Sunday, May 30, 2010

Alouette Mountain Run

That was a big tree!

This is a big rock!

I always chuckle when I see this sign - Maple Ridge is a long way away!

Neil at the Look Out.

The streams were full.

Running up the mountain

There is a memorial to a local man who died at the age of 22 descending Mount Logan (Canada's highest mountain) The family have made a great picnic spot - it is so well maintained with fresh varnish on the picnic table.
Lots of these rock formations since the Olympics!

Enjoying the seat and the view!
This is the memorial picnic table with the plaque in the center of the table. it you building these?? Andy runs here often.

Andy...did you build this one too??

Neil's trip to the West Coast Trail was cancelled due to poor trail conditions and weather. Another adventure was on for him leaving Saturday night back Sunday night but the work demands were too great this weekend. I could feel the pressure building - Thursday night he was late getting home, Friday night he was late getting home and Saturday morning his phone started ringing with farm visits required. I spent Saturday booking our August vacation - 4 nights in London, 4 nights Paris, 4 nights Tours France (Neil is speaking at a conference) and 1 night London. I was disappointed to learn that the hotel we always stay at in London is no longer there! It was a great place, good location, staff were the same for years (Freddie was the best concierge) and fairly reasonably priced (OK a little pricey ;-) but worth it!) The Sheraton Belgravia is no longer!
Once Neil arrived back home - now into the early evening - we went for a run in the pouring rain around Hayward Lake - just over 2 hours. It was getting dark and the misty rain clouds made it even darker. I was glad we snuck that run in. Today we went up Alouette Mountain to the lookout. We started at the Horse Corral and went up the Incline Trail and then up the road to the lookout - back down on the trail and then retraced our steps. 3 hours 15min. Next weekend is the Vancouver 100 which is the KneeKnacker route twice. We are planning to do 50km in the direction that the KneeKnacker goes - from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove. It is a Club Fat Ass event so you can "customize it". We thought we would start in the afternoon so we will take in some night running for the last few hours to check out the headlamps etc...
I started to think about what we ate last year on the WHW. M & S British Ham and Cheese sandwiches were my favourite! I think I had half a sandwich each time we saw our crew. I recall baked potatoes being offered at one of the stops and wow was it good. Crisps, chicken noodle soup and coke also go down well. Last year I recall sipping on coke for most of the second half. ;-) Neil said he liked the M & S sausage rolls. We are both good eaters (obviously) during an ultra event - this year I will try and compile a list of everything I eat.

Monday, May 24, 2010


I always think this post looks so cute everytime I run by it!

The long weekend is almost over...I took Friday off work to make it even longer! They always seem to whiz by so fast. It was Neil's birthday on Sunday and we had a party - 11 for dinner - it was fun (family and Marilyn and Ron). I bought Neil a Garmin 310XT which he had been thinking about for a bit now. I think he will really enjoy it once he figures out how to use it. ;-) Next weekend he is off to run the West Coast Trail (75km) on Vancouver Island with a group of guys so he plans to take along the GPS to capture the journey. They hope to start at first light and push through to complete the 75km in approximately 18 hours. Most hikers take 5-7 days. Another gift was a hand held Ultra Violet light to treat water to make it safe for consumption. You hold the device in the water for about 60 seconds and it kills giardia, crytosporidium and all those nasty critters. He has iodine tablets as back-up just in case the light malfunctions.
This weekend we had a low mileage weekend. We were feeling tired - as we should be with the long runs we have been consistently doing every weekend for the last 6 weeks. Last weekend we were sweeping for 10 hours on Saturday, Sunday = bike ride 1 hour, Monday = run for 1 hour. Tues, Wed = rest. Thursday = 45 min run, Friday = 75 min run, Saturday = 2 hour run, Monday =2hr run and an evening bike ride = 1 hour. I am really trying to work on preventing the serious pain I had in my feet last year at WHW. I have new shoes, socks and most importantly I am trying to be disciplined about taking electrolyte tablets. Last weekend my feet started to hurt and the pain did go away after taking some Succeed tablets. In the "foot book" I have the author suggests the connection between electrolyte imbalance and blisters/sore feet. Last year at WHW I had what is called maceration of the foot where the entire bottom drops away looking like one big blister but once I was somewhat rested/hydrated the foot looked normal with no blistering. I am really nervous about this happening again. I have also tried taping my feet but after a couple of hours the tape comes loose. I am going to try duct tape as I recall the foot doctor using it on Neil's blistered feet at Western States. I will carry the tape in my pack - unlike last year we didn't have any tape. Our crew borrowed some from another crew - by then the pain was so bad it didn't really help but psychologically it probably did!

Our flights are booked, (yes with BA!), the house sitter/cat sitter is booked, the accommodation is booked (we are spending a week prior to the WHW in Edinburgh and head for home the Tuesday afterwards) so it is all coming together - now I need to convince myself that I can complete this event. Neil keeps reminding me of the adversity I faced last year with the foot pain, how I managed to continue (it was a crawl!) and we finished with a few hours to spare. I still can clearly remember myself and another runner who had really sore feet as well going back and forth with each other on the 2nd night. I passed him between Lundavra and Fort William for the final time and said hey buddy I am buying you a drink tonight!! He never did make it to the party - I saw his crew and they said he was in bed with his feet up. I wonder if he'll be back again this year?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tender Foot - Sweepers Experience!

Crossing a large boulder field in the 50 mile event.
John and I coming down the boulder field.
Wendy, myself and John.
A Pond in Bloom!
A Nice view of Black Tusk and a Glacier
More Glacier Views
Wild Flowers growing out of the side of a large boulder
More great views from the trail
We followed the river for quite awhile
This was a tunnel made of rocks - the Squamish area has many boulder formations.
John telling me one of his funny stories. We had just heard what sounded like fighter jets was! F-18 jets escorted Cathay Pacific into Vancouver today.We had a moment of what was that?? A rare sound here. (thankfully)
Wendy, John and I on the old highway to Whistler.

A new run from Squamish to Whistler took place today. It had 4 events a 50 mile, a 50 km, a 28km and a relay. Neil, Wendy, John Macray and myself volunteered to sweep the 50 mile course. We met at 5am in Squamish (the alarm went at 2:30am!) Another crazy outing! The start was the Adventure Center in Squamish and we set out shortly after the 50 milers were off. Our purpose as sweepers is to remove the ribbons marking the route and make sure everyone finishes safely. Wendy and John knew the area well which was good as Neil and I were on new territory. We were a bit slow early on as the course had many markers to remove and it was a slow stop-start for the first few hours. After time the markers became less frequent. Thankfully the 3 aid stations waited for us to arrive so we could fill up on fluid and food. We travelled through some very scenic areas and also some very remote trails that you could tell were not well travelled. Several times we had to pop out of the trails onto the main highway to Whistler and once onto the old highway. Despite this road being improved for the Olympics I would recommend not to go for a run on it! As many of you know who have travelled the road to Whistler the drivers are crazy and the route has many dangerous curves in the road. Despite an immense network of trails between Squamish and Whistler - the road is the only option at times - Yikes! While we were running on the road sections the temperature was rising and wow did the heat reflect off the pavement. Future plans are in the works to make a trail that connects Squamish and Whistler. For the final section the route markers had been removed and we went too far along the trail and missed the turn off where we were finishing our portion of the course. Wendy was on her cell phone a few times throughout the day making sure we were on the route. We did not sweep the entire course there was a final sweeper for the last section. We were on the course for 10 hours but the distances seemed a bit off so we are unsure at how far we actually travelled. We ran out of liquid at about hour 9 and we were all feeling the effects of this. My feet were sore again this weekend but I did notice that when I took some "S" Caps (electrolyte tabs) the pain became less intense. I really need to improve this before WHW. The rock underfoot at times on today's course reminded my of the rocks at WHW. Don and Jackie very kindly waited at their aid station and drove us all to Whistler where John was meeting up with Gilles and then drove us back to Squamish where we had started the route. A quick stop at Starbuck's and a stop at A&W for Wendy and Neil to have a burger before the drive home. An incredible journey on a new course...a good 10 hour training run! This course is designed for very experienced Ultra Runners - might be a good idea to stick together with others.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Squamish Training Run - 6 Hours

It was an early rise to get to Squamish by 9AM to meet up with Wendy for another LONG Run. The skies were clear and the forecast was for a warm spring day. Wendy very kindly did a drop bag full of fluids and goodies out on the route she had planned for today. We met at the Canadian Tire parking lot and headed out across the highway to run on the dyke that follows the river. We came upon the place where the annual Eagle count is done(the picture of Wendy and Neil). Wendy led us along some roads in Brackendale before we hit the immense trail network that Squamish has to offer. Once onto some open forest roads the signs of bear were every where. Perhaps more than one bear in the area with the piles of scat we kept seeing. The views were spectacular of the Tantalus Range and the trails were incredible. This area is very popular for mountain biking and Wendy took us on a new trail that the district has invested in. The bikes were just flying down and we had to swiftly jump out of the way. At about the 4 hour mark we came upon the drop bag Wendy had stashed in the woods. We had an incredible choice of water, Gatorade, coke, chips and cookies. Great trail food to fuel us for another 2 hours of some more of Wendy's favourite trails. We finished the route in 6 hours. We were all in good form but I did notice a bit of burning starting to happen on the bottom of my foot. This was my big big issue last year at WHW (team Ambrose I see you smiling!) So I must figure this out. Wendy suggested new socks for long runs and events. I am game to try that. We left Squamish to head back home to clean up for Carrie's 50th birthday party. We arrived a bit late but just in time to eat! It was nice to catch up with friends we haven't seen for a few months. Pat did an awesome slide show of Carrie's 50 years! Today we ran on our local hill behind us for about 1 hour. We were a bit pushed for time with it being Mothers Day here today. We had hoped to get to Mountain Equipment Co-op on our way to the family Mothers day celebration at Kendall's and Chris' but missed the opening hours. So I will be on a mission for new socks this week prior to Tender Foot Boogie 50km next weekend which goes from Squamish to Whistler. Appropriate name for me with my tender feet! Let's hope I can still Boogie!! Thanks Wendy for showing us such awesome Squamish trails!! Looking forward to the next outing!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The First Knee Knacker Training Run

After running 50km's yesterday we had a bit of a sleep in and drove to the North Shore to do the route of the first training run for Knee Knacker. We missed the official training run but joined up with Craig and Heather for a good 2hr:45min outing. I felt strong and Craig commented a few times - how far did you run yesterday - you are doing good! It was good to get back on the Baden Powell trail. This section is really knarly - hence Canada's knarliest 50km event! It was raining and the roots and trail were quite slippery - caution was taken to avoid the dreadful wipeout. Including Friday night - that adds up to 10 hours of running this weekend. Planning another 50km long run next feels like the training is coming together.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

50 km in the Forest!

Today Wendy, Neil and I arrived at the Malcolm Knapp UBC Research Forest here in Maple Ridge for a 9AM start. We were determined to get another good long run in this weekend. Wendy is training for a 50 miler the same day as WHW. There are a few route options in this forest - there is a 10km loop that is popular for Ultra Runners to do loop repeats on (half up, half down) or a 25km loop that goes up, undulating and then down. We had discussed doing the 25km course and then adding in two 10 km loops. Wendy proposed the option of doing the two 10 km loops first and then head out on the 25km course. What wisdom she had!! After the two 10km loops (with a few km side trip to Loon Lake and onto the Loon Lake trail)we were still feeling good and after re-fueling at our drop bags we headed out in good form. It was about half way on the 25 km loop that "oh my I'm tired hits" and the only option is to keep going! With the help from some gels and our favourite sandwiches we were fueled and kept the run going! We were out there for a total of 5hrs 45mins. Not bad considering the terrain! In the photos you will see the deer behind me that greeted us at the forest edge first thing and the posts that have been scratched by something. At first we thought it was bears but then had a flash to Kitty's scratching post and realized it was most likely Cougars who use these sign posts as scratching posts. There were shavings at the bottom of the posts just like the cat scratching posts. We all stayed together for the rest of the run!! tomorrow we plan to do the first training run route of the Knee Knacker 50km - Canada's Knarliest Ultra in July. We have both done it a few times but like training on course as it is very course specific with the terrain. We won't make it for the 8am start but will join Craig and Heather for a more leisurely Sunday start.