Monday, May 16, 2011

weekly summary: reality check

I only ran twice last week, and did the BCMC once (trail up grouse mountain, about an hour to hike up). That's pretty bad considering that I want to have higher mileage this month. On Wednesday I was going to run but my sore leg was protesting loudly so I thought I'd give it a rest day. Then on Thursday and Friday I was sabotaged by work and exhaustion. Saturday was the hike and Sunday I just ran 5 miles paved.

I really need to get in some miles (in particular, a couple more good long runs) if I want to run the ultra in June. So I'm going to try to pump it up a bit more this week. Hopefully this week won't be as crazy as last...

My leg is still sore and I still don't know why, so I am just backing off when the pain increases and running when it's ok to do so. I will just have to play it by ear for the next few weeks I guess. :/

Sunday, May 8, 2011

weekly summary

So glad to be back on the trails again!

Two test runs of 5 miles each (Tuesday and Thursday). Both felt fine. Leg has been a bit sore since I started running again, but it is manageable and isn't getting worse with each run. Saturday I did 5 miles paved (stupid pavement). Today was 19 miles, trails, with the puppy. He was very bad today... being a jerk to the other dogs, and he even knocked a lady over while he was trying to chase her dog. I had to leash him in several areas because he just wasn't listening. What a character. The run was good though... I felt really tired physically but mentally I felt great, and I love how lush and green the rainforest is becoming at this time of year. Legs are a bit sore... that was my first long run since my 50k a month ago.

Things are looking promising for the ultra on June 18. :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Not as broken as I thought

Two weeks ago I wrote that I had a stress fracture. I hadn't had it diagnosed, but was in a fair amount of pain and the sensations and symptoms were just like the two previous fractures I've had, so I was 99% sure that's what it was.

But by the end of week 2, I was having doubts. There was virtually no pain in week two... just a bit of aching if I'd walked a lot in a day. I thought to myself, "either this is the fastest-healing fracture ever or it isn't actually a fracture."

So yesterday I went in to see a doctor and asked for an x-ray. For those who aren't familiar, a stress fracture won't show on an x-ray when it is fresh. It only will show up once it starts to heal, and then the new bone deposits will show on the x-ray. Since it had been two weeks, it should have been showing.

But when I looked at the x-ray, I saw nothing. The x-ray tech also saw nothing, but of course said that we have to wait for the official word from the doctor. Translation in ultra-runner language: go for a test run and see how it feels.

So that's what I did. :)

I did a 5 mile trail run (some gravel, some dirt, some technical) and my leg felt fine. There are a couple of sore spots still, but not in the bone and not on the site that I thought was fractured; it appears to just be muscle/tissue. Last night after the run it was a bit sore, but today feels really good (about 90%). I'm going to rest it today and then do another test run tomorrow.

I am soooo happy not to have to be off for 6-8 weeks!

And the universe seems to be working in my favour, because the 50-miler I wanted to do in May has been bumped back to June 18 due to excessive snow on the trails. This means I can still do it (assuming all goes well with my leg) and in fact it gives me more time for long runs that I would have originally had. Good news, right?! :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Broken... again.

Well, I have a stress fracture. I haven't had it diagnosed officially, but I don't need to since this is my THIRD time through this in the past 5 years.

Not too concerned about taking some time off since I don't have any imminent races. What I am concerned about is the ease with which I seem to acquire fractures. I wasn't increasing my mileage (in fact, April was much lighter than March). It wasn't from my race. I wasn't overdoing anything, and I wasn't doing anything stupid. So where did this come from? Am I more susceptible than average? Do I have low bone density? Is something else going on?

I have no idea, so I plan to go get some tests done next week. Might as well get everything checked out just in case... bone density, vitamin D, and anything else that might be relevant...

And I guess for awhile I will be walking and cycling instead of running. :(

Monday, April 18, 2011

weekly summary

I only ran twice last week. I felt exhausted and unmotivated all week. Add to that the fact that I am now thinking I might not make it to White River this year... the trip was just too expensive last year and I can run local races for much cheaper. I haven't decided 100% yet but I'm leaning towards no. :( That leaves me with no goal race, so I'm going to need to decide on one if I want to maintain motivation.

Anyway, 2 runs for a grand total of 10.3 miles.

Weight: 136.6 (that seems like a drop but it's within regular fluctuation range for me so we'll see what it does next week).

Friday, April 15, 2011

Feature Friday

I'm tickled and honoured to be the subject of "Feature Friday" on my cousin's blog. Check it out! :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Day 3, and my quads are STILL trashed. Ran tonight... it was supposed to be "gentle" and "easy" but one girl in our group didn't have anyone to run with so I went with her and ended up doing a tougher route at a faster pace than I should have. oops. My legs are NOT happy with me (neither were my lungs, on the switchback...). I guess I'm not quite recovered... in spite of having had four naps in the first two days after Diez. lol That race wiped me out. But... maybe I'll run it again next year. ;)

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to White River in July. I love that race so much and can't wait to run it again. I'm hoping to take an hour off of my time this year. We'll see though. That might be a little over-ambitious.

In other news, I need to lose a few pounds. And I think that putting it out publicly for the world to see might help motivate me. The problem is simply that I eat too much junk. I eat based on how I feel each day, and what I'm craving, and what I'm in the mood for. Last year prior to training for White River I was 142lb, and then lost 7lb in training so I was 135 for WR. Then over the fall/winter I gained/lost here and there, and currently I am at 138. So that is still lower than a year ago, but I would love to get down to 130 for WR. Heaven knows I do enough walking and running to burn it off... the problem is my eating habits! So for the next while I'll be adding my current weight to my weekly summaries... maybe that will help keep me accountable...? ugh. Goodbye home baking. :(

And, finally, I was perusing my ultrasignup stats today. I love their rating system (for those unfamiliar, it compares my time with the winning women's time of each race... then averages out all my rankings to give me an overall ranking). What I've noticed is that my performance doesn't seem to depend on my training. My rankings all fall within a 5% range, and I don't generally do better when I train harder. hm. Maybe there is not enough data (I really only have a few races on there... and the site is missing my first 50k from 2007). Or maybe that is just my ability and I'm not sure how to break out of that rut... if running more miles doesn't do it, then what would? I mean, I'll never be *fast* but it would be nice if I could at least see improvement.

anyway, that's enough navel-gazing for one night. Onward! :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Diez Vista 50k Race Report

Today was the 15th annual Diez Vista 50k, held at Sasamat Lake. Since it was my first year running it, they decided to add an extra 1000 feet of climbing on an already tough course (ok, they didn't do it for me but because of construction and flooding going on). I knew it was going to be a tough course by the elevation profile:

What I didn't know was how difficult the actual trails would be, apart from the elevation. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

After about 3 hours of sleep, I woke up this morning with a sore throat and sniffles. Hoped it would be nothing. We started at 7:30am. I knew that the toughest climb was in the first 5 miles (see profile above ;) so I was prepped for that. But whether I'm coming down with a cold or there is some other factor at play, I felt completely winded all day. I always lose my breath on the tough climbs, but today was especially bad. My heart rate was too high and I couldn't get my breath, even on easier sections. This made the steep climbs really tough, and I kept having to pause and catch my breath. It slowed me down a lot over the course of the day. :(

Aside from being winded, I felt physically and mentally fine today.

The first big climb takes you up 1600 feet over 8km, but it starts out gentle and gets progressively steeper (and more technical) as you go. After the first aid station, it was straight up, and many people passed me on this climb as I was constantly stopping to get my breath. I actually felt dizzy a few times and wondered if I should continue, but I figured the climb couldn't last forever and then I'd be fine. ;)

Here are some of the Vistas along the way:

After the major climb, there is a long, technical downhill to the second aid station. This was my favourite part of the race. I love technical downhills, and I was still fresh enough to really enjoy it. The trails in this section are rough, narrow, and in some places barely there. It was just me and the earth, boulders, trees, and water. A trail runner's nirvana is that feeling of being connected to the earth. And this might sound hokey to some, but I also felt more connected to my aboriginal roots than I think I ever have. Loved this section.

As I arrived at the second aid station, this sign made me smile:

I confess that the next section is a bit hazy in my memory. There were some gravel sections, some dirt sections, some ups and downs, but nothing particularly memorable. I don't remember the third aid station at all, but I remember the 4th for two reasons: I stopped to use the outhouse there (first time I've ever had to pee during an ultra) and it was the start of the second-largest climb, on an out-and-back. This climb started with a big switchback but then became gentler for awhile before coming out of the soft happy trails and onto a really rocky, awful powerline-trail-type-road-thing. It was brutal... mentally more than physically. Throughout the race there had been a number of loose-rock sections that were tough to run (think creek bed rocky) but this was the mother of them all. I was really glad when we crested the top of this climb because I knew that any climbs after that would be smaller. Down to the 5th aid station, where I finally got some Coke (I didn't see any before then...) and wanted to take the bottle with me! It was so yummy. The other bonus to this aid station was that it was at 37km, so when we turned around to go back along the powerline again, it felt like we were on the home stretch.

Coming down to the last aid station at 44km, I was hurting... even the downhill hurt at this point. I knew that we were getting close, and I thought all the climbing was over. Then a lady who was passing me said that there was another climb. At first I thought she was joking; she wasn't. There was a huge hill after the aid station (it felt enormous, but was actually small compared to the others!). Then I lost heart a bit, and I started to get grouchy and whiny. I couldn't believe how long it was taking and how much I was hurting, and how annoyingly rocky the trail was. I walked most of the last few km back.

Arriving at the finishing chute, I was walking. The announcer said that they weren't going to cheer unless I ran into the finish, so I did! It hurt. But there was apple crisp waiting for me at the finish, so that was worth it.

I clocked in at 8:54ish. I never dreamed it would take me that long, or that the course was that tough (I think my breathing issues made a big difference too). That's a full hour slower than my previous slowest time, and I'm much better trained now than I was for the previous one.

Now please pass the icecream and ibuprofen. :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekly Summary

I took a light week... Monday and Tuesday were just yoga and rest. Wednesday was 4 miles, in anticipation of a long run on Friday (which I mentioned in the previous post). Today was 9.8 miles with my Sunday morning running group. So altogether only 3 runs, for 34.8 miles. That is better than last week, and felt better too. I'm going to try to do some more yoga this week, and taper a bit for the race coming up on the 9th. *Hopefully* I can feel 100% by race day!! It will help that I have some time off of work this week and can rest up. :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Finally, a decent run :)

After taking a few rest/yoga days this week and quitting my stressful job, I wanted to attempt a long run today. Diez Vista 50k is in two weeks and I hadn't had a decent long run yet this month. I had no idea how I would feel today and wasn't excited about the weather, so I decided to keep it easy... I stuck to pavement, gravel, and easy dirt trails, nothing technical or difficult, and with no specific distance in mind.

Around mile 4 I started feeling like the backs of my legs were wetter than the front (it was misting a bit of rain, but nothing major). After a few minutes it was pretty obvious that my backside was getting soaked, so I stopped and checked my pack: sure enough, my hydration bladder had sprung a leak and was dumping water all down the back of me. Lovely. I was able to ration the water long enough to finish the run, but now I have to pick up a new bladder before my race!

Anyway, I felt better today than I have in weeks, and I ended up finishing out around 21 miles. I say "around" because my garmin was being pernicious today and kept shorting me on distance (in one particular 5km stretch it lost a whole km!) so I have to estimate my distance based on my knowledge of the route. I'm counting 21.

So glad to be feeling better. :) And now my work schedule is changing so my stress/busy-ness levels will be greatly reduced, which should also help. :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekly Summary: ugh

It was a terrible week. I don't know what's wrong with me... nothing has changed for my running, but all my runs feel awful lately, and I didn't get nearly the mileage I'd planned last week. I've been getting pains from my ankles up through my shins to the knees, and my legs just feel dead. But my shoes haven't changed, and my mileage is neither unusually high nor unusually low... so I don't know what's going on. Hopefully it resolves itself. Yesterday I was getting the "rest or get injured" message so I will take another light week and then see how I feel.

In the meantime, I've registered for the Diez Vista 50k on April 9, so I really hope I am feeling refreshed by then! I haven't had a run longer than 15 miles in about a month... so I will be running for fun and to complete (technically it's just a supported training run for White River anyway!).

Anyway, last week:
Tuesday - 5 miles night trail run
Thursday - 5 miles paved, with the puppy
Saturday - 8 miles. This was supposed to be a long trail run but I bombed it :(
Sunday - 9.3 miles. I was going to try to make up some of the bombed long run... didn't happen

Total: 27.3 measly miles. what is wrong with me?!

In other news, tonight I'm going to a Yoga for Runners class. I don't know if it will be an ongoing thing or not, but maybe it will help my legs feel better?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Time for Running!

As of April 1, I am trading my two-job-working-six-or-seven-days-per-week arrangement for a 3 day work week. Sweet. Basically, I'm quitting one job and going full time at the other. But it's a condensed work week, giving me four days each week completely off! I'm pretty excited about this... I will have to rearrange my running schedule but overall I should be able to get in more miles, and better quality runs, while still making time for the other important things in life. And one of the great bonuses is that my dog will come to work with me (he already does sometimes, but now he can come every day!).

The only hitch is that my work week ends on Saturday morning... and most ultras are on Saturdays! But I will work that out as I go, either by taking vacation days or leaving work early those mornings. I don't run a lot of races anyway, so it shouldn't be too much of an issue.

It will be interesting to see how my training changes now that I will have more time, and also won't be working awake overnights anymore. Last summer when I was training for White River I really felt the effect of the overnights, especially when I would do a really long run and then not get to go to bed until the next day (I guess that would be good 100 training! lol). More sleep should help in recovery.

With that said, I haven't had a long run in a few weeks, so tomorrow I'm planning to get in a good 20-22 miles. Followed by my second-last awake overnight.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Weekly Summary :)

Good week. My legs felt better than they had the previous couple of weeks. Also, all week I was following Scott McMurtrey doing the Atacama Desert Crossing in Chile. It was very inspiring and kept me running positive. :)

Tuesday - 5 miles night trail run, followed by sushi. This was our last true night trail run of the season, since the time change is taking away our darkness! We will still continue the runs though.
Wednesday - 5 miles with the puppy, paved, followed by my 29th blood donation :)
Friday - 5 miles, paved
Saturday - 15 miles: 8 by myself, 7 with a group, and cake afterwards (mmmmm cake!). This was my best feeling run in weeks, which was a surprise given that it was only 3 days after donating blood.
Sunday - 10.2 miles, half by myself and half with my Sunday morning running peeps. :)

Total: 40.2 miles. My goal was 40 so that is good!

Goal for the coming week is 45, with a 22 mile long run.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekly Summary

This was the second week in a row where my legs felt sluggish and tired. I don't know why... my mileage hasn't been high enough lately to be having that effect. Hopefully this week will get better.

Tuesday - 5 miles in the slushy, sloppy snow.
Thursday - 5 miles paved, with the puppy
Friday - 5 miles paved
Sunday - 15 miles paved

Total: 30 miles, and too much pavement!

Today I tried on the new New Balance Minimus trail shoe. I'm *almost* sold on it, but not quite... in a few weeks I'll go try it on again and see how I feel about it. I did run in them on the in-store treadmill and I loved how it felt, but a couple of spots on the shoe seemed off or too snug, even after going up half a size. We'll see. Definitely check them out though if you are looking for an awesome minimalist trail shoe!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Little Less Sparkle

My first memory of my Grandpa Henry was a story: they said when he was young, he was so strong that he could lift an entire car.

As an adult he raised horses, which were sometimes used for old westerns being filmed in his home state of Montana. Ronald Reagan himself rode my Grandpa's own horse in one of his movies.

When a youngster in his family needed a home, Grandpa Henry gave him one, raising him as his own.

When Grandpa got older, he sometimes had a hard time attaching all of our names to the right person at the right time. Once he was trying to get my name out and it came out "Howard" instead. My family has called me Howard as a nickname since. He always said I should "find a Mennonite to marry," because he thought Mennonite boys were honest, hard-working, and good.

When he told a joke, he would do it so subtly that we almost missed it. Upon realizing that he'd said something funny, we'd look over to see his head down, shoulders shaking in silent laughter.

When he said he would not live to see another Christmas, we all rushed to Montana to visit, in case it was our last chance. He was probably just messing with us: he lived to see two more Christmases.

But as it turns out, that was in fact the last time I saw him. Grandpa Henry passed away early this morning while we slept. In my mom's words, "The world is losing a little bit of sparkle today."

Rest in peace, Grandpa. We love and miss you.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Building Character?

As I've mentioned, I have a regular Tuesday night trail running group. It has been really fun, but is usually my toughest run of the week because I am always the slowest person and am constantly trying to keep up! This is good for me (I think).

Tonight there were just three of us; the rest were probably smarter to stay away, as conditions were terrible. We've had quite a bit of snow over the past few days, combined with warming/freezing temperatures and some rain. It's a slushy, slippery, mucky mess out on the trails right now. As a result, we decided to do an "easy" route tonight. That is, it's an easy route under normal conditions. Tonight it was pretty tough!

The boys were gracious enough to wait for me while I slipped and slid through the snow at a snail's pace. When I was feeling slow and tired, I just reminded myself that even though I'm the slowest person in the group, I'm still among the "hardcore", because I was out running through mucky snow in the middle of the night--on purpose!! lol (hardcore... or stupid? You decide!)

I wanted to take a photo for posterity's sake... That little circle of light is from my cheapo headlamp! :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weekly Summary

Light week, I only ran 3 times:
Tuesday - 5.5 miles night trail run in a small layer of fresh snow
Friday - 14.4 miles trail run. Icy sections slowed me down and made me sore. But overall I was happy with my pace.
Saturday - 8.3 miles road. heavy and lethargic.

Total: 27.2 miles

I don't know why, but every time I take a light week like this, my legs feel more tired and sluggish. But it must do the trick because I always feel better the following week.

I'm glad that I didn't plan to run today... about 4 inches of fresh, greasy snow has fallen since yesterday.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chuckanut 2011

I'm not registered for Chuckanut this year (wanted to, couldn't commit on registration day!). But given that I have some friends running and that there is going to be an all-star line-up at the front, I am thinking about going down for the day, just to spectate and cheer. That is assuming that my new passport arrives in time (it should).

Is anyone else going just for the show? Any locals want to make the trip with me? :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekly Summary

It was a good week--tired, and my runs were slow, but I was happy to get in the miles that I did, and to surpass my goal for the week.

Tuesday - 5.2 miles, night trail run, very fun.
Thursday - 5 miles, paved, wherein the puppy attempted to jump into traffic
Friday - 20.7 miles, trails, with the puppy. I felt exhausted from the start of this run, and considered cutting it short. But when I didn't feel any worse in the second hour than I had in the first, I figured I should keep going. I'm glad I finished out the distance, however slow and difficult it may have been. :)
Sunday - 12 miles, paved. Lovely run along the seawall; bright sun, blue ocean, white mountains. But the wind was chilly and finishing *into* the wind zapped the last of my energy for the week.

Total: 42.9 miles, which is my biggest week in months. It's still not huge, so I'm not sure why my legs have felt so tired lately. This week I'll drop back just a bit, to 30 miles.

Friday, February 18, 2011

a few of my favourite things

While I like cheesy musicals as much as the next person, I can't say that I enjoyed having "a few of my favourite things" stuck in my head for several hours during my long run today. But I think I'll make the best of it, and do a post on a few of my favourite things! :)

My La Sportiva Shoes
Anyone who has made the mistake of asking me about trail shoes has been subjected to a discourse on the superiority of Sportiva shoes. I've been a loyal Sportiva fan since my first pair of Pikes Peak shoes in 2006, and I've never worn another brand of trail shoes. Let me just tell you about my Raptors. Thanks to Sportiva specializing in climbing shoes, they have the best traction of any trail shoe. Ever. They also have these awesome toe guards at the front which protect my toes from anything our rugged trails can throw at me. And my toes never touch the front, even on a steep downhill, because my foot actually stays put in the shoe, no matter the terrain. This means no black toenails (ok, I got ONE at white river but that's because I smashed it on a rock--there are some stupid moves that even toe guards can't prevent!). Have I mentioned that the Raptors come in pretty colours? I never worry about rough, technical terrain when I'm wearing these shoes.

My Nathan Hydration pack
Best $100 I've ever invested. There's not much else to say, except that I don't do a long run or ultra without it. It's incredibly comfortable (you don't even know you're wearing it). It doesn't bounce or chafe; it fits onto your body like a glove. I've used it for hiking and mountain biking as well.

North Shore trails
Check out the latest Trail Runner mag for an article on the amazing place I get to run every week. Beautiful rainforest green, water, mud, rocks, roots, snow, elevation change, spectacular views, endless trails where my dog is free to run off-leash and which we share with a healthy mountain bike community. Add in a climate that allows us to run outside year-round, and it's basically a trail runner's dream.

Running trails at night!
I only started night trail running a couple of months ago, and now have a regular weekly group with which I run. I had no idea that running trails at night would be so much fun! It takes more focus than daytime running, especially on technical trails, and I'm the slowest person in the group; this means that my weekly night runs are both a physical and a mental workout. I love it.

My trail doggy
Yep, he's a PITA sometimes (cf. yesterday's post!) but I love having my Sammy along on trail runs with me, especially the long, lonely ones! I love his enthusiasm, that he jumps into every body of water he passes, and the way he sprawls out on the floor when we get home.

Dr. Oetker's Pizza (post-run)
Seriously, if you haven't tried these, you need to. The pizzas are plate-sized and I have no problem scarfing one down after a long run. The flavour is great. 880 calories per pizza.

Post-long-run showers and naps
I don't think I need to elaborate. It's nap time. :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Doggy Roadkill (almost)

For those who don't know the history, my dog, Sammy, is a rescue. He was 1.5 years old when I brought him home from the shelter, and I was entirely oblivious to the major challenges he was bringing with him. The first year was a LOT of work--blood, sweat, and tears, and it took him 9 months just to relax. That was 4 years ago, and over that time I've been able to get his behaviour from 0% to about 80-90%, and work through his various issues.

One of those issues is other dogs, and leash aggression towards them. He's improved, especially with smaller dogs since they aren't usually as much of a threat to him. But he will lunge at other dogs while on a leash. As a result, my reflexes with the leash have greatly improved. But they are still no match for the reflexes of an impulsive border collie cross.

So when we run roads, we use a 4 foot leash so that I can keep control. We run on the sidewalk, facing traffic, and Sammy runs on my left. This way I am between him and the traffic, and he can sniff the bushes and things on his left. Most of the time, he runs along very well.

This morning we were running on a rather narrow stretch of sidewalk, next to a narrow stretch of road, so the cars were quite close to us. Morning rush hour. We were cruising along at an easy pace, when suddenly a van went past us with a dog in it, and the dog was barking at Sammy as the van passed. My reflexes being slower than his, I did not react quickly enough to prevent Sammy from jumping across my path and directly onto the side of the van. His front feet made contact with the moving vehicle before I yanked him back onto the sidewalk and gave him a thorough tongue-lashing. Scared me half to death. And I'm sure the car *behind* the van was probably the most shaken, since Sammy had essentially jumped in front of it; luckily it wasn't moving quickly.

While the exercise is of course good for him, sometimes running with Sammy is stressful... defeating the purpose of the run for me.

But we're safely home now. :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What Really Causes Runner's High

My favourite part is where they say that running and desserts produce the same response. mmmmm dessert. What Really Causes Runner's High

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Weekly Summary

Tuesday - 5.3 mile night trail run
Wednesday - 6 miles, paved, with the puppy
Thursday - 6.2 miles, paved, with the puppy
Sunday - 18.5 miles, paved

Total: 36 miles

Chocolate consumed: far, far too much. I'm pretty sure I've gained 10lb in the past week. Ok, I know I haven't since I weigh myself daily, but it's amazing how the way we eat can make us *feel* like we're gaining. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day so I will be buying myself chocolate simply on principle... then I'm going to try to get back on track with my eating.

My goal this week is 40 miles... should be manageable since my work schedule is more forgiving this week than it usually is. Onward.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Can't. Stop. Eating. Chocolate.

I have no excuse except possibly hormones.

I can't stop eating chocolate this week. It's bad. So far today I've had a hot chocolate, a boston cream donut (which has chocolate icing on top), and an aero bar. A large one. Yesterday it was m&ms. Monday it was the chocolate lovers belgian waffle at a waffle place on Robson. Saturday and Sunday it was the Peanut Butter Rolo icecream.

My mileage is not currently high enough to support this excessive calorie consumption.

Must run more miles.

(Can I blame February blahs?)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weekly Summary

Good week!

Monday - 3.1 miles with the puppy, paved
Tuesday - 5.6 miles, night trail run
Thursday - 3.1 miles with the puppy, paved
Friday - 18 miles, trail, with the puppy
Sunday - 6.2 miles, paved

Total: 36 miles

Friday, February 4, 2011

Awesome Long Run!

I hadn't done a proper long run since December 3, so it was high time I hit the trails for a few hours!

This morning I headed out with the puppy, and my legs were feeling pretty bagged from the start. There was a part of me that considered bailing early, but fortunately that did not last too long. I ended up having a really fun run... it included everything from groomed, easy trails to some highly technical ones, shoe-sucking mud, ice and snow, stream crossings, and tons of rocks and roots. The slowest part was the ice... it was covered in water and lasted about a mile. The rest was great!

18 miles done, and it felt good. Now the trail puppy and I are getting ready to have a little snooze. :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Billowing Snow and Spiralling Eagles

I went snowshoeing today, for the first time ever! It was a gorgeous day for it, sunny and warm. Great workout, about 3.5 hours (including stops for photos and food). Starting at the Cypress Mountain parking area, we followed the trail to Black Mountain and Eagle Bluffs. The views were spectacular, and we were lucky to see a family of four bald eagles. It was one of those days when I was so thankful to live where I do, and for my health and the privilege of doing things like this (oh wait, that's every day! :).

Here are a few photos:

Here we're overlooking Vancouver, with Mount Baker in the background:

And my weekly summary:
Monday - 7 miles, roads
Tuesday - 6.4 miles, night trail run
Saturday - 9.5 miles, groomed trails
Sunday - 3.5 hours of snowshoeing! :)

My mileage has been pretty low for the last couple of weeks. I'm hoping to do better this week, but life is crazy busy these days, so we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Speaking of Water

This morning I ran about 20k, 12 by myself and 8 with my Sunday morning running peeps. :)

This is where we ran this morning:

The other direction looks on to Stanley Park and the Lionsgate Bridge. On a clear day, Mount Baker is large in the distance:

Weekly Summary
Tuesday - 5.3 miles with my night trail run group. One injury (not me!).
Wednesday - 3.1 miles with the puppy, followed by my 28th blood donation. I was very happy to see that my heart rate and blood pressure were those of an ultra runner. :)
Friday - 15 miles, paved.
Sunday - 12.5 miles, paved.

Total: 35.9 miles

Friday, January 14, 2011

and the streams are all swollen with winter

"Winter" as I knew it growing up was a vastly different beast from what we have here in paradise. I remember one Christmas break in high school when temperatures plunged to -54C. It was so cold that my poor little 1980 Chevette simply could not warm up, and we had to scrape the ice off the windows--from the inside--while we drove; otherwise visibility would have been impossible. I remember massive mounds of snow, so big that we would tunnel through them and build forts. I remember months on end of darkness, cold, ice, blizzards, and ice fog.

Then I moved here.

And here, January looks like this:

Ok, that picture is from a year ago, but we have had days like that this year too! Mostly, though, winter in North Vancouver means water. Lots and lots of water. Water pouring from the sky, water oversaturating the grass, water streaming down the sides of the mountains. A few weeks ago I was driving the Sea to Sky highway with someone and we were both amazed at how many dozens of waterfalls had appeared on the side of the highway.

Today's run was similar. On days when I want some distance but am too tired (or lazy) to run trails, I hit the Seymour Valley Trailway. It's paved, undulating, traffic-free, and gorgeous. On a rainy day like today, it looks like this:

And today, there were dozens of new little waterfalls lining the trailway, and making for a very enjoyable run:

Some people complain about the rain here... I like to remind them that the rain gives us the rainforest... and this wouldn't be paradise without that! :)

(15 miles done!)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weekly Summary :)

After eating too much and running too little in December, I feel like I'm getting back on track a bit this week.

Tuesday - Night trail run, group, 4.5 miles
Friday - 10 miles, trails, with the puppy (actually it was only 60% trails, 40% roads)
Saturday - 13.5 miles, but the middle part was a 9km hike with 900m elevation gain (went up Lynn Peak). Great workout, and I think I should make this a more regular part of my training!
Sunday - 10k with the puppy, paved

Total: 34.2 miles

Good week! :) Still have to shed the christmas weight though...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Weekly Summary and 2010 Review

Four runs this week, nothing long:
Monday - 4.5 miles, trails, with a friend
Tuesday - 6.2 miles, paved
Saturday - 10 miles, paved
Sunday - 4.4 miles, paved, with two new acquaintances
Total - 25.1 miles

2010 Summary
January - 26.2 miles, just starting again after two injuries and losing all my fitness
February - 68 miles, starting to get my groove back. An ultrarunning friend plants the idea in my head to run White River in July. My first thought: "you're insane, I can't go from 0 to 50 that quickly!". My second thought: "well, maybe I could..."
March - 110 miles, testing out the body to see if I could safely jack up my mileage without getting re-injured. All goes well.
April - 170 miles, my highest month to that point.
May - 160 miles (holding instead of increasing). My first 100k week ever.
June - 187 miles, finding the balance between too much and not enough. More 100k weeks, first time past 300km in a month, first 50k training run outside of a race.
July - 176 miles, 50 of which were in my race. :) I peaked at the beginning of July with a 111km week.
August - 114 miles, recovering and resting when I wanted.
September - 105 miles, same strategy as August, with a few long runs to prep for the marathon.
October - 100.4 miles, including improving my marathon pb by 14 minutes.
November - 134.8 miles, starting to ramp up again for spring ultras. 10k pb.
December - 92.2 miles, slacking a bit with Christmas!

Overall it was a great year, and looking back to where I was one year ago, I am VERY happy with what I accomplished. As I said in a previous post, my focus will come off of running in 2011, so I'm not sure how it will end up, but I'll try to at least keep up my base mileage and run a few good trail races. :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hello 2011!!

For awhile I had big ultra plans for 2011. I definitely want(ed) to do some 50ks, at least one more 50-miler (preferably a couple!), and heck, maybe even a 100.

And as much as I'd love to still do all of those things, I have recently realized that some other areas of my life need my focus for awhile--not the least of these is my career (or, if you will, my current lack of a career). I love ultra running, but I have to admit that it takes up a lot of time, energy, and money--all things that are in short supply for me these days.

So with that in mind, 2011 will NOT be the year of the ultra for me. I still want to run a few, but my mileage probably isn't going to get too high, and the races will only happen insofar as they don't interfere with the rest of life. And yet I'm not sad about that, because I am excited about what I'm going to do in the other areas. :)

Now I don't know what my race schedule is going to look like! I will probably stick to races that are local (to save time and money) and just run what works each month.

Still, I'd love to hit 1500 miles this year, which I narrowly missed in 2010. That means 125/month average. So I started with a 10 mile New Years Day run to kick things off. :)