Saturday, February 28, 2009

Quad Cruncher/Shin Basher!

Today we joined the Fat Ass Club for the Quad Cruncher at UBC Research Forest. It is a 10km loop that is uphill on one side, flat at the top of the loop and then a steep downhill to complete the loop. You can run as many loops as you wish and then record your kms and time on the piece of paper under the wiper blade on Karl's van. Neil and I arrived at 8AM to just a few cars in the parking lot. Some early birds were starting a 7:30AM. Half way up the hill we ran into Karl and Gilles coming down the hill. They are doing a 100 mile run in a few weeks time and are desperately seeking hill work. This is a great course for that but today we ran into quite a bit of snow and icy/slushy conditions which made it tougher and slow going. Karl and Gilles were the only other runners we saw but heard that a few managed to get lost in the woods. That can happen easily in this forest due to the many trails and logging roads branching off. I often run this loop with my iPOD but today I found that my mind was very active with many thoughts going through it while I was out there so I never turned the music on. Sometimes that happens, other times there are minimal thoughts! Right at the end of the last loop we saw Cheryl. She came out after lunch for one loop. We had lots to catch up on and talked until the 3 of us started to shiver and had to get moving to stay warm. Tim caught up with me for the last few strides before he headed out for another loop. Today when we started I was planning to do 3 loops but Neil managed to convince me to go for 4 loops when I had finished the 3rd. I was glad he did as we did a tough 40km, and that was 4hrs, 45 minutes so that really kicked up the training this week again! Two weeks in a row with long Saturday runs! That will help going into the upcoming 50km events. One next weekend, the other 2 weeks later. Here's hoping my quads and shins will be OK after all the crunching and bashing they took today going up and going down!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Kicked up the Mileage!

Despite myself missing the workout with Warren this past was a good week for mileage! We managed to get out Tues/Wed/Thursday night for runs on the dyke after work. Saturday's run turned into an interesting outing! Neil had to work again until about noon so I opted to head to Hayward for a long run, possibly 2 loops. There were plenty of emails indicating many were running various options at Hayward Lake so I felt despite heading out on my own, I would not be alone. Neil planned to join in after work for a loop or 2 himself. My plan was to start counter clock wise, many were running clock wise so it would definitely be a social outing! I left my car at the main parking lot to use as an aid station after my first loop of 17km. The iPOD was charged and off I went. Within minutes I met the first group of runners and many dog walkers on the railway trail as it was a beautiful clear day. I continued to see runners I have met over the years as well as a few new faces. Today I broke a few safety rules a runner (especially one on their own!) shouldn't do! First, I changed my route from what I told others I was doing. Second, by changing the route it made me miss my aid station (my car) that had my top up fluids and some food. I decided to stay on the trail side and turned around so I could do the majority of the run on the trail instead of going out on the road, over the dam and an out and back on the railway trail. This new route also let me run the entire length of the railway trail at the end which mimics one of the upcoming events I am doing. So...I ran out of fluid, I had no food, and Neil never did catch up with me as I changed the route! It all turned out in the end as the weather was fantastic and we know the terrain well. However, these silly changes in plans can sometimes end differently. I managed to stay out there running the lake trail for just under 4 hours. My hamstrings were really tight and I felt close to bonking without the fluid and the food. Once back to my car I was able to rehydrate and chomp down the S & V chips I had been dreaming about for the last 2 hours! Neil had parked his truck next to me so I left him a note saying the time I was back and that I was on my way home. Funny thing, he finished only 5 minutes behind me so he almost caught me...but not quite! Last night we had a fun "Mexican Dinner party" at friends. We all brought a dish and the food was excellent. I haven't laughed so hard in some time. Was it the endorphins from the long run or perhaps Pat's Margaritas! I have attached a photo of some of the "amigos" from the evening!
Today we slept in but managed an hour run about mid day! 5 hours this that's better!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Weekend Update

Last Thursday we managed to get out for our after work run on the dyke. We noticed that the days are starting to get longer so hopefully within the next month we can be more adventurous with our after work runs. Saturday Neil had to work until early afternoon so the plan was to go for a run at Buntzen Lake in the afternoon. We had Valentines dinner plans with friends who live in the area so this would all work out nicely. Unfortunately the work did not end in the afternoon as planned so I headed out on my own to Hayward Lake. I ran the railway trail side (the side with the bears!) with the iPOD cranked for an out and back which gave me almost and hour and a half run. A little shorter than we had planned for that day but better than nothing at all. Neil made it home in time so we could still go for dinner. It was great to catch up with Marilyn and Ron and we always enjoy Marilyn's great cooking! Sunday was a beautiful clear winters day. Back to Hayward Lake we went this time all the way around in about 2:15. We were planning to add on to the loop but our legs were tired (from the 30km on the road last weekend) so we decided to call it quits for the day. Next weekend we should run longer as we have a couple of 50km events in the next few weeks. Tonight I missed the workout with Warren due to a later work commitment but I just heard from Neil and it sounds like it was a tough one! The weather looks great for the week so no excuses for not getting out for some runs again this week!
On the weekend we watched the West Highland Way Information night that John Kynaston kindly filmed so those of us from far away could see the evening. Lots of great tips and great humour too! Thank-you to all who contributed to the evening.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Monday/Tuesday Outings

Monday night Neil and I had our session with Warren (trainer). This week he had us do something he called a "complex". This was a work out with a weight bar that used every muscle in the body from biceps, shoulders, hamstrings, back I've said before they are always activities I would never do on my own! Oh and we ended with 30 "burpees" where we had to jump over a mat sideways between each one! Slept very well last night! Today we woke up to snow again. The locals here are tired of all the snow we have had this winter...not typical of Vancouver. After work we met for a run on the dykes and had a cold wind with blowing snow. It was reminiscent of a run we had in Scotland before Christmas. We set out from Bonaly and headed over the Pentland hills to the Flotterstone Inn. This is a route we had done many times before but on this day we hit some terrible weather where I experienced the strongest, coldest and wettest winds ever running. I really thought we were going to perish out there. I remember Neil saying "keep moving forward."It really was a frightening outing. I have been following a West Highland Way blogger who has an awesome blog about his training for the WHW. I noticed that John was going to video an information night about the event. That is so awesome for those of us who could not attend! Looking forward to viewing the information night! It appears that my blog has been added to other WHW blogs. It might be interesting for others to follow the Canadian perspective!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Run

Woke up feeling a bit stiff after yesterday's 30km on the road. We decided a nice soft trail surface was in order for today. We did a car drop at Hayward Lake and ran the undulating trail side from point to point. Such a contrast from yesterday! No people, no cars! We pushed it on the hills. A great complimentary run from yesterday. 42 km total for the weekend. Good gradual build up of mileage this week. Tomorrow, Monday with Warren. I don't think I will tell him I ran for 30kms on the road Saturday, he already thinks we are crazy!!

Early Valentine Run

Saturday morning Neil and I drove to Brockton Oval to meet up with Club Fat Ass for the Flash-Valentine Double. It was a 50km event from Brockton Oval to UBC and back. We had predetermined that we would only do 30km today which would make the Jericho Yacht Club our turn around point. It was great to see some inspirational folks out today. John who we have met through ultra events was there looking very tanned and rested. He and his wife had spent a month in Hawaii relaxing before embarking on a round the world trip. He managed to keep up with his running and shared his experiences of participating in the Dubai marathon. John and his wife travel the world doing destination runs. How cool is that! Gilles who organized the event was a gracious host welcoming all old and new members. Gilles led us through the trails of Stanley Park at a comfortable pace making sure no one was left behind at the start of the event until we reached the recognizable sea wall. Today's event had many km's of road, something I had not done for quite a while as I spend the majority of my time on the trails. The trail runner in me felt somewhat out of place running along the sea wall and over the Burrard Street bridge amongst the crowds of people and cars. My gear also reflected the trails with 2 hand held water bottles, my light back pack and of course my trail shoes! I had a few stares as a ran by all the Lululemon wear! Overall Neil and I really enjoyed the outing. We covered 30 kms in 3:15. Hamstrings, calf muscles were letting me know that I had not been on the road for awhile! We made it a Vancouver day by finishing it off with the Canucks vs Chicago Black Hawks game. It was a great game, I don't think I have ever seen the Canucks score so many goals! We met up with 2 couples who we knew were also attending the game between periods. Great run, good physical challenge and oh so nice to catch up with friends!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Three in a Row!

Well we are proud that we both managed to run 3 nights in a row considering I am in a new position at work and Neil is managing many challenges with his work. The weather was still dry so it was another great night under the stars. Thursday nights we start thinking about what our running outings on the weekend will be. The emails from the running buddies start rolling in with suggestions. Rest day tomorrow, and it is TGIF!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Run on the Dyke

Another beautiful clear day with a stunning red/orange sunset tonight. At the end of my work day I felt the need to head out for a run to take in the sun set, fresh air and to run off the days events. Neil met up with me and we did our usual mid week route. Great outing...forecast is for rain so I'm glad we made it out tonight.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday Run on the Dyke

It was a beautiful evening for a run. The sky was very clear and the snow topped mountains were lighting the sky. Neil and I met at our regular meeting spot on the dykes. We briefly re-cap our days and then head out for a quick run. The days are definitely getting longer as it was almost still light when we started. Came upon an old friend Steve who was riding his bike. It was great to catch up with him. He has started his training for Iron Man Canada despite having knee surgery and being told he would never run again. A true runner! :) Steve was one of the runners who inspired us early on to take up ultra running. I ran some stretches tonight at a quick pace...the power of the iPOD!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Workout with Trainer

Monday's we try very hard to make the one hour training session with Warren in the gym. As I mentioned he puts us through exercises/routines that we would never be motivated to do on our own. Tonight's routine consisted of what he refers to as a "ladder". Good workout! 11 rounds of exercises that in the end you have done many reps of each. On the way home we saw a bad car accident, we were both shaken by it. It appears that someone did not see the red light.
Run tomorrow, aprox. 10km on the dyke.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Icy and Snowy Sunday Run

Well the Canucks did not win but we had fun at the game! Today Neil and I set out for a loop of Hayward Lake, 17km. To our surprise there was still a fair bit of snow and ice on the trail. The trail circles the lake and has 2 distinct sides to the loop. One side is the old railway trail and the other is a hilly undulating trail in the woods. The bears live on the side of the railway trail and the cougars live on the wooded side! We have spotted both species on several occasions. The cougar has always been sighted in the same area so we call that "cougar alley." Neil always waits for me before proceeding, there is comfort in going through there together!
Running on the snow and ice is a bit slower and hard work! Our legs were feeling tired by the time we finished the loop today. Total of running for the weekend, 33km. Rest day from running tomorrow, work out with Warren (trainer) tomorrow night. He makes us do all the things that runners don't like to do like stretching and movements that take us sideways. Runners run using the forward movement and need to strengthen the counter muscles. Unfortunately this week I learned that my running buddy and husband who were joining us on the WHW journey will not be doing the event or joining us in Scotland. Neil and I were both very disappointed as we were really looking forward to sharing the experience. Accommodation was booked and family and friends excited about our visit. Now we have to turn to plan B...which we are uncertain about at this time. I am reluctant to attempt this event on my own due to the wilds of Scotland and the fact that the runner is only supported by their crew who the runner may not see for hours. Maybe Neil and I will do it as a husband and wife team! That may pose some challenges on its own. :) Perhaps with support from the family members and the local running club we can make it work. Oh the logistics of ultra running! Thankfully we have plenty of time to figure it all out.