Sunday, August 30, 2009

Coliseum Mountain (1441m) and Mount Burwell (1541m)

Neil, Glenn and Ean

Saturday morning the phone rang early - it was Ean Jackson inviting Neil on a "bagger" outing with the guys. A bit short notice as Neil would need to leave ASAP to join them in North Vancouver. Plan B - Sunday he could join Ean and Glenn to conquer 2 Peaks in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, the same area where we went last weekend. Saturday we ran 20 km at the UBC Forest repeating our favourite 10km loop 2 times. Sunday Neil's alarm went at 5:30AM to get to Ean's house by 7AM. I enjoyed my sleep in and went for a run mid morning on the dykes for 2 hours. I ran into a colleague of mine and her husband riding their bikes - I am going to Maxine's on Wed evening for her annual "Dahlias and Dessert" party where we all pick the Dahlias from her flower garden, drink wine, eat dessert and have a great girls night out. The outing that Neil went on was to be aprox 4 hours (they had read that somewhere) but it turned into a 6.5 hour outing. All was fine with the exception of them running out of water for the last hour or so. Some great pictures from the peaks - Neil commented that they could smell the smoke from forest fires. British Columbia is experiencing many fires currently. Next weekend we are planning a day trip to Kamloops for a 54km run but the race director has warned us all of the heavy smoke in the area with several fires burning close by. My lungs won't like that! Officials may roll out a complete back country ban which means no access to trails in BC! This is to keep the human activity down that contributes to the fires although many are also caused by lightning. 4 years ago we had a back country ban and we all took up the sport of road running!
Tomorrow I am off work and heading up Burnaby Mtn to visit Simon Fraser University to pick up my required textbooks. The University is located at the top of a Mtn and apparently has several running trails that I look forward to discovering! I think I will do another climb up the Grouse Grind tomorrow.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Grouse Grind - My Birthday Outing!

Wed was my Birthday - to celebrate we chose to climb the Grouse Grind - the steep climb up Grouse Mtn. Here are the stats of the climb!

Length: 2.9 kilometres (1.8 miles)
Elevation Gain: 853 metres (2,800 feet)
- Base: 274 metres above sea level (900 feet)
- Summit: 1,127 metres (3,700 feet)
- Total Stairs: 2,830
Statistics: Annually, over 100,000 people hike the Grind™.
Average Time: On average it takes up to an hour and a half to complete the hike.
For novice hikers, up to two hours is recommended.
Participants: Hikers range in age from 7 to 90, with an equal male/female split.

There is nothing like it to keep your heart rate up. The fastest I have done it in is 49minutes. My usual time is around 55 minutes. There is a pub and out door patio during the summer months, and a high end dining room at the top year round. Many tourists take the cable car up to the top of Grouse. The view is "the top of Vancouver" The experience is fantastic and includes 2 rescued Grizzly Bears - Coola and Grinder. A spectacular site to see! 2 Wolves also rescued have an area at the base of the mountain. I like to do this climb once/week during the spring/summer/fall. It closes for the winter. I hope to go back here on Monday.

Planning this weekend outings as I type!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lynn Creek

Today we joined some members of Club Fat Ass for an outing in North Vancouver. David Crerar who also did the WHW organized the outing. Marilyn, Ron, Neil and I went out for dinner last night after a bike ride. We had lots of fun...I noticed that other tables were noticing the laughter coming from ours! We were later than anticipated getting home so the sleep was short last night for an early rise to get to North Van for an 8AM start. David was just finishing the description of the route when we arrived - something about a cougar and 2 "kittens" spotted in the area a couple of days ago. Yikes! A cougar is a trail runners biggest threat in this area, we have plenty of bears but the cougars will stalk a runner and can kill with a single swipe. A bear attack is bad news too but the bears tend to run away from humans unlike the cougars who tend to stalk and attack the humans. A cougar with 2 "kittens" would have been a spectacular sighting but a very scary one too! We enjoyed the trail that followed Lynn Creek. It was deep in the woods but we saw quite a few people due to the population in this area. Where we live we are often the only car in the parking lot and may not see another human for many outings. We took a side trail to Norvan Falls and went over a very well constructed suspension bridge. It was great to catch up with some Club Fat Ass runners. We had a good chat with Ean Jackson - always entertaining! We were exploring the area for about 3 hours. On the way home we stopped at several furniture stores looking for a desk for me. I start the Masters of Public Health program at Simon Fraser University in a couple of weeks and will need my student spot at home. Found a desk and a side table that should be just fine!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Downhill Running Lesson

Today we (yes we!) decided to try to work on improving my downhill trot! I had some ankle injuries and tibia stress fractures awhile back and ever since then caution is the name of the game on the downhill! I have a birthday this coming week and have chosen my downhill running as something I would like to improve on with age. Enjoy the video clip!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weekend Of Celebration!

Kitty on Ron's lap - Are they both asleep?

Neil presenting Andy with his belt buckle from Stormy 100 miler. Andy placed 2nd!

This weekend was one of celebration. On Saturday morning I drove to UBC Golf Club to attend a celebration of life - Dr. Tom Mock's memorial service. I met up with Marilyn and Ron prior to the ceremony. It was well attended and very well done. He was an academic who touched the lives of many - including his students in medicine who did a very nice speech representing their present and past classes. I saw several past co-workers - funny how these events bring people together. I left to return home for final preparation for a summer party Neil and I were hosting. We had arranged the date awhile back when we could all get together. There were many events to celebrate one of which was the West Highland Way. Several people brought pictures they had formatted to video of their summer vacations. Europe featured a few times with Anke, Chad and Ron all having special family trips this year. We also compiled a video of all the running events and outings we completed this year. Neil presented Andy with his belt buckle from Stormy 100 miler that he came second in last weekend. Andy went home to bed after the 100 miler - so Neil and I brought the buckle home for him. Last night was a beautiful clear evening and with the patio heater going we were able to stay outside visiting until 1AM. It was great to catch up with everyone and good fun was had by all!
Today Neil and I went for a great run locally. Up the Horse corral, up the Incline trail, down the Eric Dunning, along the Mike Lake road, up the Menzies trail to the look out, Valley trail back to the car. 2hrs 15minutes. I really enjoyed it - no pressure to get home for another commitment - no thoughts about the next event - just purely pushing hard and having fun. I tried on the down hill to improve my pace. Relax and not over-think the technical sections - something I want to work on. Any great down hill tips out there??

Sunday, August 9, 2009

STORMY 50 Miler

Add Image Well I am proud of completing this one! For a few reasons; first I am usually very good about always training for events I enter but not this time! Due to visitors, heat, travel etc...I dropped the routine prior to this event. My last long run was the WHW in June and nothing more than 3.5 hours last weekend. Second, I recently had a bad reaction to some Black Fly and Wasp bites from the Golden Ears outing. I now carry Benadryl and an Epinephrine pen. This event has historically been a bit "buggy" but with the heat wave and the Wasps being everywhere this year I knew I was in for a real "buggy" outing. I was actually feeling quite frightened by the little pests knowing that they can take you out in a second. Neil and I decided to do the event together again just in case I got stung and I had to administer the "epi" injection.
We drove to Squamish (near Whistler) late Friday afternoon in time for package pick up and to see Andy finish his first loop of the 100 miler also taking place. He was in second place - smiling and looking strong. We helped him re-fill and he changed a few items of clothing preparing for the night ahead. We last saw Andy running out for the 2nd loop with 3 pieces of Pizza all stacked on top of each other to make for a nice big bite of fuel.
Neil and I checked into our hotel and went down to the Pub at the hotel for supper. Martha Grant joined us for dinner - her husband was setting up an Aid station for the 100 milers in the woods and planned to stay there right through until the 50 milers went through the next day.
We arrived at the start at 4:45AM for the 5AM start. I chose the 1 hour early option as I have found with this course the final cut off could be tight for me. I have always made it under the 13 hours given with an hour to go - but I like feeling "less pressure" if I start early. It was dark so we all were wearing our head lamps - Reg from Chilliwack led us out around the construction that is happening in the area (road improvements for the 2010 Winter Olympics!). A bit fast Reg for a start of a 50 miler! :) It was a very warm and humid morning, wow I was sweating a lot already. Note to self...salt and fluids! Early on Neil's stomach was a bit upset - that was a first! - me waiting for him! We got a bit confused/lost around Alice Lake campground but found the route within a few minutes. As the sun came up so did the bugs. Oh my - I have never seen so many Wasps swarming the ground and flying through the air. I was freaked! "Keep moving" I could hear Neil saying...and yes I can honestly say I ran and ran with very few stops. Even our stops at Aid stations were swift due to the Wasps all over the food and drink. At one point I heard Neil shout $##&!!...from behind and then "SPRINT" wow did I go (amazing how fast you can move with an adrenaline rush). Yes Neil was stung...thanks for taking the hit for me! :)
We felt much relief whenever we would pop out of the wooded areas. The open service roads felt much less threatening. We hiked up 9 mile hill at a good rate and felt in need of refuelling once we got to the top but the aid station was well stocked - I remember seeing Reg again (who led us out in the AM) The volunteers at this event are everywhere - with several jobs throughout the day. The hours passed quickly as they always do. I was still running at the end (perhaps not too quickly!) and finished in 12 hours. Pleased with that - about 20 minutes faster than last year.
When we finished we heard that Andy maintained his second place the entire night and finished as the crowds were there for the 6AM start so he arrived to a big cheer! He was home in bed so we picked up his belt buckle and large bottle of Beer (Howe Sound Brewing Company) . Neil commented that the buckle is very Canadian - not quite so large and shiny as the American buckles! :) Great event-nice to catch up with so many trail running friends. Well it's lunch time here and Neil just commented he is hungry! The usual post-ultra growlies.
That was Ultra #26 - my 4th 50 Miler!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

We are Signed up!

Well...we signed up for the 50 mile event this weekend! I ran for 1.5 hours on the dykes today ~ great steady running outing!
Now I am feeling very brave! I am hanging my hat on the fact that I survived almost 32 hours at WHW so I can survive 12 hours no problem! Not a recommended training strategy but hey...go for things in life while you can! :)) (that's a double chin!)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday's Run!

Today we followed through with our plan to run at Hayward Lake. Neil was off for a farm visit first thing so we decided to wait until later in the day when the temps would be cooler to run. Amazing how a long weekend brings out the crowds! We are usually alone on the trail but saw a few others enjoying our great trails. 2 hours tonight...are we ready for STORMY?? Neil did the KneeKnacker 3 weeks ago so he managed a long run then. I have not had a long run over 3.5 hours for about 5 weeks. Many short week day outings and nothing more than 3.5 hours for the longest outing!?? We have until midnight tomorrow to make up our minds!!

Sunday Outings!

Pitt lake from the bike path - it is a tidal lake. Beautiful night for a bike ride!

Today we went back to the same 10km loop we did yesterday but added one more loop to make it 30km today. I felt good but my breathing was not great - poor air quality due to the heat and forest fires. Tonight we met Marilyn and Ron for a bike ride on the Pitt Meadows dykes for a bike ride (1hr 15 mins). We took a dyke path that led us to a view of the forest fire burning across the lake. We could smell the fire - tragic - it is burning close to the fishing lodge. After the bike ride we went to the local pub for supper. 4.5 hours of exercise that is better! Marilyn also had some sad news to share. A previous colleague of mine Mary-Anne, lost her husband Tom on Saturday. He passed away in his sleep - 48 years old, healthy, active...autopsy to be done in the next few days. Tragic...too many great people have passed away lately. Dario, the Maple Ridge doctor, my colleagues sister, the good friend of a friend and now Tom.

Tomorrow is BC day (statutory holiday) so we plan to run for a couple of hours at Hayward lake. Nothing like a bit of last minute training for a 50 miler! :)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday Outings!

The View of the Golden Ears Mtns from our house under the smoke from the forest fires.

Neil's Dad and I...beating the heat!

Last night we saw Neil's Dad off at Vancouver International. He experienced the hottest temps the Vancouver area ever has had on record! Email from Charles, he made it home safely. Neil and I had planned to head out first thing for a 25 km run. As we were enjoying a bit of a sleep in his Blackberry rang...he was off to do a farm visit in the Eastern Fraser Valley. He was back shortly after noon and we stuck to the commitment to go for a run although we modified the route due to the heat of the day. We ran a 10km loop twice. It is a good work out as it is 5km up at a pretty steep grade and 5km down. Tonight we went for a 1 hour bike ride on the dykes in Pitt Meadows. It was a beautiful clear, warm evening but the smoke from the forest fires from Whistler and Pitt Lake was creating a haze over the mountains. It felt so good to get back into some more intense training. We plan to do 3 loops tomorrow for a total of 30km and perhaps another bike ride. Tonight we celebrated with using our WHW goblets for the red wine! If we get in some good mileage over this long weekend (BC Day on Monday) we may sign up for STORMY 50 miler. Registration closes Tuesday at midnight!