Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Combination of a Big Hill and the Flat Dykes - 6 hours

It was a warm weekend! High of 27 degrees. Saturday AM we went up Alouette Mountain starting at UBC Research Forest. We were certain there was to be a Bear sighting in the journey by the many piles of Bear scat we encountered. We did not see any but perhaps they saw us! We ran to the Lookout from UBC which is a runnable gradual climb for about 10km before turning around. We were really sweating with the climb in temperature. We reminded each other to take some "S" caps...Succeed Caps that are salt and other electrolytes. We discovered them the year Neil did Western States, they were his life saver in the heat! Not sure if we will require that many along the WHW journey with the temperature most likely not to be too warm. I think we will still take a few to accommodate for the sweating anyways. Sunday we ran on the flat dykes in Pitt Meadows for 2 hours. It is a good iPOD run! Marilyn and Ron came out and joined us on their bikes. We all went for coffee after despite all of us chatting about the chores we really should be home doing! Tonight Neil and I might head out for a quick run to make it another "double run" day. We were both really tired this past week. I think it is normal at this stage in the training. We have one more 50km event next weekend...or we have the option of doing the 50 mile event. Hmmm...our friend Andy is doing the 50 miles. If we do the 50km and he does the 50 miles we should all be done about the same time. Andy is a fast runner! We haven't signed up yet so will make a decision in the next day or two. We are practicing with the video option on our camera so we can capture the journey on the WHW. Enjoy!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Neil's Birthday Weekend!

Wow the weekend went fast! Friday night we ran for 1hr, 20 minutes. Saturday we had planned for about a 3 hour run. The alarm went off Saturday morning and we both had a difficult time waking up. It was a beautiful sunny day here but both of us were feeling quite tired. It was Neil's 45th Birthday! Happy Birthday Neil! After much deliberation we decided to not run Saturday due to the tired feeling and the desire to stay home! This was the first Saturday we have not run since Christmas! Yep...we deserve the day off! We enjoyed the day around the house and garden. Sunday we were now motivated and energized to head to North Vancouver to participate in the Knee Knacker training run. They are organized training runs for the Knee Knacker, 30 mile event that takes place on July 11th this year. We did the last 25km of the route. It is Canada's knarliest trail run full of roots and rocks! It was a great outing to catch up with trail friends. I ran the majority of the route with Craig, we often end up running together at these training runs due to our similar pace and we always have good conversation along the way. I think Craig is heading for a PB this year at the Knee Knacker, there were lots of strong moments for him out there! Neil ran the majority of the route with Phil who is originally from England and always has lots of interesting trail news. Sunday night Chad and Marla hosted a group of us, many who had just had birthdays. It was great to catch up with everyone and we had some really good laughs over some very funny birthday cards that were shared. Tonight we ran a good route after work for about 1.5 hours. The Grouse Grind, a steep climb up Grouse Mtn is now open (clear of snow!) so we are hoping to add this to our training over the next few weeks. Tonight we enjoyed viewing photos of sections of the West Highland Way taken by John K who did 2 days of good running on the route. Looking forward to the journey on the WHW, it is going to be a fantastic experience travelling through some magnificent Scottish scenery. We are getting excited about the trip!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bonkfest-Long Weekend of Running! Another Ultra! #23!

Friday night we did a 1 hour run to warm us up for Saturday's Bonkfest in Squamish. We arrived Saturday morning in Squamish just after 10AM to find a few cars parked at Power House that were participating in the event. It is a low key event where you time yourself and do as many loops or a modified version to suit your needs. Karl and Gilles were out there doing a 100 miles on the same course, they started Friday night at 7pm. We ran into them shortly into our first loop. Karl and Gilles were both looking great considering they had been out there for 15 hours when we saw them. Karl was focused to complete the 100 miles in under 24 hours and he did! Gilles was just over the 24 hour mark and very content with his result. Wow, now that is inspiring! 2 guys with a crazy glory or finish line ceremony, just shear determination to complete the task! No aid, just drunk campers to cheer them on in the dark and the occasional bear to shout at. OK...I am only here for 2 loops so get your butt in gear and get going girl! We managed the first loop of 14 miles in just under 3 hours. I have enclosed a video clip of some of the terrain. Not the fastest terrain to get around on. Once we completed the first loop we decided to change our plans and stick with the distance/time we had planned for but modified the route. We opted for another climb up nine mile hill and decided to run down to toughen up the quads! It took us 3 hours for going up this hill and down for a total of 6 hours of running for Saturday (46km!) Another Ultra! That's number 23 for me and 6 in my training for West Highland Way. Sunday we ran for 1hour 20 minutes...I was tired! Monday (holiday today!) we ran for 2 hours and I felt great! Funny thing, how one day can be good, the next terrible and the next great! Good experience to realize that the journey on the WHW will be like that. Good times and not so good times! It is always such a good feeling when you have worked through the issues and finished the goal. Sunday night we had a special party to attend. Cynnimon a good running budding is off to Officer Training, she has been accepted to the Canadian Armed Forces and is planning to commit for 13 years! Cynnimon is very special to me as she literally taught me how to run ultras! She provided a training schedule for my very first Ultra and taught me about pace, nutrition, working through the issues and to be thankful that we can do this! She will always hold a special place in my thoughts for encouraging me to take on what appeared to be impossible and always raising the goal a little higher each time! I have no doubt that she will take her troops to be the best they can in what they undertake! It was also an opportunity to see what harbour/boat living is about. Rhonda who hosted the party lives in the marina on her boat. The party was in the club house/"lounge" of the marina. Excellent community living going on there with spectacular views of Vancouver's skyline. Nice to experience such a contrast to rural farm life! Feeling tired tonight but oh what a good tired it is!! :)

Hopefully we will figure out how to upload the entire video of Saturday's Running Bonkfest!

Monday, May 11, 2009

38 Days to West Highland Way!

Today I caught up on some WHW blogs and noticed John K's count of 38 days to WHW. So that means we are almost there with the training! Well I feel good! I have completed 5 Ultras in 8 weeks with the longest time being 11 hours and the shortest being 5:45. I have done high mileage most weeks and have 2 more events to complete prior to the event. I am pleased that nothing is really hurting, of course there are aches and pains that come and go but I have learned that this is to be expected. I am proud of our accomplishments to date considering everything else in our life at work and play. My biggest challenge has been my asthma and getting acquainted with the new medications. Some days have been absolutely terrible for running and some days have been great! The sudden onset of Spring has sent many people with allergies into a difficult state. I am proud that I kept up with the training despite the adversity some days. That is what it is all about...facing the challenges to perform in the storm! Neil was talking with Graeme on the weekend working out the car situation for the finish at WHW. We are so fortunate to have family there to help with the planning, crewing and lots of encouragement along the way. Graeme is planning to run some of the course (after 50 miles) with us and was asking Neil about the pace. No worries Graeme, I will be moving forward but I have no doubt that you will be able to keep up! Fresh legs versus 50 mile legs, no concerns for you! We are participating in a running "bonkfest" on Saturday, do as many loops until you crash/bonk! Stay tuned for the report! It must be good for us! :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Volunteer Day

We were quite stiff and tired from Elk Beaver most of the week. Despite the tight hamstrings I managed to get out after work 4 nights. Today we volunteered at a local race in Golden Ears Park. We did the "pre-sweep" which means we set out at 6AM to make sure the course markers are in place. Unfortunately someone had a party in the park last night and removed the markers/arrows and placed them in the wrong direction. We tried to correct the markings but due to 2 distance events and it was a critical junction for the runners we wisely sent one of the 3 of us back to inform the race director who sent out the person responsible for the course. Apparently the markers had been moved so much the runners would have kept running in a circle in the woods. This finding slowed us up so Neil and I pushed on to complete the 16km course so we could be back in time before the official start time. After the pre-sweep we volunteered on the road stopping traffic as needed to let the runners cross the road. We were also signed up to do the "post-sweep" but a group of women were insistent they wanted to do it. Oh well, Neil and I ran back to our car (5km) which gave us a total of 21km today. Tomorrow we plan to head out early to do a loop of Hayward prior to hosting a "Mothers Day" barbeque.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Beaver Fever! - 50km

Friday afternoon the fun car with Neil, Andy and myself headed over to Victoria to participate in Elk-Beaver a multi distance ultra. We participated in this event last year so chose to stay at the same hotel located very close to the event. Friday evening after package pick-up (nice jacket Carlos!) we joined the pre-race party at the pub for dinner and socializing. It is a small ultra event and the race director Carlos does a great job at connecting the people who are participating. This year 2 guys Joe and Gary flew out from Edmonton to participate in the 50 mile event and joined the group for dinner in the pub. Gary is the race director for an ultra in Edmonton called Blackfoot. By the end of the evening he had us convinced to add his run to the to do list! Cheryl and Rhonda missed the 3 pm ferry but were still able to catch up with us in the pub. It was an early night and I recall falling asleep at 9pm. The alarm was buzzing at 4AM for the 6AM start for the event. There is a 10km trail around Elk-Beaver Lake which you could run 5, 8 or 10 loops! I opted for the 50 km (5 loops), Neil did the 80km (8 loops) and Andy ran the 100km (10 loops). The 3 of us did the same distances last year. Personally, 5 loops is enough for me! Too much of the same! The trail is fairly flat with some twists and turns and quaint bridges to cross. I improved my time by 12 minutes to finish in 5:45, Neil was the same time as last year at 8:30, and Andy finished the 100km in just under 9 hours. Great results for all but it was not easy out there! This event really works on your mental toughness. The weather was very warm and humid and the pollens were out in full! I found myself using my inhaler a few times during the event. Shortly after finishing we were on the road to catch the 5pm ferry back to the mainland. Once on the ferry we headed straight to the cafeteria where we met up with Sami, Lorie and Barry who had all participated in the event. We had good conversations reminiscing about the day and discussing upcoming events. We dropped Andy at home where he was greeted by his wife Anke and their 5 children! We were asleep by 10pm and up early as is usually the case after an ultra event. We planned to head out on the trails for some more training but the hamstrings were really tight. We chose to not run but opted for hill repeats by hiking the steep Incline trail up and then running down a couple of times. It felt great to use the muscles differently than yesterday. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home and stocked up on lots of good food items. We were both hungry!