw in a marathon for fun to see how I'd do in the fall! This year is different, my winter/spring training is focusing on the marathon - getting a lot of mileage in and actually getting in regular weekly speed/interval sessions. Again, that's new for me! I'm trying to be a little more structured!

That being said, while i'm excited to race the marathon and hopefully attain my time goal, i'm pumped for some serious time on the trails and hopefully some great racing this season. Gary Robbins killed it at the HURT 100 this weekend and it was super inspiring. He's been making his way back from injury for a while now and he's probably in the best shape he's ever been - and breaking in course record by over 30 mins. I was glued to the live updates of the race all day yesterday and was pumped to wake up this morning and discover he'd won.

While all I want to do is run a ton everyday, clearly there needs to be regular rest days and easy days. Today is just that! No running for me today - just some fun longer dog walks on a beautiful yet coooold Calgary day.

That's it for now - enjoy a great Sunday! Ready for another great training week ahead!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Ready for another great year!

2013 is going to be great. I can feel it. I'm excited. There is lots to look forward plan, to train for, to enjoy, to travel.

2012 wasn't too shabby either. I raced a lot and had a lot of great outcomes - my most satisfying being the Canadian Death Race. It was epic! I was pumped with my final result - 2nd place overall female - and was chasing down the 1st place female all day. I had a fab crew (my brother, his wife and kids).

While last year was awesome and I raced my little heart out, i'm ready to train hard hard hard and look forward to a few less races this year. I want to focus on my A races and in between just train. None of this "Training race" business I was up to last year. I'm going to listen better to my body, train better, recover better, and hopefully see even better outcomes in the end!

Aside from a couple of half marathons i've signed up for over the winter, my A races are a short list:

1. Calgary Marathon - May 26 - Sub 3 hours please. I would be pumped with a sub 3:05 but I can't say that a sub 3 hour marathon isn't a goal of mine. So why the heck not - i'm putting it out there right now!

2. Sinister 7 Ultra - July 6 - 148km of magic out at Crowsnest Pass. 23km longer than the Death Race. The more I read about this race, the more stoked I am. I've got 6 months to get myself dialed in for that race! I raced Leg 5 last year as part of a team and it was awesome. It may have been 30 degrees and I saw soloists dropping like flies out there - but that just adds to the challenge now doesn't it.

Ok those are my big A races. But wait, there's more ... For some unknown reason I recently started thinking more and more about the Death Race again. Why? I don't know. I've been there, done a sweet crystal skull to prove it. But wouldn't it be awesome to take another crack at it... yes, 4 weeks in between these two big ultras is not much time to recover and get back into the game. But I think I can do it.

I'm thinking about it...hard. Registration is coming up at the end of the month...i'll let you know my decision!