Wednesday, December 30, 2009

9 Ultras in 2009! 27 Ultras to Date.

Receiving the prize for 1st Place in My Age Category - BC Ultra Running Trail Series.

Dirty Duo - 50km
My first Ultra event in 2009. It is 2 loops of a 25km course in North Vancouver. The trails were covered in snow and it was a cold day. This race is the first in the BC Ultra Running Trail Series.(BCUTS)This was my second time completing the 2 loop, 50km course.

Chuckanutt - 50km - Bellingham, Washington
This course is a loop with the first 10km on flat packed gravel. The middle 30km has lots of uphill, downhill and MUD. There is a classic climb in this event called "Chin Scrapper" which it is very appropriately named. This was my 3rd time completing this event.

Diez Vista - 50km
a beautiful 50km on rugged west coast trails. This is the 2nd race in the BCUTS. This event was my very first ultra and I have now completed it 3 times.

Elk Beaver - 50km - Victoria
This event is loops of a 10km course around a lake in Victoria. It requires mental toughness to keep looping. Andy, Neil and I have participated in this a few years now and we enjoy the journey over on the ferry, the dinner with Carlos and other participants. This is the 3rd race in the BCUTS.

American River - 50 miles - Sacramento, California
This was a great weekend! Neil and I enjoyed our 3 days in the Sacramento area. The race follows the American River. The first part is a marathon on a paved bike trail. The second half is a marathon in the hills. It was the first event I have done where we were warned of poison oak and rattlesnakes. Beautiful weather - not too hot.

Scorched Sole - 50km - Kelowna
Andy, Neil and I made the road trip here the afternoon before the event. It was a beautiful warm evening in the Okanagan Valley. We found the best outdoor patio over looking Okanagan Lake for dinner. Andy did the 50 mile event and was winning up until the last few minutes until he took a wrong turn - ouch! Neil and I also found ourselves confused about the 50km route. It is the 4th race in the BCUTS.

West Highland Way - 95miles - Scotland.
This 95 mile race starts in the train station in Milngavie and follows the West Highland Way path to Fort William. It was my longest ultra to date, Neil has completed Western States and Tahoe Rim 100milers and H2H 100km - 5 times. We decided to do it together. His experience and calm nature really helped get me through as well as the crew of Charles, Graeme and Fiona. I did well except for the pain in my feet. Dario had warned me about this - a common complaint from those of us across the pond who run on softer surfaces. It was a fantastic event and we look forward to returning again this year. Shortly after the event Dario, the RD passed away. It was tragic news. He was the nicest, kindest person and he took a real interest in helping me complete the WHW. Without his help I may not have had the courage to start. Well we have signed up again!

STORMY - 50 mile - Squamish, BC.
This is a favourite event of mine! I have completed the 50 mile event 3 times now.
Wendy, the RD offers an early start which I prefer to take to relieve any time pressures throughout the day. There is a 100 mile event taking place at the same time so that adds a bit of excitement and I constantly tell myself to suck it up as I am only doing 1 loop of the 50km event when I come across the 100 mile runners. Another BCUTS race.

Walk in the Park - 54km - Kamloops, BC.
This is the second time I have completed this event. It is 3 loops of a very hilly course on sandy dry trails. The RD - Chris does a fantastic job of keeping this event to a nice number of people where we all know each other and he cooks you up a "hot dog" when you are done! This year Ian joined Neil and I for the middle of the night drive to Kamloops and returning home by 8pm. It's a full day but a fun one! Another BCUTS event.

Bagger Challenge
No Ultra distances here but worth a mention for a highlight of 2009. I bagged 16 Peaks over 3,000 feet in Sept/October.

Oh and I must mention under taking the Masters of Science Degree at Simon Fraser University - and trying to find the balance with work, play and school. Looking forward to another year of great challenges and lots of fun accomplishing them - even the upcoming Statistics Class ;-)


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Outings!

Neil and Graeme - Steelhead Falls, Hayward Lake.

Shannon Falls, Whistler

The Tantalus Range, Whistler

Golden Ears with Fog Blanketing the Fraser Valley

Graeme in the woods behind our house with the sunlight breaking through.

The calm waters at Hayward Lake.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas in Canada

href=""> Merry Christmas! Graeme and Fiona arrived - although a day later than planned due to weather delays. Having great weather here in Vancouver that is allowing us to get around. (unlike the UK and unlike here last year). Neil and I were in Britain last year during the snow storm that locked down Vancouver - this year we are here and the storm is in the UK. That was good planning! :-) We have taken Graeme on a few of our favourite local runs. On the 23rd we travelled from sea to sky. We ventured to Bowen Island and then went up Grouse Mtn for snow shoeing and dinner at the Peak of Vancouver. A beautiful Canadian Christmas outing! We enjoyed hosting Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with family. Today we set off early for a day drip to Whistler. Enjoy the clips and photos!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Weekend Before Christmas!

Neil on the trail behind our house!

Kitty enjoying the Christmas flowers!

Tonight Graeme and Fiona from Scotland (via Florida) were to arrive. There has been a large snow storm in the East that has impacted their flights. They are staying over in Denver Colorado and are flying on the first flight to Vancouver in the AM. We are excited about hosting Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and a friends party on Jan 2nd. Although we were having some regrets that we are not Christmas shopping in London and we were not participating in the Carnethy Pub Run or having Christmas with Charles, Jane, Jack and Ian it does feel good to be home for the first time in several years now. Today we were out on the trails that are right behind our house up Thornhill. Merry Christmas to All! Cheers!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Let It Snow!

Christmas Lights on our Trees.

The Tree in the Back Garden.

The final exam is over, the final paper is in! Time to enjoy the season! The snow is falling throughout the Vancouver area. Some parts of Canada have been hit with extreme snow falls and cold temperatures. Today on the weather channel I heard that Edmonton Alberta was the coldest place on earth today at minus 50 degrees! Wow, Vancouver is feeling balmy at minus 5. Our Saturday and Sunday runs were so beautiful with a light dusting of snow on the trails. The forecast is for heavy snow Mon night so we have stocked up on supplies just in case we get snowed in! Graeme and Fiona arrive next weekend..,it would be great if the weather holds and they can experience a White Canadian Christmas.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Frosty Morning!

Marla and I enjoying the run!

Marla, myself and Chad with the Golden Ears Range behind.

Today Neil and I met up with Chad and Marla for a run at the local UBC Research forest. It consists of trails and forest roads. We did an out and back for just under 2 hours on a very scenic forest road. The trees were coated in heavy frost, the skies very blue, our first run this year in minus temperatures. The gloves, WHW buff and jacket stayed on for the entire run which always is an indicator for me how cold it was. On our return Chad noticed something strange off trail, we investigated and it appeared to be a an experimental natural water filtering station. Like I mentioned the forest is owned by the University of BC and there are student projects throughout the woods! Speaking of students, Marla is also a student at Simon Fraser University. She has taken a leave from her work to under take an undergraduate degree. We were able to share our relief of the semester coming to a close. I am feeling saturated with the Qualitative Research and Survey Methods class! 2 assignments due this week and the final exam is on Thursday. Neil's brother Graeme, and his wife Fiona, are on their way from the south shores of Loch Ness to join us for a Canadian Christmas but first they are off for some sun in Florida!