Buntzen 5Peaks Trail Race

Getting up at 6 am to the sound of pouring rain is not the way I wanted to start a double race weekend. Part of me was tempted to throw the blankets over my head and roll back over, but I know better.

I got up, got dressed and stumbled around while attempting to wake up before hitting the road and heading to Buntzen Lake for my first ever trail race. The nerves were hitting me pretty hard for some reason, more so than any other race.

My phone had a bunch of “good luck” tweets and messages from some pretty damn amazing people so I figured it wouldn’t be that bad, right?

I got to Buntzen and met up with Solana, and a few other familiar faces from our Ladies of the Trails Tuesday running group.

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It was raining pretty hard and I was not prepared clothes wise so I knew it would be a chilly post race, but knew the run itself would feel great.

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Waiting to head out onto the course.

I had more or less a good idea of where I was going between doing the Diez Vista course a few weeks ago and having run once with a friend of mine a month back. So when our wave went out, I just let myself go with it. I knew there would be some hills, and that walking them would be fine, and I knew I would hit some downhill and there was a chance it was going to be slick.

I ran alone, pacing myself with a few others but more or less just letting myself set my own pace and make this my race. Some people passed me, and I passed some people, which was really cool. Trail racer etiquette is so much nicer than that of most road runners, I loved it!!!

I stopped and took advantage of the somewhat cloudy view from the top of the sport course

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I even had a fellow runner stop and take a picture of me too!!! I hit the bottom of the trail, crossed over the suspension bridge and knew it was about 3.5k to the finish line. I felt good, so I just kept on rolling.

The biggest thing I noticed about this run is how incredible I felt going downhill. I didn’t stress over it, I didn’t try to hold myself back and I put my confidence in my body to do what it needed to do. Which was also some fantastic advice from Solana at Diez Vista a few weeks back.

I felt amazing when I crossed the line. My garmin said my time was under 1:30 and that is all I cared about. I ran to my car, got into some dry-ish clothes waited for a few others to finish and suck around for the sport course awards. I did pick up a kick ass 5 Peaks beanie which I love, and grabbed a can of Cariboo Root Beer.

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Overall, I can’t begin to describe how much I am loving the whole trail running atmosphere. It’s definitely my new crack, which isn’t a bad thing 🙂

Now to soak, relax and get ready for race #2 tomorrow, Surrey Half Marathon

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Welcoming fall with a wet 17k

I woke up when the alarm went off at 6 am and the first thought was “crap it’s raining.” My second was “oh god I have a headache why did I have 2 shots last night when I knew I had to run?”

Let’s face it, rain hits and I want to burry myself under the covers. If it wasn’t for the fact I dumb assery signed up for the Surrey Half Marathon a week before the race, and that I was running with Kendall today, I might have rolled back over and went to sleep. But I was excited to hit the road and run a nice easy long run with my friend.

I am starting to wonder if I know the definition of nice easy run when Kendall is concerned. Originally we were planning to run a double loop of the Sea Wall around Stanley Park but I talked her into a route in Burnaby I had run before. It was a nice, relatively flat out and back course from the Burnaby Running Room to just past the Knight Street Bridge and back.

I had it in my mind that we would look at possibly a 7:30 min/km pace to keep us feeling good since it’s a week to race day. But I really should know better. The most common phrase used when we run together is “ok we need to pull it back and slow it down.”

20130922-132418.jpg Still smiling at the halfway mark

20130922-132454.jpg You can see the bridge in the distance that we ran past.

I set my Garmin wrong to start so it was not doing intervals so I had to reset it 1.22 km and 9 minutes in. I hate that especially when doing a long run and wanting to monitor my pace.

But we made it the 17km that Kendall had her heart set on, and total time was just over 1:55 which is EPIC for me. Our pace was 6:45 min/km and we only had to stop once to gu.

I also had my new flavor of Nuun that I tried which has caffeine in it but tastes amazing. I tried the Lemon Tea but here’s my small collection

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The taste was great and didn’t have such a carbonated feel to it so I will definitely be using it more often.

We finished the run, and I had a moment while I said goodbye to my faithful Saucony runners. I had to admit less than halfway into the run that they were done. My toes were sore and I knew that this was their last run. I always have such a hard time parting with a pair of running shoes. Even though I have my new Brooks Glycerin 11 waiting for me, saying goodbye to my Saucony’s is going to be hard.

The run ended with us both being soaked to the bone, but smiling. I was so incredibly proud to run Kendall’s furthest distance with her, and to have her say she’s ready to run her first half next weekend. I have every confidence that she is going to kick some serious ass and down the road push my ass to some new levels with running as well.

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Get Off The Road

I put on my road running shoes, my Nike Vomero+8 for the first time in over a week last night and my feet were not happy. It was then that I truly realized how much trail running is seeping into my life.

Tuesday night runs with Solana and the 5 Peaks Ladies of the Trail group is fast becoming my favorite night of the week. With the sun setting earlier and my shift at work changing I am sad to think that next week might be the last one I attend for a bit.

Every week I get the chance to meet new people, visit with the girls who are becoming regulars and hit the trails in North Van for a new experience. I discovered I am almost fearless when it comes to uphill climbs, and my body thrives on them, even when I feel like dying partway through. Downhill is another story…..

I managed to slip on a rock last Tuesday, and went ass over teakettle, landing on my opposite leg than my last fall, but smashed my same arm. But I got up, brushed myself off and after a few unladylike words kept on trucking down the hill to where everyone else was waiting.

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We were halfway done the run, so I finished it and went home a bit stiff and sore from when I started.

Saturday I was leery about the Buntzen Orientation on the Enduro course for the upcoming 5 Peaks race. I knew it was going to be a technical trail, but I had no idea just how technical it would be!!!! Solana had promised incredible views, but it was foggy and overcast so the only view I got was this near the end.

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Still so so incredible!!! The course was about 15k and took me close to 3.5hrs to run. Thankfully the lovely Alannah ran with me for all the uphill and didn’t leave me behind on the downhill, often checking in to make sure I was ok.

Solana popped back and told me to stop being afraid and trust my body. Letting go of the fear of falling and downhill is going to be a struggle but I am trying. Melissa came back and ran with us near the end, both her and Alannah good with letting me set the pace which rocked. I got some awesome swag and decided for the race I would stick with the sport 10k instead of the Enduro.

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I have to admit, I have never felt so out of my comfort zone as I did that day. I felt out of place and so unsure of my capabilities in the middle of the Diez Vistas trail that at one point if I wasn’t sure I might die, I would have turned around. But I knew that Alannah was with me and the others were waiting so I kept going.

But this Tuesday, it was almost as if a light went off in my head. Our run started off with gentle rolling trails, and my lungs and legs were burning before we hit 3 k. I wanted to turn around and go back to my car, but I didn’t. And then, then we hit the uphill. Stairs, inclines, switchbacks… Oh the glory that is uphill. It was as if my second wind hit and I felt like I could do anything. My legs were still tired, but strong. My breathing was good and I felt great.

And when we hit the downhill portion where we could run I felt like I was flying. I was jumping over the small dips, hopping down from the foot bridges and letting my body do what it did best, move me. I gave up control and listened to my body and it was the most incredible feeling ever. I felt for the first time at peace and in a comfort zone I have not been in for ages.

And it was then, as I chatted with another runner hopping over the dips that I realized how much I love trails. How much I want to run them and embrace the challenges that come with them. And that I am not going to give up, and I can push myself and this is something I want to do.

I am addicted. I would love to blame Solana for all the races I want to do and limits I will be pushing, but instead I have to thank her for believing I can do this and for the awesome chance I have had to experience this.

So all I can say is “get off the road”

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Coho 14k, EnergyBITS and Sparkle Skirts

So I am a bit behind in my updates. Somehow I decided that sleep might be a bit more important, silly me I know.

First and foremost, I have to say the Coho 14k run was amazing for so many reasons. The course was beautiful, the weather was great and my running partner, Kendall, was superb!!!! I honestly felt so comfortable running with her, that it was like we had been running together for years. We had a good pace, pushed me a bit over my comfort zone and even with the dreaded hill in Stanley Park came out crushing it!

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I am already looking forward to my next run with her.

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This was also my first full race with my sample of Energybits for fuel instead of the usual gu and chews. I swallowed 10 before the race and halfway through took another 10. I felt good, legs felt strong and I could definitely notice a difference in how I recovered after. My body didn’t feel as sluggish as it normally does after a long race, I still had energy and was able to maintain a good pace and push myself hard.

I definitely recommend giving them a try if you haven’t already. I would not recommend trying to chew them, and the smell since they are algae based is a bit off, but the results seemed to be well worth it for me. I would definitely take more than just the 10 I had at the start of my next long race, but I am definitely going to be adding these to my must have pile. As a special bonus if you want to give them a try use promo code blog at the checkout for 10% off your order 🙂

The other awesome factor to the race was how amazing my Sparkle Skirt was!!!! I like cute, different and something a little unique so of course this skirt is right up my alley

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Not only did I receive a TON of compliments and “OMG where did you get that awesome skirt!?” questions, but it was so full of amazing to run in. The shorts underneath did not move. And by not move I mean they did NOT move an inch. Which meant no adjusting during the race, no chafing and no need for body glide.

The skirt was light weight, comfortable and I loved that I didn’t even have to concern myself with those horrible moments of needing to adjust the shorts. I didn’t use the key pocket in the front or either of the 2 amazingly huge leg pockets but this skirt for me is a must have. I will be ordering more, I be telling everyone about it and this will be my summer staple for running.

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Ready Set Race – wait what??

I have a lot of “friends” on twitter who live in my area that I haven’t yet met. We talk shop, trail running, races, cookies, cupcakes, you know that kinda stuff.

Last night Kendall and I were talking gu’s and Invisalign when she asked how my knee was, and then asked if I wanted to run the Coho 14k on Sunday with her. Her friend has a busted knee and can’t run so her bib was up for use. So I said yes… Wait what??

We haven’t met, but it seems we have a somewhat similar pace, with Kendall being a bit faster. I am still not sure how my knee will do, BUT the run is going to be amazing!!! From Kits Beach in Vancouver over the Burrard Street Bridge, over the Lions Gate Bridge and ending up at Ambleside Park in West Van and a pancake breakfast???? HELL YES!!!!

It will be her first time doing any interval running, and I am excited to get out and race. A few other girls from twitter will be there, as well as a few from the local Running Room so it’s exciting. I am super stoked to meet Candice and Dianna, who are trail runners as well!!!

I was not expecting to race this weekend and I said yes without really thinking of getting up at 5am but it should be so so worth it. My first race since May 26, and I am terrified and excited to get out there.

Bad Day Blues

Ever have one of those days? One of those “wake up and know it’s going to be a shit run” kind of days? Yeah I should have rolled over and went back to sleep.

I indulged a bit too much with my bestie last night, and seeings how it has been close to 3 yrs if not longer since I last did, I was not fully cheery at 7 am.

I wore my new Sparkle Skirt and grabbed a handful of Energybits and was ready to rock a 12k with Melissa and get in a few product reviews at the same time.

Banged off a quick run with the learn to run group before we headed out to do our Sunday long run. Since we didn’t have a route, I decided we would run along the Fraser River.

Last time I ran that trail, I bailed over a tree stump.

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I should have known better today. I should have stayed off the trail, stayed on the pavement and ran. When you’re 2 for 2 bailing on the same trail…. Good indication you shouldn’t run it again.

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The worst part besides my hand burning and stinging? The knee I bashed is my bad knee and currently bending it is not going too well. I am going to be smart about this so I am at least a week off running if not longer. No trails no nothing. So that leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth and completely bitchy and angry. But I have a new moto:

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Product reviews will have to wait for a long run where I can really put them to the test.