Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lynn Peak and the South Needle - 2 Water Bags in the Bagger Challenge!

Well it is about time I managed to Bag some Peaks in the Club Fat Ass - Bagger Challenge. Last year I was the female "baguette" for being the female who bagged the most peaks. Up to today I have only done one but we did 2 more today! Progress is happening! Not only did I add 2 more to the list we also did what is known as a "Water Bag" which means going from sea level to peak. Wendy, Neil and myself started at the Park and Tilford Mall and ran down to the mouth of the Lynn River and made our way via trail to join up to the familiar Dirty Duo route and joined up with Craig, Heather and Dave Berg at the Gazebo. We left from there to head up Lynn Peak. Neil and Craig had been out bagging on Thursday so they were a bit tired and wow it was a warm day! 30 degrees and full sun! Most of the route up Lynn is in the shade so that was nice. It is a good climb up. Once at the peak we headed on to the South Needle which we had approached from a different way last year. We met the junction where the Hydraulic Creek trail that we came up last year joins in. We stopped for a bite to eat - PBJ sandwiches for Neil and I! Up we went for some more climbing. Once we hit the open rock we all managed very well. Neil reminded us not to look down as we approached the summit and we scrambled to the top in good form. It was a beautiful clear day so we stayed on top for a bit taking in the views and appreciating the warm sun. We made good time coming down the Hydraulic Creek trail - it is steep but I don't mind it as there is always a way to negotiate your footing down. Once down we ran the 5.5km road to the finish which felt so refreshing to run on a flattish surface after all the climbing and descent we did. A total time out there of 6.5 hours consisting of a run, a climb, a descent and a 5.5km run to the finish. A great day out - a quick wash up at Craig's before some much needed sustenance at the Black Bear.
Craig and myself heading up!

Nice view on the way to Lynn Peak!

Myself, Wendy, Heather, Craig and Dave...Neil taking the picture.
Craig and I - the top of Lynn Peak!

Coming Down!

The top of the South Needle.

This is Peak # 3 for me - #7 for Neil!

Craig, Heather and myself on the top of the South Needle.

Craig, Wendy, Heather and myself wandering around the top of the South Needle

Heather and Wendy traversing the terrain very well!

Craig and myself working our way down...lots of fun!

The End!! We are all watching Craig hose off the dirt...we were all content to stay dirty!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

From Beach to Peak - a fun filled Saturday in Vancouver!

Grouse Mountain and Range from Jericho Beach
Crossing the Hikers Parking Lot - nearly finished!

A Glimpse of Howe Sound from the Trail.

Nice view through the trees!

It's a warm evening - Margaret, Francine and me!

The crazy ones on a Saturday night! Neil, me, Margaret, Francine, Wendy, Al and Paul taking the photo.
Beach badminton...many of us had a go!

A view of the city from Jericho Beach.

The proud Aunt and Uncle!

Kendall and Chris - speech time!

Kendall and Chris
Saturday the weather in Vancouver was perfect for 2 planned outings. First our niece Kendall and fiance Chris' engagement party on Jericho Beach. It was a fun filled afternoon of meeting their friends and a gathering of relatives. Chris is Australian (living and working in Vancouver) so his relatives were missing but we will be meeting many of his family and friends next June. Thankfully they chose the weekend after the WHW for their wedding - that was close! which will take place in Vancouver. It was a great beach party with Gordie barbecuing burgers, lots of mingling and the competition of beach badminton on going. It was a good mix of people - neighbours, family, friends and their co-workers. Neil and I had packed our running gear with the option of joining some runners who were planning a night run in Squamish starting at 7pm. The party wound down as planned late afternoon and we did have time to drive to Squamish. Traffic was heavy getting away from the beaches due to the popular Folk Festival taking place. We made it to the start of the run at the Brennan Rec Center in Squamish with 5 minutes to spare. Others started to appear and Wendy informed us of the planned route for the evening and that it would probably take us 4.5 hours. It was a beautiful clear warm evening about 23 degrees at 7pm. We set out about 7:15 and wow it was warm. My pack felt heavy with the extra shirt/vest/lights all the possibilities for the night. After some climbing the temperature started to cool which was a good thing! Brian met us at the half way point with some water which was so appreciated by all of us - I would have ran out. It was so warm I was drinking more than I anticipated. I put my head lamp on at this stop and was turning it on soon after. Wow did the lights go out in the woods! We were out there to practice some night running for a few in our crowd that are doing the STORMY 100 miler in a few weeks. Neil and I are planning the 50 mile event but saw this evening as an opportunity to run on the course and to do something a bit crazy! I have heard from others who have done this very technical section in the dark how tough it is and how scary it is with the wildlife out there. The forest is quite dense and wow is it dark. It was the first time I experienced some nausea from running in the dark - I think because the trail is so twisty and technical. The faster runners went ahead and Wendy, Francine and I were pulling up the rear. It was very magical watching the headlights ahead of us weaving through the woods. Note to self - if you ever do STORMY 100 - have a pacer through the night! I would die of fright out there on my own. We were trotting along quite nicely when we hear a bird singing - we comment that it's a bit strange to hear a bird at this time of night when all of a sudden to our right there is a big GROWL...we all confirm with each other did you hear that?? Yes - we all hear it! It was definitely a bear out there somewhere. Within seconds we hear it again GROWL...Wendy shouts it's above us on the rocks. WOW did we kick it up a notch. We hit a section of stairs and I think I was taking them 3 at a time. We caught up with the guys and they go...what's up?? BEAR we shout...keep moving!! I have come upon many bears in my trail running experiences in the day light. But I have never been growled at! It was so freaky only hearing it - so close but I didn't dare take my eyes off the trail or I would have been in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. We heard a few other grunts and noises in the dark before we finished exactly as Wendy had predicted in 4.5 hours. Neil and I had to drive back to Maple Ridge...2 hour drive. We stopped at the 24 hour Tim Horton's drive through for a coffee to keep the driver and co-pilot awake. It was 2:30am when I last saw the clock once home. That was a full day - a beach party and a night run with trail friends and wildlife!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Have you ever been asked WHY?

This past week many of you who participated in the WHW and other Ultra events have probably been asked by friends, family and collegues...WHY? Sometimes we ask ourselves this too! I found a couple of good explanations while reading some running blogs tonight. Enjoy!

“Perhaps the genius of ultra-running is its supreme lack of utility. It makes no sense in a world of space ships and supercomputers to run vast distances on foot. There is no money in it and no fame, frequently not even the approval of peers. But as poets, apostles and philosophers have insisted from the dawn of time, there is more to life than logic and common sense. The ultra runners know this instinctively. And they know something else that is lost on the sedentary. They understand, perhaps better than anyone, that the doors to the spirit will swing open with physical effort. In running such long and taxing distances they answer a call from the deepest realms of their being — a call that asks who they are …” ~ David Blaikie

It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.” ~ George Sheehan

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Today is Canada Day! Yippee a Stat holiday in the middle of the week. We have been dragging a bit since our return home. Perhaps a combination of a 95 mile run and jet lag. ;-) Last year after WHW we spent a few days shuffling around London listening to our bodies perhaps a bit better. This year we flew home on the Tuesday and started back to work on the Wed. So the holiday today was brilliant! Slept mid day...nap...caught up on a few chores...fantastic day. Even better we both took tomorrow off too! So a nice 4 day weekend of nothing. I start a new position at work on Monday so the timing is perfect for a restful weekend. Next weekend is the KneeKnacker - Canada's knarliest 30 mile/50km trail race in North Vancouver on the Baden Powell Trail. We are both registered but my knees are feeling a bit knackered from WHW so I will see how they feel in the next few days. Neil is good to go (as always!) I hope to do STORMY 50 miler in August. STORMY takes place in Squamish BC and it is one of my favourite courses. This year we did a few training runs for WHW in the Squamish area and what a network of trails there is. Tonight as it gets dark the skies will light up with Canada Day fireworks in communities across the country. As we say...I AM CANADIAN!