Lost Soul 100k

11 Oct

After sleeping through registration for this race many months ago (it sold out in just a few hours), I had decided I would just go and help crew my friend Adria while she ran it. Luckily, a couple spots opened a few weeks before and I managed to get one of them.  The race takes place in Lethbridge, Alberta, about 3.5 hours from where I live.  I drove out to Lethbridge on the Thursday to stay with Adria.  We had our crew over to her place for dinner to discuss the race, which took place the next morning.  Unfortunately the theme of races this year seems to be scorching hot, and the temperature was supposed to be somewhere around 35 degrees, which I’m told means 40 degrees in the coulees.

The race is kind of split into 2 loops, so you repeat parts of the course a second time (or 3 times for the 100 milers).  We started at 9:00am Friday morning and it wasn’t feeling too hot just yet, probably thanks to the smoke.

Leg 1- South Loop.  This section is about 7km and felt pretty easy.  We started at the Lethbridge Lodge (this area is called headquarters) to the sound of bagpipes as we ran downhill and did a short section of until we got onto some trail.  Adria and I ran this leg together in about 43 minutes or so.  I really had to pee and so I was probably running faster than I should have back to HQ so I could use a port-a-potty.   We were having fun and it was still pretty cool out.  This leg isn’t too hilly until the climb back to HQ at the end.  After a quick bathroom break we set our for the second leg.
21462804_10156084352501840_8075080253529432388_n

Leg 2- HQ to Softball Valley.  This leg is about 8km and is pretty easy running for the most part.  There are a few hills but the climbs in this race are short and steep and compared with mountain races, are really not too bad.  I actually like the break from running…. this course has a lot of flat sections where you can make up time.  I started off this leg with Adria, but then I started to feel my stupid stitch pain and knew I needed to take it easy and practice breathing better.
IMG_2609

I like running with friends, but during a race I also enjoy being by myself so I know I’m running the pace that feels best for me at the time.  My goal was just to finish and get my Western States lottery ticket and not feel like crap (the Golden Ultra was two weeks away).   I think this leg took me just under an hour.

Leg 3- Softball Valley to Pavan.  10km of many hills made this leg feel pretty hard once it started to get really hot out.  My stitch was staying somewhat under control as long as I didn’t run to much downhill.   I’m thankful my terrible experience at Sinister this year is making every other race seem not so bad. I actually think the smokiness made the heat tolerable because the sun wasn’t shining directly on us.  Unfortunately the smoke also made it a DNF day for some people, so I’m thankful my lungs didn’t seem to be bothered by it.  I’m bad at describing courses afterwards because it all kind of gets mixed up in my brain.  It’s especially challenging for this course because a lot of the trail just looks the same in the coulees!  I do know this is the hilliest leg and it took me just over an hour to finish it.
IMG_2615
As anyone who has run or heard about this race probably knows- one of the best things about it is the volunteers/aid stations.  Everyone cheers as you arrive, they get you ice, fill your water, and offer you all the different foods.  And there are many- chips, pickles,pergoies, grilled cheese sandwiches, salted potatoes, etc.  I also had the best crew. Adria’s parents were there to cheer us on, as well as a few people I’ve been lucky enough to meet through Adria.  They were there to crew her but kindly took over crewing me as well since Brett couldn’t be there this time.  I also like that you never go more than an hour or two without seeing your crew at this race!

Leg 4- North Loop.  In this 16km section you run north and loop back to Pavan.  There is a lot of flat running on this section but also some good rolling sections. I really liked this section, apart from the running on dirt road part that seemed to go on forever.  After the dirt road there are a few hills to climb, but then the last 5 or 6km are along the river and flat all the way back to Pavan.  There is an unmanned water station about 5k from Pavan which comes in handy as I had ran out of water just as I arrived.  There is also another water station sooner that is apparently put out by one of the farmers who owns the private land we are running on for a section of that race?  This is just what another racer told me so I’m not exactly sure, but I thought that was pretty neat.  I ran most of this section with a girl running the 100 mile race.  Actually most of the people I saw during the day were 100 mile runners…. so I was impressed that they were running as fast as I was when they had to run a lot longer.  Although I actually wasn’t moving very fast since it was hot and I was feeling nauseous off and on for most of the day.  This leg took just over 2 hours.

Leg 5- Pavan to Softball Valley.  This 7km section starts with 3 steep climbs called the 3 bitches.  The first 2 are right after one another and the 3rd comes a little bit after.  They are steep, but short (just a few minutes to walk up) so really not that terrible.  The rest of the leg is flat and I finished it in about an hour.

Leg 6- Softball Valley back to HQ.  This leg is 6km and is very runnable.  There is a nice (although very very short) shaded forest section which was probably my favourite part of the course.  You then run along the river for a bit and towards the high level bridge.  Once you get under the bridge you climb a long steep hill back up to HQ.  This section took just under an hour.  At this point I was excited for it to start getting dark, although it was still a few hours before that happened.  And now, I had to repeat legs 2-6 to finish the race!

fullsizeoutput_16c5

I think this might have been the spot where I caught up with Adria.  She was leaving HQ as I was arriving.  In my memory this is where it happened anyways…. it could have been somewhere else! hah.  My great crew covered my blisters (2 blisters this race- this never happens!) and I ate a few french fries before taking off.  I was feeling pretty good for the first couple kilometres.  I had turned my phone on for a few minutes to read/send some texts.  My sister had been tracking us and informed me Adria and I were in second and third place for the females! This was also the point at which I allowed myself to start listening to music.  Repeating this 8k loop took me just over an hour. I was feeling pretty nauseous and my stitch was starting to hurt more.   By this point I was finding it difficult to eat because it was still very hot and I was getting sick of sweet things. Once I got back to Softball Valley I took a 20 minute break to sit and eat.  After some french fries, pickles, and cups of ginger ale I started to feel a bit better.  Music wasn’t helping so I started listening to an audiobook.  This was a great idea as it made the rest of the leg go by pretty quick.

Back at Pavan, Adria’s parents had brought Sam for a visit.  It was nice to get some puppy snuggles as I filled my bandana with ice and stocked up for the long North loop.  The second time around the North loop didn’t seem so bad.  It started to cool off and I felt like I was able to run more.  My stitch was still hurting, but still not enough to make me have to walk.  Also, I knew I could have a pacer if I wanted one after I made it through this section.  With about 6 or 7km to go I had to put my headlamp on.  Normally I hate running alone in the dark, but because I knew I didn’t have to fear bears/cougars it was actually quite peaceful and I enjoyed being out there.  The second half of the north loop is pretty runnable, and I was able to run the last 5km or so without walking much.  I didn’t see any other racers until I was almost back to the aid station…. I passed a guy with blisters that forced him to walk.  I wasn’t really eating much at this point.  I remember trying to eat a gel (cucumber mint flavoured), and having to spit it out because the taste made me want to puke.  I think I need to learn to pack more salty foods, since sweet things sound terrible later in races.  I was still listening to my audiobook at this point.  I can’t believe I haven’t tried this at a race before.

pacerlostsoul

Once I got back to Pavan  I decided to get Brian to pace me for the last 12km.  My goal at this point was to finish before midnight (sub 15 hours).  Brian ran in front of me and probably made me finish faster than I would have alone.  I would have minutes of nausea where I felt I needed to walk followed by minutes of running (I’m sure it all felt like walking to Brian though, since he’s like a foot taller than me).  We ran to softball valley, stopped quickly for a bathroom break, and then took off for the finish.  It went by pretty quickly, which was probably due to having somebody to talk to.    I probably annoyed Brian counting down the kilometres every 500m or so…. oops.  Finally we were at the last climb of the day/night, back up to HQ.  We ran towards the finish line and Brian told me to run ahead and he would see me up there.  At this point I felt like I sprinted to the finish, just wanting to be done.  I finished in 14 hours and 34 minutes- good for 3rd female (2nd in my age category) and 8th overall.  Adria finished 2nd, a few minutes under 14 hours.

Post-race:
After a mostly sleepless night, Adria and I spent most of Saturday helping to crew our friend Geoff, (who had spent the previous day helping crewing us).  Unfortunately I had to work Sunday morning, so I had to drive back to Kimberley Saturday evening.  As was the case with sinister,  after this 100k I felt extremely nauseous a few minutes after I stopped running, as well as for a few days after.  Maybe just from dehydration?   Hmmm..

fullsizeoutput_16d4

Elk Valley Ultra

9 Aug

I had signed up for this new 50km race in Fernie as soon as I heard about it because it’s only about an hour and a half from where I live.  The race could be completed solo or as a team of 3, and so was broke up into 3 different legs.  I didn’t really give it much thought, or look into the course, until after my failed Sinister 7 attempt a few weeks ago.  Like most runners (I assume), as soon as that was over I could spend some time looking at course details of the next race… and what I noticed was 2800m of elevation gain (yikes!).  Since Sinister and the post-Sinister death cold I had been rewarded with, running had felt hard and I struggled to run even the slightest incline.  I had been on part of the course before though, and I knew the views and flow-y trails would make up for the challenging course.  I spent the weekend before the race doing two back to back 20km runs with around 1400m of elevation gain each to get ready for leg 1 of the race.  It was tough, and I felt tired.  But I was excited to get out and race.

IMG_2395

Walking to the start line!

The race starts in the Annex Park, which is pretty quick to get to regardless of where you’re staying in Fernie.  The temperatures this summer have been pretty hot, and so the race start at 6am was great.  My friend Adria (also signed up for the 50k) and I left our hotel at 5:30am to walk over to the start.  Brett and Sam would be meeting me later at the 2nd/3rd transition area.  It was nice and cool in the early morning, but not really cold enough to NEED a jacket once the race started.  After a quick wait in the port-a-potty line, we were off.  Adria and I ran together for the first couple of kilometres as we left the park and moved towards the trails.  Soon Adria zoomed off and I noticed Naomi, another Kimberley runner, was next to me.  We joined the long line of “runners” as we continued the long hike up Mount Fernie.  I felt like I wanted to hike faster because I was breathing comfortably, which in a race felt wrong,  but I could also see it would be difficult to get anywhere since there were many people on the single track in front of me.  Really I knew this was a good pace because I didn’t want to feel like death during the second half of the race.  Eventually we reached the top, and started some fun technical downhill/rolling trails (aka Heikos Rocky Road) over to Windy Pass.  I was able to pass a few people on this downhill portion, and it felt good to run fast.  I caught up with a couple of guys, who I ended up running behind for the next 10km or so.  We chatted for the next hour or so, making the time go by pretty quick.  After the downhill section there is another climb back up to Windy Pass, followed by a mostly downhill section all the way to the 1st aid/transition station. I loved running down the old growth forest section of the trail.  Huge trees and lots of shade-  it was getting hot out!

IMG_2377

Unfortunately I didn’t take pics on race day- but this is from the weekend before

At aid station one I found Adria.  She had decided to drop out due to knee pain, and didn’t want to make things worse for her 100km race next month.  I filled my water bladder, grabbed some jujubes, and kept running.  The section of the race just after leaving the aid station was quite flow-y and fun.  Then there was a long climb up a wide trail that seemed to go on forever, followed by some fun downhill running, and then the stupid trail…. it kept going UP…. and UP.  It was so steep and it seemed to never end.  It felt way harder than the leg 1 climb. I wanted to use my hands and just crawl up.  Finally the climb was over and it was time to run again.  Many sections of this leg were shaded, fortunately, otherwise that climb would have been a lot worse. I had told Brett to meet me at aid station two 4.5-5.5 hours after the race start, but it took about 5 hours and 50 minutes for me to get there.  I think my watch said I was about 37.5km in at this point.

At aid station two (which is also transition three) I got Brett to fill my water bladder with Heed, but forgot to grab ice for my hat/bra.  Both these things were a mistake.  I took off for the “4km loop” (more like a 6km loop) in the provincial park, looking forward to seeing Brett, Adria, and Sam again in less than an hour.  Turns out I don’t like Heed, but now it was the only thing I had to drink.  Oh well- at least it was cold.   I felt uncomfortably hot now, and I regretted not remembering ice for my hat.  A lot of the 6k loop was shaded, and consisted of mostly runnable single track.  I didn’t notice any significant climbing on this section, and soon I was back at the aid station. At this point I had ran just over 43km according to my watch, but I knew the course would run long.  Still, 9km more didn’t seem so bad.  I stuffed ice everywhere, and started off for the finish.  We ran down a stretch of dirt road and then a wider dirt trail and eventually to mushroom head.  I found it difficult to run due to the slight incline, so switched to a run for 10 seconds, walk for 10 seconds routine.  Two girls came running past me and I was amazed that they were able to run at this point.  Finally, with about 4km to go, the downhill back into town started.  I caught up with one of the girls who had passed me as she was having a leg cramp.  I gave her some salt tabs and we shuffled together up the last little hill.  Now I just wanted to be finished, so I started running as fast as I could, passing another girl, and finally getting to the Annex park path.  I could see the finish line, but it still seemed so far away.  I wanted to stop and walk, but somehow kept running.  FINALLY I was there, after 7 hours and 44 minutes.  I crossed the finish line and immediately sat down in the grass with Brett, Adria, and Sam.  They then informed me I was probably 4th or 5th female. Damn.  I hadn’t expected to do that well and now knowing I was so close made me wish I had started faster.  I later learned I was just 1 minute behind the 3rd place female finisher.

We sat in the grass drinking beers/cider/ginger ale/coke and waited for the rest of the Kimberley folk to finish.  Becky Bates, a rockstar runner from Kimberley, finished 1st female (in just under 7 hours), only a couple weeks after finishing 5th (female) at Hardrock.  Paddy Humenny, Naomi’s husband, finished about an hour or so before me, and in 5th place.  The overall winner finished in under 6 hours!  It was a nice afternoon sitting and drinking and telling race stories.  At around 5pm there was a free dinner for racers.  I was happy to see they had vegetarian options.  Veggie burgers, salad, and baked beans.   I think there were pulled pork sandwiches for the meat eaters.  Our race entry also came with a free beer ticket.  Eventually we had to leave to head back to Kimberley because the father in law was visiting, and so we didn’t have time to stay for the award ceremony.

IMG_2400

Sam-enjoying lounging in the sun

I’m pretty sure this was the hardest 50k race I’ve done, but it was also so much fun.  I’m thankful I had a good day out on the trails and never experienced any low moments.  Considering how close it is to home I would definitely run this race again next year if the timing is right.

 

DNF at the Sinister 7 2017

8 Aug

Upon finishing my first 50km trail race a few years ago I knew I would eventually try a 100 miler.  I didn’t think it would be the Sinister 7.  I had run in the relay a couple of times, and although it is a well organized race in a location that I love with beautiful rocky mountain views,  a lot of the race isn’t on the type of trails I enjoy running on (logging roads, quad trails, etc). Despite this, after seeing a friend had signed up to attempt it solo I decided why not give it a try.  And convinced my friend Adria to sign up as well.  The race director, Brian Gallant, has made some changes incorporate more single track trail so thats a plus.  The Crowsnest Pass is pretty close to home, and it was taking place on the last weekend of our honeymoon so I wasn’t working.  Fortunately I have a great husband who agreed to crew me and was fine with spending a portion of our honeymoon to do it.

When I signed up in December my goal was to try to get up to 100 miles a week, or at least as close to that as I could get.  But in March I injured my achilles somehow (too many treadmill miles in winter, or just too many miles in my new Altras… I’m not sure).  I tried physio, acupuncture, chiropractor….. I spent hours burning this special herb around my achilles which was supposed to have anti-inflammatory powers.  I cut out sugar and all other things which promoted inflammation in the body and started drinking tumeric tea and taking omega-3s.  None of these things fixed the problem and for about 3 or 4 months my achilles would ache and get creaky after every run.  I could still run and it didn’t hurt a lot, but it didn’t feel normal.  After both the Sun Mountain 100k and the Wildhorse 50k it got swollen and it hurt to walk for a day or two.  Anyways, all of this is to say my training wasn’t where I would have liked it to be.  In addition to this we got married a few weeks before race day and then went on our honeymoon so there wasn’t a lot of time to train then either.  Maybe I should have backed out of the race, but I really believed I could finish it.  Especially after I discovered Prolotherapy.  A few days after the wedding the sports doctor at my physio clinic finally agreed to give me a prolo injection.  Basically she injected 5ml of a combination of dextrose, saline, and lidocaine around my injured tendon.  I had done some reading about this and knew there was a large chance it wouldn’t work.  Two days later I went for a short run.  Much to my surprise I felt no aching and afterwards there was no creaking!  I did a longer run of about 32km the weekend after (while in Portland, Oregon) the injection and still no pain/creaking.  This seemed promising for getting through 100 miles.

We arrived in the Pass on the Friday afternoon before the race.  Brett and I, plus my friend Adria who was also running, were staying in a cabin out in Beaver Mines, about 20 minutes from the race start.  It was warm in the cabin and none of us got the best sleep.  We woke an hour before we needed to leave to make time for coffee and oatmeal.

IMG_2317.JPG

The race started at 7am on Saturday morning (July 8th). The Sinister 7 is broken up into 7 legs and can also be run as a relay.  The relay sells out in seconds each December as soon as registration opens.  You gain 6400m of elevation over the 161km course, and get 30 hours to finish it.

Leg 1- Frank Slide.  According to the website this leg is 18.3km and has 535m of elevation gain.  There are a lot of people starting this race, and in our attempt to start slow, I feel that Adria and I wasted a bit of time.  I wish we had gone a bit faster while it was still cool outside instead of getting stuck in the back.  Although I’m sure it made no difference to the outcome, if I try again I will try to start closer to the front.  Adria and I decided we would try to run together until we naturally separated. During this leg we also met up with my friend from Edmonton, Virginia, who was attempting the 100 miles as well.  The three of us ran together for a few kilometres, discussing our training (or lack thereof).  This leg is pretty easy, has some pavement, and takes you through the site of the frank slide at the base of turtle mountain.   I think this portion took us just over 2 hours.  As you can see from the photo below, we had some nice scenery but the trail itself wasn’t my favourite to run on.

07_08_17_Sin7Leg1_408

Leg 1.  Photo by Raven Eye Photography

Leg 2. Hastings Ridge.  17.2km and 852m of elevation gain.  Adria and I set off for this leg together as well.  I already could tell it was going to be a tough day.  I was hot and my stomach wasn’t feeling 100%.  I could also feel a stitch coming under both ribs.
07_08_17_Sin7_Leg2_414

Not too far into Leg 2 I told Adria to leave me.  I had to slow down and try to get rid of my stomach and stitch issues.  I took a combo of pills (ibuprofen, some pills to prevent stomach cramps, and electrolyte pills).  I practiced breathing slowly and did some stretches.  This seemed to help.  Leg 2 was actually pretty fun and had some good trail and views.  I enjoyed the steep downhills and even the uphill.  I noticed my legs felt more tired/crampy than they should after only having run about 35km and this worried me a little.  It was pretty shaded and it wasn’t hellishly hot outside yet so I didn’t think I should be too dehydrated already.  Despite my issues I wasn’t too far off my predicted time for this leg, and I saw Adria leaving for leg 3 as I was coming into the transition.  She offered to wait for me but I didn’t want to slow her down.  I sat for 15 minutes eating freezies and drinking ginger ale.  Adria’s crew (3 great folks from Lethbridge) and Brett had a nice station set up under a tent so we could sit in the shade.  I stuffed my hat and bra with ice, put ice in my water, and started off for leg 3.

Leg 3. Satan’s EFFING Sack (aka Willoughby Ridge).  31.4km and 1357m of elevation gain/loss.  This leg started with a long climb up a logging road.  And I’m pretty sure that continued for the majority of this leg.  There was no shade.  It felt like I was in an oven and my legs were moving so so slowly.  My stitch came back soon into this leg and proceeded to get worse through the 6ish hours it took me to finish this section.  I couldn’t run any of the downhills without it feeling like I was being stabbed in both ribs.  Eventually it got so bad I couldn’t run any flats either.  And I was getting so hot I could barely move to walk the uphills.  So many people started passing me, and even though they were walking as well they moved so quickly out of sight.  For the first time in a race I made many stops to just sit on the side of the trail, feeling like I wanted to just lay down and go to sleep.  I had heard this leg is the killer for many soloists, but I had naively assumed since I had run a couple 100km races there was no way I would quit before I at least made it past that distance.  I had underestimated Satan’s Sack, however.  I stopped at every stream and splashed water over myself, but every time I did this I had to stand back up and feel like I was going to black out.
07_08_17_Sin7Leg3_503
I don’t remember smiling on this leg and I also don’t remember photographers.
Eventually I reached the last aid station on this leg and sat to cool off in the creek that was next to it.  I had stopped eating by this point because my mind wasn’t functioning and I kind of forgot about it.  I ate several orange slices and a packet of maple syrup, hoping maybe if I ate and sat for a few minutes my stitch would go away.  Leaving this last aid station we started a climb into the woods.  FINALLY some single track!   I saw a relay runner sitting on the side of the trail looking worse than how I imagined I looked.  Somehow this made me feel better about my situation.  While I was happy to finally have some runnable forest trail, I was sad that every time I tried running the stabbing pain came back.  I needed the endorphins from running but I couldn’t run!  Just when I thought it was all downhill back to the transition there was another very very steep climb.  I had to keep stopping for breaks and the mosquitos and black flies were buzzing all around me.  No part of this race seemed fun.  I kept thinking I just needed to get to the transition and then I could quit.   But then I knew I still had time before the cut off so I was trying to force my brain to stop being so negative.

Finally, I made it back to the logging road I had come up in the beginning of this leg and I knew the transition was close.  I tried to run at this point as it was all downhill but it hurt too much, and now I kept feeling like I was going to puke and I couldn’t breath.  I got to the transition and immediately sat on the grass as volunteers put ice on the back of my neck and offered me freezies.  Virginia came over eating a slice of pizza and told me she had dropped during leg 3.  Her training had gone well, but she was also having a terrible time out there and didn’t feel it was worth it to keep going.  This made me want to quit as well, but I decided to take a 30 minutes rest and hope that by this time my stitch would go away and I could finish leg 4 at least.  I ate some french fries and had more ginger ale while Brett got my pack ready.  I kept alternating between wanting to quit and wanting to keep going.  Eventually I had to make a decision as there were only 15 minutes left before the cut off to start leg 4.  I grabbed my poles and my pack and started slowly up the trail for leg 4.

19905020_10154481671041986_6839596426161286561_n

Leg 4.  Saddle Mountain.  Once out of the transition area, this leg actually started off nice enough on a trail through the trees.  I got a call from Adria- she had gotten lost and did an extra climb up the ski hill on this leg.  I encouraged her to keep going and let her know I was probably a couple hours behind her.  I power hiked as fast as I could (which was still a sloth pace) and then we came to some runnable section.  I started running and the stabbing pain came back.  I had been out for over 12 hours and had felt terrible for 99% of that.  I wasn’t having fun.  Normally during a trail race even when it’s hard I still have moments of “I’M HAVING SO MUCH FUN.  I LOVE RUNNING!” moments that make the pain worth it.  But that didn’t even happen once during my 72km of Sinister.  I was in pain, I had no idea what was wrong with me, and I wasn’t having any fun.  I decided I was done.  I called Brett and told him I was turning around and I wanted him to pick me up.  I then called my sister and then my mom as I walked the 2km (I hadn’t made it very far into this leg) back to the transition to hand in my timing chip.  I was happy with my decision.

While laying in the grass out side the 4Runner I met up with a couple I had been running with on leg 2.  They had planned to run it together as kind of a training run for Fat Dog 120.  The heat got to them as well, and they had decided to quit.  Seemed to be the theme of the day.  I heard someone measured the temperature at 46 degrees on leg 3.  I wouldn’t be surprised if that was true.  Approximately 15 minutes after arriving back to our cabin I felt terrible.  My head hurt, I couldn’t stand up straight, and I felt like I was going to puke.  Brett had to hold me up in the shower and wash the dirt off my legs/arms/face.  I had told a couple friends I would meet them at their house for a beer before meeting Adria at the next transition and it took all my energy to just get to the car after I showered.  For some reason I felt if I could just get there and drink a beer or two I would feel better.  I didn’t, but it was nice to visit with friends, and they didn’t mind that I needed to lay on the couch and eat all of their olives (salty delicious olives- good post race snack).

19732248_10159067617415594_141856687379198303_n

About an hour later as I was sitting outside the convenience store (the only place open in the pass to buy food late at night) waiting for Brett, I got a call from Adria.  She had dropped out at the first aid station of leg 5 and was being driven back to race headquarters.  I felt sad that neither of us would be finishing, but obviously completely understood her decision.  We picked her up and went back to our cabin in Beaver Mines. Brett went to sleep immediately, while Adria and I discussed the race horrors and ate buttery perogies before trying to sleep.

Now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I wish I had kept going.  At least until I got dragged off the course for not making a time cut off.  Then, at least, I would’ve have no control over stopping.  100 milers are supposed to be tough.  Maybe I would have felt better once it got dark out.  Although maybe things would have gotten worse, given how terrible and nauseous I felt for days after.  It was a tough year, with only 18% of soloists finishing the race.  I think usually its closer to 40%?  I know when I eventually run 100 miles it’s going to be tough and I’m probably going to want to quit many times. But I have to hope that at least a portion of it will be on beautiful trails and I will feel SOME moments of happiness.   I have been working on my breathing and drinking electrolyte drinks on longer runs instead of plain water, and it seems to be helping.   I can still feel the starts of the stitch pain on most runs, but I’m hoping in time that will go away.

Next year my plan is to perhaps run Sinister as a team of two with my sister… assuming we can get a team signed up.  If not, who knows.  Maybe I’ll sign up to try to run the whole thing again.  I definitely want to finish it one of these years.

Wildhorse 50K Recap

7 Aug

How do you convince your sister to sign up for her first ultramarathon? Tell her it’s for your bachelorette party! (*Note: as per usual this race review was written a few weeks after the race so my memory of it isn’t the best).

IMG_2029

After 5 years together boyfriend and I decided to get married. Our wedding, we agreed, would omit all the crap that we thought was kinda stupid about traditional weddings. I also knew I didn’t want a traditional bachelorette party… or really ANY bachelorette party. So when Rene started a new race in Naramata (WINE!!) that would take place a few weeks before our wedding (The Wildhorse 45k), I was excited for an excuse to convince friends to sign up…. or at least come to Naramata and drink wine with me at the end. Due to the flooding this spring, the race course was slightly rerouted and became 50km instead. This actually made me pretty happy (my sis- not so much) because I had the Sinister 7 100 mile race to train for.  My Achilles was still bothering me, but I knew if I could make it through 100k I should be able to finish this race without too much damage.

The race started in Bertram Creek Park in Kelowna (a shuttle bus picked us up in Naramata) after a motivational pre-race talk from Rene, the race director.  The first kilometre or so was on pavement- enough for me to see many runners ahead of me already.  Perfect.  Now I could relax and not worry about where I was in the field.  I was happy to finally hit the trail and start climbing.  The climb went on forever and I didn’t feel like I was able to run very much, but I was enjoying myself.  The views were pretty and it wasn’t too hot yet. After a while the trail leveled out and we hit some runnable sections, many wet and muddy sections, and finally the long downhill to the first aid station at about 21km.  Knowing that we had to turn around and climb all the way back up this long hill kinda took some of the fun out of the downhill running, but it allowed me to see all the people in front of me. Except the 1st female, Becky Bates (also from Kimberley). She was long gone. I got to high five my friend Adria Snowdon who was running with Nicola Gildersleeve (2nd and 3rd females), so that was a highlight. There was a big log down across the flooded portion of the trail where aid station 1 was and it was a fun obstacle to run across…. although some people elected to walk through the chest deep murky water.  I grabbed two espresso flavoured hammer gels (ick) and a couple salt tablets and got moving. I wondered whether I would see my sister on my hike back up, but she was a little farther back.

fullsizeoutput_1488

The rest of the race alternated between hiking uphill, wading through many deep mud puddles, and running through tall grass. It was so much fun! I felt like a kid splashing through all the puddles, and sliding down muddy grass on my ass. There were also some fun technical rocky downhill sections, and a great runnable forest trail section where I was able to pass 4 or 5 ladies to move up to 6th female. I love that Rene allows the use of headphones.  I understand why most trail ultra directors do not, and if there are people around to talk to I don’t need the distraction.  But I definitely needed a music boost at the end.

The last 15km of the race wasn’t my favourite.  It was on the KVR trail (a hard packed wide dirt trail) and then pavement. The KVR trail is nice enough and the scenery was fantastic, but it was flat/slightly downhill which meant a lot faster running.  Not typically what I like at the end of an ultra- definitely thankful for the music at that point.  At the last aid station I thought we had about 4.5km to go, and was really wishing the race was 45km like originally planned. Once the watch hit 50km and I was STILL RUNNING down the streets of Naramata I was feeling the pain. FINALLY the finish line was in sight, and I could see my friends and Rene with her pom-poms and the wine! I finished in 6 hours and 11 minutes (and probably some seconds), about 40 minutes after my friend Adria, who had finished 2nd!

IMG_2031

My lovely friends were willing to take off my shoes and socks to free my throbbing Achilles and massage my cramping calves as we sat in the grass to drink wine to wait for my sister and some other friends to finish the race. Thankfully the folks working one of the wine tasting booths were generous enough to keep re-filling our glasses beyond the 1 tasting we were supposed to get. I needed it. My sister crossed the finish line about an hour later and didn’t hate it! This made me very happy, because now it’s only a matter of time before we’ll be signing up for 100 milers together (hah!).  Oh and the post-race meal was amazing as well. I chose the salmon and quinoa, but I hear the pizza was great too.

IMG_2032

We somehow rallied after a day of running and wine drinking, and made it out to the pub in Naramata that night.  Turns out we were in town for the most exciting night of the month- Karaoke night!  It’s not a good night until you end up singing Meatloaf in front of a bunch of strangers.  I’m not sure if I will run this race again, but it was certainly a lot of fun and it makes a wine tasting trip a little more worth it.

 

 

Sun Mountain 100K

5 Aug

 

*Note- I started this race recap back in May, but am now just getting around to finishing it up.  Better late than never?

Four days ago I ran my second 100km race just outside the town of Winthrop, Washington.  The Sun Mountain 100k is a Rainshadow Running race, and this was the second year for the 100k distance (previously there was a 50 miler).  There was also a 50k that started later the same morning, and a 25k the next day.  I’ve been dealing with an achilles injury for the past couple months so my goal was to just hopefully finish the race, or at least get in as many kilometres as I could as a training run for the Sinister 7, which will be my first attempt at the 100 mile distance.

After going to bed (and actually falling asleep immediately) at 7pm, the 3:30am wake up actually didn’t feel too bad.  Bib pick up was the morning of the race and there was a brief pre-race meeting 5 minutes before we took off down a dirt trail at 5:30am.   It was a little chilly, but comfortable running temperature.  The nice thing about this race is the short distances between aid stations.  I never had to go more than a couple hours without seeing Brett and other friendly faces.  It was also a lot more runnable than most ultras I’ve done, although during the second 50k that didn’t seem quite so true.

The first section between the Chickadee trailhead and the Thompson Ridge aid station was about 14km.  We started on a pretty nice trail, and I remember running by a lake.  I chatted with the man in front of me for a while and tried to make myself run at a slow pace.  I could already feel my achilles aching a little.  A lot of this section was on dirt roads, but there were still nice views in some spots.  I took a minute to stretch my calf at the first aid station and hoped the ache would go away.  Leaving the Thompson Ridge aid station there was a few minutes of running along the dirt road before heading onto some rolling dirt trails, which was one of the more fun sections of the race due to some more technical downhills.  My first time on this section I remember thinking it was mostly downhill and I looked forward to running it again.  I didn’t exactly think that the second time around, but it was still pretty runnable.

IMG_1977

Photo by Glenn Tachiyama

The run out of the Homestead aid station was similar Thompson-  a few minutes of dirt road before hitting the trail.  The ~13km between the Homestead and Patterson aid stations was my favourite part of the race.   The trail and the views are great.  Nice rolling single track and then you get to climb for a bit up to the Sun Mountain lodge, which is actually a nice break from all the running.  Once you get to the lodge you run up some stairs, through the parking lot, across a field, and back on to some really awesome single track with a view of the snow capped cascade mountains.  This section was probably one of the most scenic portions, and it was here that I realized I was 4th female.  The lead female seemed to be about 45 minutes ahead of me at this point, but I quickly caught up to the 3rd female and ran with her for the next hour or so.  She was an Australian living in Vancouver and was very friendly.    We came into the Patterson aid station together but she left quickly, while I stayed for a couple minutes to talk to Brett- who was great enough to spend the whole day moving from aid station to aid station, carrying a large backpack of things I might need (I think I took 2 packs of chews from him the whole day).

The climbing started right out of the Patterson aid station, and I don’t think I ran much for the first half of this section (both times).  This was also an enjoyable section, because there lots of flowers, and no dirt roads.  The first few km are mostly up, but with a few runnable sections, until you reach the out and back climb up a hill (which I’m sure I would call a mountain the second time around).  I don’t think the climb was more than a km or two, and on the first loop it was again pretty nice to stop running for a little while.  I stayed behind the 3rd place female until the top of this hill and then ran as fast as I could downhill and back to the Chickadee aid station.  Just before entering the aid station I caught up with Alicia Woodside.. I guess I recognized her from various running blogs.  She had been a few minutes ahead of me and I didn’t think I would catch her.  I guess she wasn’t having the best day because she dropped at the 50km mark, leaving me in 2nd place.    This surprised me because I don’t consider myself to be a particularly fast runner, and I hadn’t been training much as I would have liked due to my achilles injury.  Now my competitiveness turned what was supposed to be an easy training run into a race to stay in second place.  I know this sounds stupid, but I kind of like being mid-pack and not having to stress about where all the surrounding females are.

The temperatures felt significantly higher during the second 50k.  I continued to run the flats and downhills, and practiced a 50 steps run/ 20 steps walk for the “runnable” uphills.  I spent some time running and chatting with various people which helped occupy the time.  Unlike my first 100k, I never had any real low points during the race.  I focused only on the distance until I got to see Brett at the next aid station instead of the distance left overall, so that probably helped.  But also, after 2 months of not being able to run very much due to my stupid achilles, I was just happy to be out there running!

The climb up to sun mountain lodge felt much harder the second time around, and I felt like I was moving soooo much slower.  During this out and back section I could see how far I was from the 1st place female (6 minutes at this point in the race), and how far the 3rd place female was from me (9 minutes- and I was happy to see it was till the Australian I had ran with earlier).  I think seeing how close I was mighta encouraged Suzanne (the 1st female) to run faster, because she finished the 22 minutes or so faster than me.  I don’t think I could have sped up that much in the last 15km of that race, so that’s impressive.  Finally I reached the last aid station and had about 8km left until the finish line.  There was a helpful man who had given me ice for my hat/bra at the previous aid station and I was happy to see him at this one as well.  I learned later that he was crewing for one of the guys I had been running with off and on throughout the day.  He was so efficient and helpful I had thought he was an aid station volunteer-  he had popsicles at one aid station that were the best thing I’ve tasted all year.

fullsizeoutput_1447

My stomach/side had been hurting a bit for the second half of the race.  I took extra salt, practiced deep breathing, but by the last few km it was very painful.  This happened to me at the Broken Goat 50km race in Rossland last summer, and I had to mostly walk for the last 10km because it was all downhill.  During that race I actually thought I might have appendicitis it hurt so much.  Now I know I just sometimes get a horrible pain in my side when running downhill in races.  Fortunately there was a lot of uphill for the last section of Sun Mountain.  I finished the last 4k by sticking my hand into my side/ribs and hunching over, which doesn’t make for the best downhill running form.  I probably looked ridiculous.  But I made it, and I stayed in second place.  Crossing the finish line is just the best.  I received a growler engraved with the Sun Mountain 100k logo and “second place female”, which I filled with the IPA from the local brewery- the old schoolhouse.  There was free pizza and beer after the race, and it took so much energy just to stand in line to get some.  My legs were so tired I didn’t think I could actually stand any longer.  We stayed at the finish line party for about an hour and then went home to bed.

IMG_1959

This race was so much fun and I definitely hope to run it again next year.  It’s relatively close to home and is at a good time of year to get back into looooong runs ( for someone from Canada where we have lots of snow until March or even April).   The views, temperatures, wildflowers, and volunteers make it such a great event.  As I had heard previously, Rainshadow Running organize some great races.  The finish line atmosphere (live bluegrass band, pizza, and beer!) is probably the best I’ve experienced to date.

Qualifying for the Boston Marathon

18 Jan

When I started this blog many years ago I was hoping it would help motivate me to train hard and finally qualify to run the Boston Marathon.   I tried personal training, running more miles, doing more speed work, losing 10lbs…. but my marathon times stayed in the 3:40-3:50 zone.  After running a few trail races I decided to quit marathon training and start ULTRAmarathon training.  My first ultra was the Grizzly 50km ultra in Canmore, AB in October 2014.  It was tough, but I didn’t cry or puke, so I signed up for the Iron Legs 50 miler the following summer in Kananaskis, AB.  Iron Legs (2015) race day was rainy and a pretty good running temperature for me, and although I was disappointed there were no mountain views I was happy to not be running in 30 degree temps.  Running the 54 mile race took me less time than expected, and I was happy to finish the race in under 14 hours (and before dark).    After having completed a few ultras (that summer I also ran Rundles Revenge 50k and the Mount Robson 50k), I figured it was time to try running the Vancouver Marathon again in 2016, which I would use as early training for my main 2016 goal- the Black Spur 108k.

I felt confident that I could qualify for Boston at Vancouver because my training had gone well, and running at sea level after training in Kimberley always feels easier.  Buuuut on race day it was HOT, and I clearly hadn’t trained enough on pavement because half way into the marathon my legs felt very heavy and I couldn’t keep the pace I needed to BQ.  I still ended up with a personal best, but was 1 minute short of the time needed to qualify.  This meant I wouldn’t be running Boston in 2017.

After researching all the fall marathons (fall=cold temps), I signed up for the Hamilton Marathon which took place in November on the weekend before my birthday.  Supposedly it is the best race to BQ in Canada, and it meant we would be able to spend some time in Toronto afterwards to celebrate my 33rd birthday.  I don’t think I trained any differently for this race, but maybe running 108km a couple months before did help.  After the Black Spur I took a few days off before jumping back into marathon training.  I didn’t do any speed work leading up to Black Spur, so I incorporated a few yasso 800s and continued to do runs of between 30-40km on weekends.  And most importantly, I ran mostly on pavement.
Brett and I flew into Toronto a few days before the race and were able to check out the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.  I was thankful to visit at this time of year because it meant fewer tourists.

img_0704

My mom flew in the night before the race, so her and Brett made a plan to meet me around the half way mark.  I drank many litres of Nuun the day/night before the race, and had a dinner of butternut squash ravioli.  My friend from Edmonton was also running the Marathon, and her husband was running the half.  Her sister gave us a ride to the start, where we spent the 30 minutes before the race waiting in a port-a-potty line until just before it was time to start. My initial plan was to stick with the 3:30 pace group for the first 10-20km, because this was the time I needed to make sure I could actually register for Boston.  In previous years you need to have finished a marathon about 2-3 minutes faster than your qualifying time to actually get in.   I also planned to take a gel every hour, and drink water from the aid stations if I felt thirsty (which ended up being just 2 or 3 times).  By the end of the first km, I decided to run based on how I was feeling.  I didn’t want to regret running slower than I felt I could.  The race is very flat and starts on back country roads.  The first half went by very fast, and I was on pace to finish in under 3:30.  I saw my mom and Brett, threw them my arm sleeves, and was happy to start the second half of the race.  There is a long slightly downhill section in the second half, and then a very short trail section, before an out and back along the waterfront trail by the lake.  I enjoyed the short section where you could see other racers heading back to the finish.  For the last 5 or 6km I ran with a girl from Halifax, who had also graduated at St.FX.  It was her first Marathon AND she was going to qualify for Boston!
I finished the race in 3:25:22-FINALLY qualifying for Boston. I stuck around and waited for my friend to finish and then it was time for recovery beers.
screen-shot-2017-01-18-at-8-35-00-pm

img_0708

Terrible photo near the finish- I think I was yelling something at my mom as she took this.

 

A few years later…plus a race report!

17 Jan

It’s been awhile.  I’ve finished a Medical Lab Tech program, ran a few ultra marathons, moved to Kimberley, BC, qualified for the Boston Marathon (to run in 2018), and got engaged.  Now that I am running more exciting (in my opinion) races, I thought it would be a good idea to start writing in this blog again as a way to remember these experiences.

Brett (the man), Sam (the dog), and I moved to Kimberley from Edmonton just over a year ago.  Going back to school for 2.5 years was challenging, but it allowed me to get a job in a smaller town and live close to mountains.  Leaving Edmonton was an unexpectedly sad experience for me.  I have some pretty great friends and running groups in that city, and in my excitement to move to the mountains I forgot how difficult it would be to not have those people near me.  Still, moving to Kimberley was the best decision.  We have access to many so running/hiking trails, outdoor and indoor rock climbing, lakes, skiing, etc.

img_2397

In August I ran my first 100km race- the Black Spur Ultra.
It is a 54/108km race that’s held here in Kimberley.  The 54km race consists of 3 loops, each coming back to the base of the Kimberley Alpine Resort.  The 108km race completes the 54km route twice.  I had a group of friends running the 108k as a relay, so they, along with my fiancé, were there to support me throughout the day.  Each leg starts with a hike up part of the main run of the ski hill.  Leg 1 (16.1km, 886m) starts on the round-the-mountain trail (which is it’s own race in June), but branches left at a cutline, so you can hike straight to the top.  This climb probably lasts for a few km, but once at the top you’re treated to some nice rolling single track and fun downhill for the rest of the leg.  This is the most technical leg in my opinion, and it was also the only part of the course I hadn’t trained on.  This leg wasn’t so bad the first time around. I remember trying to hike fast and run when I could, because I didn’t want to have to run in the dark for too long.  I met a runner who had placed 1st in the 54km race the previous year and ran with her for a few km before taking off on the downhill.  I’m a terrible climber but pretty good on technical downhill.  Since it’s the only place in a race I can ever pass people, I take advantage of any downhill and go as fast as my legs will carry me to make up time. Brett had been out for breakfast with his dad and brother, and I finished this first leg ahead of schedule…. I told my friend who was running the relay to let him know I had been through and took off without spending any time at the first transition.
Leg 2 (18.3km, 674m) heads off in the opposite direction from leg one after the short hike up the ski hill.  It climbs up magic line, which seems like never ending switch backs of a mountain bike trail even though it probably isn’t very long at all.  It was starting to get hot already, and I hate running in the heat. This leg went by relatively quickly.  After reaching the top of the magic line climb,  the trail is mostly runnable and is quite pretty.  Once reaching the aid station there is a fun mostly downhill section on mr. toad.  The challenging part of this leg is when you cut left onto a not so well traveled trail and have to run mostly flat or slightly uphill for a few km.  Luckily I met a runner along this stretch and chatting with him helped these boring km go by a little faster.  He was from the Crowsnest Pass and was running the 54k.  Eventually on this leg you reach creek trail, a short but sweet shaded section that actually has some water (most of the trail is pretty dry).   This leads you back to the nordic trails where there’s just one noticeably long uphill, followed by mostly flat back to the transition.
Leg 3 (19.4km, 670km) is probably my favourite leg.   Once through the nordic trails, it heads up myrtle mountain (runnable when not in the middle of an ultra), but then there’s a nice long downhill stretch for a few km- first on single track, and then a wider dirt trail/road. At the end of the downhill there’s another aid station to chill at before heading up sunflower hill.  The rest of this leg feels heavy on the uphill.  I actually  have no memory of running this leg, but it probably sucked because I know I felt very terrible starting leg 4.

img_0052

I think this was the end of leg 3

Before heading back out on leg 4/1 I attempted to eat some of a grilled cheese sandwich (which worked for me at the Iron Legs 50 miler), and chugged a lot of coke.  This was a mistake, and I felt very nauseous for a long time.  I couldn’t run any of leg 4 until I reached the top of the climb.  At this point my friend had texted me to let me know I was somehow first female, which was both exciting and stressful.  The thing I like most about ultras is that you can take your time and not worry about your pace as much as in a road race.  Now I felt pressure to keep moving as fast as I could…. which was not fast at all.   I didn’t see many people during the second half of the race, and my brain kept trying to come up with reasons to drop out.  It was way too hot, my shirt was crusted with salt from sweating so much, and I couldn’t eat anything.  I was drinking about 1.5L of water every 10km.  I don’t remember much from leg 5, aside from some mountain biker volunteers and high fiving the first place male as he was on his way back to the transition.  Leg 6 was when I finally needed a headlamp.  At first the darkness was a little creepy, but eventually I stopped thinking about bears and cougars and ghosts, and enjoyed running at a comfortable temperature.  At the last aid station in the race a couple of girls from run club were volunteering, and so I had my first sit down of the day.   After a couple of ginger chews, and learning that I was still in first place, I took off to finish the race.  I heard someone entering the aid station as I was hiking up sunflower hill for the last time, and was scared it was the second place female (it hadn’t been).   For the last 9k I managed a rotation of running for 20 seconds, walking for 10 seconds, while listening to Trail Runner Nation podcast on mental toughness.
And then, after running/hiking/walking for 16 hours, 41 minutes and 10 seconds,  it was over.  I finished just before 1am, and unlike my arrival at the transition for every other leg, it was dark and quiet, with just a few people waiting at finish line.  Somehow I finished 4th overall, and 1st female.  Also, thanks to this being only the second year of the race, I get to hold a course record.  I’m sure it’ll get crushed this summer, but until then I will enjoy seeing my name on the website as holding the course record for the 108km race.

 

 

 

Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon

18 Feb

Last month I spent 10 days in beautiful Maui.  We arrived on a Friday night and I was signed up to run The Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon that first Sunday.  My mom and sister were running the 10K.  It started really early (it was still dark), and I was surprisingly cold in my shorts and tank top while we waited for the race to start.  The entire half marathon (as well as the 10k and full marathon) was an out and back along the Honoapiilani Highway– starting and ending in Lahaina.
A few days before I arrived in Maui I started getting sick.  I felt mostly fine the day of the race, other than having a horrible cough that made it a little difficult to breath at times.  About 3km into the race I knew it wouldn’t be one of my best running days.  I passed the 10K turnaround and was really really tempted to just head back. I could never do that, of course, unless I was actually seriously injured.  I made it to the halfway point, grabbed a peppermint candy from the giant bowl of random hard candies, and settled in for the next hour of running.  By this point the sun was up, I was hot, I wasn’t carrying water or any gels (what’s wrong with me?) and the water stations seemed spaced very far apart (every few miles?).  The water stations also didn’t have any gatorade… at least I only found it at one of the very first stops.  SO I was tired, thirsty, feeling dizzy, and frustrated that I could barely run a 6 min/km at this point.  I finally finished in 2:03:19, 10th in my age group, out of 24.  In retrospect, I hadn’t been running very fast prior to the race and I probably started the race way too fast for my running fitness at the time (I finished the first 10k in like 51 or 53 minutes).

Some things I learned from this race:
– If you’re running somewhere a lot warmer than you are used to, BRING WATER!
– Take a gel/fuel just in case. 
– Some races are going be tough for whatever reason, and that’s okay!
and something I always struggle with – Don’t start out too fast.

ImageMy my and sister enjoyed their 10K runs.  My sister even placed 2nd in her age group!  It’s nice to have family waiting for you at the finish line.

Image

stolen race photo

Christmas lights and candy canes

18 Dec

Today’s Workouts:
moksha yoga (pm)
speed work on the track/treadmill
-5x800m on the track (but it’s a little more than 800m because it’s not a regular track)
-1x800m on the treadmill set to 8.6
-3x500m on the treadmill ranging from 8.5-8.9
5.5km run with the sister

Speed days are my least favourite running day, even though they’re probably one of the most important workouts.  After 5 intervals on the track I felt like I couldn’t keep going fast anymore so I moved my workout over to the treadmill.  It was still pretty tough so I switched to 3x500m intervals instead of the last 2x800m intervals I was supposed to run.  I also always feel very sneezy after I do a track workout…. what’s up with that?

Today I meant to get up for my favourite spin class because I haven’t gone in a few weeks, but it’s at 6am on the other side of the city.  SO I ended up staying in bed until 10:30 instead.  Then I got up to make one of the best breakfasts (really they’re good for any meal)- vegan carrot cake pancakes!
IMG_0612

Usually I use a recipe from the Everyday Happy Herbivore cookbook, but my sister has it at her house right now so I made up my own recipe (which I think tasted pretty much the same).  This makes 1-2 servings:
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 water
1/4 coconut water  (I didn’t have any milk)
1 tbsp agave
1 tbsp ground flax seeds + 2.5 tbsp water
random splash of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
some cinnamon
1 cup shredded carrot
Cook in coconut oil for the best flavour!  They’re pretty good on their own, but I added maple syrup because I like sugar.

Last night I went to this event called Christmas Reflections at Fort Edmonton Park with my sister and friend.  The park is basically a history museum and shows what Edmonton life was in the olden days.  Since it’s winter most things were closed, but we got to tour the streets in a horse drawn wagon, and we made candy cane tree ornament crafts and christmas buttons.  Santa was hanging out in the Masonic Hall but we were too embarrassed to get our photo taken with him since he seemed like a handsome young man under that white beard and hat.

fort crafts
Tonight my sister and I ran around Candy Cane Lane.  It’s a street on the west side of the city where most of the houses have christmas lights and decorations.  Kinda reminded me of being back in Newfoundland, where everyone on my street had christmas lights on their houses…. and usually a lot!
I tried to take pictures but everything just looked foggy.  We did get a group shot at the end.  Even the dog had a frosty beard!

photo

Tomorrow my dogs want me to talk them for a walk through the legislature grounds to see the Christmas lights.  I love walking through there even more at Christmastime because they have lights in all the trees AND Christmas music playing ALL THE TIME! (I haven’t tested out this theory at 3am yet, so maybe not ALL the time).

Oh, guess what? I’m on Season 4 of How I Met Your Mother after only 1.5 weeks of unemployment.  Speaking of which, I think it’s about that time of the night where I get in bed and watch 15 episodes and fall asleep.

Early Christmas gifts

17 Dec

Today’s Workouts:
Healthy Rhino UNbootcamp (am)
Moksha Yoga (pm)
Elliptical/Abs workout (pm)

I’m liking the Healthy Rhino classes.  I bought the Groupon for only $29 for 12 classes, when a regular month membership is like $200.  GOOD DEAL!  If it was cheaper I would likely get a membership once my 12 classes are used up.  It’s different every class, which is awesome, and you have to sign up ahead of time for the class you want and if you cancel less than 12 hours before you have to pay $10.  SO you can’t really get lazy and not show up.  However, I have to live on half of what I’m used to now, and I choose to pay for yoga instead.  It’s probably pretty easy to design your own hour workout to be similar to the classes at Healthy Rhino.  You just need to write down 10-15 exercises (squats, burpees, pushups, plank jacks,etc.), and get a timer.  We’ve done 8 sets of 40 seconds on 20 seconds off, 1 set of 1:20, 1:00, 40 sec, 20 sec, with 10 seconds in between, and 4 sets of 40 seconds on 20 seconds off.

IMG_0600

Pretty knee

Christmas parties on Saturday were a lot of fun, and I somehow didn’t take any pictures. Walking home at 4:30am after the party on Saturday (or technically Sunday) I slipped on the ice and now have a swollen/bruised knee and a bruised arm.  I used that as an excuse to take the day off yesterday.  You know that feeling you get on Sundays?   Like you feel a bit sad because the weekend is over and you have to go back to work?  I thought I wouldn’t feel like that since I don’t have to go to work on Mondays, but I still felt it!  I wonder if that Sunday dread feeling ever goes away….

My mom sent our Christmas gifts to us and they arrived on Friday.  I couldn’t wait until Christmas to open something, so I opened just a couple.  I got these new Monster iSport headphones, and a Helly Hanson running jacket in this pretty blue color!
helly
I tried the headphones out today at the gym and they worked really well.  They stayed in my ears, but one of them started to feel a bit uncomfortable after an hour on the elliptical. I may just have to change the size- it comes with 5 different sizes and I left the medium on today.

Because I took pictures of all my meals today, I thought I’d post this pretty picture of everything I ate today… minus a handful of blackberries I ate while cooking dinner.
foodBreakfast was a green smoothie made with celery, apple, and banana.  Normally I’d add spinach but I didn’t have any today.
Lunch was an arugula salad topped with red cabbage, avocado, and roasted beet, carrot, and orange pepper.
For dinner I steamed some kale and swiss chard and topped it with quinoa flavoured with balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, and a bit a stevia.
After dinner snack was pureed pumpkin with stevia and cinnamon.

Now if I could only eat this healthy every day during the holiday season…..